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Advice for a first time widget salesman
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Advice for a first time widget salesman

by ik2012 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:34 am

Hello all! I've put together a little widget and have had it listed on ebay for some time now...sales have not been brisk. :lol:

Would it be in poor form to post the listing here to get some critique/advice? Certainly not trying to flog my wares here but maybe you fine folks could spare some time to look it over?

Thanks!
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Re: Advice for a first time widget salesman

by i-make-robots on Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:25 pm

Have you tried getting other people to talk about your widget? Every time one of my widgets gets mentioned on a blog like adafruit or sparkfun or hackaday I get a bump in sales. Just dumping it in a dark corner of the internet with a for sale sign isn't going to move product. (If only it were that easy!)
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Re: Advice for a first time widget salesman

by ik2012 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:26 pm

No I hadn't considered it to be that ground breaking to warrant a submission. I'll think it over though, thanks :D
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Re: Advice for a first time widget salesman

by johnnyc on Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:38 am

Would it be in poor form to post the listing here to get some critique/advice?

I don't think so, post away!
John Cole
http://www.dexterindustries.com
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Re: Advice for a first time widget salesman

by ik2012 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:19 pm

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Re: Advice for a first time widget salesman

by BruceF on Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:39 pm

First impressions:

Not a bad idea for a board, I like it. Would help if it addressed LiPo charging as well - I don't know if that's a show stopper for potential customers or not. It's a problem I'm running into with my robotics tinkering, but maybe that's just me.

The photographs are not well composed and need much better lighting, and the pre-sales information is too minimal and uninspiring. Doesn't make me want to run out and build something with it. Example project ideas with photos and/or video would help. I'd post the schematic as a PNG, too, and a link to the datasheet for your chip.

Using eBay for order handling is probably fine, but you should have your own website to give yourself and this product a bit of a brand identity. I doubt many people are going to think of heading to eBay when they realize they need a LiPo power supply for their Arduino projects, and submitting an eBay auction to Hack-a-day isn't likely to get you on the front page.

I think you may have a good idea here, but your sales pitch isn't doing you any favours. Compare your photos and copy to what's being produced by the best in the business (randomly chosen product example).
- Bruce
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Re: Advice for a first time widget salesman

by johnnyc on Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:51 pm

I agree with BruceF on a lot, however, I don't think it's that complicated. You'll get to 80% by just doing the following:
  • Re-shoot your pictures with better lighting.
  • Start a website (a free one is fine, like a blogspot one) with a project or two on it.
John Cole
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Re: Advice for a first time widget salesman

by BruceF on Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:43 am

Apologies if I sounded harsh, that wasn't my intent. I wanted to provide unfiltered feedback, because that's what I'd hope for if I ever got up the guts to do what you're doing here.

The product does look useful, which is the only reason I offered any feedback in the first place. Just trying to help a fellow maker over the hump toward being a successful, in-business maker.
- Bruce
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Re: Advice for a first time widget salesman

by ik2012 on Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:32 am

No worries, you didn't come off as harsh at all! Honest feedback is exactly what I was looking for, and once again this forum does not disappoint.

Lighting has always been a sore subject for me, I'll have to look into a light box. As for a website, I need to get on that too...been wanting to start one to document my high altitude balloon project for awhile now. In fact, that is where this board came from, needing something small and lightweight to get power to the Arduino for my sensors. Anyway, thanks for the feedback, glad you think the board looks useful. That was my biggest fear, that people would have zero use for it. I like the idea for the link to the datasheet, can't believe I over looked that one!

As for charging the battery, while I could add this functionality in the future, the BOM is already a significant portion of the money I am charging. With a small run like I did to test this idea out the costs add up very quickly. :shock:

Thanks again :D
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Re: Advice for a first time widget salesman

by BruceF on Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:52 pm

ik2012 wrote:As for a website, I need to get on that too...been wanting to start one to document my high altitude balloon project for awhile now. In fact, that is where this board came from, needing something small and lightweight to get power to the Arduino for my sensors.

Well there you go right there; tell the story of how you built this thing to support your high altitude balloon project and you'll start to make that crucial human connection with your potential customers. "Hey, I was doing this cool little project and I made a power supply that I needed for it. Then I thought maybe other people might be able to use this, so I'm selling a few to test the waters." That's *way* more engaging than just a dry technical description of what the device is, and makes ordering one seem more like an interaction with another maker and less like another soulless, anonymous transaction with the Great Internet Vending Machine.

As for the battery charging thing, you probably don't need to build it in (that way lies feature creep, and increased cost, weight and risk of component failure) but it may help to include in your story something about how you charge the batteries for your project. Maybe the answer is obvious to everyone and I'm just obtuse, (it wouldn't be the first time) but it's a question I have, so you get it as feedback for free. :)

Edit: And the world's cheapest high quality lightbox is the outdoors on an overcast day. (Or in light shade, or anything that reduces sharp shadows.)
- Bruce
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