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May 10, 2013
about 2 years ago
Did you ever end up writing more about this? I’m interested in using XBee series 2 modules for a home mesh, and I want to be able to reprogram them remotely - seems like what you’ve done would be a great starting point.
about 2 years ago
Anyone know how to reprogram these remotely using Series 2 XBee? Seen a few people say it’s possible, but I can’t find any examples anywhere. Any help would be appreciated.
News - The Free Shipping Sweet S…
about 2 years ago
You are of course entitled to your opinion - but personally I’d much rather know what I’m paying for. Baking shipping costs into product prices can seem like a nice idea, but it can end up costing the customer more depending on their order - especially on large multiples of cheaper products. Besides, having SparkFun’s guys running around behind the scenes figuring out break-even points and average sales quantities for all their products only ends up taking them more time - and costing me more than if they were just upfront about costs. I’d rather know how much shipping is and pay less than be blind about it and pay more - but maybe that’s just me.
I live in Australia - and know very little about what postage within the US usually costs - but I could only dream that shipping a $3 component would cost $4 to get to me. As someone who frequently orders from both SparkFun and Adafruit, I like to think I have a good feel for postage costs from both companies. In the past, my orders from AdaFruit, although smaller in both size and weight, have always cost me more in postage. In addition to this, SparkFun have (IMO) a much wider range of original products. I love AdaFruit - but I’ve always found my orders from SparkFun to be better value. Maybe it’s different within the US, but for me at least SparkFun seem to be doing pretty well shipping wise - I even order AdaFruit products from them when they have them, because it works out cheaper for me if I’m also ordering other stuff!
You compare SparkFun to companies such as Digikey and Mouser - but these are very different types of businesses, at least in my understanding. You seem to be confusing distributors such as Digikey and Mouser with a retailer and developer (for lack of a better term - manufacturer doesn’t really imply any development or research, and is perhaps a different scope to what SparkFun is) such as SparkFun - the difference being in the roles they are supposed to play. Or course buying resistors will be cheaper at these other companies - that’s what they’re for! That’s all they do, and those are the only costs they have! SparkFun doesn’t aim to directly compete with them, because what would the point of that be? As you have said, they’re cheaper - and they’re firmly entrenched, can afford to order huge bulk from manufacturers, and have much lower overheads. SparkFun, as a retailer, sell products that are either more specialised or harder to come by. Sure, they have plenty of products you could find elsewhere too - but those are often here as an accessory to something else. As a developer, they design and manufacture their own unique products - products that you can’t find elsewhere. I don’t image that this is a cheap process - and it’s certainly not a cost that these distributors have to factor in.
On top of this, SparkFun runs extensive education and outreach programs - I know nothing about what Digikey or Mouser might do in this arena, but if they were matching SparkFun I’d be very surprised indeed.
I certainly don’t think SparkFun need all they help they can get. If their shipping costs are $1M per year - and that, if my understanding being correct, is only for the orders above $60 that qualified for free shipping - clearly they do pretty well sales wise. Hobbyist electronics is as popular as ever, and SparkFun have a wide range of unique products that I either couldn’t source elsewhere, or that they have themselves designed. I’d say they’re pretty well positioned.
I’m not sure why you think SparkFun should make pricing more obscure for customers - but their honesty certainly does earn my good will, and judging from the other comments here, plenty of other people appreciate it too.
Sure, I’m annoyed that I won’t qualify for free shipping on my international orders anymore - but to be honest, I often end up going for one of the faster shipping options that have tracking, and these usually cost so much that I don’t see how SparkFun could possibly make them free for me anyway. If I order $100 worth of small products I expect to pay around $40 shipping - that you complain about $4 postage honestly makes me a little bit jealous.
Anyway, thanks for the heads up SparkFun - you can expect plenty more orders from me in future!
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