Is this a good product idea?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by wingnut87, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. wingnut87

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 17, 2011
    2
    0
    Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum and was hoping I could get some electronics / business advice.

    I'm a mechanical engineer who tinkers in electronics all the time for work and for hobbies. Many of my circuits end up in cars, so I'm usually pretty careful about wiring and enclosing the board. In order to save time and improve quality and appearance, I took my two most common enclosures and designed protoboards that fit perfectly and screwed down to the plastic bosses. I now use these for 90% of my electronics prototypes.

    So, a few months ago I thought, "Hmm...this might actually be a good idea for a product!" I ordered some more stock, built a website, and started a google adwords campaign. After spending almost $1000 bucks, I got a total of zero orders. Looking back, I realized I never really asked anyone else if they thought this was a good idea. Can anyone please tell me if they think this idea is: great, dumb, no value, tiny value, I'd never buy that, I wish I could buy that etc...? Please be honest, I greatly appreciate the time and help.

    I hope nobody sees this as an attempt at free advertising. For that reason, I'm not including a link to the site, only a picture of a kit. If this business idea does end up working out, I'd be happy to work out a bunch of group buys or sell to this forum at cost for the help.

    Thanks in advance!

    Tom
     
  2. nerdegutta

    Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    2,515
    785
    Hi, and welcome. :)


    What is the product? A black box with a green perf board? I don't need that in my cars, so I wouldn't buy it...

    Tell us more about the product.
     
  3. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
    1,571
    230
    it's a plastic box with a perfboard.

    Your market is high volume, very low cost. You would quote from the cheapest manufacturing source, and work hard to find a broker/distributor. Is your packaging priced in? I'm guessing that your profit margin is going to be pennies on the unit, and to make it worthwhile (which is unlikely with a single offering), you need shelf space on all the major hobby websites.
     
  4. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    3,869
    1,393
    OK, I cheated and found the Web site, and after 10 minutes, here's my take.

    The combination of a high quality enclosure and perfboard construction (albeit high quality perfboard) strikes me as a mismatch. I realize it appeals to you because it appeals to me...until I see the price. I think it's too much for hobbyists; maybe it would appeal to lab techs building top end prototypes, but I'm not sure those guys Google for parts. (Maybe a listing with an industrial supply house would be worth seeking, but I presume the enclosures are already available, so the value that you would add would only be the PCB?)

    And the idea of including two PCB's with each enclosure doesn't seem optimum. I think many potential customers would think that they were paying for something they didn't really need. If you could reduce the price by leaving out the second one and selling the boards separately, that might help.

    I like the Web site and the support materials, although I think larger photos of the enclosures would help. How are the traffic reports? Are you getting unique hits? I used some of the words in your post to find the site, but if I had used more common terms, I don't know where it would have placed in the list.

    My marketing experience doesn't include on-line sales, so I don't consider myself an expert there, but it strikes me that whatever your route to market, the customer niche for this is rather small. I hope you don't think this is too harsh, and it is only one guy's opinion. :)
     
  5. wingnut87

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 17, 2011
    2
    0
    Please be harsh if it is what you believe. Right now it is a product I would use, but would anyone else? There are several reasons this could be a dumb idea. One being that nobody thinks there is a value to it and would just order something similar from Digikey and dremel it to fit. Second, was I didn't realize how hard it would be to get people to the site. With google, I might pay $2 just to get someone to click my link. Then imagine that 1 in 10 or 20 buys something?

    I'm just wondering if this is a product that only 10 people in the world would buy, and one of those is me. Then the profit is too small to make it viable for advertising.
     
  6. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    2,803
    594
  7. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    4,769
    969
    I'd buy it (because it looks well made).. If I could find where to order it.. and in the first few pages (thats as far as I go ever) of my google search I didn't see it.
    There are FAR better ways to advertise or generate traffic to your site for a product like that other than google ad words (I find that service a total waste of money).

    Heck post an instructable that many people would want using that enclosure with a link to where to buy it.. Almost guaranteed sales in the first day..

    Optimizing your site so it can be found via searches is the way to go. Many people think a website design stops at the look/feel of it. There are some very simple things you can do that should help. It's all about keywords really IMO.
    Well and of course the price of your product which I'm sure is no where near as cheap as the other guys like the link provided above that serves the same function as yours.
     
  8. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
    2,433
    469
    Tom,

    First of all, I think you should take advantage of free advertising and post a link to the website. The group here is a good representation of your target customers, and maybe we would want to buy, if the price it right. If you don't want to post the link, at least post the price because the price is a key part of judging whether your idea is good.

    I have a question about the circuit board. Are the holes plated through (looks like they are)? If so, this is a strong selling point and should be clearly specified because some perfboards are not plated through and are unreliable for that reason.

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  9. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    15,815
    282
    Not really a good idea on these forums. That would be advertising for a product, otherwise known as spam.
     
  10. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
    2,433
    469
    OK, sorry for asking for something not allowed. However, is it OK if a member asks for the selling price? I am curious.
     
  11. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    2,803
    594
    If I found the right site the small one is $32, which is probably a bit steep for most hobbyists.
     
  12. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
    2,433
    469
    Thank you.

    For the OP I can make a few comments.

    I agree With Markd that the price is a little too high for wide appeal. If the price could be reduced to $19.95 or less, it would be more viable, in my opinion. However, perhaps you can't cover costs at that price.

    Personally, I could imagine buying a couple of these over my lifetime at the asking price. At that price, I would wait till I had a need that perfectly matched that product. If I ever found myself in need of a large quantity, then I would design a dedicated pcb board and outsource it, and track down the most cost effective box. The cost would be less and the final solution would better match what I'm doing. For low quantity hobby or work projects the product is useful.

    At a cost of $19.99 or less, I might buy two to keep on hand. Then, I'm bound to use them over the course of a year. Then I would buy more.

    Aside from price, the product looks good and the main challenge is advertising and marketing to the right customers. One would not get rich off of this unless this leads to bigger things in a bootstrapping approach, but one could cover costs and make a little profit, if an effective marketing/advertising approach can be found.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  13. bytraper

    Active Member

    Sep 28, 2010
    126
    4
    I don't really see any appeal whatsoever in it. I mean at the end of the day, its a breadboard and a case I can buy locally for less than $7 AUD.

    My advice would be to actually include some circuits that people could follow and actually build for their cars, ie dc-dc converters, i-(phone, pad, yada yada) chargers, stereo circuits, alarm circuits, laptop chargers etc etc etc.

    Give people a reason to buy it and they will, especially if it allows them to tinker with things.

    There's literally millions of circuits that would fit in this case with minimal components.
     
  14. nerdegutta

    Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    2,515
    785
    That's what got me confused. I thought it would include some kit for making some cool stuff. Not just a breadboard with a box.

    ... I have not found the site ... :(
     
  15. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
    1,584
    435
    SteveB is back where have you been.
     
  16. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
    2,433
    469
    Oh, i've been here all along. I check in here most days and read.

    Basically, I've been talking less and listening more. :p

    But, thank you for noticing. :)
     
Loading...