6/27/2006

MicroChip Samples: Are Freebies Good or Bad?

The best things in life are free. Or in my case, it's great to get component samples from MicroChip.

When was the last time you got something free, especially from a large international corporation? For me, that was yesterday morning when the FedEx truck came around and dropped off another batch of component samples that I ordered from MicroChip, but when will this "gravy train" end?

The only requirement anyone needs to order component samples is a valid, non-generic email and a valid postal address so the FedEx truck can make the drop-off. So that means, the gravy train won't stop as long as I have both!

But what about the bigger picture? I get my samples which is fine and dandy but what about MicroChip or whatever large corporation is sending out the samples? What happens to them? On a small scale, the corporation loses maybe $50 to $100 everytime they send an order of samples. These samples are usually used to help prototype a commercial, industrial, or military product. Once a suitable prototype is designed, tested and reviewed, the prototype then moves into large scale production. Large scale translates to big money being spent to purchase large amounts of components for the products. So, the company that sends out samples isn't really losing money but they're using the samples as part of their marketing campaign.

But what about the companies that don't send out samples? Do they lose out and a potential customer goes to a different company that provides samples? Maybe. From the consumer end, if you find a source of free samples, you would have very little reason to pay for the same product from a different source. But this might be at the sacrifice for convenience since sometimes it's easier to buy the product if you obtain it faster than waiting for the the sample especially if you're under a strict dead-line to finalize a prototype.

I know this is an extremely biased opinion since I work with this stuff, so let's hear what kind of experiences you have with freebies.

2 Comments:

Blogger Bao said...

I like freebies. From the consumer (me) viewpoint, it's good - it's free! And if I'm fine with not reciprocating, to buy something in return - then yay!

From the corporation viewpoint, well... it depends on the industry, right? But I guess you're talking about your industry, microchip thing.. well, it depends. You're one of their 'customers', so you tell me if their marketing is working - have you bought anything from them because of their kindness of free samples?

6/27/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

So far the only thing I've bought from them is a development board and a microchip programmer 'puck'. (The programmer happens to look like a hockey puck.)

If I were to sell a home-brew product in small quantities on eBay, then I'll initially use some of the samples. If the product is successful, I would order more components in greater quantities.

6/28/2006 10:53:00 AM  

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