Barcode Scanners – Sales, Success, and Sudden Shortages

When we added the barcode scanning feature to ComicBase years ago, we sort of had the idea that a few folks might be interested, but they they might not know where to grab a barcode scanner of their own. Thinking ahead, we made a deal with the supplier of the Manhattan barcode scanners we’d chosen for our own use in the office to get a couple of extras to sell to interested customers.

We ordered two scanners, thinking we might be stuck with them if they didn’t sell. Instead, they both sold instantly, so we ordered five more.

Those sold quickly as well, so we upped our next order to ten… then twenty five… then case lots… and before long, our little software company had actually become the #1 seller of that particular barcode scanner in the country.

Fast forward to this year, and we caught a break on the pricing of the scanner. Rather than just pocket the extra profit margin, we decided to take a chance and heavily discount them down to a previously unheard of $89 each. As a result, we sold so many in just a few days that we cleared our entire inventory in under a week.

“Wow!” I thought, “we’re really onto something here! Let’s do some bundles so that folks upgrading to ComicBase 14 can grab a barcode scanner at the same time and I’ll bet we’ll sell a ton of them!”. We did…and we did.

We moved so many, as it turns out, that we actually sold out the entire remaining supply of that scanner in the U.S. The distributor literally ran out and had to order more from the Pacific Rim where they’re manufactured.

Since then, it’s been a somewhat awkward few weeks over in the shipping part of the company as we had to arrange to ship the software ahead of time as we deal with the back-order of the scanners. We even made a couple of customers a deal and sold them the scanners we pack along to trade shows to demo ComicBase. But now even those are gone and all we can do is desperately wait until September 11th when the Florida-based distributor gets the big shipment in.

A few days from then, we should get ours, and start making life difficult for both our mailman and our art staff (apparently the replacement batch of scanners are now black, but otherwise identical. Unfortunately this will mean a bunch of work to shoot new product photos and lay out all the various ads we use to show them in the proper color). I personally think the new black color looks cool, but for all I know, there’s a home office there where someone’s not only had their heart set on beige, but has also picked out a matching desk and drapes to go with it. Far be it from us to want to cause an unwelcome surprise where office decor is concerned!

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