This year my son and I joined a lot of competitions at e14. Some we placed in the competition, some we got a goose-egg.
With Christmas around the corner, I took a trip down memory lane through my main two Maker part suppliers: Newark and Amazon. I viewed my order history for 2019.
Unfortunately, we couldn't source everything for our builds from Newark. Even the element14 contest page pointed us to Amazon in one of them.
Most of my Amazon purchases were necessary Maker components not available through Newark. But, there were a few components where if we bought from Newark with shipping, we'd have too much to risk it if we didn't place in the contest. This was because it would cost at least 3x. One I bought last year, not shown below, was 10x.
So, as a voice of the customer - here are my top 2019 items that I wish Newark could have competitively sourced to the Maker community:
$8 USB Cam
$9 USB-to-Audio Cable for BeagleBone's with USB
PA-09 Crimpers for crimping the tiniest of pins
LiPO Charger to charge anything I throw at it
$7 6-12V motor with an amazing amount of torque
Crimper for Ribbon Cable for Raspberry Pi
$15 Pack of 3 OLED screens
$7 Pack of 6 Proximity Sensors
$13 Arduino Mega
$4 PCB Etching Pens
I post this not to learn why they aren't at Newark or why they cost more there. Just providing the things a Maker needed to pull off contests that I couldn't source through Newark at all or at least without feeling like a chump.
I don't mean to be problem focused. Here is the solution focused remedy: Rather than swag for participants, how about Free Shipping Coupon Codes awarded to the participants.