Our new approach to product availability

Recently, the demand for custom cables has been high enough that we have had difficulty keeping up. Order windows have been small, and capping out quickly. Getting an order in has been tricky at best, and frustrating for everyone involved. We understand that something had to change, so we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to come up with a new way to make cables available that is steady, low-stress, and as pain-free as possible (for all involved).

We’ve discussed a lot of ideas. New versions of our current first-come, first-served sprint approach, having lotteries, releasing everything in pre-made batches, and my personal favorite...taking everything offline and running all sales via mail order catalog.

After careful deliberation, here’s what we’ve decided:

We’ve decided to stop doing the two-week sprint style of rollout, where it’s a scheduled-in-advance Black Friday-style free-for-all.

Instead, we are going to make cables available on a more frequent, but limited basis. Rather than offering a tidal wave of all cable products at once, there’ll be a steady rollout of smaller waves of just one or two products at a time.

For example, one wave might offer only Detachable Cables on a first-come, first-served basis, in a limited supply. Once the supply is gone, availability for that wave of Detachable cables would expire. As those orders get fulfilled, the next wave (of say, Non-Detachable USB and TRRS cables) would begin rolling out. Depending on the demand, the offerings may even overlap.

Our goal will be to roll out new waves of product offerings weekly, at least. Consistent, rotating offerings for each wave should prevent long gaps between the availability of any given product. We’re also hoping this will help balance out overwhelming order rushes and prevent such short purchasing windows, which make ordering stressful and difficult.

We’ll make announcements as waves are made available across all of our channels, which should help ease the pain of having to regularly check Discord or the site for upcoming sale info.

There will not be an advance schedule of which products will roll out when. This will help us stay as flexible and fast-turning as possible, and hopefully prevent the build-up and insta-rush of orders we’ve been experiencing lately.

It may take us a couple of weeks to find our groove, but we think it will be a good solution. It will also allow us to offer new and limited-edition “experimental” products more easily. Maybe we have a fun idea for a new product that isn’t realistic for long-term availability in the store, but we want to try and sell 20 of them. With this system, it will be easy to squeeze it in as a mini-wave and turn it around quickly! We’ve got a few of these ideas lined up already, and we think you’ll dig them.

We’re pretty excited about this new approach. We know that no solution will be perfect until we can get more help in the shop and offer all of the products all of the time. We are working hard on that too. (Live in Madison? Contact us!) But we think this will help us get new cable orders in and out pretty fast, and with increased regularity. And I think it will add a layer of fun and experimentation that is at the heart of Zap and that has been missing lately.

All you’ll need to do is stay tuned here, or on Instagram, or in your email for announcements as waves roll out. And as usual, all DIY stuff and non-cable items like deskmats and pins will continue to be available for purchase all the time.

Thank you so much for all of your patience as we experiment and try new ways to make cable ordering somewhat less of a hassle for us all. We know it’s a grind. And it means a lot to us that you are willing to give it a shot. You really are awesome, and we work hard to make cables available to you as best we can.

Thank you. Thank you the most.

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