How to participate in group buying

If you’ve ever stumbled across a product design recommended by a member of the community or noticed that a custom part or accessory isn’t currently available for purchase, chances are you’ve heard of group buying.

The purchasing team provides solutions for product designs that will be products or custom products that are out of stock so that they can be purchased. This style is popular in the mechanical keyboard community.

Usually, individual community members come up with custom designs and expect to be produced. However, many of these products require a minimum order quantity (MOQ) and it is not cost effective or too expensive for a manufacturer to produce only a particular unit here and there.

This is where group buying comes in. Group buying allows product designers to showcase their ideas to the community, allowing regular customers to fund their production.

What is group purchasing?

buying group
Image: Dot Esports / Drop

Group buying is when a community orders the same product in the hope that it will reach the MOQ. In many cases, this is the only way a custom product can be manufactured and sold to potential buyers.

It works like a Kickstarter campaign. Group buying has a start and end date, with all orders canceled and refunded if the campaign doesn’t reach the MOQ by the end. If demand exceeds the set MOQ, the order is sent to the manufacturer for production.

The whole process can take from a few months to more than a year. However, not all group purchases are for custom products. Occasionally, group buying can be organized for existing products, where manufacturers discount their products to the community if a specific MOQ goal is met.

What are the benefits and risks of group buying?

If an exclusive product appeals to you and you can’t find it anywhere else, group buying may be your only option. It is important to understand that group buying comes with inherent risks no matter how reliable they claim to be.

After group buying involves offering money to strangers in the hope that they will deliver you on their promises. How bad do you want the product to be – and how much of a risk can you take?

You should always evaluate the organizer’s history before joining a group buying campaign, as well as how much you want the product to be. If you join a buying group just to save a few bucks, it’s probably better to pay a higher premium to secure the product through a channel with more protections.

Image: MechGroupBuys

How do I join Group Buy?

Reddit has an updated list currently running group buy here. One community worth checking out is MechGroupBuys. They have multiple potential product group purchases, with product information detailing start and end dates, base price, and offer type. They also offer a Discord channel.

Catching balls for group purchase includes the following main stages:

  • Check interest rate – The supplier checks to see if enough people show interest in their product to meet the MOQ.
  • Buy in groups – After enough profit, suppliers start buying in groups and pre-orders take effect.
  • Manufacture – Once the group buying phase is complete, the designer contacts the manufacturer to start production.
  • Completion – After production is completed, the manufacturer transfers the product to the supplier for inspection and sales.

Group buying can be worth the risk if the item you’re looking to buy is a necessity. They are especially popular among the audiophile and custom keyboard communities, allowing designers and companies to produce unique products that would otherwise be impossible to finance.

Joining a group always comes with some inherent risks. But by doing your due diligence through contacting organizers, community members, and asking lots of questions can ensure a highly successful group purchase. How to participate in group buying


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