What is a Group Buy?
A Group Buy (GB) is a type of sales commonly used by mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. It is a pre-order for a product that is yet to be produced/manufactured in bulk. This means that production does not begin until a vendor (and/or other proxies/vendors) collects all purchases and checks quality of a product sample/prototype. Once purchases from all vendors are consolidated, orders go through manufacturing, quality check, and order distribution.
Group Buys have a minimum order quantity (MOQ) which refers to the number of orders that needs to be be placed in order for a product to be made.
A GB typically lasts for about a month. Some products are sold with no limit within the 1-month time frame, while other products are sold in limited quantities on a first-come-first-served (FCFS) basis or sold as raffle.
Group Buy Timeline
Interest Check (IC)
This is the first step to gauge a product's viability. The designer/organizer checks if there is enough interest for the product to become successful and reach the MOQ set by manufacturers. This is the phase where a designer and his/her chosen vendor negotiate and finalize costs, proxies (other vendors), design revisions and Group Buy dates. Putting a product into IC does not mean it can reach the Group Buy phase, become produced and sold by vendors. If a product gains enough interest and the designer/organizer is backed up by vendors, the product can now be sold via Group Buy.
Group Buy (GB)
Once a GB goes live, customers can place their orders from different regional vendors (depends if a group buy is ran locally or internationally) for the set time-frame organized by the designer and vendors.
When the GB ends, all orders are consolidated by the designer and the vendor (typically the lead vendor) tied to the manufacturer. A sample(s) is requested before mass production to pre-check the quality of the product. Orders are then lined up for production. Extras (excess to the number of orders) are typically added to account for potential quality issues and for customers who misses out on the GB.
The manufacturer ships the product to all vendors when production and quality check is completed. Vendors shall inspect the product before shipping them out to customers who placed their orders.
Reference: Group Buys - Keyboard University