You've seen a product you like, but there was a note at the top: This is a group buy! In this article, you'll read what that is and how it works.
A group buy is a preorder
When participating in a group buy, you're cooperating with other people to get a product made. You can think of it as similar to crowd funding: you're putting in money for a product later on. Often, making this product is very expensive in small numbers, so by working together we can make these products more affordable to you.
A group buy consists of several phases
A group buy generally runs through the following phases:
- Interest Check: An interest check, or IC for short, is a survey the designer or vendor puts out in order to gauge the demand. Often, feedback will be collected from potential participants so that the final product will meet your wishes more closely. You can often choose to leave your email address in the survey, so that you'll get updates on the progress.
- Development: After an interest check, the designer or vendor needs time to finalize his designs, which can include working your feedback into the final product.
- Group Buy: During the group buy, you can preorder your items. Generally this period lasts from as short as a day to as long as two months.
- Waiting: And now, we wait. The vendor places the final order for all the purchased items at the manufacturer.
- Fulfillment: After the wait, the items will be shipped from the manufacturer to the vendor, after which we'll kit the items and ship it to you.
A group buy is limited
You won't be able to get into a group buy forever. Generally, you can join them during a limited time. At this point, you can still change your order or cancel your order altogether. At this point, the vendor won't have placed their final order with the manufacturer yet, so no commitments are made yet.
A group buy won't be delivered right away
Group buys are meant to be able to place larger orders at more affordable prices. This means that when you order an item that is part of a group buy, the item itself likely won't exist yet: it still has to be ordered and manufactured. Often, the design of the item is already done, and in most cases a prototype will already have been manufactured and proven to work.
Ordering, manufacturing, shipping and then sorting, packing and shipping it to you will cost time. This is why group buy items won't ship directly to you. There may be several months between you ordering the item and you receiving it. These timelines are described on the product page of your item. Updates on the progress of these items will be posted in the monthly update on the splitkb.com blog.
Because many steps and manual work are involved, there may be delays. This is unfortunately a part of the process. If you don't like to wait, you may choose to wait until the group buy has been delivered, at which point there may be extras available for purchase.
You will be charged when you order
Unlike on popular crowd funding platforms, we do capture your payment right away, since we'll make sure the minimum order quantities are met. In the rare event that we can't order the minimum order quantity, we'll refund all orders that are placed.
There might be restrictions on changing or cancelling your order
When the buy period of a group buy passes, the final orders are placed at the manufacturer. This means that the choices you've made during the group buy are finalized. This makes it difficult to change your order, since a limited quantity of items is available.
Cancelling your order may not be possible. Generally, we'll allow cancellations during the group buy process, but notable exceptions are personalized items, like items with custom colours, engravings or other options that potentially make the item less desirable to purchase for other people.
Would you like to change or cancel your order? Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us which change you'd like to make, and to which order number.