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Monday, October 22, 2012

Triangle Entrepreneur Joe Davy Launches BUYSTAND

Joe Davy is running another startup: BUYSTAND. The concept is simple: to empower people to buy the products they want at their own price. A quick visit to the website suggests the company is targeting a niche market - outdoor enthusiasts. I happen to fall into that market segment, and reached out to Davy for a quick interview on the new company and the unique purchasing model they've built. 

Say that you're like me - you love autumn, with the crisp, cool morning air on your morning jog, the changing colors of the leaves, the sun setting as you drive home from another great day at the office. You enjoy the weekends, taking day trips or overnight trips to get to the mountains, summit a few of North Carolina's famous peaks, and see scenic vistas along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You're a prime target for Davy's BUYSTAND.

BUYSTAND, enables customers to purchase the products they need and want at their own price. If you want to acquire a new fleece-lined lightweight parka, but don't want to drop the MSRP $435, BUYSTAND will allow you to set your own price and allow retailers to accept that price. If one must compare, think Priceline's "name your own price" feature, popularized by William Shatner in an advertising campaign that must have cost millions of dollars. 

Here's my interview with Davy:



Parker: You’ve just launched Buystand – tell the CED community about the company. What are you providing? How is it different from other sites that help connect customers to brands to create transactions?

Davy: BUYSTAND is the first company in the world to empower people to buy the products they want at their own price. Traditionally, online shoppers have had no ability to influence the price of the goods they want to buy. This means waiting months for sales or buying second-hand goods from eBay or craigslist. This is a huge pain for shoppers, and it causes an estimated $200B in lost profit every year. BUYSTAND solves this problem by eliminating the price and creating an open, efficient, free market.

Parker: Walk us through the purchasing process.

Davy: The purchasing process is dead-simple. Anyone can visit BUYSTAND.com and find the product they want from about 150,000 products that retailers have listed. Making an offer is as simple as entering a price and clicking go! The BUYSTAND EDGE engine matches up offers to a retailer that wants to sell at that price. We get back to the user within 24 hours to let them know whether their offer has been accepted, and if it has, the item gets to their door within 10 days. Shipping is always free.

Parker: Will users be able to create ‘wish lists’? How are their prices met / matched?

Davy: In designing BUYSTAND, we had the opportunity to re-think how the shopping cart works. We came up with this amazing idea called "the pack". Think half wish-list, half offer-manager. Users can add a product to their pack without making an offer. When they're ready, making an offer is a 2-click process. When a user makes an offer directly, that offer is also added to their pack so they can keep track of everything in a single place.  

Parker: Do you have any data or tests that would indicate this model works?

Davy: We built many prototypes prior to coming up with the final design for BUYSTAND. In addition to surveys and user testing, the team really did their homework to focus in on a target group of users, and we built the product with them in mind. We've already had users from all around the world sign up (and make offers) on BUYSTAND, so we know this is a major, universal problem.

Parker: This company sprung up pretty quickly after the dissolution of EvoApp – how and when did this idea formulate? How were you able to put it into action this quickly?

Davy: The original idea came from Ted Kraus at 8 Rivers Capital. It was refined over time by the team there. My job has been to take the idea and make it a reality, which is what I'm good at. It has been a tremendous amount of fun. With just a few months worth of work we've reached hundreds of retailers, representing hundreds of millions of dollars in products enter the marketplace. That has been exhilarating.

Parker: Some folks may say that EvoApp failed, or that you failed as an entrepreneur. How would you respond to these critics?

Davy: I don't spend a lot of time worrying about critics. I have always believed that you can't own your success without also owning your failure. It's a free country, so people can have whatever opinion they like.

Parker: What lesson(s) did you learn from EvoApp that affects your business model this time around? 

Davy: I learned how important it is for every team member to have a deep-seeded passion for the mission of the company. It only works if everyone believes that what you're doing is really important, because starting a company is really hard, and without that passion, it's very easy to give up.

Parker: What comes next – for you, for Buystand, for your employees? Any targets / milestones in sights? What are the goals that you are striving to reach?

Davy: We can't be too specific, but our first job is to create an amazing user experience at every level - shopping, customer service, fulfillment, and marketing. We want every user that shops with BUYSTAND to have a painless, fair, empowering experience. That's the opposite of what most companies deliver, and it's doubly hard to do in e-commerce. But that's our mandate.

Parker: When can I use Buystand to acquire new outdoor gear? I’m in need of some rain pants and could use a good pair of mid-weight Salomons.

Davy: We've opened the beta up to a few users. If you sign up this week, you should expect an invite code within 3 days. Feel free to shop all you want! And please send any feedback to feedback@buystand.com



A former boss of mine in the outdoor industry once told me that there is no such thing as bad weather, just poor choices of equipment and gear. I love being outdoors - this is why I'm psyched to use BUYSTAND - to help me gear up for further adventures. You can sign up as a beta tester at their website: https://buystand.com/.

Post authored by CED's Jason H. Parker, outdoor enthusiast and startup advocate. Find him online @jasonhparker.

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