Interview with BUYSTAND's Ted Kraus on Finding You a Better Price for the Outdoor Gear You Want

Pin It
Most of us dream of combining our enthusiasm for the outdoors with our careers, and BUYSTAND founder Ted Kraus is no different.

He grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, but traveled to follow his passion for mountain biking, kayaking and snowboaring. It's no surprise he's an outdoor gear fanatic and used to make lists of all of the components he wanted for his next mountain bike build or snowboard kit. But like many of us, stretching his budget to afford all of those components wasn't always an option. One day, he came up with a unique, innovative way to solve that and another related problem.

"I was with my girlfriend." Ted says. "She wanted me to buy her something and I couldn't understand why it was priced so high. I told her I would try to find it on eBay, Amazon or Craigslist at a better price. When I went home, I did the obligatory online searching and couldn't find what she wanted anywhere for a price I was comfortable with.

"The next day, I was at my office and had the eureka moment - why can't I just create a buy-limit order on the products that I want, send that order to all the sellers that have the item, and find out if any of them will sell it to me at my price? If a platform existed where consumers' 'willingness-to-pay' was matched with retailers' and brands' 'willingness-to-sell,' would it solve a significant problem?"

Enter, BUYSTAND. Essentially, BUYSTAND allows users to name a price on a piece of outdoor gear, then matches that user with a retailer who will sell it at that price. People are able to get the products they want at prices they're willing to pay today rather than waiting for sales, and it's good for retailers too. As a result of Ted's years in venture capital and technology commercialization, he's seen many startups, good and bad. "Most are apps that don't really solve a big problem," he says, "and BUYSTAND does." Curious? So was I, and I had the opportunity to chat with Ted, BUYSTAND's COO, about his outdoor gear focused name-your-price platform.

Adventure-Inspired: So if I want to become a BUYSTAND user, how does it work?

Ted Kraus:  BUYSTAND is currently in private beta - click here if you're interested in checking it out. And basically, here's how it works: I go to buystand.com and search for some awesome new snowboard bindings from my favorite brand. When I find the bindings I want, I make an offer on them. When I make an offer, I simply name the price I want to pay for the bindings.

If my offer is accepted, I score and the bindings are shipped to my door. If my offer is rejected, I can make another offer or save the bindings to my “pack” so I can make an offer another day. (editor's note: the "pack" is similar to a "cart" on a traditional ecommerce site, just a lot cooler, and social functionality is being built in to the "pack" as beta testing progresses.)

AI: Do you only work with companies to sell products that are in season? For example, could I put an offer in on a pair of snowboard bindings in August?

TK: We have large and small brand partners as well as large and small retail partners. The brands and products we carry are all in the action sports and sporting goods industries. We currently have over 300 brands represented as well as 150,000 unique products. And we work with companies that sell products in-season and out. Think of a search engine where you can simply type what you're looking for and get it. If you want a pair of powder skis in August, you could type that exact phrase into the search box, and you'll see many powder skis to browse through. The more descriptive your search, the more accurate your results. If you only want "175cm powder skis with rocker", that's what you should search for.

AI: What's the benefit to companies working with BUYSTAND? How is it different from deal sites like Steep and Cheap?

Joe Davy, BUYSTAND CEO (left) and Ted Kraus, BUYSTAND COO (right)
TK: All other retailers are seller-driven. That means they hold inventory and mark down products that are not selling to clear inventory. BUYSTAND is buyer-driven. That means we allow you to set the price you are willing to pay. No more wasting time waiting for markdowns. It turns out this model is great for all stakeholders - consumers, retailers and brands. Consumers are able to get what they want when they want it at their price, retailers are able to optimize pricing and move inventory faster, and brands can maintain brand equity like never before. It's a perfect storm of marketing efficiency.

"Essentially," Ted says, "the ultimate goal for us is to create a more liquid market for all consumer goods products. We have three distinct stakeholders here (consumers, retailers and brands), and we've built a product that has a unique value proposition to each.

Does getting the gear you want at the price you're willing to pay sound like the perfect solution to your gear woes? If you're curious about BUYSTAND, click here to sign up for the beta version and leave a comment with your thoughts about the concept. For more about BUYSTAND, check out this article in Fast Company and BUYSTAND.com.

Many thanks to Ted for conducting this interview and to BUYSTAND for sponsoring this post!

5 comments :

@ginabegin said...

Interesting concept! So it's like Priceline?

k8tlevy said...

thanks for the question, Gina!

from what I understand, Priceline lets you name a price for a hotel in a specific city, for example, but that's about it. you don't know what hotel it is, exactly where it is, or what you're going to get, and if you aren't happy with the hotel Priceline picks, there isn't much you can do about it. with BUYSTAND, you actually choose a specific item, rather than simply "175 inch powder skis."

but I think the concept is similar. they're both ways for companies to best manage inventory and match their inventory with willing buyers depending on buyer parameters like price. and I'm sure there's a complicated algorithm behind it all!

do you think you'd ever use something like BUYSTAND for gear? have you used Priceline?

@ginabegin said...

I have used Priceline and I certainly would be curious to check out their site. I can't say I would use it, personally, since I get gear for free, but I might recommend to others because I get asked ALLL THEEE TIME if I know of any good hookups. I'd have to check it out!

shannonwood34 said...

I have a question? How can I sign up for Buystand? It says I have to have a Invite token?

Katie said...

Shannon - you should just be able to use the link below the BUYSTAND image above (https://buystand.com/signuptoday?utm_source=AdventureInspired&utm_medium=Interview&utm_campaign=AdventureInspired#) to sign up without any special code. Let me know if you run into any trouble!