Since its launch in 2018, BuzzOptics (a part of larger brand BuzzRevival) has only appeared online. Selling medical devices— especially those of the refurbished nature- on the internet seemed unlikely and certainly unprofitable. Yet nearly two years later the company has proven disruptive and has since sold over two thousand ophthalmic devices- strictly through its ecommerce website.
Buzz touts a remanufacturing production cycle which begins at the order’s inception, and ships for free with standard warranties and generous return policies. Their pricing model is more frequently than-not fractions of what a new device cost, and similarly-natured competitors have since struggled to keep up.
Buzz’s online model crowdsources demand for nearly 120 individual devices and combines pre-owned components with their own innovative manufacturing techniques when orders are placed. Orders can take up to 30 days to ship, however their model has seemingly put pressure on prices to fall and existing players to innovate.
Earlier this year market leaders Lombart Instruments and Enhanced Medical Services (EMS) redesigned their aging webspace to include an online store that openly disclosed pricing of some pre-owned instrumentation and allowed a partial form of online checkout. Enhanced Medical also reduced pricing on many products and boosted warranty protection to stay competitive with attempts to duplicate Buzz’s sleek and user-friendly web platform.
Despite Buzz’s disruption, market leaders still seem tied to the manufacturers that originally produced the now refurbished devices they attempt to sell. Atlantic Street Capital, a private equity firm that now owns major players like EMS, Lombart Instruments, Marco Ophthalmic, and Vision Systems Inc, all maintain contractual obligations to distribute factory-sealed new devices at set pricing from major manufacturers. These distribution rights- though lucrative, may prove to boost Buzz’s ability to further offer a refurbished or remanufactured device at substantially less cost. Companies that distribute new devices from major manufacturers maintain a cautious balance of selling new product, while offering their customers an affordable alternative in the pre-owned or refurbished equipment segment.
BuzzOptics openly calls attention to an independent model that operates without the assistance of manufacturers of whose products it refurbishes. Although Buzz would seemingly not have support of the original manufacturer, they also do not have to yield caution to selling a refurbished device at prices that make their original MSRPs seem astronomical.
Buzz’s model rides a wave of business-to-business (B2B) sales models that are increasingly online and without the traditional commissioned sales associate. Online B2B sales were up 11% in the last year and the refurbished medical device market is expected to grow nearly 12% by 2022. Although traditional models may be able to adapt to online marketplaces, competing with innovative refurbished device startups like Buzz whom apply downward pressure on prices could prove difficult.