Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Trade friendly and trade happy

Trading is not an officially sanctioned activity on Etsy (in other words, there is no official trade method) but so long as people treat trades like transactions and stick to general transaction rules trading is not discouraged either.

Juno smoochie sporting a scarf I traded for

I absolutely love to trade. I love knowing that i'm bartering in the time honored method of our ancestors (that does sound a bit twee but it is absolutely true). Trading does not pay bills and some folks can't barter but trading pays for itself in other ways. It boosts your sales and feedback numbers, you gain experience with shipping, have an excuse to make more (yay!) and most of us have birthdays, christmas gifts to get and then there is one of my favourites: you can get some little goodies for yourself that you otherwise wouldn''t be able to. You can also trade for something more serious: one of my trades was for my lovely shop banner (and other matching images as part of a Shop Set). You are basically paying for something with your own product.

There are actually a number of trade teams: trade-a-holics, yay for trades and trade uk are among my favourites. People share wish lists, add themselves to 'trade friendly' shop lists and so on. Some of these teams hold trade events too. In addition to this I occasionally run a search with the phrase 'trade friendly' as many folks (myself included) tag some of their items this way. I have never approached someone with a trade request if I didn't find on a trade team, or through a trade friendly search although it can be done. The truth is many sellers are unaware that trading is a possibility and some folks appreciate being contacted. Others dont. REALLY dont and that puts me off contacting anyone outside of the methods above. However there is no shortage of trade friendly shops even if most sellers are unaware of the practice.

So, how can trading benefit you? Trades are carried out like any transaction *except* you checkout using the 'other' or 'money order' method as you are paying for their item with yours. This way Etsy gets it's fees, there is a record of the transaction and you increase your shop sale numbers. You can also gain and leave feedback. So you do have some protection.
Just as with any purchase, exercise some caution and use some good sense.

There are some general rules which all of the trade teams suggest you follow:

  • Never reduce your item price for an agreed trade. It is fee avoidance and is the one thing that would force Etsy to put a stop to trading 
  • If you find someone you are interested in trading with, send them a polite convo asking if they are interested in trading 
  • Please respond to all trade requests even if the answer is no thank you 
  • Check out with 'other' or 'money order' to keep the trade above board and to protect yourself 
  • The trade value is the item price PLUS postage - some items have higher postage. so to keep it fair consider the total cost. An example is: i wish to trade for a scarf that costs 20 dollars with 10 dollars postage. So the trade value is 30 dollars, the other seller can chose an item(s) that cost 30 dollars including the postage
  • To help each other out, leave feedback
  • Above all stay polite
The only real downside is that you do pay for the postage. But if you can afford the odd trade it can be a great little activity for your shop and your wallet. For me personally, the main problem is that i'm in Ireland and most Etsy traders are in the USA. The US had a big hike in international postage costs earlier this year so it is not as worth it for many of them to trade with me. That's not to say it isn't worth asking people are they interested they can - at worst - say no. I always go into trade requests expecting a no, so when I get a yes it's a nice surprise. 

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