Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Trading on Etsy

A lot of etsians--including myself--like trading. It's fun to swap goods rather than money, and in my view both etsians get a better deal out of a trade than they do from a sale, because there is nothing lost to paypal fees and no 'income' to report, yet you've each gained something you wanted or needed.
When I see an item that I like, I often approach the seller about whether they would be interested in trading. I simply send them a convo and ask. Sometimes they say no, and sometimes they say yes, but no one has ever been rude about it. Sometimes people approach me--and I go and look at their shop and if there's something I like then I trade, and if they don't have anything I want then I say no thanks. Sometimes when I don't trade, a purchase is made (by me or from me), and sometimes it isn't. There is no pressure either way.

Once you have decided to trade, and decided what to trade, there are several ways to carry out the transaction:

After agreeing to trade, each person looks through the other shop and selects the item(s) that they want, and then 'buys' them, but does not send any money. (Equal values or specific items are determined via convos.)
no paypal fees, leave feedback for each item 'bought' and 'sold,' no editing of listings/making new listings, easy to see if your purchases from each other are equal, and if for some reason the other person falls through you can warn others via negative feedback.
Cons: you still pay full 'sale price' etsy fees in spite of not making any money

Agree on the items via convo, exchange mailing addresses via convo, then unlist the items and trade "off the books."
Pros: no fees at all (paypal or etsy).
Cons: no feedback (good or bad) for either of you, no official record of the transaction, may require more convos than method A.

Agree on the items via convo, then each edit your listings to create reserved listings for each other (it could be one listing per shop or several). Change the price of the listing(s) to be $0.20, which is etsy's minimum price (it covers the listing price, but will not charge any seller fees). Mark the title of each listing as "reserved for trade with ___" so that no one else swipes it. Then each person buys the appropriate listing(s) but does not send any money.
Pros: have official transaction record including addresses, able to leave feedback (good or bad), no paypal fees, only the listing fee on etsy (no sale price fees)--I figure this is fair because etsy helped us find each other, but we didn't make any money, so I'll pay the listing fee but not a sale fee.
Cons: time and effort to edit listings or make special listings

Personally, my preferred method is C, because I want to have the official transaction and the ability to leave feedback, just in case I get burned I feel that this "covers my tail" so to speak. Also, editing a listing only takes a minute or two, and I like saving the fees. ☺

Have you traded on etsy? Do you use one of these methods or do something else? What do you prefer? (Are there other pros or cons that I missed?)

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