Trading Etiquette 101

I talked earlier about how I was working hard to get trades set up for my holiday gifts this year. A few people asked how I went about making trades. There really is an etiquette to the process that some people just don't get, so I thought I would give my thoughts on the subject. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not perfect. I know I've broken a few unwritten rules in pursuit of a good trade, but I do keep them in mind as much as possible.

The first thing I would say if you are wanting to do trades on Etsy is to not have a skin thin. If you don't handle rejection well then I would stick to joining trade games where no one gets hurt. You can also make sure your name is on the big trade list and join the trade team and let people interested come to you. You will have to be prepared to turn some people down but there is a protocol to that as well. Many people don't reply to trade requests, which I find much more rude than a simple and polite no thanks. I have had to say no on different occasions when the other shop did not have anything I needed or wanted to trade for. All you have to say is "thanks for your interest in my item but I don't think there is anything I need at this time from your lovely shop." If you say no politely there is still a chance the person will like your item enough to go ahead and buy it. If you ignore them they will go away and likely have a slightly sour impression of your shop. Most people pursuing trades know there is a very good chance of rejection so they are not going to get offended if you say no. That is part of the process so don't sweat it.

Once you are prepared to pursue a trade you can start looking through the many trade threads on Etsy like I do by doing a forum search or going through the huge trade list found here: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5735502 I love "shopping" for things to trade for. When I find something I like or that would make a good gift I convo the seller and say something like, "I love your xyz item and I was wondering if you would be interested in trading for something in my shop. If not, no worries!" If you're lucky they will reply back with an offer of what they would like in your shop. Make sure there are items in your shop that are of comparable value. I've actually had someone offer to trade something when all of the items in their shop did not add up to the cost of the item they wanted of mine.

If you are happy with the arrangement reply back and let them "buy" the item first. If I'm the pursuer I feel it is polite to let them make the first move and put the item in their cart. After they've done that then I will "buy" their item without going through paypal. If it is a heavy item it is polite to ask if they would like for you to pay for shipping. They can then send you an invoice through paypal for the shipping amount.

Don't go through with it if you feel like you aren't getting a fair trade. I've asked someone for a trade before and was offered to trade for something that cost twice as much as what I wanted. I probably should have told her why I did not want to go through with it but I was a bit offended so I did not reply to that one. When I have been on the other side of that situation and I found something that cost more than what the other person wanted I offered to pay the difference. Often times they will tell you not to worry about it but it is polite to offer.

If you are interested in trading be sure that you are put that you are open to trade requests in your profile. I know that I rarely if ever ask someone for a trade if I haven't seen them on a trade list or in a trade thread on etsy, and it is always nice to see that trade friendly message in the profile to know that it is an option.

As I said getting trades is not always easy. I actually prefer to be the pursuer so I tend to stalk the trade threads looking for new people interested in trading. I'm happy if I get a trade set up from 25% of my requests. If you get turned down you can't take it personal. It is just part of the game.


Lama Works said...

Thanks for the advice! My question is, how do you "buy" the item without sending it through Paypal? I've run into this question also if I'm trying to run a sale in my store. Do I discount the item in the post ... refund the money once it reaches paypal ... change the charges in Paypal before I accept the payment? I'm never sure what the best approach is.

Very helpful post!

Lenox Knits said...

You just go through checkout without paying through paypal. Most traders put other as a method of payment so that you don't have to click on paypal.

When running a sale most people prefer to send a revised invoice rather than refund the difference. You do the same thing, checkout without entering in your paypal information.

Dancing Monkey Jewelry said...

I was going to ask the same question that Lama works asked.

Great post, by the way. I'm hoping other's have read it and will put your advice to practice.

wiregems said...

I've done a trade or two on Etsy, and they've been great, but I was always nervous that I was doing something "wrong". This is an excellent post, and I will be putting your advice to work very soon!


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