Like most industries, the barter economy has seen some changes. During the Recession, many barter exchanges throughout the country closed their doors. Those of us that survived, tightened up and weathered the storm.
Once the economy picked up, a number of “new” independent and franchised-owned trade exchanges jumped to open locations in several major markets in the United States – thinking that it’s an easy business to be in. However, after a couple of years, we’ve seen many of these start-ups shut down leaving customers with trade dollars and no place to spend them. Others have merged or consolidated with other trade exchanges once they experienced some growing pains. These consolidated trade exchanges hope to improve their revenue by cutting overhead and sharing administrative costs.
Running a trade exchange is not easy as it would appear to some. Not only do you have to sign-up clients, you have to identify those businesses that would be beneficial to the exchange. Once on board, clients need constant education about how the system works and why they should think “barter” before spending cash. Those clients who get it, can’t live without it. It helps them manage their cash flow and bring in new customers. Strong and stable customer service is also essential. Having dedicated trade coordinators working with clients, like The Barter Company does, is just one way to make sure clients stay engaged with the system.
We believe that the business-to-business (B2B) barter industry is still in a healthy growth phase. Technology has been at the core of taking the ancient practice of trading into the 21st Century. Mobile devices and apps have helped make round-robin trading simple and convenient in the palm of your hand. Emerging technology and a positive economic outlook will continue to impact trade exchanges. We’re seeing this as more people are confident about the growing economy, they open new businesses and look for ways to grow their business. Of course, a solid, trustworthy barter exchange can assist any business – large, medium or small – with that by saving cash and providing new customers. B2B barter will remain a valuable component of business management for many years to come.