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Bartering and Selling Surplus Merchandise

Bartering and Selling Surplus Merchandise

Surplus inventory can be a burden, but you can also turn it into a golden opportunity with online resources to move your unsold goods, trade, or purchase unsold goods from another seller.

In 1998, approximately $10 billion in products and services were bartered among businesses in North America and another $4 billion worldwide, reports the International Reciprocal Trade Association, the barter industry trade association.

A modern business-to-business barter exchange eliminates the one-to-one limitations by making multi-party trading possible. Parties no longer have to find the exact match of needed goods and services between the buyer and seller because the exchange provides a marketplace.

The marketplace uses trade credits as the medium of exchange. Trade credits are a non-cash currency that facilitates trading. The more businesses that participate in the exchange, the more likely each will find what it wants to buy and gain new customers for its goods or services.

Trade credits make full value trading possible. Businesses exchange their products or services at full value, but generally with significantly lower variable costs. This results in increased profitability. Barter is particularly beneficial to businesses with excess goods or services, especially if those products are perishable.

In the past, business-to-business barter exchanges have focused exclusively on one of two market segments: small and medium-sized businesses or large corporations.

Barter exchanges serving small and medium-sized businesses are often referred to as "retail barter" exchanges. By contrast, "corporate barter" exchanges have provided alternative channels of distribution for the goods produced by large corporations.

More than 400 retail exchanges currently operate in North America, and some 100 corporate exchanges barter for corporate manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors.

Traditional barter exchanges generally serve either small businesses or large corporations, but not both. This is because traditional retail exchanges are simply too small to provide a sufficient outlet for the inventory available from large corporations.

The Network is an Internet-based trading application. By listing the inventory you have available to trade on the Network, buyers can find what they need -- and then buy from you. You, in turn, can find what you want. BarterTrust Dollars (BT$) are the non-cash currency used within their network.

Here is the way multi-party trading works on

  • A construction company uses its BT$ to buy hotel rooms for a trade show.
  • The hotel then spends its BT$ to purchase advertising space from a newspaper.
  • The newspaper buys audit services from an accounting firm, using BT$.
  • The accounting firm hires a construction company to renovate its offices and pays with BT$.
  • And so on… clients can use the Internet to barter products and services, or they can work with experienced trade brokers, if they prefer personal assistance to trade. The Network consolidates the listings of all clients so that all participating businesses can trade with one another, whether on the Internet or broker-assisted.

Surplus Merchandise

Another tool for selling merchandise is via This online service makes buying and selling more efficient. As a seller, you benefit from:

  • A large universe of buyers, generating more competition and higher selling prices;
  • Minimized transaction costs due to less labor and selling costs;
  • You can customize features for each sale format, selling period, or buyer groups;
  • Data tracking capabilities; and
  • Quick posting of items online.

If you're a buyer, you benefit from:

  • Selecting from a large group of sellers
  • 24/7 access to products
  • Side-by-side comparison of prices
  • Customized searches of products
  • Quick turnaround to find products


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