The world has encountered a severe crisis in 2020- the COVID-19 pandemic. It has led to a complete change in our lifestyle. Lockdowns and social distancing norms sculpted the ‘work from home’ culture. Everyday life has taken a new form. Amid this emergency, where people were panic buying due to lockdown scare, bartering came as a natural solution.
Prices of simple grocery items were sky-reaching. People could not afford to spend a fortune on necessary household items. Like every problem comes with a solution, more and more people around the world switched to bartering. People did their bit by helping local communities through this method.
The Barter System
If you have exchanged sweets with your friends in exchange for a toy, that is bartering.
Barter is an old method of goods exchange. This dates back to pre-historic times. Babylon was known for its developed barter system. Phoenicians exchanged goods with cities across the oceans. In the middle ages, while exploring the world, Europeans took silks and perfumes in exchange for furs and craft materials.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the barter system was very much in vogue. Food and other services were exchanged by the barter system because there was a lack of money.
The main advantage of owning an online swapping system is less complexity and the availability of goods. With a large number of users, you are sure to always have a wide range and list of goods up for exchange.
Unlike typical marketplaces, users are not required to have any goods in stock, cash on hand, a means of starting a business or even any selling skills. This makes it much easier for site admins to rely on users to complete transactions with each other. With the bartering system, you can create your own swap meet website where users can easily buy, sell, and swap items.
Again, this system arose amid this pandemic where people were seen bartering food items and even toilet paper in exchange for items that they no longer needed.
Bartering During the COVID-19 Pandemic
If one looks at old records, it is seen that recession or inflation phases in the world have seen bartering to obtain necessities. Bartering became very prominent in the public discourse amid this pandemic.
Several social media statistics state that the mention of ‘barter’ or ‘trade’ increased by a whopping 250% in the April-May phase of 2020. According to Google Trend Analysis, searches for the word ‘barter’ and ‘trade’ have increased in the March-April and April-May 2020. Also, there was no comparable pattern regarding these searches observed in 2019 or before.
Online bartering apps are popular for trading and that helps people to trade their products or unwanted materials superfast. You can check on the top online bartering apps to get more ideas.
The rigid lockdown has led to the loss of jobs. In this situation, it is plausible for firms to cut off losses by firing people. There is much less cash inflow or revenue generated by the companies. This has left both the companies and employees cashless. Thus, people are implementing barter methods to procure essential items.
People are using whatever superfluous items or items of value they own in exchange for food. People took yeast, eggs, flour, milk, toilet tissues by exchanging other goods.
There was not enough awareness regarding the lockdowns. The guidelines did not seem straightforward enough, which resulted in panic buying. People who could afford panic buying left the cabinets of shopping malls empty. This resulted in the unequal distribution of supplies. Many people were left with nothing. This was one of the main reasons that people came up with bartering. It became a way to survive.
Social Connections Amid Social Distancing
Even though social distancing is mandatory to mitigate the spread of the virus, people can still form a tight-knit community. These communities were seen on Facebook, where people were helping each other out. For instance, ‘559 COVID-19 Barter Group’ is a public group based in the U.K., where people were seen exchanging essential items.
Stephanie writes in this group- ‘ I need alcohol wipes for a friend. She needs it for insulin shots. I can exchange it with food’. People reached out to help her. This is a perfect example of how people are mitigating their own needs in this crisis.
Businesses took a hit in the COVID-19 pandemic. Young entrepreneurs and professionals were seen exchanging skills and services to improve their company’s financial state. One such example is Emma Venables. She is a 36-year-old graphic designer who has swapped services twice amid this crisis. She exchanged an e-book of hers, which was about creating leads. She exchanged it with a company who were specializing in risk management, disputes, and contracts.
According to a report on BBC, ‘barter classes’ were seen in many Indian villages. Three hundred twenty million children were affected due to this unprecedented lockdown.
While online classes were being held in urban areas, children in the village were deprived of primary education. Farmers in Bihar were seen exchanging crops and vegetables as tuition fees so that their children can study.
The Challenges of Demand and Supply
Manufacturing units were closed down for good reasons during the pandemic. This resulted in a disbalance between demand and supply. Individuals and organizations all around the world were forced to choose bartering as an option. Panic buying prevented some people from getting the necessary items to sustain themselves. There were shortages all around that ranged from necessary items to the ones that were desired.
Another consequence of panic buying was that some individuals had excess items in their household. These people indulged in mutually profiting swaps with other people. Governments were also indulged in bartering in exchange for essential items like PPE and testing kits.
Let’s have a look at the major challenges and solutions of online bartering.
Bartering for Businesses
This bartering system was not just restricted to individual people. Many businesses were seen using this barter system. Many organizations all around the world exchanged their services with the services of other businesses. The aim was to increase the yearly business by at least 10-15%.
Many professionals were also seen exchanging services with others to gain barter credit.
iScripts eSwap is an innovative software script designed to create an online marketplace for users can buy, sell, or exchange items at ease and with better deals. The platform allows you the opportunity to offer your users a variety of options including listing fees, featured item fees, optional escrow fees, or monthly subscriptions.
Software that makes all of this possible at a reasonable price is iScripts eSwap. Your swapping site may be free or paid depending upon the type of setting you to choose. The software allows users to buy, sell and swap goods and services. You can see some of the Examples of Online Barter using iScripts eSwap.
iScripts eSwap supports an unlimited number of users, categories and products. The software contains one-click featured products, free or paid registration, templates and much more! For more information visit the eSwap product page contact our team at (312) 423-6728 or see the live demo.
The financial crisis paved the way for barter to rise amid this pandemic. One such example is people bartering old computers with a meager amount of cash for smartphones or laptops.
According to a report in The Guardian, modern cloud-based technologies will allow bartering companies a new platform. This will act like a commonplace where individuals and other companies can trade.
The barter system has forged a tight-knit community amid this grave crisis. However, it is doubtful that people will stop buying in the future and rely solely on swapping goods.