Components trading?

Discussion in 'Electronics Resources' started by BladeSabre, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. BladeSabre

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Aug 11, 2005
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    There's a Digimon forum I go to where we have a section for buying, selling and trading the various toys. It's free-form, people arrange their own terms, and the users are responsible for maintaining their own safety. I've done some 10-20 transactions over time. I don't think my explanation is very good, so feel free to take a look at it to see what I mean.

    Anyway, I was thinking that something similar for components would be a very good thing. For certain purposes there are major advantages over both traditional suppliers and structured trading environents such as eBay. (I might have a go at explaining why I say that later.) I'm wondering if somewhere there is a decently well-populated instance of this.

    I've had a go with Google but I don't know what to search for because I don't know what it's called. (Having problems with NamelessConcept like I've done a few times here...)
     
  2. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
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    "Freecycle" and "Craigslist" are examples of this kind of thing. Prior to the internet, when we did our trading face-to-face, we called them "swap meets."
     
  3. BladeSabre

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Aug 11, 2005
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    Hmm, that's not quite what I meant. Those two are divided first by location, then Craigslist is divided into broad categories. This is an excellent arrangement for commonplace large items that are not very practical to post. For small obscure items where the exact type is important, such as components or Digimon collectibles, the chances of the correct thing coming up under that arrangement are slim to none. Also, "wanted" posts are considered less important and given less space and attention.

    What I'm talking about is a very specific category run nationwide or worldwide. (In reality a small package can be mailed worldwide for 5 USD. Almost all of the transactions I mentioned in my first post were with people outside the UK.)

    So, to try and put my reasons into words...

    I observed previously that component suppliers show a very close relationship between the size of their range and the minimum size of order for a reasonable price. I'm a small-volume buyer who has great difficulty coming up with e.g. a £35 shopping list from Farnell, and regularly find myself stuck with the choice of whether to buy a sizeable number of things that I don't want or abandon my project for weeks or months at a time. I don't suppose I'm alone in this, though people in the US do seem to have it easier.

    Sellers on eBay tend to be in the "small order, small range" category, but because there's a lot of them and each person has a different set of products, I do look there in addition to the several traditional small-order suppliers in the UK. For example, I was looking for 0.6mm gold-plated copper wire, and somebody listed the stuff just a couple of days ago.

    Some major plus points I'm seeing for the forum arrangement:

    • Perhaps someone has the item already and wasn't particularly intending to sell it, but would be willing to for a somewhat marked-up but still reasonable price. With components in particular, it looks to me like most people buy more of some items than they currently need, so as to have a selection on-hand for development.
    • Someone who's about to make a large order from a supplier can offer to obtain things for other people.
    • And very importantly, even when the trading activity is not good from a business perspective, it could have a community element. I would be willing to help people out for no profit because I know how it feels to be stuck like that.

    (If there isn't such a thing, there's nothing to stop me making my own, but it would be of little use because it wouldn't be "well-populated", hehe.)
     
  4. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
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    I apologise. I thought you wanted to set such a thing up, perhaps through AAC.

    The only existing virtual electronic swap meet of which I am personally aware is at www.4HV.org - in their "sale and trade" forum. They do discourage folk from joining for the sole purpose of selling on that sub-forum.
     
  5. BladeSabre

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Aug 11, 2005
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    Yes, that's the sort of thing I was talking about. I don't think I could honestly join except for the purpose of "sale and trade", because I'm not really into sparks, lasers and rail guns; but I'll have a look at some more of their discussions and I might change my mind about that. I will respect their wishes and not join unless I can see myself as a proper member of the community.

    For "setting such a thing up", well it depends what you mean. If we're talking about a "sale and trade" section, there could be one at AAC if the management decided it would be a good thing; it seems to me a good idea to first determine what has already been done. (One at AAC would, I imagine, be a great deal more well-populated than if I set one up elsewhere.)

    If we're talking about cooperative orders from Farnell or Digi-Key, those can be "set up" any place where it's allowed and there is sufficient interest. Is that sort of activity permitted at AAC, and if so, which section would it go in?

    Of course, it is quite possible that I'm deluded and no-one else here would be interested in such things ;)
     
  6. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    I think may be a good time for me to chip in and give my two-pence.

    The whole idea seems very logical - you are essentially looking to plug a gap in a market that exists for many a hobbyist or small-time electronics fiddler, in that you buy a bulk load of components at a reduced price of which you require a small amount and then sell on the remainder to potential suiters of those components - I've got this part correct thus far? If so, its a good idea.

    Now the question you want answering is where can you set-up such a facility that will gain sufficient exposure to make it viable? To be fair it requires a substantial and stable community to build up the stock items to make the whole venture work. As it stands at the moment, AAC does not endorse selling through its medium in any form, and buy this criterion, your proposal could not be supported here for many reasons, primarily: 1. We aim to provide help and assistance to those wanting to learn about electronics - the sites focus is around assistance and help; and 2. Such a system by where people can buy and sell opens the site up to abuse from those that are not trusted (as it happens this possibly can be overcome in one of several ways).

    Perhaps you could embellish on how you would envisage such a proposal being implemented to open up the discussion (I appreciate that you have already provided a lot of detail thus far and may not wish to add more). Although I must stress AACs stance on this is, and continues to be, that described above, it is an interesting concept non-the-less.

    Dave
     
  7. BladeSabre

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    105
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    OK, I understand that AAC does not allow selling. I will continue to discuss the subject since you find it interesting.

    I'm not sure whether you've understood. What Maplin and some eBay sellers are doing, is buying the items wholesale and offering them to the consumers in small quantities. This is a fine business, and eBay is an excellent place for small sellers to get sufficient exposure for it. The prices, while often being many times the wholesale price, are usually quite reasonable for the hobbyist market. However, when choosing what items to deal in out of the millions available, these people are obviously going to choose the more common ones that have a decent chance of selling.

    The gap I am seeing is that the more obscure items are only available from the large-order suppliers, which excludes them from the small hobbyist market altogether. (This is far more serious than paying £4 for an item on eBay that I could have got for £1 at Farnell if buying £34 of other stuff.)

    Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, this gap can't be plugged by a small seller building up "stock". There are just too many different items. And in the case of a "large" company, well, they all choose not to do it for some reason.

    So, the first solution I was thinking of is if someone wants something, maybe there's someone else in the world who has an extra one. Not from deliberately building up stock, but just because people do that. Any scheme based around this would require a very large userbase to be effective.

    The second solution is about ordering the things that people want, in the present. There's no accumulation of stock here either. People request items, probably pay for them in advance (with Paypal or similar), the organiser orders the whole lot and ships them out to the individuals. This one could potentially work with a much smaller userbase.

    I'm not wanting to run a business. What I'd like is to be able to buy the rare components for small-order-reasonable prices (which can be substantially above wholesale) and not have to worry about all that selling stuff. I've done quite a bit of selling in the Digimon market and it's really quite unpleasant for one with my personality. So my original question related to whether a solution had been implemented already, that I could go and spend my money on. (I have previously asked about traditional suppliers in case I'd missed an important one, but the relationship between available range and minimum order size still held.) If the "group ordering" was a popular idea but no-one else was willing to coordinate the deal because they all hate selling more than I do, that's when I'd be saying "oh all right, I'll do it".
     
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