Exmerce: The power of bartering in Calgary’s economy

Exmerce's barter exchange helps Calgary businesses reach new clients, reduce cash expenses and build a bigger network

Nelson Liem, founder and president of Exmerce.

At first, Exmerce founder and president Nelson Liem was curious about different ways for small businesses to attract new clients. 

Alberta’s booming tech sector had granted Liem early success and it dawned on him that there was an opportunity for Calgary businesses to connect and deliver products or services in a virtual barter exchange format.

That’s when Exmerce was born – 15 years ago.

Now nearly 500 companies strong, Liem is looking at the next step for his Calgary barter exchange.  Fuelled by a sense of fulfillment and purpose, Exmerce’s strategy is to help city businesses, large and small, reach new audiences and forge relationships.

Calgary’s economy needs a boost. Oil prices remain low, unemployment is high, as are commercial property taxes. The fear of another recession looms and predictions are coming that the next financial collapse could be the worst in history.  Consider Exmerce for de-risking your position in the marketplace and manifest a positive mindset through new and innovative partnerships and ways to work with other businesses.

Liem said most people see bartering as a one-to-one trade. The way Exmerce is set up, participants acquire a virtual currency when they deal with other members on the network.

Products or services are charged out at a business’s typical rate. Once Exmerce transaction fees are accounted for, businesses can use their accrued virtual currency to purchase from any other network member.

Move surplus stock, maximize time

The biggest advantage for Exmerce members, Liem said, is that it opens a whole new sales funnel of prospective customers.

“It’s helping to introduce you to a new customer base that you otherwise would not have had the opportunity to connect with,” he said.

“So, you almost have to look at as a stepping stone to helping you find more cash business.”

It’s also a way for companies to move surplus stock or maximize time. Instead of offering deep cash discounts, Liem said many businesses use the capacity on Exmerce and collect the virtual currency.  They can then use it for business-related expenses they’d otherwise have to pay with cash.

There’s added value for Exmerce members, above the network connections. Liem said they’re dedicated to promoting companies through their e-newsletter and ongoing marketing and networking events.

They’re also looking at new, innovative ways to connect members and improve the ease of making a deal. That could include a smartphone app where the transaction could be done instantly.

“The whole point of barter exchange is to drive and push business when things are slower or you’re trying to fill your capacity,” Liem said.

Free trial for new Exmerce clients

From there, businesses are opened up to a new marketplace. They also get the benefit of word of mouth from fellow Exmerce vendors.

“When businesses participate through Exmerce, they stay long-term because they see the value. Our members transact nearly $2.5 million annually,” Liem said.

Exmerce has a special offer for new members this fall. Trial Exmerce Risk-Free for 3 months.

Pay $0 Set up fee (Reg. $299) and $0 Monthly fee for 3 months (Reg. $29/Month).

Cash transaction fee of 7.5% buy + 7.5% sell still applicable. No contract with Exmerce.

For any business looking to explore barter with Exmerce and network with other entrepreneurs, come join us at our upcoming networking event on Monday, Dec. 2 at The Comedy Cave (1020 8 Ave SW) from 6:15 to 8:45 p.m. To RSVP, call 403-215-9220 or email nelsonliem@exmerce.com and make mention of the promo code #growmybusiness for a FREE ticket.

For more information, visit www.exmerce.com

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