Fairmarket gets an important upgrade – including shipping, and the Collective Purchases module.

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Thanks to many people’s hard work, Fairmarket has been upgraded with great new improvements in efficiency, functionality and ease of use. We will explain a little about these improvements here:

1. Pages showing products now have a comment box so you can review them (something similar will be done in page listings for shops). This feature allows you to add comments that will be received by the shop in order to help them to improve, and for the vendors to get in contact with buyers in an easier and faster way.

2. New feature to configure shipping methods. This is a very important upgrade – now shops can add this information in order to make it easy for the buyer to know from the beginning how much the total cost of the product and the shipping will be together. This can be personalized in a way that, for example, the shipping cost can be different for local and international orders.

A default Fairmarket method with zero cost is added to the shops which have not set up delivery – this can be applied in cases where the delivery is paid by the merchants or simply that there is no delivery at all (as with downloadable products for example), thus there is no delivery cost added to the total.

3. Finally, there is an important milestone: the module for collective purchases is ready. This should help us to start organizing shared orders between different nodes, producers and collectives involved in FairCoop. And furthermore, it could be a useful tool for many social movements; some existing consumer networks are organizing together to use this tool, as part of the Red de Compras Colectivas, (Network of Collective Purchases).

To explain briefly how it works, it is very similar to a crowd-funding campaign:
– Any producer, local node, or group of consumers can open a specific product called collective purchases. They define characteristics like the price of a product, the minimum amount that a customer should pay, the total amount that should be paid, and a limited time of the offer, if applicable.

Usually, each offer should be focused only in one territory, but groups could be created to offer it in different regions.

There is also the option to create collective orders simply in order to help something be produced, so in this case it could be a one-off joint action between people in different territories.

The money is accounted in Faircoin, but there will be the option to combine it with official currencies, in order to make access to the collective purchases easier for the general public.

The payments are made in advance. When eventually the required amount is obtained, (or some days later in the case of a time-limited offer) the producer will receive the money and send the products to their destination.

If the required amount is not reached, the money will be returned to the buyers. At this point the organizers of the collective purchase will still have the option to process or not process the order.

Collective purchases are a great tool for the FairCoop ecosystem. They can help with a multi-faceted approach in order to:

  • Create awareness about what a fair way of building economic relations between producers and consumers could look like.
  • Transport products more efficiently so that they can create economic benefits for consumers and producers and ecological benefits for the planet at the same time. Avoid intermediaries and give those producers aligned with social transformation access to greater participation in their distribution channels.
  • Support local group self-organization, converting fair trade into a collective and communal experience of mutual support, and helping each other to cover basic needs.

Collective purchases also make it possible to greatly lessen risk for small cooperative businesses, as the products are sent only after they have been ordered, thus avoiding the danger of economic loss resulting from having many products in stock, but which are yet to be sold.

With these upgrades we are starting to create the possibility that every merchant and user can find a common place to organize themselves, and also beginning to change the way we manage our economic relations – so if you have products or services to offer, join the Fairmarket and let’s do it together!

The first collective purchase is the Fairpay cards we launched this week; please see here for more info: https://market.fair.coop/purchase/open – so you’re invited to join in with this first collective purchase, and get the Fairpay card to pay for products and services with Faircoin.

Stay tuned to join in with one of the forthcoming collective purchases if there is anything you need.

Now is the time to take one more step forward in the transition to another system, so – let’s make our first collective purchase!

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