I am an experienced trader and I have learned so many things the hard way I do not wish to give my secrets away... But I will share enough to help you understand and learn to trade.
By itself, Entropia is a negative expectation game. This means that because of decay and the unknown distribution of loots, if no new money were added, the economy would dry up and everyone after enough time would be broke. Fortunately people like myself are happy to deposit a nominal amount each month, which I don't mind.. $50 in Entropia lasts much longer than $50 in a casino... Or in a gas tank lol.
So how do you turn it into a positive expectation game? That is what markup does. Instead of mindark crediting you for tt value of an item, other people will pay a premium for things based on supply and demand. This increases the amount of peds circulating because the more spent in markup, the more that is deposited. But when markup is considered it is possible to suffer very heavy tt losses but make a slight profit.
Items and resources are always going up and down in markup. The real genius to the game is that the TT value never changes. This limits mindark liabilities to the player in a worst case scenario, and solves the problem of calculating loots with a rubber ruler.
The old adage buy low and sell high is king here. Say an ore is 140% markup on the auction. If you find a miner who wants to sell without waiting for auctions to do the job not to mention the fees charged to the miner for the auction, you could reasonably offer 135%... Maybe as low as 130%... But remember, you give someone too short of a deal and you will be ruined as a trader! If you are losing just a few percent on each crafting run, the cheaper prices from buying directly can mean break even or profit!
If you want to trade full time it is important to identify your customers. Who will you buy from and sell to? What is an acceptable profit margin? For a little while I was seeing traders on the asteroid offering two points under market value... It is nuts to buy a 200% ore at 198%... There was no way to compete with that so I had to quit trading. After a while the noons must have slit their own throats as prices later returned to a viable level... Remember it is a 50 ped round trip to asteroid and the only way miners get good markup on ores up there is traders. If not for the trader either the miner ties up all their peds and returns to planet to sell or they TT their ores.
So you got to also factor in other costs such as auction fees... I always strive to buy for no higher a price than break even if I have to let go of my ores at auction prices including the auction fees. If traders can't make profit then they go out of business... Which if someone is willing to pay near market value for something that you can't do, let them. If it is a bad deal for you it will hurt them and they won't be competing for long.
So, with everything said, I wish to highlight some important advice for trading:
1. Do not be afraid to offer TT value on a near TT item...
2. Always buy anything you can for TT... This does not mean screw over your customer eiher though... Always offer a fair price. For ores at 110% to 140% fair is usually 5 points off. As markup goes up, you can knock more points off... Say a 5K% Dunkel Particle... Is best to offer 4K% or so.
3. If a trader is offering more for something than you are paying, and you feel you can't beat their price, then perhaps selling all you have of that item for a quick profit is a good idea.
4. Always check orders... Sometimes you can be profitably surprised :)
5. Do NOT go up to people and initiate trades at random... This will piss people off and a pissed off person won't do business with you.
6. Be kind and courteous at all times...
7. Be very careful of the society you join. Joining one of the notoriously bad ones will give you an instant and epic fail as a trader.
8. Conduct your trades as timely and accurately as possible.
9. Always check prices so you can offer a fair deal from day to day.
10. If prices drop it is best to hold your inventory until it goes back up.
11. Ores run in cycles... They have a normal high low range. Narcanisum ranges from 130% to 170% on average for instance. This means you can identify bargain prices and stock up.
12. Regardless of what prices are you buy with enough margin for profit but if it takes you a long time to flip your inventory be careful.
13. Ask your customers to compare your offer with competitors. Most times they won't bother :) but it gives them confidence in you.
14. Profits are better than luck.
15. Don't get greedy lest you destroy your reputation and clientele.
16. If you think trading is slow, figure out how fast you can sweat and then see how many days it would take to sweat what you just made on one trade :)
17. Always be helpful to noons. They may not have much to trade now but they will remembebyour kindness and reward you with loyalty.
18. Remember... All deals are final and any errors are up to the people Involved. Unless mindark themselves have been harmed by your actions, they will not intervene on any finalized trade.
19. Restrain your spending. Every ped you use is one less ped that can make you money.
I will revise this post in the near future and add more to it so stay tuned!
The biggest advantage to trading is there are no tools to decay or risk to find the loot. And if you have trouble making peds... Just remember to ask yourself what a Ferengi from Star Trek would do :)