EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 352 - February 02, 2014 - ISSN 1528-6703     10 of 18

Sellers Choice 2014 Marketplace Ratings: eCrater

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2014, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 12,000 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 16 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Ecrater
Year Established: 2004
Description: Fixed price and storefronts; general merchandise and collectibles
More Info

Summary:
eCrater appears to be one of those sites where it is difficult to get traffic, but once sellers unlock the code, seem very happy and loyal with the site. A free site, it now charges commission fees depending on where the sale came from. It seems to have felt the "Google effect" after Google Shopping moved to a paid only option. "This site has become worthless to me after Google Shopping pay-to-play started," said one seller, while others like having the option to pay for Google Shopping exposure.

"While I used to make more of a profit on eCrater, I don't think the change has anything to do with eCrater and the site owner, but Google sticking its foot into businesses where it doesn't belong," wrote one seller. "Google is supposed to be a search engine, not a sales venue and yet between attributes, boilerplate, etc., they are trying to control the small sellers on venues like eCrater."

"eCrater has taken a big hit in profitability in the past year or two, probably due to demands Google is making on small sites," wrote another seller. "I have no explanation for the dramatic drop in sales. I continue to list there and hope things will pick up. I feel very loyal to eCrater and have no intentions of leaving."

Sellers are not happy with their ability to set shipping costs. "eCrater has got the weirdest calculated shipping method to set up as a seller. I see numerous sellers complaining of the same."

Another felt it was good as a storefront but not a main selling channel - "eCrater in an interesting venue. Sellers have to rely on bringing their own traffic. The site is fairly bare bones, but it is functional and can serve as a simple storefront. It can be a good place to place inventory and generate a few sales while you are working on other venues or your own site."

eCrater received a 4.71 in Customer Service, a 4.63 in Profitability, a 4.57 in Communication, and a 5.45 in Ease of Use. It received a 4.74 from sellers when asked, "How likely are you to recommend eCrater as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?"

Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

About a sale a month and has been about that for the last 5 years I have been there. Other sellers are very helpful.

Customer service replies within seconds. Seriously. The only disadvantage is doing Google Analytics to be searchable. otherwise the site is amazing, especially when its free! They recently started charging a VERY minimal fee for Google market place, which is a plus, not a problem to pay that at all in fact gladly. Tech seems to be on top of things on behalf of its seller, ie: finding another credit card processor when Google Wallet was discontinued. Love, love, love this site. Can't believe its completely free.

I have been a seller for several years and love eCrater.

eCrater is the only venue I could find to list my volumes of collectibles FREE before a sale, then allows seller to pay a small percentage to them on each sale.

I really appreciate eCrater as it WORKS! and apart from a tiny fee if an item sells via their marketplace it is FREE! Items show high on Google Shopping and organic search.

Ecrater is A OK - a changed for the better site, Free and has Google Shopping.

eCrater has been a delight. There are not a ton of rules, the cost is extremely low, you pretty much have control over your own store to make it what you want with no limit to the number of products you can list.

An easy-to-use inexpensive site that can serve as your own website as well as being a Marketplace. My favorite "alternative" site. Items show in Google searches if you pay the small 2.9% sales commission. A fair number of buyers, nothing great. Now that Google Checkout has ceased, the owner needs to add another payment option

I would recommend this site as it does get a bit of traffic and they submit to Google if you have the required elements in place...they are now charging FVF depending on where the sale came from ..there shipping matrix sucks and therefore is hard to get sales again from overseas.

eCrater in an interesting venue. Sellers have to rely on bringing their own traffic. The site is fairly bare bones, but it is functional and can serve as a simple storefront. It can be a good place to place inventory and generate a few sales while you are working on other venues or your own site.

I have found the exposure on Ecrater to be good; Google Shopping brings results. They are now collecting fees but these are reasonable. The only problem here is very little customer service for sellers, no chats or direct communication at all. And they are not helpful when they tell you that Google has rejected your item but not exactly why

This is an excellent well run site, which is improving all the time. I have had many, many sales there, No fuss, no muss, and they are friendly to their sellers. It is very easy to use and the percentage of "take" is minimal.

Most profitable site I've sold on. The admin improves the site with both sellers and buyers in mind. Would highly recommend. The price is right, too.

No seller communication so really can't answer. If their shipping matrix was better I would rate higher. Inexpensive to sell, easy to setup, few hassles.

eCrater is easy to use, results are sporadic

Set up a site, added product and marketed til I was dizzy - no sales and only 1 inquiry that was insultingly low.

After years on eCrater...it is no longer a profitable venue - losing Google Checkout has hurt it IMO (not their fault..but still...)

Again, not enough traffic, visibility or sales, despite my own promotional efforts. Plus, their shipping set up leaves much to be desired, so I am forced to offer only smaller items that can ship First-Class. I am not the least bit interested in opening multiple stores to be able to sell the wide variety of products I sell. Not only does that make it more difficult for me to manage, but it also doesn't lend to branding one's business, nor does it make it any easier for my customers to shop all of my products. It would be a nice place to sell if sales were actually being made there and they had more options for sellers, particularly when it comes to shipping. I plan to keep my store there for my smaller used and some new products and link to it from my main store. I'm not entirely decided, yet, but there are some products that just wouldn't fit the overall feel of my main store.

Didn't know there was support. Never sold much. Seller deals with customer direst eCrater doesn't do much except show your listing. Don't like how they how listing with shipping added in as that doesn't work for items that ship by zones.

eCrater has got the weirdest calculated shipping method to set up as a seller. I see numerous sellers complaining of the same. There's something wrong when there is that many people who do not like it and yet for years now, eCrater still keeps the same kind of method for their sellers making the ease of use a very difficult one.

Doesn't allow you to block international buyers. Often had customer who expect products the next day. The communication with buyers is difficult. I pulled my store from there.

eCrater is a good idea, maybe they should work towards becoming a cohesive marketplace and rely less on Google feeds, I'd be willing to pay a couple % more in fees for that.

eCrater is a good opportunity to list free of charge, but with seller tools, statistics and a community. Also, products can be submitted to Google Shopping.

No sales! Difficult shipping options requiring multiple stores for flat rate and calculated shipping.

I don't know what it is about eCrater that makes shipping set up so freakishly hard. I get a steady tiny stream of sales from there, but I do a flat rate shipping that I cannot get right on that damn site. I won't put zero in for shipping because then I get nothing but international sales and lose money, but I cannot get a flat rate US shipping right. I cringe when I get a sale on there because I just know that I am going to have to fix the invoice. There will either be NO shipping or triple or quadruple shipping. There seems to be no easy way to fix this as a seller if you have any real stock in your store.

eCrater's number one attraction as a selling platform is no fees. If not for that I would most likely not sell on eCrater. They have made some progress in how they operate. If they could make their shipping matrix easier more like eBay's then it would be to their benefit.

Shipping way too complicated, really no customer service or seller help. Imports eBay items, but have to go edit all of them, got store on hold cause it is so messed up.

After no sales in one full year, I gave up. No buyers. Also, I was never able to contact their administration when I had a problem. Their shipping matrix is horrible.

This site acts and performs like a 1999 site. The sellers are quick to judge others when asking for HELP and we have to "Build it" one by one to list to avoid getting your shop SUSPENDED due to one word, etc. Its a good free site to STORE your junk at until deciding where to shift it to for real sells.

eCrater is an easy and reliable place to sell. Even though the number of sales are not as high as eBay, I will continue to list items there regularly as sales have gradually been growing

eCrater is extremely poor for comics because the do not have an alphanumeric sort which is essential since comics are alphabetized by comic title then sorted by issue number. I have tried like crazy to get them to do this one extremely useful change and they refuse to do it. I am a programmer in my day job and I cannot emphasize how simple and easy this sort of change would be. Now that they have started charging for the Google Feed, I will be dropping my eCrater store VERY soon. The charges are small - now - but they are growing. Now that Google Checkout has gone the way of the dinosaur, the only way I know that eCrater can monetize themselves is by premium ad placement - look for them to figure out some way to make some cash soon or they will die a slow death.

What communication? This site has become worthless to me after Google Shopping pay-to-play started.

While I used to make more of a profit on eCrater, I don't think the change has anything to do with eCrater and the site owner, but Google sticking its foot into businesses where it doesn't belong. Google is supposed to be a search engine, not a sales venue and yet between attributes, boilerplate, etc., they are trying to control the small sellers on venues like eCrater. I work hard at promoting my store there and I enjoy the atmosphere. Listing has always been quick and easy for me and because of my type of inventory using the matrix for shipping prices is easy. A new seller if they take the time to study the site, read the rules, read and explore the forum and ask questions ahead of time, will enjoy selling there. eCrater isn't the best place for some sellers, just like all venues don't meet every sellers needs. But I have seen "sellers" come on board open a store and then ask what they should sell, who will provide it and who will ship it. I would like to think that taking some time ahead of signing up for a store that they will realize they need to figure those sorts of things out ahead of time!

I probably only made around 10 sales on eCrater in 2013. It used to do well for me, but not anymore.

Very little traffic and found it wasn't worth the effort. Customer service was great and responsive. My only complaint is the lack of traffic.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the EcommerceBytes Blog.


About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of EcommerceBytes.com and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.


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