EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 387 - February 14, 2016 - ISSN 1528-6703     8 of 0

Sellers Choice 2016 Marketplace Ratings: eCrater

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2016, 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 12 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 came in sixth place in the 2016 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces, up from tenth place last year. It's both a marketplace and a store-hosting service.

Sellers can promote their eCrater shops independently of the marketplace - and those who do seem to fare better than those who wait for traffic to come to the eCrater.com marketplace where sellers' listings show up in search results.

"This could be the best venue by far if they would only help sellers with some much needed tools to manage a store here," wrote one seller.

How much time sellers spend optimizing their listings for Google also seems to make a difference in sales. Nevertheless, many sellers called for more traffic and sales to the marketplace.

As with other smaller sites, sellers had positive things to say about fees. "It is easy to list items for sale and you are only charged when an item sells. If you refund a customer, they automatically give you back the (associated selling) fee."

And just as with some of the other smaller venues, sellers like the fact that eCrater provides sellers with autonomy. "I like the site because I am in charge of my listings and the items I sell. I can be comfortable to accept returns without being penalized," one seller wrote.

Some sellers said the site is out of date and needs a makeover. "The site could stand an upgrade and the forum needs a good dusting," wrote one seller.

Sellers also said shipping is unwieldy and needs to be fixed, and despite several sellers saying the site needed a shipping calculator, one seller said they liked the calculated shipping feature. (The eCrater website says it supports three types of shipping: flat rate, weight matrix, and USPS calculator that is only available for US merchants.) "The site needs to add a shipping calculator that connects the usps.com website to offer actual shipping costs," wrote one seller.

One seller said they thought eCrater served too many Google Adsense ads on shop pages.

Another seller was happy with the number of photos allowed per listing - "The one great feature is that 10 images are allowed per product," the seller said.

"I don't get the most sales here," wrote another seller, "but I've sold here since 2005 and love it."

eCrater received a 4.73 in Profitability; a 5.12 in Customer Service; a 4.93 in Communication; and a 6.17 in Ease of Use. It received a 5.03 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

My first choice. I am getting sales almost every week here. Not sure what they do differently but it works for me.

eCrater is awesome. It is easy to list items for sale and you are only charged when an item sells. If you refund a customer, they automatically give you back the fee. I love eCrater and have never had a problem on their site.

eCrater is a nice place to sell. There is not a lot of bells and whistles but that is ok. Listing on eCrater is simple and easy and as a seller I do quite well.

I have been a successful eCrater seller since 2009. They treat sellers like adults, sellers are free to run their business as they see fit, they are very responsive to any questions or technical problems, they have a lot of integrity about their platform, rather than trying to squeeze every last penny out of you. eCrater is one of a kind in a greedy e-commerce world and I hope it lasts a long time.

The platform is very easy to use and I do sell items on eCrater, especially after I added more merchandise, like everything in sales it's an odds game, the more you list the more you sell. My #1 thing that I love about eCrater is that it is very easy to get listed on Google Shopping by providing certain basic information about your product.

My main store is with eCrater. Solid sales, the support is great. I rarely have problems but when I contact them, they reply promptly. I will probably open a third store next month.

Have had an eCrater store for many years. You have to advertise your store and get your name out there but once established your items do sell. They now charge fees for items you sell that they advertise but have not determined if increasing the percentage they charge has increased the sales. They need to offer more payment options and be able to add more store options like giving repeat shoppers coupon codes etc. A bit fancier of a store front would be a bonus too.

Wish that you can load more than one picture at a time. Maybe a slightly improved template to do the listing. I like the site because I am in charge of my listings and the items I sell. I can be comfortable to accept returns without being penalized.

Fills the bill for an easy to use place to list and from which to buy ! It is FREE to list and sell at eCrater unless you opt-in to their promoted MarketPlace. On the sales that you get through them, they will take a very small percentage. On sales that you get on your own (Store Direct), they take nothing. I have tried several places to sell online. Some were very fancy and expensive, yet I still had to promote it myself to get sales. eCrater is not the fanciest, but it is my favorite place to sell !

eCrater is a very good and fair site. Not as much traffic as others but sellers feel like they have control over what's going on.

Been using since 2008. Only problem they have is not marketing the products on Google for us.

For me, this is the best of the small "alternative" sites. Buyers are using the site and you can expect a moderate number of nice sales here. Items listed seem to get good Google exposure.

I don't get the most sales here but I've sold here since 2005 and love it.

I enjoy selling on this site. Great Customer service. EC responds to my questions quickly and with answers that work.

I like the calculated shipping, the ability to have many categories and subcategories in your store, the category structure on eCrater, and the clean, balanced look of item pages.

eCrater web site needs better organization and layout otherwise I have no problem with using the site. My sales have slowly been increasing there.

eCrater provides a good platform for sellers, although they don't communicate much. Their traffic is very low.

I have been selling on this site for some time and love selling here. No hassles and easy to use.

The customer service is top notch. I have always received a timely response from them....many times on the same day. Buyers do not get away with falsifying feedback here. The selling fees are low and very reasonable.

Easy to use no fees at all. Don't sell as many products due to Google...

I like eCrater, but don't make many sales through their marketplace. Wish they had more visibility, like eBay or Amazon, otherwise it is a GOOD replacement for eBay.

eCrater is not as profitable as some other sites, but it is free and acts as a store "base" where I can keep and store my products to cut and paste elsewhere...

eCrater is a great place for sellers (and buyers too). Easy to use, simple layout, and a small footprint. It's been by far my choice over the last few years. That said, there are a few issues that need to be addressed for proper growth to continue. For the last 3-5 years, for some reason, Google has chosen to draw away from promoting eCrater and instead allowing already established marketplaces (like eBay) to gain a foothold in the once very promising Google Shopping. As a result, one has only to look there to find the place dominated with eBay and the like. Not exactly fair treatment when the original point of Google Shopping was to help small businesses. Also, these larger marketplaces are using the eCrater name to promote their own ads in Google search. They obviously know eCrater exists and do everything they can to squash it. It's all about money. As with any marketplace, there are always going to be scammers and poorly run businesses who give the place a bad name.

eCrater is very basic, but it is also very easy to use. eCrater is to online sales what Craigslist is to local / in person sales.

eCrater is a great place to sell, but like eBid it just doesn't get as many lookers or potential buyers as the better known sites.

eCrater will never be an easy place to list a product even with the copy feature, but it can be profitable. You have to do your own promotion just like your own website.

Since Google changed its search programs and has started to charge for appearing in Google Shopping, eCrater sales have tumbled. I see no reason to leave though as there is no limit to how many listings you may have, there is no charge for listings, you can have up to 10 photos in each listing for free, The only fee is if you sell something through the eCrater marketplace and it is a small fee, although you can pay a larger one if you want more publicity. While some say nothing sells on eCrater, over the years here I have sold over $72K worth of product. It does take time and work and diligence to the task. If you think that eCrater will provide you with easy quick money don't come here as you will be severely disappointed. But if you want your own store with a shopping cart and unlimited listings, and the ability to use your own url to have buyers come to your store (small fee for that) you can do that here on eCrater.

Easy, elegant. They will use common sense when you have a problem with a buyer, taking your record, the evidence, etc. into account when making their decision about revising feedback, etc.

eCrater is very easy to use and there are no fees, but not much traffic either. Customer service as a seller is ok

eCrater is a good site to sell on. Marketplace fees are competitive with other sites. The site needs to add a shipping calculator that connects the usps.com website to offer actual shipping costs. Easy to list items.

Good site, but still no idea how to change international shipping rates. No guides.

The site doesn't have the quantity of sellers and products as the larger sites so traffic is slow but as it grows, the potential is huge. The fees for selling are so low (or free depending on your ad level). The buyers seems to be willing to spend more than on eBay. I currently sell on 4 ecommerce marketplaces. eCrater definitely gives me the highest profit margin by far. The site has a sharp learning curve (as do most) but it is generally easy to use and the forums contain a wealth of information and help. I am extremely satisfied overall with the site. I recommend it to others regularly for selling. eCrater's staff is small but they never have issued me a canned response and are reasonably quick to respond to questions.

Free listing is great. eBay importer is great. Anything else, I feel like I'm dealing with automated programs.

I set up a shop on eCrater, it wasn't hard to add items etc, and being very computer minded it didn't bother me to use there robotic site. But when I had a question, there was no one to ask. And didn't get very many nibbles for sales either. I tried looking for things on there as a customer and it was hard to search and find anything I was interested in.

Cons: I don't know of any customer service. Shipping matrix needs revision to an easy to use calculated system. Needs html for listing. Few sales. Pros: Easy to list. No interference.

When you ask a question, they answer promptly. Of all selling venues, I feel eCrater treats their sellers the most fair. Transferring data over from eBay is cumbersome. Have to edit each listing. Am looking for another way to do that. I wish I could use free shipping in the US and USPS for international. Not a fan of the shipping matrix with huge differences between what each country charges or shipping.

Have some sales here now and then. Good place for my 2nd site to sell on. Wish it was well-known to buyers.

Don't get many sales but any problems are address quickly.

eCrater is the best platform as of now, the 2 major problems are the visibility, which is terrible, and listing an item. Uploading pictures one by one is just an agony, the description does not support HTML, and overall the listing process for one item takes very long. Other than that, the advertising proves itself!

I have my ePatterns on several other sites. This is just another advertising venue for me. Get the odd and end sales.

They do get traffic. But people are weary because of the way the site looks. So sales are lackluster. You need to have outrageously in demand to generate steady sales on this site!! A site make over is in desperate need.

Very easy to use. I like the fact that more photos can be used per listing than some of the other sites. But again few and far between sales.

I have a lot of merchandise listed on eCrater and it gets hits but no one is buying. Prices are competitive with others.

eCrater's shipping feature I do not like. eCrater could really do much better with its shipping feature.

The folks at the eCrater answer inquiries quickly but the downfall to the site is that you would have to (manually) build your storefront from scratch. Unlike other new sites, eCrater templates are dinosaur

Sales are slow but since there is no cost to list items profit is quite good when an item does sell.

Been on this site since 2009 and have had maybe a total of 50 sales in that time. Every 6 months or so I get a sale but it doesn't cost anything so I just keep my items on there on the off chance someone may find me.

Site provides little in the way of tracking items so you must rely on your own systems.... but it's cheap

Never sell anything from this site. Customer service is through email and takes days to weeks. They only let you import from eBay one time, which is the dumbest thing I have ever heard of.

It is very complicated to get the product identifiers and attributes done correctly for the search engines.

eCrater needs to figure out a better selling platform for sellers. It is very hard to list items with their site and very confusing. Their feedback system doesn't allow a seller to reply to feedback or leave feedback for customers either. They need to address these concerns.

There is no size and color variation, low traffic, errors with the Google Shopping.

Slow sales, not much communication. Site is hard to manipulate

Categories are a mess, too many dead, inactive stores. I would recommend only to others if this gets cleaned up. I am a paying eCrater seller.

eCrater is not as profitable since they started taking fees when you sell an item...very easy to use EXCEPT their very unacceptable matrix shipping system which many hate and complain about to CS and they are unwilling to compromise to help the seller and implement a different and easier system like other venues have

Bare bones website! Editing listings is a nightmare and a pain in the A$$. No traffic. Only 2 sales in a year. I have never had to use customer service because I have had no sales to cause a problem!

Sales have been in a steady decline every year since 2013 for most eCrater sellers, for those of us who do get sales. For the majority of other sellers there, they're lucky to get 1-5 sales per year. eCrater doesn't advertise or do anything to get their site known, sellers are expected to promote to their stores themselves which is very difficult to do for most small budget sellers since everyone and their mother is competing for sales these days. Sellers are expected to enter in a bunch of extra information for their products to satisfy Google, or else your products will not be shown in the search engines at all, while sellers at other marketplaces don't have the same requirements. Sellers have continually suggested things to help improve eCrater and the owner will no longer take them into consideration even though the reputation and profitability of the sellers are slipping greatly. Google has your product links fixed so that you will only make sales from sources that incur you fees since google gets a cut.

Not much in the way of sales, Easy to use but out of date. Keep alive because it is googles love child.

eCrater started out doing well but there doesn't seem to be any advertising now so nobody knows it is there. A free platform that was once great but is now slowly disappearing. :(

No traffic is driven to the site and customer service for sellers is pretty much non-existent. While fees may be extremely low, it's a moot point if one doesn't sell anything.

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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