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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 255 - January 24, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     11 of 17

Seller's Choice Marketplace Ratings: eCrater


By Ina & David Steiner
EcommerceBytes.com

January 24, 2010
 



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In January 2010, AuctionBytes surveyed over 1,400 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, with a link to the results of each of the 15 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Ecrater
Year Established: 2004
Description: Storefronts. General merchandise.
More Info

Summary:
eCrater's strength is in its storefront builder rather than as a marketplace, and sellers said they liked that it's completely free. Sellers rated eCrater slightly above average on all criteria. Many sellers stated that they liked the interface (several commented on the shopping cart feature) and that eCrater listings were well-indexed on search enginges, but said they must do their own promotion in order to get sales on the site. eCrater rated seventh out of fifteen as a recommended selling venue.

Reader Comments - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly:
No, fees, Google shopping feed, Google Checkout very good, great community forum.
***
Even though eCrater doesn't get much traffic, I tend to get sales now and then that surprise me. Because of the lack of traffic, it may not be a very profitable site, but it's also not at all time-consuming. Essentially, I can "set it and forget it". It serves as a nice supplement to my website and other venues, and it's free. So I really have few complaints about eCrater.
***
After over 100 sales on ecrater in the last 2 years, I love this selling venue. Everything is FREE and their customer service is unbelievable. I had a buyer leave me negative feedback by accident and it was removed within 1 day of notifying ecrater. Their community boards are very helpful and best of all, my things appear on google from them the highest out of etsy, ecrater and ebay. Ease of use to list things, attractive store and did I mention free? I love ecrater!
***
Excellent google exposure, very easy to use. My concern is that as a free site with one person behind the whole thing that he may not be able to maintain this over time (or have the desire to do so).
***
I recommend this site almost daily to other online sellers. For all the physical limitations of the site, it works. Recent changes by Google seem to have decreased my sales - since late November, but I'm hoping when the dust settles sales will go back up. I am a volunteer at ecrater and my communication with administration may be higher/faster than most sellers. The only people who complain however are those who are breaking the rules and wonder why they aren't getting special handling.
***
Uniquely free to list and sell, it's hard to beat that! While I haven't sold very many items on Ecrater, it's risk free and all the profit goes to the seller. The site is easy to use. Name recognition for the site would be very helpful. But with no revenue coming in from the sellers, it's probably not possible to advertise.
***
Best site for no cost, smooth and easy to use, quick response time, good support
***
I like this site too how it is set up and how you can change your color templates. The listing set up is easy and efficient especially the google attributes section. Ilove how they have list item, photos and attributes in one page so I don't feel scattered I can just get it all done at once. The shipping matrix was hard at first but after I understood it liked it and found it very good tool. I seem to get more international buyers fom this site.
***
What a breath of fresh air ecrater has become. It's very easy to use and the communtcation with staff and site is good. It';s very profitable since there are no fees of any sort. I'm almost at 2000 itmes in my store in 1 year. My first year has been way more then expected in sales and it grows with every week. I have gotten several of my antique dealers involved and always speak very highly of the site. Even though it's not a site per say. Your given free web space to create a store and the only way for your store to be found is by searches or advertising self promoting.
***
eCrater is minimalist, well-organized, easy to use, and very professionally run. The emphasis is on selling, and creating a workable platform for sellers, not extraneous baloney. Good community support. No fees.
***
I would recommend ecrater for specific uses as a shopping cart. There is little generated traffic so one cannot expect someone to stumble upon your shop. It IS a great place if you can take the full reins of your promotions etc.... and not need a venue that brings in traffic.
***
Ecrater is a great site. They make it super easy to list items, along with the google attributes. The listings seem to get picked up by google search quickly and the views are steady.
***
When I discovered this site I assumed it was going to be like the rest of the eBay wannabes. I was mistaken. The site is completely free to use and with a little effort on my part (i.e. advertising on various sites and groups) my sales have grown and grown. Listing is basic and straightforward and if you run into any problems the board moderators are most helpful as well as the other sellers on the site. Nothing fancy, but for my money every penny I get to keep is worth the effort I have been putting into building MY business.
***
The site has a lot of potential, it is free to list on and the commission on sold items is low. I am in the process of adding items there and don't yet have my full inventory listed. So based on the number of items that I have listed there I am happy with the results. I do wish they offered merchant card services as a checkout option.
***
Have used eCrater for over three years. Started slow, but always made a profit. Things work very well for me there. They stay out of my business and I stay out of theirs.
***
Ecrater is profitable but has a "take it or leave it" attitude and will make changes (like showing other sellers items on your listing page for inside ecrater searches) with no regard for how the seller feels.
***
It is, after all, a free site so I am willing to put up with more "problems" than on a pay-to-sell site. It is a bare bones site, but that does not necessarily mean it is bad. One particular area I do not like is the general tone on the forums that seems to be a minor bit condescending when talking to sellers, particularly newer sellers. But aside from that (and I simply do not bother getting involved on the forums), it is quite good for what it is and there have been increasing improvements in the last year or so. And I do believe that the owner has a complete desire to maintain the site's independence as a free marketplace so he gets my vote on that alone.
***
I would recommend Ecrater only if you sell a specific type of item. Their search is poor and once you are in a store, you can't go back and search the site without opening another window. The whole site looks crude and old fashioned. The customer support and moderatiors in the forms are sarcastic and demeaning, a real turn off. I'm only keeping my store there because of their good Google search results.
***
too simple interface, lacks too many functions, poor communication by the single site owner and developer, very few sales despite many listings, poor search functionality
***
Methods of adding shipping charges to listings are totally inadequate, otherwise easy to use. Started some worrying changes like hiding part of description under "see more" link which has caused sellers a lot of problems. The input of data is extremely time consuming. You have to type all attributes. If they had a drop down menu or added them to the catagorys. Your import file had to be just ever so correct or you could spend days trying to figure out how to correct. They input by hand. The customer service though is quite great they will help you through it. But really having to submit 8 times to get right then having to add all the attributes toooo!
***
I listed a few things on eCrater over a year ago and not one has sold. They are not among the most in demand items, yet are the sort of thing I sell elsewhere much more easily. I think it is more because they do not yet have a good share of the market than anything else. I look forward to + changes from them and my experience with them.
***
Yes it's free but that's the only good thing about it. It takes just as long as some other sites to get the sales (average 3 months after starting). Dimitri (owner / customer service) bites your head off if you email customer service to ask a question. Forums are no better. Your store could run the chance of getting removed / suspended without warning and refusal of explanation. No stock control so say if you sell an item, it's your only one of that item you have, you have to watch your account every moment so you don't accidentally sell another one of it. Ecrater lets buyers use payments such as Money Orders but then in the checkout process when the buyer chooses MO Ecrater tells them that it's not a good idea to choose that payment type. Lots of sellers loose sales due to this. No feeds to use to advertise your store. With Twitter being one of the top sites to advertise currently if you don't have feeds the sales aren't possibly going to be there.
***
I'm a jewelry seller: ecrater put ads for other jewelry sellers right under my item listings, so I left ecrater.

***

Sellers Choice
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 AuctionBytes Blog.

____________

About the author:

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


You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to EcommerceBytes.com and either link to the original article or to www.EcommerceBytes.com.
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