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eCrater Launches Shipping Enhancements

eCrater has introduced some enhancements designed to improve the experience for buyers and sellers for purchases greater than one item. The marketplace currently supports three types of shipping: flat rate, weight matrix and USPS calculator that is only available for US merchants.

“We launched an improvement of our flat rate shipping integration because some of our merchants find the shipping matrix too complicated,” founder Dimitar Slavov told EcommerceBytes.

Merchants using eCrater’s flat-rate shipping method can now specify a secondary rate that will be used when multiple items are purchased, Slavov explained. It is also possible now to use the flat rate with every zone, and not only with United States and Canada as it was before. “Groups of zones like European Union, Europe Non-EU and Everything Else have been introduced as well.”

The good news: sellers who use the flat rate option are less likely to have to overcharge (and then refund) customers who purchase more than one item or multiple quantities of the same item. The not-so-great news: Sellers have to edit their listings to add the second rate.

Some sellers wondered what would happen if a buyer purchased one item with a high shipping rate and a second item with low secondary shipping rate, fearing they might be shortchanged on shipping.

For example, a seller said, “So for those who sell, say, postcards, it’s fine. For those who sell everything from 2-oz earrings to 10-lb books, it won’t work.”

In response, eCrater explained the new flat rate shipping can be useful even in that case. For the book, the seller might charge $10 for the primary and secondary rate, while charging $3 for the primary rate and 50 cents for a 2-oz pair of earrings. “When purchased together the total rate will be: $10 plus $0.50 = $10.50.

Another seller posted an example of a selling scenario under the new system that eCrater confirmed was correct, which we’ve provided below to help readers understand how the secondary rate impacts how eCrater charges sellers:

Let’s say you sell books. You have heavy books, medium weight books, and light weight books. And assume (for the moment) that you only ship to the USA.

On the listings for the heavy books, you might put $4/$2

On the listings for the medium books, you might put $2/$1.50

On the listings for the light weight books, you might put $1.50/$0.75

If someone orders two medium weight books and three light weight books, the calculation would be ($2) + ($1.50) + (3 x $0.75) = $5.75. The first medium book is the $2, the next medium book is $1.50, and the 3 light weight books all go for $0.75 each

If someone orders 3 heavy books, 2 medium books, and 1 light book, the calculation would be ($4) + ($2 x 2) + ($1.50 x 2) + ($0.75) = $11.75

A seller named Sandy told EcommerceBytes she’s confused by eCrater shipping options, even the USPS shipping calculator. “I do not understand why they have to make shipping such a problem to calculate…seems only thing one can get to work is just use flat rate all the time.”

But some sellers on the eCrater board who use flat rate shipping agreed the change was an improvement.

eCrater isn’t the only marketplace to struggle with offering shipping calculators, and in fact, Etsy just launched a shipping calculator for the first time this month.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.