Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Apr 23 2013 20:11:11

Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

By: Ina Steiner

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This week online marketplace Ecrater announced it is instituting a new fee for sales generated by traffic to its marketplace (traffic sent directly to sellers' stores are not charged the new "marketplace" fee). Ecrater founder Dimitar Slavov said Google Shopping's move to a paid model was partly responsible.

"While before this traffic was free, now we have to pay for every click," he explained.

While larger retailers are readily ponying up to pay Google for traffic that had previously been free, smaller sellers and online marketplaces are finding it more difficult. "Some of our merchants have to compete with big brand names that usually do not have problems spending a lot for advertising," according to Slavov.

Ecrater has always been well optimized and has had a good relationship with Google. But because Ecrater is free (it only charges sellers optional upgrade fees), it had little budget to pay for exposure once Google Shopping moved to a paid model last fall.

An online seller who has been on Ecrater for 3 years told me she actively promotes her listings on Ecrater and has grown a good following, but saw a drop in sales after Google Shopping's changes last year. She went back to listing some items on eBay to try and get referrals, but said she prefers Ecrater.

She doesn't object to paying 2.9% to Ecrater if the fees go toward bringing in more shoppers. "They still will keep stores free and are planning in new payment options and design features so will see how this all plays out."

Wednesday's newsletter will have more on Ecrater's news fees. In the meantime, have you been impacted by the end of the free Google Product Search platform? What about the marketplaces on which you sell - have you seen any changes in traffic from Google?




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Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Wed Apr 24 00:28:25 2013

Thus far, ebay has been most rewarding (in sales) but at a very high cost in all areas. It would be nice to find another ''auction-style'' site instead of set priced listings.

I'm glad you put this Ecrater topic up because I would also care to read more about other seller comments.

I would like to ask: Can we sell ''used clothing and items'' on Ecrater like we do on EB and other sites or must it all be New only?
Not a member there but would definitely pay a ''fee'' if its worth the time.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Apr 24 07:37:13 2013

@Sandymenu

Yes, you can sell used clothing & used items on eCrater. I'm glad to see they are making some improvements.

I love the simplicity and value of eCrater - BUT - if you need income to pay the bills: my total sales after approx. two years is less than 10 items.

It is possible that other categories have better success.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Apr 24 07:50:07 2013

In my eyes Dimitar Slavov has shown nothing but integrity over the years and I for one thank him for his hard work on behalf of sellers on Ecrater.  He doesn't appear at all to be driven by greed like so many others.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Wed Apr 24 09:04:21 2013

@ Basset: Sounds like a nice place to be at? I'll check it out once Ina earns more comments about Ecrater in order to help me decide to sell there.

I've been tossing the thought in the air to try either Addoway or Ecrater but seems there is no real action on Addoway because their ceo isn't very visible with their site. Appears their members have checkout concerns on multiple purchases or something to that effect.

I've not really done much research (yet) with Ecrater because it seems difficult to find a ''shopping homepage'' but then again I may be clicking on the wrong links or whatever BUT I have heard good comments on both these sites.

I only sell on ebay, etsy and bonanza and the sales are best in that order. Bonanza has way too many issues since I joined there which was the SAME DAY they arrived and now I just use them to stock under 5000 items (all free) in order to storage my merchandise. Heck, if my dresses and purses happen to sell there, then that is a rare surprise. I don't socialize with them but USE THEM FOR FREE which anyone can easily do by listing all your items there and then hiding them once they're ready to be sold on real sites. There's NOTHING they can do about it nor would I ever pay to play their way.

Can't list to store (hold) on ebay nor etsy because they charge once you create a listing. Free ZIPPY listings on bonanza works best!

Thanks for sharing.

bump!

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

by: digger This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Apr 24 09:52:27 2013

@sandymenu - I encourage you to try eCrater. It is easy to use and inexpensive. A recent makeover has made it an attractive modern-looking shopping destination. Sales may not be frequent, but they do come.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

by: Quicksilver Messenger This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Apr 24 09:57:44 2013

I have been selling on eCrater for a couple of years, and have had 69 sales. Most of those sales are for multiple items. I like it there. I no longer sell on eBay at all. I haven't sold anything on eBay since February of 2012, and I don't miss it at all. eCrater is just one of several eggs I carry in my basket. I also sell on Amazon, and have a couple web sites. I don't mind at all that Dimitar has decided to implement this small fee for marketplace sales. I am also about to open another store on eCrater for general collectibles, as I refuse to return to the madness of eBay.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

by: LaLaLa123 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 24 10:00:56 2013

Someone asked about other auction sites.

One I recently found is Tophatter.  Never tried selling there, but their interface is really interactive.  Looks like a lot of fun.  It's a live auction rather than one that sits online for a set period of time.

We might give it a try later, when we have some extra time.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

by: nobody This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 24 10:04:26 2013

I agree with Rexford. Thank you Dimitar!

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Wed Apr 24 10:08:07 2013

got it, thanks!

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Apr 24 10:19:12 2013

To answer Ina's questions first. I sell on ecrater and noticed a drop in sales IMMEDIATELY from the day google changed Shopping. My sales have not recuperated from the drop.

I've been on ecrater after leaving ebay in disgust since Jan. 2008. Currently I have had 3762 sales on ecrater :) with 100% positive feedback. So yes we have been making money there. With the drop in traffic from google shopping though, I have added another venue to help me achieve our minimum monthly sales goal. Promoting our store comes a bit easier for me as I sell in a niche I love and would have actively searched out the forums, etc. that naturally go with my products. Some sellers are selling just for the sake of selling and have no clue how or where to promote their store. One of the reasons I encourage people to find a niche that they love and sell within it (it also makes many of your 'non-work' activities tax deductible!)

One of the things that you have to understand about ecrater is it is not a venue where you slap your stuff up and then wait for sales to come in. You must actively market and promote your store. Since ecrater started showing where our sales were coming from at the beginning of April, 1/4 of my sales come from the marketplace (those are sales that starting next month I will have to pay a 2.9% fee) and the rest of my sales come from my own marketing efforts, including repeat customers. Those direct sales I will not have to pay the fee on. It can take awhile for sales to start coming in, but good listing titles (you are allowed 100 characters), good descriptions, good photos (you are allowed ten for free), and decent prices and shipping costs goes a long way in attracting attention to your listings. Also remembering when you don't have a sale 2 days after listing your stuff that it does take time for the search engines to pick up your listing. Also, some sellers seem to expect that their products whould get the number one spot on the first page of a search. Not sure why that mentality as most of us small sellers are a drop in the bucket compared to the big box stores, etc. Yet again selling on line isn't a fast and easy way to make money. It is a way to make money, but it takes the same kind of work as what produces a paycheck, if not more work.

By the way ecrater's markeplace can be found at www.ecrater.com and to see a store you are welcome to pop into mine at http://MoonwishesStore.ecrater.com to see what a functioning store that is making sales looks like. I'm sure the other posters that mentioned their use of ecrater wouldn't mind you stopping in either.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Wed Apr 24 10:43:13 2013

Is a shopping cart available on Ecrater for buyers seeking to make multiple purchases from same seller at once?

I just did a search with Addway and see that they do not, or at least most stores do not even display a shopping cart icon.

Buyers want to add items into their baskets for a tremendous savings.

Is Ecrater that set up that way?

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Apr 24 10:47:19 2013

@Sandymenu

I have nothing but praise for eCrater. I opened a store there in February 2008 when I left eBay due to the massive policy changes that were being instituted (DSRs, no more negative feedback for buyers, etc.). When I left eBay, my sales there had been consistently declining for the prior two years, so much so that I was lucky to get one sale a week. On eCrater, it's rare to go a day without a sale.

The one thing I have noticed with eCrater is the more items I have in my store, the more sales I get. I now have over 3,000 items listed and try to add new items every day.

I didn't notice a decline in sales after Google Shopping went to a pay platform. I make sure all my items have the required Google Attributes to be picked up by all the search engine bots so I have high visibility in the organic searches.

I also don't object to the new fee since it is only levied on the cost of the item, and not on tax or shipping. Also, you can opt out of the fee, which will lower you in search rankings, but you can still sell 100% free there.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Apr 24 10:49:16 2013

@Sandymenu

You can buy multiple items, but all the shipping costs are added together, so you will need to refund the excess shipping amounts manually. I only accept Google Wallet, and it is very easy to initiate a refund.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Apr 24 11:17:32 2013

Clearing up one of jacksparrows comments. Yes, you can buy multiple items from the same seller. It depends on how they have their shipping set up how the postage amount comes out. I use the matrix exclusively and I never refund shipping.But then I sell mostly one type of goods (sewing patterns) so it is easy to calculate the shipping matrix for me. Some sellers because they sell an eclectic bunch of things, have difficulty setting up their shipping to come out to every possiblity and so they may refund the buyer some of the costs.

Like Jack, I find that the more I keep listing, the better my sales are. I currently have over 8000 listingswith all their google attributes on ecrater and am trying to add more all the time. With no lisitngs fees, this is terrific as you don't have to sturggle to figure out which item is worth listing or not (when you have to pay to list it month after month, year after year). I have had buyers buy something that I have had on line for sale for over 5 years say that they have been searching for it for years. So just because it has been listed for a while, doesn't mean it won't sell.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Apr 24 11:50:56 2013

@Moonwishes

Thank you for that correction. I've never used the shipping matrix; I weigh each item and then put the corresponding postage amount in as fixed shipping. I have items ranging from three ounces to four pounds, so it is easier for me pack and weigh to get the correct postage amount.

And I agree with your statement that "just because it has been listed for a while, doesn't mean it won't sell." A couple months back I sold three items which were some of the very first items listed when I opened my eCrater store.  

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Wed Apr 24 12:35:23 2013

and so, it seems clear that anyone offering Free Shipping, should a buyer seek to purchase 5-6 different items in your store are sent to checkout ''combined'' free shipping?

Thank you all for your professional input.

It's Wednesday nachos (gotta run) for now!

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Apr 24 12:42:55 2013

@Sandymenu

When I first started selling on eCrater I offered "free" shipping, but after a short while split cost and shipping, because adding the shipping in made my items, in my estimation, too expensive. If your buyer purchases five or six items, you'd see the total charge for all items, and zero for postage.

Another good thing about eCrater, buyers can pay with a check or money order. I know I have gotten sales from people that still don't want to get involved with online payment services.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Apr 24 12:52:42 2013

Also payment can be made with Google Checkout/wallet. The weird one is COD which is also offered and generally we all click that to not available as a payment process. Who wants to ship something without payment and hope with it gets to the person buying that they still WANT the item and are willing to pay all the fees involved? It is offered as a standard option so you have to do something to make it not available is the only reason I bring it up. Many sellers don't even notice it until someone brings it to their attention that they are allowing that option. It might work with some businesses but certainly not all. Please note that on ecrater you can get suspended for offering any payment system other than the ones ecrater approves of, so don't in your terms or whatever tell someone you will take Western Union payments, Serve, etc.

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

by: G-and-A This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 24 13:00:22 2013

I have been looking at eCrater.  Love the way the stores are set up so that buyers are not barraged with opportunities to click out of the store.  
Are your items included in Google Shopping automatically?  Or do you have to set up Google Adwords on your own?

Perminate Link for Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants   Google Shopping's Trickle Down Effect on Small Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Apr 24 13:08:08 2013

@G-and-A

My understanding is that eCrater is paying a minimal amount for the sellers' items to be seen in Google Shopping. Under their heading of "Promote My Store," they do suggest that sellers set up a Google Adwords account.

As long as you fill out the Google Attributes form for your items (include as many as you can: upc, isbn, manufacturer, manufacturer's part number, brand, edition, year, etc.) your items will be picked up by the search engine bots for Google Organic, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

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