EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 198 - September 02, 2007 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 8

eCrater: Scratching an Ecommerce Itch

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In today's AuctionBytes-Update, Lissa McGrath brings us up to date on eCrater (, a storefront service and marketplace that launched in 2004. We interviewed some satisfied eCrater sellers via email to find out what they like about the service, here are their comments.

Sade of

AB: When did you start listing on eCrater, and how long did it take you to get set up?

Sade: I started selling on eCrater in March of 2006. The store was very easy to set up and took me a few hours to get everything in place, and about 3 days to stock it. The set-up is very user friendly for the most part, and anyone can do it, especially the HTML illiterate because the set-up is all in plain text, everything is very uniform, thus resulting in a very clean and organized look. All stores have the same set-up.

AB: How many items do you currently have listed?

Sade: 131 Costumes & Accessories. :0)

AB: What kind of traffic do you get? Do you pay anything extra to eCrater for extra visibility?

Sade: I do not pay for extra visibility because I use my website to draw traffic to my eCrater store. I'm very pleased with the traffic.

AB: Do you promote eCrater, if so, how?

Sade: I promote eCrater by driving traffic from my website. Every product on my site, points to my e-Crater store, eCrater is my shopping cart. I also promote eCrater on all of the message boards, and to every auction seller I know. eCrater is the alternative to eBay. My sales are double, sometime triple, than my eBay store sales.

AB: What do you like and dislike about eCrater from the seller's point of view?

Sade: I like the simplicity, love that my buyers can choose Google Checkout to process payment, I like that eCrater sends feeds to Google daily, and I love their Message Board. Any questions a seller, or buyer may have, can be answered there.

I'm wish that eCrater did have basic HTML functionality. I would like to be able to bold text, something to note important details, in my descriptions. Their shipping matrix is a bit complicated and tedious. I really have no other complaints.

Franci Neale of

AB: When did you start listing on eCrater, and how long did it take you to get set up?

Franci: I started listing on eC 8 days ago, but I had the store set up for a while before I actually began....I took a long time to decide exactly what I was going to do. I have put all of my dress making patterns up on eCrater now and am getting one or two sales a day....not bad for the first week....I can't tell where the buyers are coming from, but I am averaging 6 - 10 hits per listing and some are in the 20's and 30' they do have traffic.

AB: What do you like and dislike about eCrater from the seller's point of view?

Franci: My experience with eC is slim at this writing, but the listing process is really very easy. They have a bulk loader but I didn't use it. I was able to put up more than l,000 listings in a week.

AB: Is it set up so you could easily list many items if you find you are happy with the site?

Franci: They have a bulk loader, but I'm not sure I would use it as it is based on Excel and I am not proficient in that program.

AB: Do you think you'll be promoting eCrater to your customers, or using whatever traffic happens to come their on its own?

Franci: Right now I am just listing, doing no promotions at all, and sales are happening. I plan on using eC in conjunction with my web store and linking to the categories from there with more details and information. I also will have listings that are just on my web site. We'll see how that works. The site is not yet ready for prime time, but will be within a plan is to be up and ready to promote the heck out of my site by September lst.

AB: Anything else?

Franci: The site itself is slim on instructions and details, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as it keeps the site really simple and straight forward. It's very fast....and I am on dial up....They have a really good forum that can be reached via the Community tab and it's loaded with information....I got really fast and accurate answers to two questions there.

Also the order notices are really easy and prompt. And they take both PayPal and Google Checkout....which was really easy to sign up for through their site.

All in all it's really good and suits my purposes just right. They recently added inventory control which endeared it to me even more.

Peg of Peg's Buttons

AB: When did you start listing on eCrater, and how long did it take you to get set up?

Peg: I have been on E since Yahoo closed their auctions..sometime in July I started listing..I am NOT real smart with computer stuff, but it didn't take me long at all to set up my was SOOOO easy.

AB: How many items do you currently have listed?

Peg: I have 481 store items and am listing more weekly.

AB: What kind of traffic do you get? Do you pay anything extra to eCrater for extra visibility?

PEG: I can't believe how many hits I get...many many more than I ever got at Yahoo. No I don't pay anything.

AB: Do you promote eCrater, if so, how?

PEG: Yes I promote but need to do more in that area..I cater to button collectors..I belong to 2 button chat groups and 1 time a week send them to my E. plus I always have my signature that goes out in all my emails and that include my ebay winners.

AB: What do you like and dislike about eCrater from the seller's point of view?

PEG: I like everything about ecrater even the fact you can't use html..I have never had a problem getting to E and it is fast to list and EASY!!

There is one thing I don't like and that is their feedback system..the buyer can only post feedback for a seller if the seller accepts paypal/google..which I don't use either.. I have sold many items and all have been paid by check or money order therefore I don't have any feedback..they should do away with feedback all together.

It won't be long before E is the number 2 selling place..right after that other BIG!!

Pat of BigTallMensClothing

AB: When did you start listing on eCrater, and how long did it take you to get set up?

Pat: I opend my first store on in March of 2005 - Set up of text pages is quick and easy, my newest store opened in August of 2007 - took me only about 15 minutes to complete all the set up pages.

Setting up the categories take only a few minutes once you have it all planned out so you can sit there and just enter them and not keep changing the plan. Planning takes the longest.

Adding product is easy too. It's a one page entry form. If I am ready to create the ad (know what I want it to say), it normally takes just a minute or 2, depending on how much I decide to type into the description. Within a few hours a seller can easily have a store up and running on, complete with product loaded.

AB: How many items do you currently have listed?

Pat: - 2700 items - 95 items - 176 items - 16 items - 20 items - 20 items - 165 items

Currently working on to be opened by October 1st.

AB: What kind of traffic do you get? Do you pay anything extra to eCrater for extra visibility?

Pat: Of course, gets the most traffic since it has the most items and gets alot more attention. August hits were 2439 on one item but average is probably around 175 or so. Even my newest store - that opened August 1, 2007 has 100+ hits on some items and we haven't begun to promote it much.

I have not tried using paid advertising yet.

AB: Do you promote eCrater, if so, how?

Pat: I am very happy to promote to everyone that sells online as well as those that shop online. I belong to many forums with both buyers and online sellers and always talk up There is not place else that I know of that you can sell totally free, that does feeds to and gets you excellent placement. Just do a search for Big Tall Mens Clothing on google, you will find my store on page one in the 4th spot. I don't think you can ask for anything better then that!

Our promotional item store, is all about items for small online sellers to purchase for promoting their store. It is also the official logo store. You can buy any item with the logo on it or any logo you want. Our Promote store definitely promotes using the site.

AB: What do you like and dislike about eCrater from the seller's point of view?

Pat: My list of likes is going to have to start with the community forums at, although I moderate the forum so that might sound a bit bias, but it is the most friendliest, most helpful group of people you will find on any forum. (If you haven't been there to check it out, you certainly need to. I think you might be very impressed.)

Next on the top of the list is the google feed / placement on google. Most sellers within are very please to see their products within the first few pages of a google search and within the Google Product list within a few days. Many sellers have reported items found and sold on google within a few hours of listing.

The ease of using as a shopping cart is also high on my list of the things I like about I have tried other carts and nothing is a easy as plus you don't have to worry about hosting it yourself!

Of course the fact it's totally free is an excellent incentive to use

No HTML allowed keeps all the ads placed on neat and clean and very professional looking.

Dislikes - In my opinion if was equipped with either a copy ad function or had the ability to use attributes on the product it would greatly improve the site.

The one thing I totally don't like is the shipping matrix. It's complicated and not to easy to use for many sellers especially those that sell light weight and heavy items. I wish it was linked to the USPS shipping calculator. I opt to use flat rate shipping charges but this does discourage buyers from buyer multiple items since the system won't discount shipping if you use that feature. In addition, I lose out on international buyers by using fixed shipping per item because the system doesn't have the ability to handle international shipping UNLESS you use the shipping matrix.

AB: Anything else you want to add?

Pat: Since I have been using I have watched it grow to it's current 724,000+ items over the past 2 1/2 years. May 8, 2007 hit the 500,000 mark. Soon there will be over a million items for buyers to chose from. Over the past 4 months that's 224,000 new items added - 56,000 items a month on average.

Hundreds if not thousands of sellers come to the community forum with questions on how to do things. The sellers are always willing to give advice and help new sellers get started.

I personally like to have my website with my domain name and use as my shopping cart. is set up that was as well as most of my stores. It's not a necessity but it gives me more freedom to show off my store., are also set up using as more of a shopping cart then a store. will be set up that same way, using as the cart but giving me the freedom to have contest, and other things going on to promote my store better.

Some sellers, as well as myself have suggested to Dimitar, owner of, that maybe it's time to start charging a small fee to sell there or at least for new features like the inventory control that was recently added. He just says he won't do that. He won't charge to sell on since charging was never in his plan. I don't know how he does it, but I know all the sellers as well as myself are grateful to have found

About the author:

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

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