What is eCrater?
eCrater is a 100% free marketplace providing an amazing opportunity for sellers to diversify and find a whole new audience. It's both somewhere sellers can build their own ecommerce stores, and somewhere they can simply list items for sale just as they would on eBay. At eCrater, you can sell just about anything, and with their huge emphasis on sellers; it's a great place to go to get away from the eBay trap.
4 quick facts about eCrater
1. In the last 3 months, eCrater has experienced a 29% growth in internet traffic
2. It's free to use! That's right; it's not just free to list, they don't take a chunk of your profits either.
3. Over 69% of users are based in America
4. They have over 65,000 active stores
What makes eCrater different from other platforms?
Well, it sort of goes without saying, but the fact that it is free to use certainly sets it apart from other marketplaces and ecommerce solutions out there. This is all part of their vision to create a very seller-orientated site (quite revolutionary compared with all the other buyer-orientated platforms out there!). Their philosophy is that if you "cater to your sellers the buyers will come".
While looking after the sellers, they also make it super easy for buyers. For one, there is no registration process. That means no entering your email address, choosing some abstract username (because all the good ones are long-gone) and waiting for a confirmation email. Straight away, buyers can add their chosen products to their shopping cart and head to the checkout.
Once there, they can choose from Google Checkout - which is encouraged, or choose from an ‘alternative checkout' method such as PayPal, a money order or a personal check.
It's important that I note here that eCrater is simply a platform to sell goods on. It does not endeavor to assist in resolving conflicts between buyers and sellers. And really, who would expect them to? They can hardly afford to have support staff on hand when they don't charge fees.
In saying that, in the interest of quality control, eCrater will shut down fake store fronts as well as just plain bad sellers.
eCrater will also give eBay sellers a break when it comes to placing feedback on buyers. Because buyer's don't need to register, it means they have no feedback score. eCrater's feedback is purely a one-way system. I love this because it just removes a step from the selling process. Fantastic!
How to use eCrater
The listing format on eCrater allows for fixed price listings only. All ecommerce users are given a URL which can take buyers direct to their site, but most traffic to your listings will come from buyers viewing your items in the eCrater marketplace. All items listed on a personal ecommerce site are automatically listed in the marketplace.
eCrater also lists every single product which is uploaded to the Google Product search. This goes a long way in increasing buyer traffic. However, some users have reported that some, but not all of their items are listed in the Google feed. Of course, understanding Google's criteria is an ongoing mission, but some users have said that items are often left out if there is another similar item which has a more detailed description. So remember to give as much detail as possible!
Creating an ecommerce store with eCrater is simple:
Got to www.ecrater.com and click the Sign up/Login button. You'll then be asked to enter in a few personal details and to create the URL for your store.
Your URL will be in the format http://[your business name].ecrater.com. You can use URL masking later or point to your existing URL if you have one.
Then enter your chosen password, your name, address, phone and email details.
You will then be sent an email to confirm your registration. Simply click the link to activate your store. You can then view your store as well as the simple-to-navigate user dashboard. From here you can do everything to get started including list items, import existing ones from eBay, upload your logo if you have one and play around with color templates to customize your store.
You will also find some nifty tools like a US Sales Tax assistant and shipping information.
Will I actually make sales using eCrater?
Yes! Just like when you sell on eBay, or any other online marketplace, there is plenty of opportunity to make sales. There are an abundance of users who have reported making a lot of money using eCrater. These users have been so successful that they have quit using eBay and now sell exclusively on eCrater.
There is still a lot of growing for eCrater to do, especially in terms of getting new buyers to the site - tough to do when you have next to no marketing budget to work with, but despite this, eCrater seems to be growing at a very steady rate.
What is making this site grow is that just as there are plenty of sellers out there looking for a new alternative place to sell; there are also buyers who seek a fresh product range and a great new place to shop online.
While the aforementioned simplified feedback system is somewhat beneficial, some users have complained that buyers do not always place feedback after the sale has completed. These sellers felt that it wasn't easy for buyers to place feedback on them, and that the system could be tweaked a little. This has made it a little tough on new sellers who are trying to build up a feedback profile.
Another thing is that when you build an ecommerce store with eCrater, it's not technically yours. For example, you could not build up a site then sell it on to someone else. Some would argue that sellers are better off using a paid ecommerce platform which you would own yourself. This way you are creating a more tangible asset. For some sellers, this is one of the most important parts of using an ecommerce store as opposed to just listing on a site such as eBay.
Selling success will take time and effort. I guess you might say that this is the cost of selling your items on a free store; your time and energy. As I mentioned above, eCrater is growing rapidly. With their visitor numbers growing nearly 30% in the last three months, sellers are encouraged to start listing a few items on eCrater now, to help be part of its growing success.
Are you ready to expand and find a new, fresh audience?
Do we have any current eCrater users out there? I really want to know what your experiences have been so drop me a line by leaving a comment below.