Up to this point, we've focused on telling you about today's largest and most popular online marketplaces: eBay, Amazon and Craigslist. For those of you who may be looking for an eBay alternative, or for a smaller, more niche-oriented marketplace, this article will break down the pros and cons of another easy-to-use and profitable platform: eCrater.com. We think you'll find this online marketplace simple and fun!
- Traffic: more than 1.2 million visitors per month
- Pros: free web store hosting with unique design/branding capabilities, easy registration process, clear feedback system, linked to Google Product Search
- Cons: smaller buyer base, fewer advertising opportunities, need for self-promotion, only fixed prices are permitted (i.e. no auctions)
- Fees: none
eCrater began in 2004 and since then has been known for its clean and simple user interface. It is a completely free web store and online marketplace for sellers looking to make money on everything from cameras to clothing. eCrater has been praised by numerous news networks and industry publications such as CNN, BusinessWeek and PCWorld for its easy-to-use interface, quick and easy seller registration and web store creation, and connection to Google Product Search. With eCrater.com, sellers have the ability to create, design and brand their own web stores within minutes. For an example of a branded store, please click here.
Top 5 Tips for Getting Started on eCrater.com
Choose your store ID wisely. When you set up an eCrater account (by the way, you can have your store up and running in only a few minutes), you'll be asked to select a store ID, or a name for your web store. It is important to select a name that you like, that is easy to remember, and that appropriately reflects your business. This store ID will appear in your unique eCrater URL in the form of http://storeid.ecrater.com.
Take time to design your store. Now that you've registered on eCrater, let's start designing your store! After logging in to eCrater, you'll see a "Color Templates" button on the left-hand side; choose the one that best matches the products you'll be selling. For example, if you plan on selling electronics, go for a blue or gray theme. Also, to make your store look even more professional, we recommend creating your own 250x68px logo to upload. If you don't have one, you can use Vistaprint's free logo builder to get a basic one in minutes.
Upload square product images to avoid cropping issues. When you upload images of your products, eCrater will automatically crop them into smaller, square images. To avoid messy and potentially off-putting thumbnails, make sure that the main item images you upload are square-shaped.
Import your eBay listings. If you have an eBay store, eCrater is a great way to diversify your business quickly and easily to reach more buyers. eCrater allows you to import all items and product listing information directly from eBay. We recommend only importing a few at a time to start, as you'll have to go into each listing after the import to manually remove specific eBay references and add line breaks.
Offer informative FAQs. Since you've basically just created your own store, you also have the ability on eCrater to create your own FAQ for your customers. This is a great opportunity for you to let your buyers know about your payment and shipping policies so that they feel more comfortable purchasing from you. This will also help facilitate the purchase process so that they aren't left with any questions about what kind of service to expect from your business.
All in all, eCrater.com is a fantastic alternative to eBay and is a great way to diversify your online business. In essence, you get to create and brand your own web store without actually building your own website from scratch! Also, eCrater frequently submits feeds to Google Product Search, so your merchandise will automatically appear on Google within a few days of posting your items. One thing to keep in mind about eCrater is that because the buyer base is smaller, you have to do some work to get people to find your web store. For more information on how to market your online business, click here.
We hope you found this introduction to eCrater.com helpful! There are many great advantages of this marketplace, and if you have any questions while you're getting started, we encourage you to consult eCrater's community forums here. You'll find many active threads dedicated to helping sellers get started and boosting their sales.