In this continuing series, we bring you a review of alternative selling venues, website hosting services, shopping carts, and basically anything else that you can use to sell your lovely handcrafted goods.
Next up - eCrater!
Tagline: 100% free marketplace
Company Information: It is still basically run by one guy. That's right, it's a real independent venue.
Storefront: The site is actually a shop hosting service where you can setup a store and direct buyers in for purchases, as opposed to being one shop in the mall with buyers drifting from store to store. There is a pretty decent search though and just putting items up can sometimes get sales for hard to find items.
You can customize the color and categories, but not the layout or skin.
Each shop is its own entity, but you don’t have to know how to code to have a shop. The setup is a lot like Etsy in this regard.
Cost: There is no final value fee or commission, also no listing fee. Only those pesky Paypal/Google fees
Features: Make your own categories regardless of the global category you choose. Put entire store on hold, but still visible - or hide an item. Hvae your own About page, FAQ page, Terms page. Choose which items you want featured in your shop, at the top of categories, and even category pictures to represent your top 5 on your shop front.
Fully integrated with Google base, just type in the attributes for the item. Single page listing process with the exception of additional pictures, inventory tracking is available. Unlimited items, up to 10 pics per item! Shipping zones, weight scales, and the shipping matrix is your own to setup so you can choose how to setup your own calculator based on where you ship. Change how you charge tax, too. Bulk lister is available.
oh yeah, and Google Analytics!
Payment: Fully integrated with both Paypal and Google checkout.
Community: There are forums separate from the stores and a seller-only area within.
Customer Service: There is a contact page with a form that can be filled out as well the forums and FAQ pages.
Items that can be sold: Anything.
General Impressions: It's free!! If you have trouble coding your own site or integrating a shopping cart, this is a good alternative.
The shop URL is similar to Etsy (username.ecrater.com), but you can always have a masked domain redirect for people to know your shop name only.
ecrater is totally free. It can be used as a website shopping cart by
linking it off your website or blog. Items do show up in google searches. The
drawbacks- it's interface isn't as customizable as I would like for it to be.
And there is no way to use coupon codes.