Jul 192013

If you’ve been thinking about opening your own online store but you are worried about it being expensive or complicated, well don’t. There are dozens of websites out there that make it cheap and simple. Competition between them has driven their prices way down and raised their customer service way up. So you might ask: how cheap and simple is it?

Get Started with a Free Online Store Builder

You can’t beat free. Easy? Just sign up and import all of your eBay listings and you’re basically done.  Your store is online, it’s full of merchandise, and it’s free. If you feel like it you can then customize the colors and add some business description and a logo if you have one. If you don’t have eBay listings to import, don’t worry, you can still create your own listings from scratch with an online store website builder. Just write a description and upload some photos. Where you ask? Ecrater.com is the most popular right now so I’ll take a closer look at it. They don’t charge a subscription, listing, or final value fee. They make a profit by showing ads throughout the site (but not in item listings). The site is extremely simple with straightforward navigation. Just click the “sign up” button right there on the front page.

Ecrater screen capture.

From there it will ask you a number of questions to get you set up. Stuff like who you are and what you want to be called. You know, stuff your buyers will need to know when they buy things. After all they do need to know where to send the money.

Signup Instructions for Ecrater's online store builder.

Once you fill in all that pesky personal info you’ll come to a screen that has the “Import for eBay” tab. Click on it and enter your eBay id. It will start importing all of your listings. But be warned, it may be simple but it takes a long time.

Settings page for an Ecrater shop.

In fact it takes about 24 hours if you have a lot of listings. It has to parse the information, import the photos, and then it is reviewed by a person at eCrater before they are posted. I know it a long time but look at it this way: they’re doing all the work for you! Here’s what the progress screen looks like.

eBay bulk listing import tool from Ecrater.

Now you’ll probably want to fill in some pesky “about me” stuff and maybe specify what forms of payment you take. If you’re feeling decorative you can use your online store website builder to add different colors, logos, and background pictures. If you’re a nut for details you can even make an FAQ for your customers to read. If you’re insanely detail oriented they even have some areas you can fill in that will help you get found by search engines.

A Final Note About Ecrater

And that’s about it. But before ending the article I should tell you that this is not eBay (well thank you captain obvious). You won’t get instant traffic like you do on eBay or Etsy. Although eCrater is gaining a following you will also need to promote your store yourself. Perhaps you have a Facebook Page or a Pintrest account? Time to use them!

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