Posted by: Curtis Stevens on March 10th, 2010
This time I am reviewing the AbleCommerce shopping cart. It is a Canadian company with about 11K active users and have been around for 15 years. It started back in 1994 under a different name, which seems like ages ago. They were a hosting company that wanted to add value to their customers by providing a shopping cart. It then evolved into what it is today. They offer both hosted and licensed versions. The price is an affordable $99 per month. If you choose to own the software and install it on your own server, that will set you back $995. They claim to be PCI compliance, so there should be no worries there.
One of their strengths is their history and long term stability in the shopping card industry. Their big weakness is the lack of easy modifications without affecting the customer’s ability to upgrade to new versions. The cart is compatible with Authorize.net payment gateway, which is then compatible with most credit card processing companies. They do have a toll-free number to call, so that would allow US merchants to call them if they need assistance without incurring high long distance charges. This would be a requirement in my opinion for any Canadian or International company that wants to acquire US merchants.
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on January 19th, 2010
I’m reviewing the VP-ASP shopping cart this time. The great thing about this cart is we are their featured merchant account provider! The cart allows for an unlimited number of users. It is one of the oldest carts on the market. It was developed in the 1990′s with Amazon & eBay and released in 1999. Since then, they have been constantly updating their software to meet the ever changing demands of Internet merchants. Even though it comes from Australia, its main customer base is the USA and UK. It is also very scalable and can support small merchants doing $20K to businesses doing $20 million a year. It doesn’t matter if you have 100 items or 100,000. It comes in two flavors, licensed based and semi-hosted option. The price starts at $295 for the basic version. According to VP-ASP, their biggest weakness is the shopping cart is open source, which they have missed out on more fancy technologies that are starting to hit the market. This all should change when they develop their new hosted version. As I mentioned before, the best part about this shopping cart is they have partnered with Gotmerchant.com as their preferred merchant account provider.
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on December 14th, 2009
Today, I’m reviewing a relatively small shopping cart, called Open Mind. It is another company based in the UK and is only being used by about 500 merchants, so it is very small compared to other carts. You may be able to receive very personalized service though. In 2004, they were building customized carts for their merchants. A few years later, they decided to create a commercial platform that could be used by all of their clients. The cart is licensed based but does include one year of free hosting. You can also install it on any ColdFusion hosting server. In regards to pricing, I think it is very steep, at $500 US dollars.
One of its strengths is it is the only commercial cart available designed specifically for the UK, according to Open Mind’s CEO. US merchants could use the cart, but from what I can tell, it isn’t really suitable for them. Getting support International maybe troublesome. They do claim that the cart is fully PCI compliant. It doesn’t give the merchants the ability to store the credit card processing data, which has its own downsides, but it is for the best. This seems to be a nice cart for a company located in the UK, but not a merchant in the USA.
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on December 10th, 2009
Miva has introduced a new hosted platform. All these years, you had to install the cart on your own server, but now they have introduced a hosted solution. The price for the service starts at $50 and goes up to $130 a month. The shopping cart is the same as the self-hosted solution, but should be easier to install, manage and operate for many ecommerce business owners. Other good news is the credit card processing integration will not change. Their self-hosted solution still accounts for around $4 million of their annual sales and no one knows how well the hosted solution will perform. In comparison of other hosted ecommerce store solutions out there, their prices seem some-what comparable, except they start a higher than other popular choices. This may have to do with their name and the fact that they have 50,000 merchants using their service. However, just because it is used by a lot of people, that doesn’t mean it is a great product as there are other companies that provide a great solution for a lot less.
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on December 1st, 2009
I am reviewing the Avactis shopping cart today. The company is based in NY and according to the company, they have over 10,000 users. It is a php and mysql driven solution. It has been optimized for performance and flexibility for its ability to easily integrated into existing stores. They have both license and hosted base versions. If you want it hosted, then it is $19.95 per month. If you prefer to buy the license, it is a reasonable one-time fee of $199. A web developer can receive a free copy and receive a substantial discount on all future copies. This is great for web designers that want to use this product on their customer’s sites. They even have a reseller version that can be re-branded. This runs just under $300. Another great benefit is they even have a free open source version of the cart! It does lack some features, but definitely something to look into.
One of their strengths is the merchant can have one admin area for multiple stores, including the free version. You can also have unlimited products & categories. It is also compatible with most credit card processing providers. Its biggest drawback is their lack of partners & affiliates.
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 21st, 2009
Here is a review on the Boss Cart shopping cart service. The company is headquartered in the UK and has around 10K users. Kevin, the CEO gave the Interview. Boss Cart started off when the company used to develop a cart specifically designed for each merchant. This would come with a steep cost. Then a few years ago, they decided to create a off-the-shelf product they could sell in the masses that would work for any particular merchant. The cart is license based and users have the freedom to modify the code as they see fit. The cart is a little on the expensive end, at $330. This does include unlimited fixes and support.
Kevin said some of its major strengths is the cart’s versatility, various marketing modules and SEO friendly design. If the cart doesn’t already have a feature and if a enough customers request for it, they will develop it at no extra charge. One big disadvantage is if you are a US merchant, you may find it difficult getting support since they are located in the UK. There are some good news though. They are compatible with most US credit card processing service providers. They are running a special at the moment, 15% off discount as a Christmas offer.
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 18th, 2009
Cartfly is another shopping cart I’m reviewing today. Cartfly is an ecommerce shopping cart tailored to the mini stores that use social media network sites, blogs and personal web sites. It is being used on over 8,000 sites. Instead of luring customers to your web site, this cart allows you to come where the customers are. This can be useful since social media is a hot topic these days. The cost is free to setup and are charged 3% transaction fee when something is sold. The price isn’t too high, about what it costs for credit card processing services, which you would still need. Their big advantage is it works with social media sites, which most carts do not. Their big disadvantage is it can be a basic feature set. They can also work with Facebook, twitter and myspace, bring business to a whole new market.
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 17th, 2009
During this economy, shoppers are looking for discounts from Internet merchants and if you don’t provide them, they may abandon their cart. Here are some ways to utilize tools & techniques to prevent this with discount offers. For starters, you want to make sure you reiterate your special offer or discount throughout the web site and not just the homepage. If you do not do this, the consumer may lose interest or forget about the offer before checking out. For example, if you are offering free shipping on all orders over $50, place some type of message or image stating this at the top of all pages on the site. Payment choices – it is best to offer multiple payment choices besides a credit card processing option. Such as a bill me later type of service, checks or gift cards. Avoid the gotchas with sales tax & shipping charges being added later in the check out process. Always have this displayed and showed before checkout, when they view their cart. You also want to make your customers feel safe and secure. You can do this by displaying your security logos, such as an SSL certificate and that your site has been scanned for security breaches using a service like Mcafee. Lastly, go through your process yourself, as if you were a customer buying one of your products so you can see how it flows, feels, etc.
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 17th, 2009
SEOshop is another shopping cart I’m reviewing today. The company is based in the Netherlands. The cart costs around $37 US and then they charge a small percentage of the monthly sales the store brings in, similar to how the Yahoo Stores work. Currently their average commission is 3.5%, but can be flexibly depending upon the merchant’s size. The cart claims to be very SEO friendly, which is very important for almost all Internet merchants. Without SEO traffic, an online store can not survive. Another strength is its compatibility with credit card processing providers. This includes about 20 different payment processing services. A big disadvantage is it is not currently open to developers. They do plan on releasing a template engine some time next year. The cart can also be attractive to resellers as the whole system can be private labeled if desired.
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 17th, 2009
Today, I’m reviewing a shopping cart called ClearCart. The information was gathered from Emily, Their CEO. The cart was designed for and by women. It is hosted only type of product, meaning it must reside on their servers. It is a little expensive in my opinion, $250 setup and $100 per month. Emily said their biggest strength is their appeal to women directly, attention to the design is used in the admin area, keeping the shopping cart experience simple and offering round the clock support regardless of the client’s size. The downside is they do not provide the source code to the php/mysql information for advanced users. Emily also claims that many merchants switch to them simply because they can not get a hold of their current vendor, take orders and manage the shipping easily. Another great feature is their cart is compatible with most credit card processing companies and payment gateways like Authorize.net.