For e-tailers, finding the right technology to increase business productivity and sales can make all the difference between fast, successful growth and fast, overwhelming growth. Cloud-based tools empower internet retailers to manage remote workers, organize customer information and promote collaboration between team members from anywhere in the world – even if they don’t have large staffs to deploy or maintain technology solutions. That was the case for wholesale e-retailer Tisano, which sells brewed cacao teas. The company’s business was growing at such a rapid rate that team members struggled to stay organized and keep up with the volume of incoming orders. The customer relationship management (CRM) tool that made the most sense for the business was a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering. For companies of similar size and with a variety of needs, SaaS options avoid the expense and technical burdens of on-premise technology and give employees more time to concentrate on tasks that grow sales and expand the business.
What the cloud has to offer
Employees can access cloud-based applications and software to collaborate in real-time and streamline business processes. Because cloud solutions aren’t housed on premise, businesses don’t need to worry about maintaining equipment or bringing in outside IT specialists to handle technical issues. Cloud services are simple to implement, and most make it easy for employees to transfer data. Also, because most SaaS solutions offer freemium plans, there’s no upfront investment needed, allowing businesses to try out multiple tools to find the one that best fits their needs.
There are many cloud-based tools out there that can help online retailers improve productivity and sales or solve other business challenges. The key is sifting through these solutions to find one or a combination of a few different solutions to maximize employee efforts and allow businesses to run as efficiently as possible. Tisano, for example, researched and tested multiple cloud solutions before ultimately deciding on the SaaS-based CRM tool its employees now use. SaaS tools are only as effective as the employees using them, so it’s important that each employee is committed to updating the system in real time. Finding the right solution that best fits employees and businesses will maximize productivity and, by extension, sales. To prevent wasting resources and frustrating employees, use a tool that requires minimal training and reduces data input requirements.
Getting maximum results
Businesses should evaluate and determine which tools will be most effective to help increase sales. One of the most obvious tools tends to be a CRM solution. When business is growing, it can be a challenge to keep track of prospect information and other important contact details. The sales team needs to ensure that important details don’t fall through the cracks, which is especially important when multiple people are jumping in on different projects. Tisano’s team used its SaaS-based CRM and stored client data to close numerous high-level deals with customers such as Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Virgin America and Whole Foods Market, all without investing in on-premise technology or IT staff.
Integrating applications into your existing SaaS tool can further optimize productivity. Companies should think about how to leverage multiple solutions together to better achieve sales goals. For example, if a business uses social media, email marketing or note-recording tools in tandem, it is easier to maximize employee productivity and increase sales.
Online retailers that implement SaaS tools can sell more products and minimize time spent on administrative tasks. Since moving most of its operations to the cloud, Tisano has saved thousands of dollars and streamlined business operations. And because employees have access to all customer information – including history details, social media profiles and more – in one central location, they can focus more attention and efforts on ensuring customers remain satisfied and loyal. Other e-tailers can see similar gains when they embrace the wealth of solutions available as cloud-based services.
Guest author Anthony Smith is the CEO of Insightly, a San Francisco-based SaaS CRM application. He built the first version of Insightly in six months from his home in Perth, Australia, after identifying a market need for a CRM solution focused on small business. He has previous experience designing and building CRM software for enterprise use. Prior to Insightly, Anthony worked as a consultant for IBM and as a software engineer for global mining consultancy Snowden.
A longtime ZippyCart favorite, the Americommerce Hosted Shopping Cart Solution is making headlines again with some big changes and updates. They’ve always been one of the few top ranked eCommerce solutions to offer multiple store fronts but now, with a slew of new features and updates, they’re offering up an eCommerce shopping cart that’s more attractive than even before. I wanted the inside scoop so I got a hold of Americommerce‘s Business Development & Marketing Manager, Justin McCullough, for an interview and here is what was found out!
Q: ZippyCart has been a longtime fan of the Americommerce Hosted Shopping Cart Solution and lately, we’ve noticed you guys have a new logo and look with your website. What new updates and features have you rolled out this year?
A: It’s been an amazing year actually. For us to just be a small team of 30 people, we’ve covered a lot of ground in the last nine months from launching our new logo, rebranding everything from end to end include a newly designed website and tons of new features. We landed on the Inc. 5,000 list for the second year in a row and early in the year we completed our PCI DSS Level 1 with Trustwave and we’re now officially recognized as a PCI Certified ecommerce platform. Amazing progress!
As for features, back in February we launched our embedded ecommerce tools, a full blogging system, and a customer rewards and points system. Then in April we launched our new logo and rebranded everything from business cards to a newly designed website. We’ve also rolled out new integrations for partners like Lexity, Nextopia, Riskified, Justuno, Referral Candy, and e Fulfillment Services.
Q: And just in general, what are the strengths and features that attract most online business owners to the Americommerce Hosted Shopping Cart Solution?
A: Honestly, it’s the fact that we invest in a deeper feature set, more settings, and total control over what you can do with your store from advanced design needs to integration and even custom development for specific features.
As an industry, everyone talks about getting online easily, quickly, and getting your store up over the weekend. We tend to go the opposite direction and talk about pro-grade tools for sophisticated online retailers who want more control over their store, being able to run more than one store from the same admin and lots of powerful tools – not light features.
I’d say the fact that you can run multiple stores, a Facebook store, and add ecommerce to any existing site or social network is a good reason people come to us.
Q3: Can you share what you guys have going on behind the scenes right now? Give ZippyCart readers a sneak peek idea of what’s coming up soon from the Americommerce Hosted Shopping Cart Solution!
A: You bet! Two things!
On September 3rd, we’ll do an early release of our new responsive admin which is full of new features like drag and drop dashboard widgets, menu builder, file manager and a user interface that’s totally responsive for tablet and desktop users. Our early test users have been saying this new admin is a game changer, so that’s been really encouraging.
As for a look behind the scenes, we’re rolling out a plan to have totally responsive themes available in our theme gallery. This means new themes for AmeriCommerce users and those themes will look great on an iPad or tablet right from the start.
And, I’m not sure if we can get into all the details, but AmeriCommerce is acquiring another company and that will wrap up soon.
Q4: With an eye on next year, what do the team at Americommerce Hosted Shopping Cart Solution feel will be the top trends in eCommerce for 2014?
A: Mobile will continue to trend up. So will more small hyper-focused apps and integration software that does one thing extremely well and uses API’s to integrate with others.
Q5: Any words of wisdom for newbie eMerchants, who are just entering the world of eCommerce?
A: Pick the right platform for growth. Ecommerce as an industry is hard, so be ready to get competitive and savvy about how the web works and how shoppers shop online. From the very beginning be thinking about how you will be running your new store to generate traffic, buyers, repeat buyers
We find a lot of people are looking for fast and easy, but often regret it when they start to really manage their store and they can’t do things that drive their conversions, sales, traffic, and promotions.
And lastly, do something you like and build a store you can love!
If you’re interested in learning more about Americommerce Hosted Shopping Cart Solution, feel free to leave your questions and thoughts in the comment selection below or feel free to contact them directly! If you already use Americommerce Hosted Shopping Cart Solution, please tell us about your experience with them!
By Lanette Willis
May 6, 2013
Have your online business within reach at all times with a mobile dash board app!
It’s become standard these days for eCommerce shopping cart platforms to have some kind of eCommerce dashboard feature. So standard in fact, that it’s easy to assume every eCommerce dashboard is basically the same, and to overlook the true power and convenience that can be offered by this tool. Not all eCommerce dashboards out there are the same. With the right mix of data, a great dashboard should offer you an unparalleled ability to keep an eye on your store’s performance, alert you to trends, identify opportunities for growth, uncover and resolve breaks in your sales funnel, and give you peace of mind – all in an instant.
An eCommerce dashboard must deliver important statistics quickly and easily. This is not necessarily for heavy reporting, but rather the place for information at a glance. Thus, one critical component is the ability see data instantly when you open the dashboard. You shouldn’t need to click anything, and the data should just be in front of you.
Easy to read graphs are also key. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and your dashboard also needs to do this! Bar charts, line graphs, and pie charts allow you to see and process the essence of the data in seconds.
Having the ability to see performance over time (month, week, day, etc.) allows for comparison & trending, and should definitely be included. How were your sales last month, versus this month? Are sales increasing steadily across the last 3 months? An eCommerce dashboard should be able to show you this.
A great dashboard offers the user the ability to change time frame of graphics (year, month, day, etc.). For example, typically you may be interested in seeing your sales data across the last 2 months, but if you’re running a promotion, you might be more interested in studying a day or week’s data to track the success of your promotion.
Sales data and visitor data should be offered in the eCommerce dashboard, and both should be visible across an adjustable time period. Knowing that you’ve made $x for the year allows you to tell if you’re on target. How is your traffic? Usually, traffic is tied to sales. If you just released a promotion, you should see the spike in visitors, letting you know that your promotion is working. Likewise, if you don’t see this spike, it could alert you to a problem along the line. If you were only tracking sales, and not visitors, you might think there was some other on-site conversion problem.
We’ve already discussed the importance of having the eCommerce dashboard information presented quickly and clearly. It’s all about instant information. The ability to have palm-of-your-hand mobile access to your dashboard takes it to a new level.
If you’re in the interested in previewing a topnotch eCommerce dashboard, you may want to check-out, Nexternal, one of ZippyCart’s top reviewed eCommerce solution. This shopping cart software has just released a Dashboard Plus for iPhone and iPad users, so you don’t even need to boot up a computer to check in on your online business. Grab your iPhone, click a button, and there are all your stats, and peace of mind. Dashboard Plus is available for free in Apple’s App Store and can be downloaded here.
Guest author Lanette Willis is a Senior Account Manager at Nexternal. Before joining Nexternal she spent nearly a decade working in market research and professional services marketing, before running her own successful eCommerce apparel business. Lanette is passionate about both marketing and eCommerce.
By Susan Delly
March 8, 2013
One of the things that we love about Shopping Cart software is innovative and fast paced… it’s always improving. This is especially apparent when you look at the shopping cart solutions on ZippyCart’s top carts of 2013 comparison list.
Here are a few recent upgrades and changes that are worth noting.
- Fortune3 – after a recent upgrade, the team at Fortune3 was pleased to announce their integration with Endicia, for all of your shipping needs. It’ll now be easier to print postage and labels online!
- PinnacleCart – as of March 15, 2013, PinnacleCart.com has decided to focus their efforts on their hosted solution and no longer offer their licensed solution. They will still be providing the same quality support to their existing licensed stores and right now, they have a killer offer for those who want to get in on their licensed product last minute. Check them out if you’re interested!
- AmeriCommerce - with the latest upgrade, they added new embedding tools, blog widgets, a customer reward system, additional payment options, a new coupon code generator, a bunch of new apps and 2 new themes. They’ve been busy over at AmeriCommerce!
- Ashop – a company on the rise… AshopCommerce is currently taking on some major upgrades. They have recently put out an amazing new admin design and layout and have disabled some features that were outdated, to make for a smoother, easier navigation. For more information, check out their ZippyCart review and site.
- Shopify – version 3.4 of Shopify mobile was recently released and with it comes some stress reducing goodies. Their new mobile dashboard allows eMerchants to access key orders and products easily, as well as manage batch or multiple orders with one click!
With the whirlwind of changes and improvements, the eMerchant always wins!
Let’s take a closer look at 3 of the top eCommerce solutions on the market!
By Halyna Yefymchuk
Feb 25, 2013
Hosted shopping carts have rapidly gained popularity on the market because of their reasonable price and ease-of use. The most confusing part of them is… which one to pick?! Common questions that merchants ask regard the difference in platforms functionality and pricing, as many of the top ranked carts seem to be pretty much the same. Hosted environment, reasonable monthly pricing, standard set of eCommerce features, free trial periods – this is what you will find in almost all of ZippyCart’s hosted solutions. However, a closer look at the platform will definitely show the difference. To satisfy your interest let’s consider three popular shopping carts and answer all your whys, whats and hows.
What is Pinnacle?
Pinnacle is a shopping platform developed by Desert Dog Software LLC. It comes with both hosted and licensed versions, which is a huge plus when considering scalability, but for now, we will concentrate on hosted Pinnacle cart.
When did it appear on the market?
The exact date of the appearance of hosted shopping cart cannot be followed, however official sources show that the software developers of Pinnacle cart already had 20 years of experience in the Internet industry when they launches the platform in 2003.
How much does it cost?
The minimal pricing plan costs $30 per month. However, the plan is limited allowing 1GB of traffic and disc space of 100 MB. The amount of products however is unlimited, and all of the basic eCommerce features are included. This minimal plan also requires set up fee in the amount of $49. The benefit of pricing system is that you can change your plan whenever you need that.
Who can use the shopping cart?
Newbies and eCommerce experts both love Pinnacle Cart’s shopping cart as it satisfies the needs of large or small business owners. It is especially popular with stores looking to upgrade as their store grows but is suitable for startups also, as it is user friendly and makes store launch easy.
Why choose Pinnacle cart for your business?
Pinnacle shopping platform offers a number of beneficial features among which are daily backups, high quality support, total control of storefront design with “Design Mode” toolbar, digital and physical products, guest checkout and advanced SEO tools. In fact, they offer the one of the most generus feature sets on the market. Pinnacle Cart is a complete eCommerce solution that is extremely secure. They go the extra mile in guaranteeing their online stores have top notch security with their PA-DSS compliance.
Where can I get Pinnacle cart?
Just follow the links on ZippyCart’s comparison carts or review pages!
What is Core Commerce?
CoreCommerce is a hosted SaaS currently used to create over 13 000 web stores. The solution is developed by a company CoreCommerce Inc., based in Franklin, TN.
When did it appear on the market?
The shopping cart was created in 2001. First the company launched a licensed platform digiSHOP, and in 2008 it version was adapted to create hosted solution CoreCommerce.
How much does it cost?
The monthly pricing plan starts from $24.99 and includes all the basic platform functionality. It charges no setup and transaction fees, however limits the number of products you can sell to 150. The bandwidth is also limited to 2GB. All pricing plans include Support that claims to be a “legendary one”.
Who can use the shopping cart?
The shopping cart usability and high quality customer service the shopping cart combined with 0ther scalable offerings make this software a great option for start ups and already experienced store owners.
Why choose CoreCommerce?
First of all, CoreCommerce is extremely customer oriented. The company reacts to customer suggestions and provides updates based on them. As a result, new features or improvements are released often. Also the merchant can benefit from vast possibilities of integration. CoreCommerce can be integrated with Google Checkout, Checkout by Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, SEO tools, Shopzilla, Google product search, Amazon, etc. Among other great features are Image Zoom, design editing via CSS and HTML, real-time shipping, customer groups.
Where can I get CoreCommerce?
To find CoreCommerce, please follow the links on ZippyCart’s comparison carts or review pages!
What is 3DCart?
3DCart is a Margate, FL-based hosted cart developed by 3Dcart Shopping Carts.
When did it appear on the market?
The company is in eCommerce business since 1997. First it developed custom eCommerce solutions, but in 2001 introduced their own shopping cart software. Currently the platform powers over 5 000 stores.
How much does it cost?
The platform offers a ‘mini’ package for $19.99, which appears to be the cheapest solution out of the three listed in this article, extras not considered. This plan is limited to 100 products and allows low traffic rates. However it offers hundreds of featuress and over 50 marketing tools.
Who can use the shopping cart?
The aim of the developers was to create a shopping cart suitable for merchants with little or no programming knowledge to make their store launch easy and quick. However the set of powerful features will satisfy experienced users and webmasters. Thus the owners of small to large business can use the platform equally beneficially.
Why choose 3DCart?
Having solid experience in the industry, 3DCart is flexible to different business requirements. The advanced features that you will get with 3DCart include mCommerce templates and Social Commerce integration, product reviews, rich set of inventory management features and over 25 SEO tools to get high rankings. Apart from that, 3DCart can boast of exclusive features: image 3dZoom, gift registry, auto follow up and integrated blog.
Where can I get 3DCart?
Just follow the links on ZippyCart’s comparison carts or review pages!
Now that you’ve got the answers on basic questions you may go ahead and make deeper research of features that are included in each hosted shopping cart. Or choose the suitable solution immediately and start developing your business with a new eCommerce solution!
Guest author Halyna Yefymchuk is a Marketing Assistant at MagneticOne, developer of Cart2Cart – an automated shopping cart migration service. Find out more information about migration to/from PinnacleCartSoftware, CoreCommerceSoftware and 3DCartSoftware.
By Jordan Foutz, eCom expert of PinnacleCart.com
October 22, 2012
In the realm of eCommerce software there are two basic options to decide between: lease a hosted solution or purchase the licensed version. For those that don’t know, licensed shopping cart users pay a one-time fee to “license” the software and then install it on a web server so they can run their store. With hosted solutions, the online merchant pays a monthly fee for both the software and the hosting environment it resides in. Every business is unique in its needs so our goal to help you decide which version is better for your online store.
There are positives and negatives to both solutions; today we’re going to look at both to help you better understand what solution works best for you.
First let’s look at the advantages a licensed solution provides.
- You control the hosting environment so you can customize your cart as necessary.
- You can choose when and how to keep updated with current applications and code.
- It is more portable and can be moved to hosting companies of your choice.
- You are responsible for the hosting environment. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your level of technical expertise or the level of expertise of the hosting company you select. But generally speaking, you are responsible for technical aspects of your store.
- Licensed software typically has a higher start-up cost than hosted does. This may not be the best for those just starting out but when you look at the big picture, it has a much better overall value as your only paying for the software once and will continue to use it for year.
Hosted shopping cart packages give you the following benefits:
- Reputable ecommerce solution providers will provide you a PCI compliant hosting environment, free of charge.
DO NOT consider any solution that isn’t PCI compliant.
- If you are trying to reduce costs during your first year of business, the overall costs of a hosted solution are less than the one-time fees of licensed software.
- Everything is included in a hosted set-up as the site and shopping cart are bundled together under one server. From email hosting to customer support, you’re covered. That means less troubleshooting for you!
Hosted shopping cart packages give you the following drawbacks:
- You do not have much control over the design of your store front.
- Generally speaking, you are very limited on the amount of customizations you can make to the feature set. Most hosted solutions update the software globally which can wipe out any code changes you make.
- Your business is tied into the offerings of the ecommerce provider you select. As your business grows you will need additional server space, bandwidth and more. You selected provider will control these costs and you’ll have to pay the fees they charge.
- Over time, hosted solutions never stop charging their monthly fees (and transaction fees, where applicable). To get out of monthly fees, you will need to upgrade to a licensed solution.
Both solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. Hosted eCommerce (sometimes called SaaS) are a fantastic way to start an ecommerce store. The cost of start-up is much lower, when compared to licensed solutions, and most of the technical aspects of the store are managed by the provider, allowing you to spend your time on the things that matter most, like making money. Licensed solutions provide greater freedom and flexibility, which you’ll need as business grows.
Choosing between licensed and hosted eCom software will depend on you business needs… but there may be a 3rd option!
So what should you do?
My suggestion is to use an eCommerce solution that can offer you both. Selecting a company that offers both hosted and licensed provides your business the maximum flexibility and allows your business to grow without constraint or limitations. While it’s true that most shopping cart companies fall on only offer one type of solution, either hosted or licensed, if you do your research (or use a site like zippycart.com, which does it for you ) you’ll find a couple of companies that offer both, such as Pinnacle Cart and CoreCommerce.
Remember this is a fundamental decision that could dramatically affect the outcome of your business for years to come. Make sure you plant your business in soil that will allow it to germinate and flourish and help you achieve the success and lifestyle you seek.
By Jessica Sanders
October 15, 2012
There are a number of ways you can go about choosing the shopping cart software that’s right for your business. From cost effectiveness to user friendly credit card processing, the most important aspect is your customer.
When looking for a successful shopping cart for your eTail storefront, you want to keep in mind two things: what you customer needs to make the purchase and what they want from your ecommerce platform in general.
Top Notch Analytics
The first step in finding customer-friendly, shopping cart software is to seek out superb analytics. While this will be great for the customer, it’s also very beneficial to you. Knowing where they come from, where they go upon reaching your site, and why they abandon the cart allows you to modify the process making it better for them.
- Keyword uses: What keywords are your customers using to find you? This gives you an idea of what they want, allowing you to give them that.
- Overall navigation: Where do they travel when on your site? Does it seem like they’re searching for something they can’t find, or clicking away when you ask for too much information?
- Why they dropped off: Many eTailers are dealing with cart abandonment – dropping off the purchasing cycle before making that purchase. Did they need more customer reviews? Were they misguided by your marketing? Find out what they need to make that purchase.
Specific Customer Needs
When it comes down to it, what your customer wants is what you should be giving them. While you can use analytics to improve your site and navigation, there are specific things you know your customers will need. Consider the following:
- Credit card options: Visa, MasterCard, Discover – do you accept all of them or just some? Do you accept payments through PayPal and Amazon Checkout? Your customers are as diverse as their purchasing methods, and your adherence to that should be a priority.
- Gift certificate use: Do you offer gift certificates? Be sure that they can be used online.
- Coupon capability: If you use coupons, customers should be able to use them at your eStore. Whether you use a code or go by customer name, it’s advantageous to you for the technology to be there.
Designed for the Customer
Finally, you want a solution that is not only equipped for your customers, but designed specifically for them. The only person that can do that is someone familiar with your customer and your business. Thus, being able to customize the program post-purchase will be critical to taking a customer-focused approach to finding the right software. Some customization you might want to consider includes:
- Customer reviews: This might be the difference between making a sale or not. Your customer often needs this positive reinforcement before clicking “check out”, and it should be built into the interface.
- Similar products: Upsell and provide that little extra by offering similar products throughout the process.
You wouldn’t need shopping cart software if you didn’t have customers purchasing from you, so why not choose the right one for them? Consider what they need, what they want, and how you can give that to them with the right software options.
Guest author Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer. As the marketing copyeditor of Resource Nation, she touches on a range of topics such as Credit Card Processing, POS systems and sales software.
By Susan D
Sept 24, 2012
There is so much competition in today’s world of shopping cart solutions. With over 300 eCommerce companies to choose from… how does an online merchant know which one will be best for their business needs? Well, here at ZippyCart, we’ve been researching eCommerce solution software all year and have a list of what we consider the top 12 eCommerce solutions of 2012.
Here is a look at the top 12 eCommerce Solutions of 2012, in alphabetical order.
- 3d Cart “Starting an online business has never been easier.”
The team at 3dCart is proud of their design tools and the ease in which their online merchants can set-up a web shop. They offer over 50 website templates and the ability to customize on your own through their HTML & CSS access. They also have a Quick Edit Bar that will speed up the process of building your store and let you see your edits in real-time. 3dCart offers over 25 SEO tools because they feel that Search Engine Optimization is the most important consideration, when building an online store. They also have a feature which allows for different levels of pricing based on your customer grouping. 3dCart is feature rich!
- Amazon Webstore “Put the power of Amazon behind your site.”
Amazon is a huge name in online shopping but some don’t know that they also offer an eCommerce solution for online merchants as well. They offer packages for the individual seller, Small/Medium Business, and Large Businesses. SMB’s can use AmazonWebstore in many ways. They can integrate with Amazon Services to get their product in front of the millions of Amazon customers, they can choose Fulfillment by Amazon and have their shipping needs handled for them, or they can simply put Amazon Prime and Check-out on their existing website.
- AmeriCommerce “Grow With Us”
As one of Inc 5000’s fastest growing companies, the AmeriCommerce team invites all merchants, big and small to partner and grow with them. They are one of the only eCommerce solutions that allow you to manage multiple storefronts with one unified admin panel, making AmeriCommerce unique amongst hundreds of shopping cart software companies. Their CRM (customer relationship management) shopping cart also makes customer and order history, order management and order history a breeze with features like abandoned cart follow-up, mail list management, and automatic confirmation emails.
- AShop Commerce “Selling online is now easy.”
The eCom specialists at AShopCommerce (not to be confused with AshopSoftware) have put a lot of time into building and thought into their SEO and feel that your success is their success. They allow their merchants to sell both physical and downloaded products through a computer or mobile store front. They also provide a solid SEO that features spider friendly URLs, auto HTML & CSS generation, customizable META tags, and auto tag generation.
- Big Commerce “Sell More”
The team at BigCommerce have built one of the most complete eCommerce Solutions that ZippyCart has come across. Their all-in-one solution will host your website, domain name, shopping cart, and more, while providing you with great SEO and a healthy feature set. All of this comes packaged in their fun, easy-to-use control panel! “Fun” might seem like a strange word but they’ve managed to make their system one of the most pleasant places to work!
- Core Commerce “Everything to make your online business click!”
Always a ZippyCart favorite, CoreCommerce stays on top of the trends and latest eCommerce technology. They provide an amazing support team that is always ready to answer questions about their system or full feature list. Their solution offers features such as a built-in blog, strong marketing presence, a mobile storefront, and easy-to-use design customization.
- Fortune 3 “Sell on the web, the right way!”
The shopping cart software provided by Fortune3 provides thousands of features that online merchants need to build, maintain and be successful with their online store. They allow you to sell your products on FaceBook and offer widgets that make social sharing a breeze. They also allow their merchants to keep in touch with their clients through customer reviews, newsletters and email marketing.
- Nexternal “Sell more online than ever before!”
Online business owners who already have an online store may be interested in Nexternal as they specialize in taking an existing storefront and adding it to their system. Their software includes an order management system, a B2B, and a business to customer store. This system allows clients to be separated in to specialized grouping, which makes them one of the few who offer this type of management. The team at Nexternal will take the time to do walk-throughs and address problem areas. They are very careful in taking on your business needs.
- Pinnacle Cart “Build the perfect online store in minutes.”
ZippyCart appreciates all of the work that the PinnacleCart team has put into their software. They’re always a favorite due to their extremely robust feature set and top-notch SEO & marketing. They take on cart abandonment with their unique Drift Marketing and keep customers engaged with features like a built-in blog and customer reviews. Products listed under their system can easily be pushed to eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, Google, PriceGrabber, NextTag, and more. In addition, all of their packages provide 3 ways to sell… a website, mobile store and Facebook storefront
- Shopify “Create your eCommerce store today with Shopify.”
Shopify has long been a heavy hitter for merchants who are seeking a shopping cart solution. Their storefronts usually look great and are built to sell as there are over 100 premium and free design templates to choose. They also allow you to write your website in any language that you want and have shopping cart check-out translations for over 50 languages. Of course to support this, they support currencies and tax rates, as well.
- Shopping Cart Elite “Innovation is how our shopping cart stands out from the rest.”
The team at SCE wants to make sure their stores are always ahead of the competition. They provide features that will spy on competitor pricing and adjust your prices accordingly, and features that will automatically build one way backlinks and drive traffic to your store. In addition, SCE will help you push your products into the Google Base, Ebay, Amazon and Craigslist, making sure you have visibility through many channels.
- Volusion “Open a successful online store.”
Having been around for more than a decade, Volusion is a well-known eCommerce solution that has stood the test of time. Their online stores come with a great product set-up and an integrated one-page checkout that helps buyers complete the sales process and reduce cart abandonment. Other helpful features include daily deals, coupons and discounts, and a wish list for customers.
By Brendan Egan
July 2, 2012
Managing an online store has never been easier. The development of the shopping cart software has allowed ecommerce businesses to add a user friendly system of shopping and payment procedures. Visitors imagine themselves clicking products into their virtual shopping cart just like they do in the grocery store.
Of course a shopping cart is not really a cart that you’re dragging around the website. It is simply a program that keeps record of the items that an online consumer has selected so it can forward those accumulated items to a billing counter. For the online shopper, it displays a final bill of all the items you have chosen to purchase during your visit and presents you with options for payment method. For the online merchant, it controls the entire behind the scene workings of their online store and product management.
To clear any misconceptions, shopping cart software does not manage any kind of financial transactions, nor can it connect to any kind of bank for details. Those details are handled by Gateway and Payment software. It is simply a front desk that acts as a receptionist to a storefront and helps all other software to interact with each other.
For example, when purchasing an item, shopping cart software updates the inventory by reducing the number of items in stock after a sale. It communicates with the financial software that manages the payment transition. If the bank denies the credit card transaction, the financial software informs the shopping cart of the decision and the shopping cart reports it to the online shopper.
Precautions in Purchasing Shopping Cart Software
When choosing how to build your ecommerce business, you must decide on what shopping cart software to add to your site. Finding an affordable ecommerce solution that meets your needs may involve many hours of market research or using an ecommerce comparison service like ZippyCart. One serious security precaution you must take is staying clear of free shopping cart software aka ‘freemium’ software, unless they come from a highly reputable brand. In general, there are many affordable packages available online that are much safer to use than using free ones.
One of the best reasons to avoid unknown freemium software they often only give you the barest, basic features for free and then charges high rates for its premium features. For example, you may not be able to add more than 10 items at a time until you upgrade. It could also be a scam to get access to your financial information. As you know, once you enter your credit card details on to websites the information is communicated online with the bank, while this communication is relayed to fake or scam software can easily hack into the link and store the credit information to send it back to the hacker.
Other issues include having no financial gateway access and not having credit card payment options. Full feature shopping cart software could cost you around $250- $300 but is often a worthwhile investment in your ecommerce business.
Using Reliable Software
Reliable software like PayPal, Nexternal, Pinnacle Cart or Big Commerce come integrated with financial software and shopping cart software. The advantage with using reliable software is that they have built in features to work with well-known financial gateway software. It is very beneficial if you plan to include credit card payment method. Credit card option has to be available in the shopping cart software which is never available in free software because Visa and Master Card only allow select companies that are PCI-compliant to have this option. Unfortunately, freemium companies do not offer PCI-compliance as it is very expensive and difficult to maintain.
Guest author Brendan Egan is an expert in finance and advises on the usage and handling of credit cards, loans, etc. He has many articles published on finance related issues and other ecommerce business solutions.
By Susan Delly
June 15th, 2012
Every spring, the world eagerly gathers to watch The Academy Awards, an event that honors the dazzling film industry and is televised live in more than 100 countries annually, with more than 39 million viewers in North America alone. We swoon as film industry elites hypnotize us with gorgeous smiles, clothes and speeches. On the business professional side of life however, another type of annual awards ceremony takes place, The Stevie Awards. This ceremony honors the achievements, outstanding contributions and hard work of the business world across 60 countries and has been referred to as “the business world’s own Oscar awards” by the New York Post. The Stevie trophy is even designed by R.S. Owens, the same company that makes the Oscar and is considered by many to be the world’s most desirable honor.
2012 is celebrating the 10th Annual Stevie Awards and they’ve started with more popularity than ever before! Having originated as a way to recognize good business leaders and “restore public confidence and investor trust”, the Stevie Awards are closely watched by the business community because of their reputation for fair and accurate recognition. Finalists are determined in preliminary judging over a five week period in which more than 140 executives vote on nominated companies. Gold, Silver, and Bronze finalists are then determined in final judging by more than 150 members of 10 specialized final judging committees.
Stevie Awards programs include The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, For Women in Business, and For Sales & Customer Service. Currently, The American Business Award finalists have been announced but the other 3 categories are still accepting nominations. The final award presentations for The American Business Awards will be split into two award galas for the first time this year. The traditional awards banquet will be held in New York on June 18, and the tech awards gala will be hosted in San Francisco on September 17.
ZippyCart is proud to recognize one of their own Top 10 Best eCommerce Solutions, CoreCommerce, as a finalist in 3 categories; Computer Software, Programming and Design, and E-Commerce Website! They earned this recognition from more than 3000 submitted entries and 2012 marks the 3rd year that CoreCommerce has been a finalist of its award nomination.
Speaking on the nominations Matt DeLong, President and CEO stated, “We are grateful that CoreCommerce is being recognized for its products and services. We have been serving our customers with the best Ecommerce products and legendary services for over ten years. We love helping entrepreneurs and businesses sell their products online and are grateful to be recognized for such prestigious awards.”
CoreCommerce is a leading hosted eCommerce shopping cart software provider. Founded in 2001, the company provides an exceptional online solution for entrepreneurs, and small to medium size businesses allowing them to create a storefront and sell products around the world. CoreCommerce software integrates with a hundred partners offering payment gateways, shipping, product feeds, fulfillment, email marketing and social media. Its Legendary Support is second to none in the industry. For more information about CoreCommerce, please visit ZippyCart’s expert review.
Stay tuned in on the Stevie Awards as the traditional awards banquet in NYC is this Monday, June 18th! Look this fall, Sept 17th, for the tech awards gala in San Francisco,
April 14th, 2012
By Susan Delly
What happens when you buy something online? To the average consumer, it’s a simple process of adding an item to the virtual shopping cart and pressing the ‘buy now’ button… but what really happens? The truth is, your simple check-out process is a series of steps that go through several different processes before it’s sent back to you with an approval. The chosen eCommerce solution software of the online store that you’re purchasing through will make or break your check-out process.
When I’m ask what I do for work, I often get into a lengthy discussion of how I evaluate, review and rank eCommerce solutions software (aka shopping carts). That leads into further talk of merchant accounts, gateways, your bank, credit cards and yadahyadahyadah. At the end of my explanation, people are still confused and sometimes think I work in related areas such as SEO and online marketing because I’ve explained how SEO is an important consideration with a hosted eCommerce solution. While that’s part of what I review, it doesn’t really explain ZippyCart.com and the work I do. The truth is that most don’t understand the processes that occur after a credit card has been swiped, unless they’re in the industry.
Tonight was another one of those nights where conversation led to work and me trying to break-down the credit card approval process in a user-friendly way. When I got home from the wedding I was at, I searched out an easier way to explain the basic parts of eCommerce solution evaluations that I do. I found this awesome infographic that will help in the future!
December 19, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Countless ecommerce sites are offering holiday deals this year, but shoppers will gravitate to retailers that provide security and efforts to prevent identity theft. Given the ease of global Internet shopping, consumers are buying products from companies all over the world, and, especially when dealing with foreign ecommerce sites, customers want to be assured they are shopping securely. Shoppers are concerned with the security risks and scams associated with online deals, and retailers must combat this fear to break through the cluttered ecommerce landscape and attract more customers.
TransPerfect, a leading provider of language services and technology solutions, announced that it now has PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) certification for its GlobalLink OneLink technology. This makes OneLink the first website localization solution to boast this added layer of data security, thereby giving shoppers further reassurance to the safety of their information when shopping online. PCI DSS certification minimizes the risks associated with transacting business over multilingual e-commerce sites around the world.
GlobalLink OneLink is designed to address the specific needs of ecommerce, retail and travel sites via a proxy-based approach. Once the site is launched, advanced change-detection capabilities ensure that multilingual versions remain current whenever updates occur. In markets where SKUs, prices or other vital information changes daily, hourly or even by the minute, automating site maintenance across all language versions of a customer-facing website is critical to a successful multilingual web strategy. The addition of PCI DSS certification provides localization security for these sites.
PCI DSS is a set of requirements designed to ensure companies that process, store, or transmit credit card information or other personal information for site users maintain a secure environment, guarantees that all guidelines are followed when handling sensitive client data related to online commerce and customer interaction.
Phil Shawe, co-CEO of TransPerfect, had this to say about the company’s new certification:
“Since we work with e-commerce and other types of sites that require users to enter highly sensitive personal information, it was important to our firm to take the lead by investing in PCI Certification. Our clients want the greatest possible assurance that their customers’ data is secure when transacting business over the web globally.”
When using TransPerfect’s OneLink, ecommerce sites are able to ensure that their customers’ sensitive information, including credit card data, social security numbers and contact information, will remain confidential when transacting business globally over the web.
December 14, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
TapBuy is a new technology that aims to simplify the m-commerce checkout process and increase conversion rates. Available now to retailers, developers, and shopping aggregators, TapBuy facilitates a quick and easy sales conversion by storing shopper’s billing and shipping information. TapBuy technology can be integrated into retailer’s mobile apps, which then allows shoppers to make purchases from a series of supported apps and merchants with just a few taps.
Mobile commerce conversions are often prevented due to the inconvenience for shoppers to input all of their information. Typing out usernames, passwords, billing and skipping addresses and credit card information on small mobile devices is meticulous and time consuming. This is a major factor in poor m-commerce conversion rates in comparison to desktop ecommerce. In trials TapBuy’s quick-checkout technology has increased sales conversions for retailers up to 15 times. Conversion rates are increased due to the convenient platform TapBuy provides. Shoppers only have to enter their personal information one time and it is then saved by TapBuy. Once information is stored, mobile shoppers can checkout from any TapBuy-enabled app/merchant by typing their PIN.
TapBuy is a great tool to ensure mobile commerce thrives in 2012. M-commerce is swiftly gaining popularity, which is seen by the 516% increase in global mobile payments this Black Friday in comparison to Black Friday 2010. In addition, more shoppers than ever are browsing ecommerce solutions on mobile devices.
TapBuy also works behind the scenes to group consumers’ items in order to save shipping costs. This technology also helps consumer’s save money by tracking coupon codes and automatically adding them to customer orders.
TheFind Mobile, a shopping aggregator application based in San Francisco, is thus far the first customer to integrate TapBuy technology into their checkout process. TheFind is a popular in-store shopping app for smartphones that features bar code scanning and text search with online and local price comparison creating a helpful shopping companion. TheFind’s integration of TapBuy technology ensures customers will enjoy a secure and simple checkout process.
Ramneek Bhasin, VP & GM Mobile at TheFind, commented on the company’s use of TapBuy technology:
“The primary point of friction in mobile commerce is that entering a credit card number and shipping information onto a tiny screen is very cumbersome. By integrating TapBuy, we remove this point of friction for merchants, and are able to bring new deal discovery elements into our app.”
Currently, TheFind application is available on both iPhone and Android platforms.
November 18, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
BigCommerce recently announced that it now powers more than 20,000 online stores and retailers who use the ecommerce solution have processed a total of more than $350 million in sales.
Launched in 2009, the ecommerce software company has grown to nearly 100 employees and plans to hire more than 100 employees throughout the next few months. The rapid growth of BigCommerce has been supported by increased online spending and growing numbers of merchants selling online. The company currently has two offices, one in Austin, Texas and one in Sydney, Australia. Eddie Machaalani, co-founder of BigCommerce, had this to say:
“The boom in ecommerce is continuing to fuel our success and the growth of the business. We’re hiring people across all departments and we’re focused on making our clients successful by continually improving our product and by providing amazing support 24 hours a day.”
In addition to an easy-to-use store builder, BigCommerce ecommerce software provides online merchants with a set of more than 25 built-in marketing tools that allow them to do things like SEO, selling on Facebook, coupon codes, email marketing, and mobile commerce. Retailers who power their online stores with BigCommerce have sold a combined more than 30 million items to more than 230 million unique visitors. The average number of items per transaction is 7.6. Mitchell Harper, co-founder of BigCommerce, said the following:
“Our platform allows even the most non-technical business owner to really generate huge returns from ecommerce.”
The latest announcement from the company comes after it landed $15 million in Series A financing back in April. Additionally, the company recently launched its new application programming interface and is working with developers to build on the API platform. Harper had this to say about the platform:
“Ecommerce isn’t a one-size-fits-all business and our new API allows third party developers and integrators to build on the BigCommerce platform. Disparate systems such as accounting, ERP, email marketing and POS can now be tied into BigCommerce effortlessly thanks to the API and gives our clients unlimited flexibility whether they’re starting from scratch or looking to integrate BigCommerce into their existing business processes.”
A basic BigCommerce plan for online merchants starts at $25 a month making it an affordable and effective tool for both small and large businesses. A free trial is also available. The Australian-based company is currently the leading platform in the Australian ecommerce market and has partnerships with some of the country’s major vendors like eWay, Australia Post, and MYOB.
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