Security ( PCI / PA DSS Compliant ) - 8
Ease-of-Use - 8
Customer Support - 8
Marketing Features / Features - 8
Search Engine Friendliness - 8
Level of Customization - 8
Overall Value - 7
Design Features / Templates - 8
Social Media / Social Commerce Intergration - 10
Mobile Commerce Intergration - 10
Scaleability - 8
It's worth it
Ashop solid choice for anyone looking for an eCommerce Solution but doesn’t need a cart that can handle large quantities of products. Though they are expanding into global markets, the majority of Ashop customers are located in the Australia and the UK so the application seems to be especially suited for stores in those areas. They offer a great selection of payment gateways, especially in areas outside of the US.
AShopCommerce does a great job managing products, which makes it especially nice for merchants who need or understand the importance of visual enhancements. They allow multiple product images with a great number of display options, including Instant Zoom, Fancy Thumbnails, and Scrolling Marquee.
Online merchants are only allows up to 10,000 products per store, which could be a problem if you want a plan to sell large amounts of products. While the Facebook storefront is free, you’ll need to pay an additional $6.99 per month for mobile or step-up to one of their advance packages. They also lack some of the standard features you’d find in other carts.
Google Analytics is integrated into AShop so it’s very easy to track your visitors and make decisions based on web traffic, demographics, location, etc. The ZippyCart team really liked the Ashop design tools, which were very easy-to-use for beginners with easy access to code for advanced users. They also offer SMS alerts, which is pretty unique to any ecommerce system.
Zippy Carts Expert Review of AShopCommerce
Store Set-up /Designs
The basics of your store will be a breeze to set-up with the initial launch of an Ashop trial store. Their control panel is also easy to navigate. For example, as you are adding products and customizing their look and feel, you can easily click over to ‘store mode’ to see how everything is shaping up.
There are only 44 professionally designed theme themes offered and we found most of them on the bland side… needing a lot of attention. We did like the way they presented their tools once you got through their set-up process, however. It’s different compared to most carts, but in some ways it’s easier. You simply select the page you’d like to adjust and use the tools on the left side to change what you need. Additionally they’ve included a “drag and drop” system that allows you to control the look. While you don’t have control over everything, they tools they give you are easy to use and understand. Overall we were pretty impressed with their design tools. They do a good job of helping a beginner design a pretty unique store. This is one area Ashop excels in.
For merchants with their eyes on a global market, the Ashop system comes with 6 languages built-in and the ability to edit all of them. We didn’t see a way to create another language template and upload it but we think this would be an awesome feature to see from them in the future.
They offer a variety of different custom design solutions, but their prices seemed a bit on the high side so we’d recommend you check current rates. While their design packages were reasonable enough, we know you can get a great logo created for well under $599.
Ashop allows for a variety of different methods for uploading and downloading your product database so you shouldn’t have a problem getting your products into the store. They also offer “Inventory Migration Service” but again, it’s a tad spendy at $499.
SEO / Marketing
AShop is decent choice from an SEO / Marketing perspective. They give you the control of META management and use industry SEO experts to keep up-to-date, optimized source code. They offer spider-friendly URLs and redirects, along with Google, Yahoo and Bing META inclusion. We did see their URL’s are SEO friendly, but didn’t see an option in the control panel to manage the structure. This is a necessity for anyone migrating from another storefront. Hopefully this is something Ashop will include in the next versions.
On the marketing side of things, Ashop comes with some good features out of the box ( recommended products, free shipping on orders over $x, etc ) with their starter program, but you’ll need to step up to their “Advanced” or “Champion” packages before you’ll get to use features like AdWords, Moble, Gift Certificates, Digital Goods and more. This is another area aShop could improve upon. We didn’t see any re-marketing features or product widgets, which we see in other carts. It does have a nice set up product export tools which format your product database to work with a number of different sites, therefore increasing your exposure and ultimately sales. One other note, while Ashop does have an affiliate module included in its “Champion” package, I’m always leery of carts that add affiliate modules to their products. With so many decently priced affiliate applications on the market, I never understood why an ecommerce system focuses their efforts on adding them into their apps. Overall the marketing features are decent, but you’ll get more for less with other carts.
There are several ways in which AShop provides a secure eCommerce solution for their online merchants but being PCI-compliant is the most important one. They offer level 1 PCI-compliance for both their hosting environment and software. Some may consider their security a little over the top as most SMB’s will only require level 4 but ZippyCart appreciates that they took the extra effort to reach that compliance. There are hundreds of eCommerce software solutions out there but only a handful has managed to meet the strict regulations and maintain PCI-compliance as AShop does.
Other security measures include real time data back-up, multiple power sources behind your eCommerce software and full HTTPS / 128-bit SSL support for the check-out process and the admin panel.
Product / Store Management
AShop tries to save time and increase sales by including nifty product management tools. Product Q&A is an example of this as it allows online merchants to include answers to common, repetitive questions about an online product, before they’re asked! Though it is not standard in every package, Ashop online stores also offer moderated customer reviews, which are great for product satisfaction management and creating unique content for your website (which is important in improving SEO). We found setting-up product variants somewhat difficult and limiting. Also, while inventory tracking is available, it appears the system will not track it at the variant level.
Though it’s not much to look at, Ashop stores are managed through an admin panel that is fairly straightforward. You will be able to easily view and access many features such as orders, reports, customers, and content. Online business owners who need a little extra help won’t have to search for it as the community help forum and tutorial videos are just a click away, through the ‘help’ tab in the admin panel.
Ashop offers an order export feature, which is nice but we’d much rather see it tie into existing order and accounting systems like QuickBooks, Webgility, StoneEdge, T-Hub and others. Adding these types of features is a time saver and is a necessary for business as they expand and grow.
One of the things that ZippyCart most liked about AShop store management was the ability to function as a B2B wholesale company with them. They make wholesale reports, price separation, customer management and customer access a breeze!
AShop customer service has bases around the globe, from the USA and Canada, to the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Customer service stalls out during the weekends but during the downtimes, online merchants may search an online knowledge base, browse the help console, watch tutorial videos, checkout the e-commerce school or get involved in the community forum.
Contact support by phone: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm
(Different countries will have different hours and support phone numbers, however, so it seemed to be actually 24 hours, M-F.)
Contact support thru live chat: Monday to Friday, 24 hours a day
Email / Submit a ticket: Monday to Friday, 24 hours a day
Some of our customer reviews mention that, depending on your service need, you could try to reach a customer service base in another country if you have a problem on the weekend as your Sunday could be their Monday already.
AShop is a hosted solution that keeps it simple with 3 affordable pricing levels and packages. Their starter option is $24.95 a month but drops to a monthly $16.95 with a 2 year contract. There is no licensed version of Ashop so you’ll always have these monthly fees and the limitations (and benefits) that come with using hosted software for your online business.
When reviewing the Ashop pricing, be sure to note that they offer a lot of optional services such as SEO packages and support tickets / live help, so it’s best to check over the packages to see what is included and what has an add-on fee. Sometimes, it makes more sense to upgrade rather than add a bunch of monthly extras… especially if you’re interested in a mobile store, which is only included in the top 2 options.
ZippyCart found Ashop to be a decent application, just lacking many of the feature found in other applications. We really liked their design tools, but found their custom packages to be just a little pricey. SMS messages are unique and the numerous payment gateways you wouldn’t typically find in other solutions are definitely a plus. We’d definitely recommend it for small businesses that have limited inventory and are looking for a variety of international payment solutions.