Security ( PCI / PA DSS Compliant ) - 8
Ease-of-Use - 7
Customer Support - 8
Marketing Features / Features - 8
Search Engine Friendliness - 8
Level of Customization - 9
Overall Value - 9
Design Features / Templates - 9
Social Media / Social Commerce Intergration - 10
Mobile Commerce Intergration - 10
Scaleability - 8
It's worth it~
Nexternal is one of the few eCommerce shopping carts what will take the time to help you solve problems that you have with your current system and walk you through the entire store set-up on new stores. They also offer outstanding customer support.
Because Nexternal offers a more custom merchant experience in setting up your shopping cart, they are pricier than other carts on the market. They also have a limited number of payment gateways and limited customer service hours.
Nexternal is loaded with cool features that are unique to them such as an Always On-Screen or Collapsible Shopping Cart that instantly updates an order for customer convenience, Facebook Like & Save feature, Age Verification Services and a powerful set of XML Tools allowing you to integrate with almost any 3rd Party Application. Nexternal has several brands on it’s system and have a large following in the wine industry so if you’re a brand looking to expand your business, Nexternal may be a shoe-in for you.
To Sum it Up
They would be a good choice for any online merchant looking to solve a pain for frustration with their existing shopping cart and take their existing online business to the next level. Nexternal is very popular amongst brands and has several big name wineries on it’s system.
Zippy Carts Expert Review of Nexternal
Store Set-up /Designs
Nexternal specializes in taking a preexisting store design and adding it into their system. They do not offer pre-designed templates or skins. This means that if you want a customized look and feel for your storefront, you must bring that design to the Nexternal so that they can code it in.
Normally, one of the first tasks the ZippyCart team is to compare how complicated or easy the initial store-setup is. With Nexternal however, these base processes are uniquely taken care of with a specialized team member. They’ll be there for you, making sure the integration of your website design and their shopping cart software is as seamless and uncomplicated as possible. Whether it takes a day or weeks, they will get your store is running as well as possible, for your specific needs.
It’s important to understand that because Nexternal doesn’t operate from the “design your own cart” premise as other applications, it isn’t for everyone… nor do they try to be. Depending on your needs, this may or may not be advantageous to you. While most carts offer design as an additional service, it’s mandatory here and you need to take that into consideration when pricing Nexternal. They do provide tools to manage that layout once your store is live, but these tools are not for the beginner. You’ll need to know a little something about design and HTML color codes to get by.
While Nexternal’s control panel could use the services of a good user interface designer, it is functional and gets the job done right. Adding a product is fairly straight forward, but the ZippyCart team did notice some limitations that should be noted. You’re required to do things manually that other carts will do automatically, such as adding thumbnails. While Zippy understands this type of control is good for some merchants, others may rather have the system manage it for them. The process of adding a product is rather cumbersome and time consuming but it does give you options you typically don’t see in other eCommerce systems. A product import and export tool is available for imports you’re required to use the spreadsheet they provide or by API using their XML Tools.
SEO / Marketing
Nexternal takes SEO very seriously and is loaded with marketing tools that are designed to promote your store in the best ways possible. They have Facebook and Twitter integration and well as social commerce promotions with tipping points. Online merchants save time with automated daily product feeds that can be distributed to Shopping.com, Shopzilla, and several others.
SEO will be evident as Nexternal drives free, targeted traffic to your site using an optimized catalog and an XML sitemap file that is designed around major search engine requirements. Online merchants can also customize title tags and META descriptions and list the product name in the URLs.
ZippyCart liked that Nexternal merchants have the option to set-up automated emails that remind customers to come back and give their opinions in product reviews. Little efforts such as these collect valuable customer feedback and keep your brand in consumer minds, often bringing them back for futures sales.
Additionally Nexternal comes with a basic affiliate system for tracking sales and managing commissions. It also comes with a decent set of product feeds to other sites including Google, Nextag, Shopzilla and a couple of others.
Nexternal has most of the marketing tools you’d expect from a top shopping cart software, like gift certificates, coupons and related products. Generally speaking, the marketing tools are well-suited for a standard eCommerce store.
Security at Nexternal is a consideration that was well thought-out. They have taken the steps required to offer PCI-compliance and they use the latest SSL technology for orders and in the order management system. McAfee does daily security scans to ensure their system is secure and all credit card info is encrypted within their database. Nexternal guarantees 100% uptime and hosts its software at a leading edge data center.
Through the control panel, online merchants can protect themselves further by using different levels of security to restrict and allow access, as needed. This is helpful as it allows you to monitor employee activity and watch any modifications that are made to specific web pages and data.
If you put your shopping cart in Nexternal’s hands, you can relax knowing your basic security needs have been taken care of.
Product / Store Management
Nexternal takes control of your store management in many different ways. One of the ZippyCart favorite features is their ability to automatically segment customers into different category groupings based on previous product interest and market based on that grouping. We’ve actually had online merchants write in asking for this specialized grouping and we are happy to finally have a company that fits the need.
Always Onscreen Shopping Cart check-out is another unique Nexternal offering that makes the check-out process a breeze for online customers, and reduces cart abandonment. With this feature, potential buyers can browse / edit products while the shopping cart updates on the same page at the same time.
Other great product management tools include a system that will automatically add coupons, free products, etc, based on different cart triggers. If you’re looking to sell downloadable products however, you’ll need to integrate with an external partner. Also, if you have an existing relationship with a payment gateway, you may not find them under Nexternal’s limited selection.
It should be noted Nexternal also comes with a built-in help desk, something not found in all eCommerce solutions. SalesForce integration is also a great, standard feature, which is something you don’t see in a lot of solutions on the market.
Nexternal offers an app center that adds additionally functionality to their system. Many of the integration can really help, but may get a bit confusing as some of the listed “plug-ins’ are actually functions built into the cart.
ZippyCart was disappointed by the limited customer support hours at Nexternal as they are only available from 8:30pm – 8pm EST, Mon – Fri for phone and chat. The ZippyCart team tried to contact support via their live chat near the 8pm hour and no one was available. While the thoroughness and friendliness of their support is nice, it’s our opinion they need consider including nights and weekends. However, it is important to realize that the level of Nexternal’s dedication to each individual client goes above what most other carts offer, even if their hours are limited. They spend hours on system training and still offer contact to a highly trained account manager, even after your store goes live. With this type of support during ‘on’ hours, you may not need much help afterhours.
Comparatively, Nexternal packages and pricing may seem expensive; they start at around $100. That monthly cost may be too high for some start-ups but if you consider the excellent features, problem solving and customer care that makes them shine as a company, Nexternal is definitely a great choice and well worth consideration. Also, their pricing includes free standard features that are premium features with other shopping carts, such as unlimited bandwidth, a free mobile store and included security certificates.
While Nexternal isn’t for everyone, it’s a topnotch solution for its intended market. This isn’t what we’d consider a “beginner” cart but if you have some technical experience and require integrations with CRM, ERP and EDI solutions, Nexternal is something you need to look at. If you have an existing storefront that needs some extra attention and help with sales, the team at Nexternal will be able to help!