AmeriCommerce has been helping merchants successfully sell online for years, and takes pride in a broad feature set and unique offerings that make this ecommerce solution stand out from the crowd. If you are a merchant that wants to run multiple storefronts, but manage them all from one simple tool, then AmeriCommerce is a great choice. Beyond the ability to manage multiple storefronts, AmeriCommerce also makes it easy to add shopping cart functionality to an existing website with their remote carting features. Your customers can make purchases directly on your already live website and checkout using the AmeriCommerce PCI-compliant checkout system. This hosted shopping cart has 5 packages available which vary in price based on the number of products you wish to sell, your traffic levels, and storage. You can also take AmeriCommerce for a test drive with a 14-Day free trial (no credit card required). To learn more about AmeriCommerce and see how it stacks up against other ecommerce solutions, read the detailed AmeriCommerce review below.
|Shopping Cart Feature||ZippyScore (out of 5.00)||Shopping Cart Feature||ZippyScore (out of 5.00)|
|Overall Value (15%)||4.34||Customer Service (15%)||4.31|
|Level of Customization (15%)||4.65||Ease of Use (15%)||4.32|
|Search Engine Friendliness (10%)||4.62||Range of Tools Available (10%)||4.58|
|Depth of Reporting Tools (5%)||4.56||Social Media / Social Commerce Integration (5%)||4.45|
|Mobile Commerce Integration (5%)||4.37||Free Trial Features (5%)||4.50|
|Overall ZippyScore: 4.46 out of 5.00|
The ecommerce software solution from AmeriCommerce was first developed in 2000, and quickly became popular with merchants looking for a great ecommerce platform to power their online store. AmeriCommerce is based out of Beaumont, Texas, and provides their ecommerce merchants with technical support by phone 9am-5pm CST, Monday-Friday. Additionally merchants can access the AmeriCommerce support portal 24/7/365, and if they cannot find an answer to their question, they can open a support ticket to ensure their question is addressed as soon as possible. One of the best features that merchants using AmeriCommerce receive, is the ability to create multiple storefronts, and control all the management capabilities from one administrative console. This is a big request that many ecommerce merchants have, but few solutions provide the functionality to do this successfully. Overall AmeriCommerce has a very attractive ecommerce software solution that should meet or exceed the needs of most small to medium-sized online merchants.
Because of this, AmeriCommerce is a 2011 Gold Winner on ZippyCart, making it one of the top 5 shopping cart solutions of the year. AmeriCommerce also won a variety of annual awards here on ZippyCart, which we call The Zippys.
2011 Awards Won by AmeriCommerce Include:
1. Most Extensive Storefront Features: First Place
2. Best SEO: Second Place
3. Most Innovative: Second Place
4. Best Customer Service: Third Place
Merchants have a variety of pricing options with this hosted ecommerce software solution from Americommerce, ranging from the entry level Steel package coming in at $24.95 per month, to the high end Platinum package at $299 per month (All packages have a $49 set up fee). Those merchants wanting to take advantage of managing multiple storefronts only have to pay $39 extra per month per store, plus a one-time $59 for set up of each store. AmeriCommerce made a major upgrade to their ecommerce software solution at the end of 2010, moving to version 2010.5, which included improvements to the security, reliability, and speed of the solution. In addition to the large scale improvements, there were also many features added, as AmeriCommerce is continually revamping and improving their ecommerce software solution to meet the evolving needs of their online merchants. Now in 2011, AmeriCommerce will put out more updates to their popular ecommerce solution, so that merchants can have all the features they need to run their online store day-to-day. AmeriCommerce does offer a 14-day free trial (no credit card required) for any merchants who want to test out their ecommerce solution first hand, so feel free to jump over to their site today so you can get started with creating your online store.
AmeriCommerce strives to make it as easy as possible for a merchant to set up their online store, regardless of whether that merchant is a seasoned pro switching from a different ecommerce solution, or a first timer looking to start selling online. Not only does the AmeriCommerce ecommerce platform walk you through the set up process, but the company also has YouTube videos as well, just in case you get stuck. The first step to getting started with Americommerce is to input all the information about your new online store, including address and currency symbol. Next merchants will want to pick one of the free online store templates, set up the taxable state and rate, and select the shipping providers that you plan to offer. This will allow you to complete the core set up of your AmeriCommerce online store, so you can then jump into the administrative interface and become familiar with navigation and options. At first glance the AmeriCommerce administration console seems like it has too many options, but as you review all of the navigation paths you quickly see that they provide you with an easy way to find whatever you need. This means you should not be intimated by the interface, and just take some time to look into all of the options so you can become familiar with the ecommerce software. Merchants will be impressed at how much work went into the AmeriCommerce administration console, and once they become accustomed to the system, it will be clear how the tools and features will provide them with everything they need to run their online store.
The back-end panel for AmeriCommerce may seem slightly confusing for those who aren't technology minded, but again this should not be something that should scare merchants away. Some ecommerce shopping cart providers work extremely hard to ensure that their administration panel is intuitive and easy to use, but this is often at the expense of functionality. AmeriCommerce focuses more on providing all of the tools an online merchant would need for success, rather than wrapping up just a few tools in a pretty bow and marketing it heavily to merchants. So while the AmeriCommerce administration panel may not be the easiest to use at first, it is worth spending the time to learn, as it can become a very powerful tool for any merchant who is serious about selling online.
The task of designing an online store with AmeriCommerce can be performed in a variety of different ways, with some merchants choosing to outsource this piece of their online business to professional designers to ensure that they have an amazing storefront. However AmeriCommerce has free storefront templates that can be manipulated with a WYSIWYG editor or HTML, whichever you prefer. Merchants can use an HTML editor of their choice, like Dreamweaver. Then they can take advantage of the point-and-click, WYSIWYG abilities, of the theme manager in the AmeriCommerce administration console. What is great about the theme manager in AmeriCommerce, is that it does not require the merchant to be an HTML or CSS pro. Therefore you do not have to be intimidated about playing with your theme, as you will have the tools you need to design the online store with your brand and logo the way you envision.
Outside of the normal design process of your online store, AmeriCommerce also provides you with additional tools in the form of pre-built Snap-Ins. These pre-built Snap-Ins offer online merchants the ability to add a variety of cool things to the homepage or sidebar of their online store. Some of the pre-built Snap-Ins include a side-bar shopping cart, hot sellers, mailing list sign up, or ecommerce site search. When merchants have an always-visible on-page shopping cart, the online shoppers always know what they have added to their cart, and therefore the pending purchase is always top of mind. Additionally merchants working with AmeriCommerce can use a single line running shopping cart total in their website header. Both options keep the items in the shopping cart visible to the consumer, so they can take the next step at anytime to move forward and finalize their purchase and shopping cart abandonment rates decrease. Overall the design capabilities in the AmeriCommerce ecommerce solution should please most merchants, as they are able to create a unique look that matches their brand with ease.
Another tool that makes AmeriCommerce stand out from the crowd is their remote carting feature. This is a great option for anyone who already has a live website and does not want to spend a lot of time redesigning things to work withing the AmeriCommerce platform. With remote carting, you can add shopping cart functionality to any existing website. This will allow you to sell products on an already live website that you have, or even place your remote cart on partner websites that wish to sell your products as well.
Almost anyone can open up an online store, but not every venture will be successful, and the ones that do succeed are those operated by ecommerce merchants who know how to market the site so it can receive targeted traffic. One of the more popular ways that merchants can market their online store is by purchasing pay per click (PPC) advertising on sites like Bing and Google, however you may need to spend a bit of money experimenting to figure out what works best. Additionally there have also been many studies published that show the benefit of having a high search engine ranking for a keyword and a corresponding PPC ad. When consumers see you ranking in #1 on Google and also having a PPC ad, they have an added sense of confidence in shopping at your ecommerce store. Therefore they are more likely to want to click one of the options and visit your online store to see if there is something that they want to purchase.
Many of the most successful ecommerce stores market their online store by executing a great search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, which allows them to rank well in the search engine results for their product or niche. AmeriCommerce has an extensive set of SEO tools and features for their merchants, which allow for complete flexibility to create an effective SEO plan. In fact, their list is so extensive that they were the 2011 second place winner for Best SEO on ZippyCart.
Ecommerce merchants partnering with AmeriCommerce can create custom URLs for their online store, but it is also good to note that AmeriCommerce automatically optimizes the page title, meta tags, alt text, keyword density, and URL of all of your pages in your site so that you will have a better chance to achieve your desired search engine ranking. Merchants who are switching to AmeriCommerce from another ecommerce software solution should be aware that they can transition their site without risking PageRank, as AmeriComemrce gives merchants a global URL rewriting tool so that they can map everything over and redirect any dead URLs. This is especially important for those online stores which have been around for many years, as they have history with the search engines, that is a critical component to helping rank on sites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
While SEO is an extremely vital component to the success of an ecommerce merchant, there is another marketing strategy which cannot be ignored, especially for a new merchant opening an online store. AmeriCommerce allows their merchants to easily connect their product catalog to over 40 of the most popular online shopping feeds like Google Base, Yahoo Shopping, ShopZilla, Froogle, and BizRate. Tapping into these online shopping feeds will instantly expand the reach and presence of your online store, providing you with additional channels to generate sales. The best part about connecting your store to these online shopping feeds is that you can set it and forget it, as the AmeriCommerce ecommerce platform will automatically update your product catalog to the shopping feeds on a regular basis, which is a rare feature that not all solutions provide. This allows you to focus your time and energy on other tasks, allowing you a better chance to ensure that your online store is a success.
The current version of AmeriCommerce does not have a lot of social media tools beyond including the Add This button to your online storefront so that people can social bookmark your products and pages. That said, AmeriCommerce is continuing to evolve and is including more social media tools in their upcoming releases, and just recently added the option for merchants to set up a Facebook store. Social commerce is still a very new area to ecommerce, and merchants are slowly working on ways to incorporate this into their marketing strategy, so that they can attract more customers to their online store.
One of the big features that sets AmeriCommerce apart from most of their competitors is their seamless Multiple Storefront Technology™, which does not sound like much on the surface, but becomes very exciting once merchants understand the possibilities behind it. The Multiple Storefront Technology™ allows merchants to operate as many online stores as they want with the AmeriCommerce ecommerce platform, and all of them can be controlled within the same admin panel. Many ecommerce merchants enjoy operating more than one online store, and the Multiple Storefront Technology™ allows them to streamline this management, so more time can be spent on generating sales. This is a great option for those merchants who like to create a variety of ecommerce stores in different niches, as they can manage it all from one location. If merchants want to take advantage of this feature, they only have to pay $39 extra per month per store, plus a one-time fee of $59 for the set up of each store.
Now that you know you can manage multiple ecommerce stores with AmeriCommerce, the next thing you will want to know about are the details about their specific tools for complete catalog, order, and customer life cycle management. The heart of the AmeriCommerce product catalog is their powerful product editor, which allows merchants to save time as they can easily control all of their products on a mass scale. Therefore it is not necessary to waste hours on end adjusting information about every individual product in your ecommerce store. Another powerful feature in the product area is the ability to set up up-sells and cross sells, which are key to increasing revenue per customer. The variant inventory feature is another important tool for merchants, as it is extremely common to have a product in different sizes and colors. It is critical to be able to control all of the variations, and price them accordingly with the right shipping costs. All in all the AmeriCommerce ecommerce software solution should provide a merchant with the right tools they need to oversee everything that is going on in their online store.
The order processing and fulfillment features in AmeriCommerce allow merchants to have complete control over their online store, and integrates smoothly with other areas of the ecommerce software platform. One of the most popular options for merchants is that they can choose to use a multi-step checkout process, or go for the smooth one step checkout process that is becoming increasingly popular. Integration of order processing and fulfillment, with the AmeriCommerce customer management tools, makes for seamless management of your online store. Merchants can process orders in a way that works best for them, and then utilize the customer management tools as desired to take care of their customers. If a customer so happens to provide their contact information during the shopping cart checkout process, but then abandons the cart, merchants can have the AmeriCommerce system send automated emails to those customers in an attempt to try and convert the abandoned cart into a sale. Overall the product, order, and customer management capabilities are quite robust, and the best way to see them in action is to sign up for a 14-day free trial (no credit card required) with AmeriCommerce. This will allow a merchant to determine if the AmeriCommerce ecommerce solution has all the features and tools desired, at an attractive price.
AmeriCommerce shines when it comes to customer support, which is why they won third place for Best Customer Support out of hundreds of ecommerce solutions that were judged in 2011. There is always a way to get in touch with someone and you can count on the fact that anyone you speak to will be able to help you get the answers you need. When we secret shopped AmeriCommerce, we found that no question was too hard for their support staff, and if we did stump someone, they were often sitting right next to a developer who knew the right answer. AmeriCommerce also works hard to customize solutions for their merchants, which means that any feature you need can be created by their talented team of developers. AmeriCommerce does lack live chat software though, so if this is your primary means of requesting support, you may have to consider how important it is to you. Luckily, you can call AmeriCommerce up and speak to someone directly when you need help, but be prepared, you may have to leave a message from time to time and get a call back. That said, the support team is tight knit, so you will easily be able to build a report with them and know that your needs are being met.
It is no surprise that AmeriCommerce was the recipient of the 2010 CODiE Award for Best eCommerce Solution, as our team of ecommerce experts also found that the software solution was a powerful and affordable option for merchants. Regardless of whether you are a new merchant who is opening their first online store, or a seasoned veteran who is switching to AmeriCommerce, you will be pleased with the possibilities that AmeriCommerce provides. The best way to truly get familiar with what the AmeriCommerce ecommerce solution can do for your online store, is by signing up for a 14-day free trial, which does not require a credit card to get started. This will allow you to get hands-on experience with AmeriCommerce and the great features discussed above in our expert review. If you become impressed with AmeriCommerce during your free trial, then the next step is to determine which of their monthly hosted ecommerce software solution packages works best for your online business. Prices start out at $24.95 per month, and top out at $299 per month for those merchants with high traffic volumes and/or an extensive selection of products. Additionally AmeriCommerce can work with any merchant to create a custom or dedicated solution, if one of their hosted packages does not fit the merchant's needs.