Editor’s Note: “Cart Talk” is our new, weekly discussion about shopping carts with the merchants that use them. For this inaugural installment, we visit with a merchant that sells both digital and physical products via Limited Presssing, a hosted shopping cart.
There are now almost 600 online shopping carts for merchants to choose from. This includes hosted carts, licensed carts and open-sourced carts. Each week we will be interviewing a merchant that uses a particular cart, to get frank, real-world feedback on its use – what works and what doesn’t work.
This week, we’ll hear from Virgil Dickerson, CEO and founder of Suburban Home Records and Vinyl Collective, a Denver, Colo.-based music label that sells digital downloads, clothing and physical albums (CD or vinyl). Dickerson’s company uses Limited Pressing, a hosted shopping cart and social community for musicians and music labels. According to its website, Limited Pressing’s prices range from free to $14.99 per month. The company is based on Long Island, New York.
Dickerson uses the Limited Pressing cart to sell approximately 50,000 albums per year online, both digital and physical.
Practical eCommerce: Why Limited Pressing?
Virgil Dickerson: “After having used ChannelAdvisor and Zen Cart, I have found the best option for my business with Limited Pressing. The guys who run the company are very hands on and are easily accessible if a problem should exist. The cost to have a store with Limited Pressing is very inexpensive. But even though the price is low, the store is of a very high quality – it gives me everything I need.
“Limited Pressing offers the ability to bundle automatic downloads with physical product sales. So when a customer buys a tangible vinyl record, analog in nature, they also get digital versions of that same album as part of the purchase. Limited Pressing also hosts digital albums and makes it easy to print out digital coupons that can be inserted into vinyl records. They are great for all that is physical and all that is digital and the situations where you want to marry both formats.”
PeC: How much does your company pay for the cart?
Dickerson: “I pay $9.99 a month. I had been using ChannelAdvisor, which at one point cost me $1,000.00 per month. With the economy these days, I had to look at other options. Luckily with Limited Pressing, I pay a very small fraction of what I used to pay and I don’t feel like I lost anything in the process.”
PeC: When did your online store launch?
Dickerson: “I first started selling online in 1999. Since that time, I have tried a number of store options with mixed results. I also used to sell quite a bit of products on eBay, but have since abandoned eBay altogether due to cost to sell and the over-saturation of sellers and products. A lot has changed since 1999 especially in the music industry – I now sell a product [digital music] that people actively get for free nowadays.”
PeC: How long has your company been using Limited Pressing and did you try others?
Dickerson: “I have been using Limited Pressing for over a year now, and over the last 11 years, I have tried probably six or seven different store options.”
PeC: Can you describe how you process orders in Limited Pressing, step-by-step?
Dickerson: “Here is how I process physical orders:
- Log into my Limited Pressing store dashboard.
- Click the ‘orders’ button in the store dashboard.
- Print the orders for that day.
- Copy and paste name, address and email address into Stamps.com where I then print the postage for each particular order.
- Return to the Limited Pressing store dashboard and select ‘update shipping’ for each order processed, so the customer is notified via email of the order being shipped.
“Processing digital orders is even simpler:
- The customer places an order for a digital product.
- The customer receives an instant ‘checkout complete’ email, which contains a link to download the digital product. The customer can download the product from that email link for up to two years.
“For the case where a customer orders a physical product that is bundled with a digital product, a combination of the above steps occurs. I perform all the steps for a physical order processing, but the customer gets the additional ‘checkout complete’ email with the download link included.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Dickerson: “Biggest strengths include easy to use interface, ability to export orders/customer information, low cost, ability to make coupon codes, ability to bundle instant downloads with physical product sales, and how accessible and helpful their store support is.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
Dickerson: “I would like to see built into the store the ability to upload product info by spreadsheet, Excel or otherwise.
“And with this same concept in mind, I’d love to be able to make changes to my entire catalog by uploading an ‘update spreadsheet’ in the event that I need to change pricing, etc. to a number of my titles all in one fell swoop.
“It would also be great to be able to print shipping labels in bulk with the Limited Pressing store or with a third party that worked with Limited Pressing.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
Dickerson: “I don’t see any reason for ever leaving – it’s a solid product.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning choosing a shopping cart?
Dickerson: “Limited Pressing is perfect for my needs and I’ve tried so many options and learned from experience what works and what doesn’t work.
“If you’re just starting out, I think it is very important to look into as many cart options as you can after making a list of what you would like from a store/shopping cart. If you don’t happen to have a lot of experience with various carts, research them as a consumer – do a fair share of shopping online, so you can take away your likes and your dislikes with the stores you shop at.
“Check out user comments and reviews of various shopping carts at online stores, contact other online merchants selling similar merchandise and ask them about their experience with their cart and use your best judgment based on the needs of your individual store. One thing I have to say is that you do not need to spend a ton of money to have a great store. Shop around and good luck.”