Practical Ecommerce

Cart of the Week: CoreCommerce

There are more than 500 online shopping carts. And each week we feature one, interviewing both the cart’s developer and a customer. “Cart of the Week” is not a review or an evaluation, but rather an opportunity to learn about a shopping cart from the people who build it and use it.

This week, we’ll hear from Matt DeLong, president and CEO of CoreCommerce, developers of CoreCommerce shopping cart software. The company is based in
Franklin Tenn., and its software has been used to create between 12,000 and 13,000 web stores, according to DeLong.

We’ll also hear from a CoreCommerce customer, Timothy J. Burns, owner of Minnesota Workwear, a site that sells industrial work apparel.

PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.

Matt DeLong

Matt DeLong

Matt DeLong: “The cart was first created in 2001 as a licensed product called digiSHOP, but in 2008, we adapted the digiSHOP PRO version and it became CoreCommerce.

“We wanted to give small businesses the same feature set that larger companies had access to, specifically power tools for small businesses.”

PeC: Is it hosted, licensed, or both?

DeLong: “CoreCommerce is a true SaaS (software as a service) product. We also offer the licensed cart, digiSHOP.”

PeC: How much does CoreCommerce cost?

DeLong: “$24.99 to $159.99 per month, depending on the number of products and your bandwidth requirements.”

PeC: What is your company doing to become PCI compliant?

DeLong: “We are PCI compliant as of October 7, 2009. We were audited by Chief Security Officers, LLC based in Scottsdale, Arizona. We actually had implemented most of the PCI-DSS best practices already, so the three month PCI audit was mostly pain free.”

PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?

DeLong: “We pay close attention to our customer service ratings every week and implement customer suggestions into new features every two to three weeks. Our customers get dozens of new features that can help them grow well beyond ‘startup mode,’ and new features are implemented automatically–no patches to run or anything like that.

“We were one of the first to integrate with Google Checkout, Checkout by Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, SEO tools, third-party product feeds (like Shopzilla, Shopping.com, Google product search, Yahoo!, and Amazon). So our customers were some of the first merchants to leverage Google and Amazon’s customer base, and some of the first to use social marketing tools like Twitter and Facebook.”

PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?

DeLong: “It doesn’t have as many free templates as some other carts. We are working on that right now, actually.”

PeC: What plans do you have for future cart development?

DeLong: “We will be releasing a mobile-optimized version of the front-end shopping cart in the next few months, as well as tons more free templates.”

PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?

DeLong: “Our clients tell us all the time that their revenues have increased 10 to 50 percent without spending any more money on marketing. Integration with the cart’s tools can open new doors, allowing merchants to ‘share’ their products with a friend on Facebook or Twitter. Broadcasting tools like this can increase traffic and help merchants make more money.”

PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly ecommerce merchants?

DeLong: “Customer service and lots of new features are our primary focus, and we have thousands of customers who can back this up. If you are sick and tired of your online store not working for you, or if your ecommerce company is unresponsive, give us a try. Create a free trial account.”

A Customer’s View

Tim Burns owns Minnesota Workwear, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based online catalog that sells work apparel, such as scrubs, fire protective clothing, and coveralls. The site brings in approximately $1 million per year in gross revenue via CoreCommerce, and Burns provides his comments and opinions about the cart below.

PeC: How long has your company been using CoreCommerce?

Tim Burns

Tim Burns

Tim Burns: “We have been using it almost one year now. We were using a cart that did not fit our needs because it was really geared towards a specific industry that we didn’t serve. Although we were beginning to have some success with pay-per-click (PPC) ads, we felt we could really grow it more if we found a better system (cart).

“A web developer we had used suggested CoreCommerce and we tried the trial run. One of the things I was most excited about was the ability to control my own site. I did not want to be at the mercy of a web developer. The web is fast and dynamic. If I come up with an idea, or want to add or delete a product, I want to be able to make that change myself and not wait for some developer to fit us in and charge us. After seeing CoreCommerce, I knew we could do all of this without a developer.”

PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?

Burns: “One of the biggest strengths is they don’t sit still. We had been with a web company that told us that their cart was basically ‘cooked’ or done as they called it. (Never tell me there will be no more features, especially in the online market.)

“CoreCommerce always seems to be coming out with new features, tweaks and upgrades. I love that. They also have free customer support with real people who want to help. That is huge. I have never had a bad experience with any of its customer service people.

“Additional CoreCommerce strengths are that it is Google friendly, it is easy to add products, and it syncs with QuickBooks.”

PeC: How could the cart improve?

Burns: “I would like to see more security features. We had a run of some fraudulent charges a while back that cost us some time and money. I would like to be made aware of more things that can be done to make things more secure. I would love to see more features having to do with the PPC aspect of our business.

“Also, we do a lot of [PPC] work with Google and Yahoo!, and more features geared towards them would be great.”

PeC: How would CoreCommerce improve another merchant’s business?

Burns: “It can really help people on many different levels of their business. If you just want to have an informative site you can do that very quickly–you don’t need to be a web guru to get a professional looking site up very fast. And the help they give you is terrific.

“Also, the price is competitive. And, for those of us that are really into it, there are a bunch of features and bells and whistles you can really have fun with and still get the help if you need it.”

PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?

Burns: “Absolutely. We have had an absolutely positive experience with CoreCommerce.”

PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning the cart?

Burns: “Whatever size your business is, this cart works. You can tell the CoreCommerce guys have a passion and drive for this because it shows. I would recommend these guys 110 percent. I just hope they don’t get bought out by some big company and have things change.”

Other CoreCommerce Sites

Kate Monteith

Kate Monteith

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Comments ( 6 )

  1. eekamoose March 2, 2010 Reply

    I’ve been researching a list of 4 carts to set up my first ecommerce store. CoreCommerce is on the short list and this review sounds very positive. My only concern is the Editor’s Note about CoreCommerce not being on The PCI Security Standards Council’s nor Visa’s list.
    How significant is this?

  2. David Ephraim May 4, 2010 Reply

    We have customized both design and code with this shopping cart software (both DigiSHOP and CoreCommerce) for years now and can honestly say this e-commerce software definiteley keeps up with just about any shopping cart software around.

    What is most important to us as a website design company (www.atakinteractive.com) is to work with a software company that understands both vendor and consumer demand and need for flexibility; features for both the vendor and consumer that make sales more seemless, informational, and fun.

    SumEffect keeps up with the big boys and even innovates. The software is very easy to use (even for merchants/vendors/e-tailers who are just starting out) and the open source version is COMPLETELEY CUSTOMIZEABLE. In fact, SumEffect Software even helps us solve customization questions we may have and have often helped our independent coding teamdig down and find a solution.

    SEO and this cart is a big plus. Be sure to check out all of their SEO friendly features, shopping engine product feed tools, and a ton more.

  3. homeseasons July 29, 2011 Reply

    The Beginning

    We had been using Corecommerce for almost a year with great success. The shopping cart system and options available to novice users was impressive and intuitive. We recently learned about their custom page design service, and looked through their client gallery. We were impressed with the sites they built. With such an enjoyable experience using the e-commerce platform, we decided to go forward with their custom design service. To start off, they sent us an exhaustive questionnaire about what direction and inspirations we want to use for the design. After submitting that, we had a one hour phone consultation with Steven, our designer for the project. We told him in detail the direction the custom design should go, our company’s core goals and the image we wanted to portray. We also showed websites that we liked as sources of inspiration, as well as websites we didn’t like. We were told a first draft would be provided within 10 days, and we had 3 stages of minor revisions to help finish up the design. The call was pleasant and communication was clear, we were very excited to see our custom design.

    Link to the survey we filled out:
    http://www.dawuster.com/HomeSeasonsSurvey.pdf

    The Bad

    The first draft they gave was lacking any kind of creative spark. It looked like a premade cookie cutter template you could choose from the regular interface. We were more than a little concerned. We expressed our concerns for the next revision, giving more design direction, asking for custom graphics and for a more directed design towards our product, a big push for more creative output. The second revision was literally a change in colors and a few gradients added. This set off alarms, and we strongly voiced our concern that we would need to have a phone call and bigger changes than what was made in the first revision. We were given a cookie cutter response, saying we had two revisions left and what we were requesting was beyond the scope of a minor revision. Phone calls were not allowed, only communication was through the email ticketing system. We were very disconcerted by this. They basically said the first draft, like it or not, was what they would base the design off of, and they could only make incremental tweaks. After much back and forth and stress requesting a real life person to speak to and not the same policy over and over again, we finally got on a call to Nikita, who listened to our entire story.

    Link to our original deisgn, their “custom” design, and the first revision
    http://www.dawuster.com/hs%20fail%20copy.jpg

    The Ugly

    He agreed there was a disconnect in our expectations and their output. In short, he said we had to verbalize EXACTLY what we wanted and where to put it for our custom design. To us, we paid $1,800 for them to figure it out and BE CREATIVE. He tried to say it was our fault for not being specific enough, when in fact there was a complete lack of creative effort on their end. We included the fact that we have a creative team and programmer, but we wanted to outsource this because in their portfolio they have good examples of the work they had performed. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, we even asked them what or how did they get to that the product of the examples in their portfolio. He stated for those specific ones, the client asked for every detail, meaning they did none of the creative work other than the execution of what the client specifically dictated. Nikita agreed that there was a disconnect between the design and what we had laid out as the direction we wanted them to move in. But, again he stated that was OUR FAULT! Exasperated, we stated since they had only done 10% of their work for the project, and since we would not receive an end product to our satisfaction, we would like to walk away from the project and recoup our losses and get a full refund or at least a partial refund. He stated we could walk away from the project, but as a company policy there were no refunds ever. He said we could continue with the work (which he even agreed the end result would be something we’re unsatisfied with) and to change our expectations to suit “the reality of the scope available in the remaining revisions”. He told us to lower our expectations for a project which won’t be delivered to satisfaction. We were dumbfounded and frustrated by this clear lack of customer service and their hiding behind policy.

    We even went so far as to ask for someone else higher up the chain to speak to. He said, he reports to the CEO and given this situation he knows there’s nothing that can be done, “as a company policy, we do not issue refunds, EVER.”

    So in conclusion, I wouldn’t touch Corecommerce with a 10 foot pole, in fact, run away! Their inflexibility and poor customer service experience on the part of Nikita and apparently the company culture, coupled with the non-refunded failed project ruined the rest of the experience for me and my company. We are planning to withdraw our store from their E-commerce platform. If you know exactly what you want your site design to be down to the minute detail, and can communicate well, you should use another service, they’ll do a better job. But if you’re expecting them to take the creative reins, or even be creative, don’t even bother. You’ll end up paying $1,800 for a pre-made late 90’s template.

  4. homeseasons August 3, 2011 Reply

    After posting a previous review about our negative experience, We were contacted directly by the CEO Matt Delong and allowed to explain our situation to him fully. He lsitened intently, and apologized for the way our initial experience turned out. Without going into too much detail, we were able to communicate on an even level and found a way to move forward that would be mutually beneficial, This was a complete turnaround than our prior customer service experience. It feels good to have options again, and I give them credit for being able to take responsibility and be flexible about a unique situation. This is not to say the situation is resolved fully yet, but having the CEO of corecommerce take notice and personally attend to the situation means a lot. I will post another update to let you all know how it turned out.

    -Homeseasons

  5. 12345 August 17, 2011 Reply

    Core Commerce Review – if you’re thinking of going with Core Commerce I strongly recommend that you look elsewhere….I’ve been with them for two years now and am really sick of dealing with new issues and problems with them on a regular basis. I’m on hold with them right now because no one can buy anything in my shopping cart at the moment. I put in a ticket 5 days ago that no one could use gift certificates and it’s still not fixed. I put in a ticket earlier today that new products we entered are not showing up in our cart….you get the idea. Super nice people but far too many ongoing issues for that to make up for the continual isssues that affect the shopping cart working properly. Core Commerce – are you finally listening?? Please contact me if you are….on to the next site to post my reviews.

  6. surfjam November 29, 2011 Reply

    I fully agree with the anonymous poster above. Core Commerce may have been a good company in the past, but since we’ve started working with them in June, 2011, it’s been a very different experience. Very negative. Much of the negativity coming from Matt DeLong himself in their forums.

    The result is that the forums are practically a ghost town. There is not community feeling and most questions have gone unanswered for many months.