Practical Ecommerce

Cart of the Week: Digital River’s CCNow

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 Brant Pallazza, vice president of marketing for Digital River, the parent company of the online shopping cart known as CCNow. Digital River is based in Minneapolis, Minn., and its CCNow ecommerce platform serves roughly 10,000 users.

We’ll also hear from a CCNow customer, Buddy Carr. He is a professional skateboarder and the founder of Indaba Group Inc. The company is based in Oceanside, Calif. and it sells skateboards and accessories on Tailtap.com, with approximately $250,000 in annual sales.

Practical eCommerce: Please provide some general background on the cart.

Brant Pallazza

Brant Pallazza

Brant Pallazza: “Digital River CCNow was first launched in 1997 with the idea of providing online sellers an ecommerce solution for cost- and time-sensitive hard goods merchants. From its early start, CCNow has continued to evolve to offer our clients more tools. Some of those tools include shopping cart administration, menus to configure product options, payment processing, and the ability to support multiple currencies.”

PEC: Is it hosted, licensed, or both?

Pallazza: “Hosted.”

PEC: How much does CCNow cost?

Pallazza: “Two plans are available: A set-up fee of $39.95 with no monthly minimums, and 4.99 percent of gross sales, plus 50 cents per transaction; or a set-up fee of $9.95 plus $9.95 monthly fee if less than $100 in gross sales, and 4.99 percent of gross sales, plus 50 cents per transaction.”

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

Pallazza: “Digital River’s CCNow is level 1 PCI certified. Digital River is listed on Visa’s Global List of PCI DSS Validated Service Providers. The onsite PCI assessment was performed by a QSA (qualified security assessor) from NetSPI using the Visa U.S.A. Cardholder Information Security Program Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) version 1.2.”

ListenListen to Brant Pallazza discuss his role with CCNow, as well as offer tips for merchants.

PEC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?

Pallazza: “With CCNow, businesses can start selling online immediately. It is an all-in-one ecommerce solution that provides a universal shopping cart. it is very simple to use and requires little development work. Merchants are ready to take their websites live with just a few clicks of the mouse to upload products and HTML links.

“CCNow also allows merchants to reach international markets quickly and easily by accepting 14 different currencies and multiple payment options. And, we provide 24/7 customer service.“

PEC: What are some of its weaknesses?

Pallazza: “At this time, CCNow is only able to support the sale of hard goods.”

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

Pallazza: “We are looking at direct integration for on-demand CD/DVD fulfillment, as well as adding recurring order functionality.”

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

Pallazza: “CCNow takes care of all the hosting requirements, and also provides universal shopping carts, self-administration tools, fraud and export screening, customer service and multiple payment solutions.”

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

Pallazza: “The one thing I want to say to anybody who is just starting in ecommerce is, there are enough services to help you sell online that you can do it yourself, but so can everyone else. One of the things that can make you different, and that others may fall down on, is support and service.

“When somebody buys from your site, be personal. Thank them with a confirmation email, be very open, and make sure your customer service number is available in case they have any questions. The best advice I can give anybody is to be friendly and customer oriented.”

A Customer’s View

Buddy Carr is the founder of the online skateboard store, Tailtap.com, which uses the CCNow ecommerce platform to sell skateboard-related products. Carr provides his comments and opinions about CCNow below.

PEC: How long has your company been using CCNow?

Buddy Carr

Buddy Carr

Buddy Carr: “June 2010 marks seven years. We originally choose to go with this cart based on the low start-up cost and low monthly fees. As a new company with very little working capital it made the most sense.”

PEC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?

Carr: “Ease of use. It is simple, efficient and effective.”

PEC: How could the cart improve?

Carr: “Quicker batch processing on the CCNow side would be a plus.”

PEC: How would CCNow improve another merchant’s business?

Carr: “Once the cart is up and rolling it requires very little maintenance. As a business owner, this is a huge plus.”

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

Carr: “Yes.”

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

Carr: “If you are a small start-up looking for a reliable cart and processing system, CCNow is an affordable way to get started. We have had very few problems, and any we have had were resolved promptly.”

Other CCNow Sites

Kate Monteith

Kate Monteith

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Tony Shetty October 19, 2013 Reply

    I was also with CCNow for over 10 years, and never had a problem with the previous owners / management who were very professional and very fair to their customers.

    Since it has been taken over by Snorasson, I have had nothing but problems with them, mainly because they do not pay our money on a timely basis!

    They will do anything and everything to hold on to our money for a few days more, before it was silly excuses like the money was not accepted by my bank, but this month, it is because of an unknown “rule” that there is a one payment “delay” when changing my payment date!

    There was never any such rule before, and we were never notified of this ridiculous rule, and the rule itself is stupid, because when a customer changes his payment date to say, next week, it is because he needs the money next week, not next month, as per this stupid rule!

    And their customer service? No apologies, no chance of any flexibility to accomodate our requests, nothing but a cold-hearted one line reply, informing us about stupid rules that never existed before!

    I am changing to another Payment Gateway, and I am pretty sure that everybody else will too, eventually, as people realize that this is not the “good old” CCNow, but a bunch of crazy people running the show now!

  2. Tony Shetty December 5, 2013 Reply

    Well, I’m impressed! Although I complained earlier, now I’m quite happy with CCNow!!!

    Customer Service at CCNow seems to be back to it’s wonderful efficiency!

    I was explained all the reasons why I experienced problems (turns out many of them were my own fault for not understanding the changes going on) and my issues resolved very professionally!

    Some of these changes, are, for our future good (weekly payments!) but we should realize that they come with rules like one should make changes at least a week in advance, not at the last minute, like I was trying to do!

    Keep up the good work, CCNow, we really appreciate it!