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: “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?
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.”
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: “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?
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.”