Practical Ecommerce

Cart of the Week: RomanCart

Practical eCommerce counts over 300 different shopping cart systems. In this weekly “Cart of the Week” feature, we profile a specific cart, asking the cart’s owners and users about its strengths and weaknesses.

Here we profile RomanCart, a U.K.-based hosted cart solution, offering cart packages starting at $89.99 a year. RomanCart also offers a free version of its standard cart, which does not include most of its marketing tools. We asked RomanCart representative Simon Leigh to explain the benefits of his company’s cart. We then asked Jonjoe Lewis, who uses RomanCart on two websites, Digitaldogtag.co.uk and Radio-release-keys.com, for his evaluation.

PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.

Simon LeighLeigh: “RomanCart is a hosted shopping cart and Internet marketing system. Used by over 34,000 merchants, the main advantage is that it makes it really easy to turn any website into an online store. You design your own Web pages, and RomanCart gives you the ‘Add to Basket’ buttons to paste in. This means that you can have your website exactly as you want. There is no need to rely on templates where there might be 10,000 stores looking the same as yours. RomanCart also connects to all the major payment gateways, meaning you can throw away the complicated integration instructions they normally give you.”

PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?

Leigh: “Ease of use. You really can turn a website into a store in under five minutes. No technical expertise is required at all.”

“RomanCart has lots of marketing features built in. For example, our ‘Welcome Back’ auto-responder. If a customer buys from you, then doesn’t visit your store for, say, six months, then happens to view your home page, this will automatically ping an email to the customer which you define, then adds them to an email sequence. You might say, for example, ‘Hi there. It’s great to see you again. Enter ABC123 at the checkout to get free shipping.’ Simply using this feature alone will increase your turnover if you are not doing this right now.”

PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?

Leigh: The main weakness is that many merchants are simply not aware of a lot of the advanced functionality they could be using and the positive effect that using it would have on their sales. However this is something we are addressing with a redesigned control panel and a lot more screencasts, our preferred method of explaining how to use the cart features.”

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

Leigh: “Because we have the details of millions of products being sold by our merchants, we are setting up a portal site where all the products are listed and can be purchased by customers through the merchant’s cart. This provides another route for customers to find their products and buy from them. This will be optional, of course. We are also planning closer integration with fulfillment houses and other third parties.”

PeC: How specifically would using RomanCart improve a merchant’s business?

Leigh: If a merchant is not using marketing functionality such as auto-responders and not currently tracking their marketing using features such as those found in RomanCart, they should expect to see significant increases in sales—provided the merchant is selling a product which customers want as opposed to products they have to convince the customers they need.

PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers?

Leigh: “Once you start selling online you stop being a businessman or woman and start being a full time marketer. It is marketing that will decide the amount of money that you make from your store. If you do not have access to marketing features such as those found in RomanCart right now it means that there are huge untapped profits waiting for you once you start marketing properly.”

A Customer’s View

Jonjoe Lewis uses RomanCart on two websites, Digitaldogtag.co.uk and Radio-release-keys.com. Here is Lewis’s evaluation of the cart:

PeC: What are RomanCart’s biggest strengths?

Jonjoe Lewis Lewis: “I searched for a simple to use, feature-packed, cost-effective shopping cart system. I tested many carts but found that the only system I could use without any fuss was RomanCart. Everything was so easy to use. If I were not sure about something, I would watch their screencasts or email support. Their main strength is the fact that they make sure that the merchant has the support required regardless of their ability, and assistance is always available to utilize the cart to its fullest potential, ensuring all our needs are met.”

PeC: What are some things it could improve?

Lewis: “To be 100 percent honest, RomanCart could improve the design of their own website. When I tell people about the cart I use, they look at the home page and because it looks so plain they think the cart is plain, too. Wow, are they mistaken.”

PeC: How specifically would using RomanCart improve a merchant’s business?

Lewis: “I have built two websites. Both have RomanCart on them. I just simply pasted in a few lines of code, and that was it. So whatever website you have, RomanCart fits in nicely. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity, this cart has lots of really useful features. I use them all. My customers feel secure, also. During checkout, the address bar changes to green as it does on eBay and PayPal. This has been commented on often. I have had no problems with any payments or security issues.”

PeC: Do you plan to continue using RomanCart? Why or why not?

Lewis: “Yes. I will continue to use RomanCart as it has enhanced my sales due to its simplicity and security for both the customer and the merchant.”

PeC: Any other thoughts on shopping carts for our readers?

Lewis: “If you are considering opening an ecommerce business and you want to accept online payments, use a shopping cart that has a recognizable feature, such as the address bar going green. This improves customer trust and definitely increases sales.”

Other RomanCart Sites

Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons

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