Practical Ecommerce

Cart of the Week: Shop2Cart

Practical eCommerce counts over 300 different shopping cart systems. In this ongoing “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 Shop2Cart, a Boca Raton, Florida-based hosted cart. We asked Paul Ross, President of Shop2Cart, Inc., to review the cart. We then asked M. J. Votypka, President of Mark Edwards Jewelry, about her opinion of the cart. Votypka uses Shop2Cart for Markedwardsjewelry.com, Nauticalflagjewelry.com and Skeletonfish.com.

PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.

Paul Ross Ross: “The Shop2Cart platform is currently in version 2.1 and is a hosted solution serving over 200 ecommerce websites and growing daily. Shop2Cart offers a Standard license at $30 per month and a Pro license at $45 per month. License discounts are available if paid in full for the year.”

PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?

Ross: “It’s quickly activated and extremely easy to use and configure. Nearly every aspect of the cart is easily managed through the admin interface. More sophisticated customization is available at a very affordable price. We can mirror nearly any existing marketing collateral or branded campaign.”

“Shop2Cart welcomes special functionality suggestions and can quickly accommodate such requests without the red tape of other solutions. Our standard license is robust with features such as our bulk upload feature, a newsletter manager, discount module, coupon module, separate shipping and handling settings, multiple payment methods including Authorize.Net and PayPal, an affiliate program to increase exposure and sales and search engine-friendly product listings to name a few.”

“The Pro license offers the ability to sell downloads such as music or e-books and allows you to include printable coupons or company catalogs with each product purchase.”

PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?

Ross: “Shop2Cart is a hosted solution so it is not available in a boxed version.”

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

Ross: “We’re completing an improved shipping module to allow storeowners to integrate with UPS, FedEx and USPS. It currently allows storeowners to set shipping with options such as weight-based, flat-fee and no-fee and also supports separate domestic and international rates.”

PeC: How specifically would using Shop2Cart improve a merchant’s business?

Ross: “It allows storeowners to get up and running quickly, easily and affordably. It allows storeowners to focus more on responding to their customer needs than learning how to use their stores. Our platform is also search engine-friendly and quickly gets stores listed in search engine rankings.”

PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers?

Ross: “All too often, prospective storeowners are unfamiliar with the technology available. They are easily wooed by solutions with thousands of reporting items and fancy store creation tools only to later learn they are paying too much for technology they don’t need and isn’t search engine friendly.”

“Shop2Cart was born out of the necessity to provide affordable, user-friendly and functional software to get you selling now and allow you to add functionality as you need and if you need it.”

The View of a Customer

M. J. Votypka owns three Shop2Cart sites, Markedwardsjewelry.com, Nauticalflagjewelry.com and Skeletonfish.com. She offers her views on the cart.

PeC: What are Shop2Cart’s biggest strengths?

M. J. Votypka Votypka: “I’m not a computer wizard. We had three other sites built for us that are so difficult to use I had to hire people. Shop2Cart is a shopping cart for the novice as well as the expert. It’s really easy to utilize and work on myself. If I have a question, Paul gets right back to me. He also does updates with customer requests to make it better. Customer support is a big deal with him. We’ve been burned before, so it’s nice to be able to say Shop2Cart is perfect for small business needs.”

PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?

Votypka: “None that I can see. I had one site that was virtual catalog he turned into a retail site. I’m allowed be to be artistic with the front of the site, and I haven’t seen any limitations. I can’t even foresee any limitations with a large business. When I’ve told him there’s something I’d like to add to the cart, Paul tells me he’s creating an update for it and it gets done quickly.”

PeC: How specifically would using Shop2Cart improve a merchant’s business?

Votypka: “One hundred percent support. We knew we had trouble with our legacy product because one time we had slashes in our product information. Our cue numbers had slash bars, which is a command control, but he designed a patch for us. This took others two years and thousands of dollars, and he fixed it soon and had it working.”

PeC: Do you plan to continue using Shop2Cart? Why or why not?

Votypka: “Oh, yes. We’re changing over one site now from a wholesale store to a retail store. Shop2Cart is brilliant in that it allows organizations like us to list our products as a ‘wholesale store,’ but the price doesn’t show unless they are a registered user approved by us. It’s an option that Shop2Cart offers which allows us to sell to a different market than our standard retail store with end users. Paul’s developing it so we know it’ll work for us. There are no restrictions. I’m even recommending it to other people.

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

Votypka: “They need to know what they need, what they’re trying to market and how they’re presenting their product. When you’re trying to give people your vision without drawing pictures, it’s hard for most people to get what you’re trying to do. Paul surprised me because he went past what I was looking for.”

Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons

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  1. Chris "Cartel" English April 17, 2009 Reply

    I’m not too impressed with Shop2Cart. When I visted Skeleton Fish and Nautical Flags there were session IDs in the url:

    "http://www.shop2cart.net/store/skeletonfish/?PHPSESSID=c8b335de21db3429384f154d90148f2a"

    Plus I’m not sure how being redirected to shop2carts domain for her stores will help with her SEO efforts to brand HER store’s identity.

  2. ProiMPACT7 April 21, 2009 Reply

    I must only agree with Chris’s comment above. Just try to search for "skeletonfish" in Google. Guess what, not there. The reason? Because their website name is well hidden under shop2cart domain: http://www.shop2cart.net/store/skeletonfish.

    To the author of this article: Please for the sake of people who don’t know what an e-commerce is and are looking for a solution for their own new business, don’t feature shopping carts as "Cart of the week" if:
    a; they don’t bring any value to their clients
    b; are just waste of space

  3. Kerry Murdock April 21, 2009 Reply

    @ProiMPACT7.

    Thank you for the comment. Remember that the "Cart of the Week" piece is not to vouch for a particular cart or to compare one cart against the other. It’s simply to profile a cart and to make its existence known to our readers, who can themselves decide if it’s helpful to them.

    As for Shop2Cart being a waste of space, that’s apparently not the belief of their (hundreds of) clients and of M. J. Votypka, who happily runs three stores off of it.

    Thank you.

  4. celestialcreations April 26, 2009 Reply

    I read this every week and still haven’t seen a cart that will integrate with an existing brick & mortar location. I need integrated pos and inventory control. Any suggestions that don’t cost $10K or more? Thanks.