In Field Test, Practical eCommerce has gathered twelve seasoned ecommerce merchants and asked each of them the same questions around a given topic. This month’s topic is shopping carts.
The participating ecommerce merchants are: Dave Norris, House of Antique Hardware; Justin Hertz, MuttMart; Chris Stump, Only Hammocks; Mike Reiman, PoolDawg; Dan Stewart, Xtreme Diesel Performance; Roman Kagan, Appliance Parts Pros; Cindy Barrileaux, Write Your Best; Claudette Cyr, Gear-Source; Mike Butler, Bloom Designs Nursery; Kristen Taylor, Juvie; Jeff Muchnik, RedBox Tools; Kara English, Candles & Such.
This is the third and final set of responses chosen randomly to maintain anonymity.
PeC: What shopping cart do you use?
- FIELD TESTER 7: CKGold by CartKeeper.
- FIELD TESTER 8: I use a privately designed shopping cart using Microsoft SQL.
- FIELD TESTER 9: Yahoo! Merchant Solutions.
PeC: How long have you used this cart?
- FIELD TESTER 7: 18 months.
- FIELD TESTER 8: I have used the shopping cart since I bought the company in 2006.
- FIELD TESTER 9: Since October 2007.
PeC: Why did you choose it?
- FIELD TESTER 7: Because of its very low cost, adaptability (we can customize as we wish), built-in features and excellent support.
- FIELD TESTER 8: I had no choice but to use the shopping cart, as I could not afford to upgrade to a better shopping cart.
- FIELD TESTER 9: We chose Yahoo! Merchant Solutions because of its flexibility, ease of use and simple integration with PayPal.
PeC: Are you pleased with it?
FIELD TESTER 7: Overall, yes.
FIELD TESTER 8: I am disappointed with the shopping cart, as it is very slow and tedious to add new products.
FIELD TESTER 9: We have been very pleased with Yahoo! Merchant Solutions. They have 24-hour tech support and have designed an easy-to-use interface that is very flexible.
PeC: Which aspects of the cart are you most pleased with?
- FIELD TESTER 7: The back end administration is simple to use and lets us control almost all aspects of the site — the customer experience and customer service — so we don’t have to pay a developer every time we want to make a small change. The integration with our credit card processor is seamless, and the cart is very Google-friendly. (It automatically generates Google Sitemaps and Google Base files for uploading). The cart is SEO-friendly, with fields to enter individual meta tags on every page.
- FIELD TESTER 8: I am not pleased with any aspect of the shopping cart.
- FIELD TESTER 9: We are most pleased with the shopping cart’s integration with PayPal. Yahoo! and PayPal teamed up together to offer a shopping cart solution and merchant account together. They handle the full integration between the cart and the credit card processing.
PeC: What would you change about it?
- FIELD TESTER 7: We have added features ourselves that would have been nice to have from the get-go, such as gift receipts and a progress indicator bar. The billing information page still needs work (too many fields to fill out), and the “enter promotional code” field is on the cart page when it should really be on the billing information or final confirmation page. We would also add opt-in email lists.
- FIELD TESTER 8: I would throw out the shopping cart 100 percent and use a more reliable and productive shopping cart to increase sales.
- FIELD TESTER 9: Our only disappointment with Yahoo! Merchant Solutions is on the hosting side. Our cart has been great to work with, however there are times when we have noticed a slow-down in performance on our site.
PeC: What advice would you offer merchants who are seeking a new shopping cart?
- FIELD TESTER 7: Think about your niche, your particular customers and how various cart features are going to affect SEO and conversion for them. You should build your ideal cart on paper and then find the best possible match in the marketplace. Before you commit, check the cart’s compatibility with your hosting service and your web developer’s skill set. If you’re just starting out, make sure you have a cart that can be customized because you’ll want to make changes as you learn your business.
- FIELD TESTER 8: I would advise merchants to ask for professional advice, do a lot of research and compare many shopping carts with the specific requirements of their business.
- FIELD TESTER 9: I would definitely recommend Yahoo! Merchant Solutions to anyone looking for a new cart and especially those looking to get into ecommerce. Regardless of what cart you choose, I would make the decision based on long-term goals. It is better to do things right from the start rather than having to switch carts down the road.