Practical Ecommerce

Cart of the Week: MightyMerchant Offers Full-Service Ecommerce Platform

Picture of Michael Stearns co-owner of MightyMerchantPractical eCommerce counts over 300 different shopping cart platforms. In this, our “Cart Of The Week” feature, we’ll profile—but not evaluate—a specific shopping cart and ask its management about its strengths and weaknesses. We’ll then ask a competitor or a customer about the cart, too.

In this installment, we’ve featured MightyMerchant a hosted cart that offers store owners a flexible platform, a rich content management system, and full-service design and PHP development. Michael Stearns is co-owner of MightyMerchant.

PeC: What are MightyMerchant’s biggest strengths?

Stearns: Advanced and custom functionality. From complex pricing structures, custom product ordering layouts, wholesale/retail environments, customized visual designs, and rich content management, our team delivers solutions that reflect the unique needs of each of our clients. Our Site Manager interface gets rave reviews for ease of use. We also customize the Site Manager for each site owner so you aren’t forced to wade through page after page of confusing options that have no relevance to your needs. The MightyMerchant system was built from the ground up with SEO in mind. We have developed an excellent URL structure, streamlined HTML output, and granular control over page titles and keywords.

PeC: What is MightyMerchant’s biggest weakness?

Stearns: We need to increase the number of third-party services with which we are integrated. We are currently integrated with PayPal, Authorize.Net, UPS, QuickBooks, Google Analytics, Google Product Feed and others. Our implementations are rock-solid, but we need to add more. We are also not geared toward the do-it-yourself programmer. For those who want to do their own scripting and PHP development, we are not a good solution.

Cart of the Week fast facts for MightyMerchant

PeC: Other thoughts for our readers about MightyMerchant?

Stearns: We are a hosted solution. As with our ecommerce platform, we tend to do tailor-made hosting and programming solutions for our customers. For example, if the site owner is a graphics design firm, we can help them set up a file upload center for their customers.

We aim to serve the serious business owner who wants to focus on marketing and operating their business, not on becoming a technology expert. We focus on usability for both our customers and the users who shop on our customers’ websites. Our staff gets to know our customers and their businesses closely; we continually work with our customers to build and refine their sites and respond to their individual needs. On top of that, we have an in-house marketing team for producing high-powered results.

PeC: What are your plans for future cart development?

Stearns: Third-party integrations are at the top of our list. We are working on adding more data-management features, more reporting features, and add the use Ajax to improve user-interface on websites. Also, look for our new MightyMerchant mobile platform soon.

PeC: Describe how your cart improves a merchant’s business?

Stearns: Many of our clients who have switched to MightyMerchant from other vendors experience an increase in sales and conversions and find that managing their website and orders is much easier. Our clients often get positive feedback from their customers about the shopping experience on MightyMerchant websites. Each site we deploy is done with considerable attention to the business owner’s specific needs. The business owner is not forced to cram their business into our cart. We have a proven track record of creating sites that do very well in organic search.

Dennis Bandy

The View of a MightyMerchant Customer

Dennis Bandy is a Master Automotive Technician and the owner of DenLors Tools Plus LLC, an online automotive tool, shop supplies, and shop equipment retailer. DenLors has been a MightyMerchant customer since September 2006.

PeC: What are MightyMerchant’s biggest strengths?

Bandy: Flexibility, personal attention and search engine friendly URLs come to mind immediately. One of the best things about MightyMerchant is that when you need help, you get it and there is no queue like with Monster Commerce, Volusion, and other ecommerce solutions. With Monster, where we began our ecommerce venture, we found that we were rushed out of their queue as soon as possible and felt as though we weren’t really taken care of as well as we would have liked. If we needed additional help, we would re-submit a request for assistance and back into the queue we would go. MightyMerchant also offers fair pricing for a complete ecommerce package. With Monster at first glance, it looks as though they offer competitive prices but that’s deceiving because those prices are basically for a bare bones site and other necessary features (better URLs, uploads/downloads etc.) are extra adding to the finished packaged price. We are also happier with MightyMerchant’s user friendly shopping cart compared with Monster’s version, which seemed cumbersome and we even had a few customers call us for assistance getting through the checkout process.

PeC: What is MightyMerchant’s biggest weakness?

Bandy: With Monster Commerce, we had great sales reporting with a graph so we could see our sales easily (we had few sales at the time). With MightyMerchant we have no dashboard reporting for sales yet, but thanks to the search engine friendly URLs we do have sales! MightyMerchant listens to our suggestions for improvements and the company is adding features.

PeC: Other thoughts for our readers?

Bandy: When considering a shopping cart solution, see how long the response time is when they are emailed a question. If they take too long to respond or don’t reply at all, consider how the service might be after the sale. You can’t just pick up and move a website easily, so carefully consider the provider before you commit.

Also, one of the best services we received with MightyMerchant was a custom designed update script for our products. We have over 7,000 products and this program pulls data from our supplier’s files, calculates our mark-up and updates our site seamlessly. This was a one-time expense with MightyMerchant and allows us to do updates ourselves, which saves money. With Monster Commerce, the update was a regular expense for each time the update was done.

PeC: Tell me about your business. What do you sell; what motivated you to start it?

Bandy: We sell mechanics automotive tools, shop supplies and shop equipment. My favorite subject in school was marketing, and I always thought I would enjoy some facet of marketing, although I do not consider myself a salesperson.

When working as an auto technician, many times when the tool trucks like Snap-on and Matco would visit the repair shops that I worked at, I would find myself informing the salesman about new tools that were needed. Many of the tool salesmen on these trucks are good guys but have very little knowledge of what they sell. I also found that the mark-up of the tools that they sell was huge. They routinely double the cost of the tools they sell. I’ve known for years that I wanted my own business. And with my personal experience and knowledge of tools, selling professional automotive tools was a natural.

PeC: Did you use other shopping carts before MightyMerchant? You mentioned Monster Commerce earlier.

Bandy: In 2005 we pre-paid for the first year with Monster Commerce. Seeing all the big companies that use Monster, we thought that if they used Monster it must be a great solution. What we didn’t know was that those big companies had to change the Monster format to make it more user and search engine friendly, which can be quite costly. We came in, knowing nothing about web marketing and thought that all we needed to do was to put our products on the Internet. We soon found out about the importance of SEO. Near the end of the first year with Monster we looked at other ecommerce solutions, we tried a demo from Volusion. We found that Volusion was going to be a lot like Monster, too big to provide the personal service we were looking for.

MightyMerchant By the Numbers

  • A hosted solution
  • Costs $1,500 to $4,500
  • MightyMerchant has been around for 7 years
  • 350 customers
Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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