Practical Ecommerce

Cart of the Week: Sure Solutions’ Actinic Shopping Cart

Practical 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 customer about the cart, too.

Brian Johnson, President of Sure Solutions

In this installment, we’ve featured Actinic, a U.K.-based licensed shopping cart that is distributed in North America by Sure Solutions. Actinic is a Windows PC application for small and mid-size business owners who want control over their online store, but don’t want to keep a full-time designer or developer. We spoke with Brian Johnson, President of Sure Solutions. We also spoke with a customer of Actinic, Fred Riehl, of Surfeyes.com.

PeC: How long have you been in business?

Johnson: Sure Solutions has been selling and supporting the Actinic ecommerce software for six years. Actinic has been selling ecommerce solutions to small and mid-sized businesses for more than ten years.

PeC: What are the Actinic shopping cart’s greatest strengths?

Johnson: Actinic is extremely search-engine friendly, building all pages in HTML. And the deployment of an Actinic site works on just about any server. Small merchants love the software because they have full control of their website. Changing products, inventory, or the home page is simple and easy to do with Actinic. Actinic, being a PC-based application, has a very comfortable environment for low-tech merchants who want to do their own catalog maintenance. Actinic’s graphic user interface provides a drag-and-drop, click-and-build environment for users to create new catalog products or catalog sections. You move the products within the catalog, even copy and paste a product into a new section as a duplicate using the standard windows copy and paste functions. Actinic can also be linked to a local database to maintain larger catalogs inventory, pricing, and availability.

PeC: What are the Actinic shopping cart’s greatest weaknesses?

Johnson: We are often criticized for not supporting enough payment gateways and, also, if you have a very large catalog of products (more than 20,000 SKU’s) Actinic is not a good solution.

PeC: What are your plans for future cart development?

Johnson: Actinic released the new version 9, which we are rolling out in the United States the first week of January 2009. Version 9 supports a more robust database and includes several new web-building features. The upload facility has been upgraded to make uploading larger sites easier, faster, and 100 percent reliable.

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

Johnson: Actinic ecommerce is an easy solution to use and maintain without huge overhead. It really is a great solution for most merchants who want an ecommerce platform that is reliable and complete. Many open source users move to Actinic because it’s a fully supported platform. Once your webmaster is gone, what do you do with open source? Well, with Actinic you have everything on your local computer to support and maintain your site. Control of the site is a key attribute to the business owner.

PeC: Other thoughts for our readers about the Actinic shopping cart?

Johnson: Sure Solutions supports and sells a variety of technologies for ecommerce and web marketing solutions. Actinic ecommerce is the core technology for our small business ecommerce projects, offering businesses a stable technology to maintain their online presence. We also offer full web marketing services from publishing monthly product feeds to Google Base to pay-per-click management and search engine optimization services. We are much more than a shopping cart, we are an ecommerce solution provider.

From a Customer’s Perspective

Surfeyes.com, an Actinic-powered store, has been selling brand name eyewear online since 1998. “Not only do we sell the most popular models from each sunglass brand but our catalog is known for offering exclusive limited edition models and hard to find discontinued sunglass frames.” said Fred Riehl, Surfeyes.com’s owner, adding that his store was also one of the largest, direct-to-customer suppliers of replacement parts for sunglasses. Here are Riehl’s thoughts about the Actinic shopping cart platform.

PeC: How long have you been using the Actinic Cart?

Riehl: More than 5 years. Sure Solutions has been a great supporter of my business and gone far out of their way on many occasions to solve my technical ecommerce problems.

PeC: What motivated you to use Sure Solutions?

Riehl: I choose Sure Solutions and the Actinic ecommerce software because the combination allows me to take on, compete with, and beat out national sunglass retailers.

PeC: What are the Actinic shopping cart’s greatest strengths?

Riehl: The ability to manage my content and inventory while getting first page organic search results in Google and other search engines.

PeC: What are the cart’s greatest weaknesses?

Riehl: The lack of more users in the U.S. Since Actinic was developed in the U.K., the U.S.-user’s needs are sometimes second to U.K. users.

PeC: Other thoughts for our readers about the Actinic shopping cart?

Riehl: It is very easy to deploy. You can host on any server, and you can manage everything from your desktop.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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