Practical Ecommerce

Cart of the Week: Shopcreator

Practical eCommerce counts over 300 different shopping cart platforms. In this ongoing “Cart of the Week” feature we profile—but not evaluate—a specific shopping cart, asking about its strengths and weaknesses.

For this installment, we asked Alex Stephens, marketing director at U.K.-based Shopcreator to explain the benefits of her company’s cart. We then asked Richard Henderson for his evaluation of the cart. Henderson co-owns Jorvik Glass, a decorative glass and metal art site with a brick-and-mortar sotre in Castle Howard, a tourist location near York in Northern England.

Alex Stephens

PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.

Stephens: “Shopcreator has two fully hosted ecommerce solutions, Transact and Retailer. Both solutions cater to small and medium sized retailers, whether they are small start up businesses or an existing established business looking to expand online. Transact is our newly designed cart based on a pay as you sell pricing model, which reduces start-up costs and risk greatly. We charge a certain percentage of monthly revenue, depending on a merchant’s total revenue per month. The rate starts at 5.5 percent but can decrease to 2 percent if a merchant sells more. In other words, the more you sell, the cheaper it is to use Transact. Transact has in excess of 2,000 registered users. “

“The Retailer product has approximately 200 users and has fully customizable templates for those with knowledge of HTML and CSS. In addition, Shopcreator has a partner network with various web design companies who can offer design and build services for the Retailer platform. Retailer has a fixed monthly fee of £90 ($135) and includes a greater amount of functionality with FTP access to templates.”

PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?

Stephens: “Shopcreator is easy to set up and manage. Existing customers have been set up to trade within an hour. It includes a simple five-step setup process that guides a merchant though the creation of their store, ensuring necessary information is gathered. Also, there are no setup costs, making Transact an ideal tool for any retailer to grow sales and expand in what is currently a difficult time for many retailers across the globe. We have extensive free support, including electronic how-to guides, telephone and email support and an online forum and blog page. There is also a simple upgrade path between the two platforms.”

PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?

Stephens: “Transact is an off the shelf, self-serve product. As a result, customization and payment service providers are limited.”

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

Stephens: “Transact is constantly under development in order to ensure that customers can benefit from the latest third party services available, such as Google Analytics. Users can suggest additional functionality via an online feedback form within the admin system for their stores. As a result from feedback, customers will be able to benefit from a portfolio of add-ons features that can be purchased on an ad-hoc basis.”

“We’re looking to integrate accountancy packages into the Retailer platform, as well as a general redesign and overhaul of the Retailer platform to make it more similar to Transact.”

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

Stephens: “Shopcreator’s Transact platform provides search engine friendly web templates that allow businesses to operate on a global scale, increasing the sales and growth of the business. Each newly designed web template has been created to offer a professional look that will add credibility to the online retailer and as a result instill confidence in online shoppers. There is no initial expenditure to set up an online store. This leaves the merchant with the option to spend any budgeted money on marketing methods like pay-per-click advertising.”

PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers?

Stephens: “Shopcreator’s ecommerce software and expertise is utilized by clients that range from those who are new to ecommerce to the UK’s leading high-street retailers such as British Home Stores, The Science Museum and The Guardian Reader Offers.”

A Customer’s View

Rich Henderson

Richard Henderson, co-owner of Jorvik Glass (a Shopcreator client), offers his thoughts on the cart.

PeC: What are Shopcreator’s biggest strengths?

Henderson: “Their technical support, product knowledge, ease of use including back-end functionality, customer care and commitment to product improvement. Their websites always have fast page display times, and it is easy to customize a site template to suit your business.”

PeC: What are some things it could improve?

Henderson: “Very little really. They seem to have all bases covered.”

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

Henderson: “For a business not to have a web presence is to be left behind. Using Shopcreator improves merchant business by giving businesses of all sizes a cost-effective, easy to use, maintainable web presence, as well as excellent search engine standings.”

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

Henderson: “We intend to continue using Shopcreator for the long term. Their ability to deliver a consistent product, server up-time and seamless website expansions and add-ons is paramount to our company.”

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

Henderson: “Websites don’t need to be full of bells and whistles. A fast page load time, easy product finder and quick checkout procedures are what we should be looking for.”

Brendan Gibbons
Brendan Gibbons
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Comment ( 1 )

  1. Buckscaper April 4, 2009 Reply

    I’ve been trying to check out this product by visiting the "example" sites they are promoting on the Shopcreator home page but get the following error on every site (it doesn’t inspire confidence in a hosted solution):

    The page you requested is temporarily unavailable.

    We apologise for this inconvenience.
    If you would like to try again, please click the Retry button below.
    Alternatively, you may return to our home page.

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