Practical Ecommerce

Cart of the Week: AmeriCommerce

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 AmeriCommerce Shopping Cart Software, a hosted cart solution based in Beaumont, Texas. AmeriCommerce offers four different hosted cart packages with varying capabilities ranging from $29 per month to $199 for the first three months. After the first three months, the prices range from $39 per month to $299 per month. There are also several upgraded plans available for large-volume merchants. We interviewed AmeriCommerce product manager Ed Sturrock to tell us about the cart. We then asked AmeriCommerce cart user Brian Gluck, owner of Alltecstores.com, an audio-visual ecommerce site, for his evaluation.

PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.

Ed Sturrock Sturrock: “AmeriCommerce is a hosted cart. We released the first version in 2005, and we’re currently on version 5.0. There are about 1,000 installs.”

PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?

Sturrock: “AmeriCommerce has multiple storefront management capabilities from one administrative console. Users are able to manage many different sites and track everything that affects all sites or just one site. The cart is an end-to-end solution that covers order management, marketing, customer relationship management and credit card processing.

“The cart includes one-page checkout and ASP.NET and AJAX functionality. We offer a web service API [application program interface] that touches every part of the product, which is great for integrators.”

“Our theme system is a powerful skinning system. You can preview a theme in your console without affecting customers until you go live with it. You can design multiple skins for your site, as well. You have full control over each element’s style and layout settings. It’s designed very much from the merchant’s perspective.”

PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?

Sturrock: “We need to work on usability. We are not a solution for people who are just learning Internet basics.”

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

Sturrock: “Hands down, it is the complete catalog, order and customer life cycle management. Additionally, our automatic SEO is really good. Customers have complete control over URLs, meta tags and page titles. We have also have a rule-based redirection and analytics engine. If you’re converting a site over, you can convert all the links to keep a high PageRank. We also have free updates that are automatically applied.”

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

Sturrock: “Integration. We have a comprehensive interface for extending the product, and we’re constantly building on our list of integrations. Our customers are also building their own integrations, and we’ll be increasing layout flexibility.”

“We’ll also be expanding Snap-Ins [AmeriCommerce widgets] that allow users to take a little piece of functionality and put it in the template wherever they want, and we’re
deeply interested in mobile commerce and where that is heading.”

PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers?

Sturrock: “Store owners need more depth in ecommerce platforms. Business owners should be able to focus on marketing and business development, not maintaining software.”

The View of a Customer

Brian Gluck Brian Gluck is owner of Alltecstores.com, an AmeriCommerce customer. He offers his thoughts on the cart.

PeC: What are AmeriCommerce’s biggest strengths?

Gluck: “Multi-store management is one of the main reasons we went with AmeriCommerce. The API access is another huge thing. Using the API, we were able to turn it into a full ecommerce system. And, although we moved from another shopping cart where we had good PageRank and high visibility on Google, we didn’t suffer any dip in search engine ranking.”

PeC: What are some things it could improve?

Gluck: “I’d really love to see them make more robust customer relationship management improvements. AmeriCommerce functions amazingly as a shopping cart, but it’s hard to process orders from multiple channels and know where each order is coming from.”

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

Gluck: “AmeriCommerce gives better control of shipping options. During the checkout process, customers can choose different methods for different locations and have accurate calculations. It’s also simple to manage multiple sites and serve different content to users in-bound from different areas. The admin end has WYSIWYG functionality and a straight HTML coder that allows you to code in your own application and reference the document accordingly.”

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

Gluck: “Absolutely. There’s a growing community of AmeriCommerce users, and we’re starting to coordinate with each other.”

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

Gluck: “Don’t aim for the sky right off the bat. Take everything a developer says with a grain of salt. Don’t be a guinea pig, letting them learn on your time and your dime. AmeriCommerce can show you live case studies. The functionality was there and it was scalable to fit our needs.”

AmeriCommerce Cart Users

Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Brian Gluck February 24, 2010 Reply

    It has been a while since this article was published. My business has continued to flourish with Americommerce, and now I even offer my services as a consultant & implementation specialist for Americommerce.

  2. Brian Gluck September 29, 2011 Reply

    For more information on my experience with Americommerce, visit http://www.briangluck.com/americommerce/