There are more than 500 online shopping carts. And each week we feature one, interviewing both the cart’s developer and a customer. “Cart of the Week” is not a review or an evaluation, but rather an opportunity to learn about a shopping cart from the people who build it and use it.
This week, we’ll hear from Marshall Dudley, the founder and owner of King Cart Services. The company is based in Knoxville, Tenn., and its ecommerce platform currently serves roughly 1,000 users.
We’ll also hear from a customer, A. P. Jones of All Predator Calls, an online store based in St. George, Utah that sells a variety of wildlife calls and related hunting accessories.
PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.
Marshall Dudley: “It was first released in April of 2001. It was originally written for my son who runs an electronic import business. He kept purchasing shopping carts, then one of the interfaces to the shipping company, or merchant account would fail, or it would get hacked, and the cart supplier would be out of business, or want an absurd amount to update or fix the cart. I figured a hosted solution where everything is always kept working for everyone at no additional charge made more sense.
“He had a lot of requests–things he wanted a cart to do that he could not find in other carts. So, I wrote the cart for his business originally with the intention of taking it public once all the wrinkles were worked out.”
PeC: Is it hosted, licensed, or both?
PeC: How much does King Cart Services cost?
Dudley: “There is no cost to create a store or to cancel. We charge no monthly fees, just a per-transaction fee with a minimum billing of $10 for 1 to 40 sales. The fee is $0.25 per transaction for 41 to 100 sales, and $0.10 for each transaction over 100 sales. If there are no sales, there are no charges whatsoever.
PeC: What is your company doing to become PCI compliant?
Dudley: “We have been PCI compliant for several years now. The software has been audited and certified by McAfee Security, and Authorize.Net lists King Cart Services as a certified shopping cart. [Editor’s Note: King Cart Services is not currently named on Visa’s global list of PCI DSS validated service providers.]
PeC: What are King Cart Services’ biggest strengths?
Dudley: “The cart is easy to set up, flexible, and reliable. It supports about 25 different payment gateways. It is easily customized to have the look and feel of the client’s main website. Also, we offer toll-free tech support.
“A popular feature of the cart is its ability to sell digital information. Several of our clients sell books or novels through the download capabilities. The link to download the media is protected so that only the person who bought it can purchase it.”
Listen to Marshall Dudley discuss the evolution of King Cart Services.
PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?
Dudley: “We do not work with Google Checkout because it requires shipping information back faster than we can get it from the shippers’ computers. We are currently seeking a work-around.”
PeC: What plans do you have for future cart development?
Dudley: “We constantly monitor our customers wants and desires and provide them. Currently, we are integrating a new payment module called Virtual Merchant.”
PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
Dudley: “By choosing a hosted cart, he or she can avoid the headaches of maintaining PCI compliance, SSL certificate, interfaces to the shipping and merchant account, and the cart itself.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly ecommerce merchants?
Dudley: “If you get a minimal cart, at some point you are going to want to do something more with the inventory, shipping computation, certificate, discounts and so forth. It is much easier to pick a cart for the long term than try and upgrade later, especially when the long-term solution is no more expensive.”
A Customer’s View
A. P. Jones is president and CEO of All Predator Calls, an online store that sells animal calls and other hunting accessories. The website takes in approximately $1 million in gross annual revenue via King Cart Services, and Jones provides his comments and opinions about the cart below.
PeC: How long has your company been using King Cart Services?
A.P. Jones: “Since 2002. The main reason we chose it is because it is easy and intuitive to use. It gives someone with very basic computer skills the ability to manage, design and operate a fully functioning shopping cart at a very reasonable price.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Jones: “I like its ease of operation. It interfaces with UPS and U.S. Postal Service shipping modules and it can be customized. There is no capital outlay to get started, and it is reasonably priced for a start-up company.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
Jones: “By adding a more advanced inventory control system with cost of goods sold and accounting functions.”
PeC: How would King Cart Services improve another merchant’s business?
Jones: “It allows for in-house management of the shopping cart, with no outsourcing. The merchant maintains control. Also, the cost is low.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning the cart?
Jones: “King Cart Services provides first-class customer support when questions or special design requests are needed.”