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 Scott Cao, director of software development for AAcart, a Rosemead, Calif.-based company. Roughly 500 ecommerce merchants use AACart.
We’ll also hear from a customer, Andrea Rulfo-Khachi. She is operations manager for usa4ink.com, an online store based in Los Angeles, Calif. that uses AAcart to sell printer ink and toner supplies.
PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.
Scott Cao: “The cart was first released in 2000. The vision behind its design is to provide a user-friendly cart that would allow anyone to build and maintain an ecommerce site. There is no HTML or programming required. Since the cart’s inception, various features have been added, such as the ability to add custom HTML, more templates, additional product layouts, Google Checkout, PayPal Express, and much more.”
PeC: Is it hosted, licensed, or both?
PeC: How much does AAcart cost?
Cao: “Fees range from $19 to $69 per month.”
PeC: What is your company doing to become PCI compliant?
Cao: “All sensitive data is encrypted in our database. SSL encryption is used to ensure customer data is secured during transfer. We regularly update our servers to ensure security holes are patched. However, at this time, we are not listed with Visa as a validated service provider.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Cao: “It is very easy to use and we charge no transaction fees.”
PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?
Cao: “It is not yet fully integrated with eBay, but we plan to add full eBay support in the future.”
PeC: What other plans do you have for future cart development?
Cao: “We will be adding more templates as well as more features, such as U.S. Postal Service label printing.”
PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
Cao: “Our cart will allow the merchant to fully control his or her website through a point-and-click interface. We also provide customization programming at very reasonable prices.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly ecommerce merchants?
Cao: “AAcart features shipping calculations for UPS, U.S. Postal Service and FedEx. It also has real time credit card processing and secured transactions. An ecommerce site can be built within thirty minutes using our software.”
A Customer’s View
Andrea Rulfo-Khachi is operations manager for usa4ink.com, an online store that uses AAcart to sell compatible inkjet and toner supplies. The website processes roughly $7 million in annual sales via AAcart, and Rulfo-Khachi provides her comments and opinions about the cart below.
PeC: How long has your company been using AAcart?
Andrea Rulfo-Khachi: “We have been using the cart for four years. We chose it because it was affordable and easy to upload our product catalog. Also, the developer offered excellent support.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Rulfo-Khachi: “One of the biggest strengths is the ease of updating and uploading our 700-plus item product catalog. Another strength is that if we ever think of a way to optimize the cart, the developer of the cart implements the optimization for a very reasonable cost, and with a very quick turnaround. This is a key element, since we get to enhance the cart just the way we want and make it easy for our customers to check out.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
Rulfo-Khachi: “We have already made a number of significant improvements with the help of the developer, such as the flow of the cart, making it optional to enter a password, and changing the checkout buttons. We have done all the necessary improvements, so I cannot think of one now; but if we do, it is easily done.”
PeC: How would AAcart improve another merchant’s business?
Rulfo-Khachi: “This platform allows us to focus on our business and not worry about cart security, reliability, or other problems that may have occurred if we had developed the cart in-house.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
Rulfo-Khachi: “Yes, we are not planning to change.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning the cart?
Rulfo-Khachi: “Again, the main reason we use this cart is ease-of-use and the support that is provided.”