There are more than 350 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 Kamil Kalimullin, chief executive of ITM Company Ltd., a software company based in Ulyanovsk, Russia. The company produces AdVantShop.NET, an ecommerce shopping cart with nearly 500 users.
We’ll also hear from an AdVantShop.NET user, Suhail Husain, CEO and co-owner of Zebaish Boutique, an online store based in Fort Worth, Tex.
PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.
Kamil Kalimullin: “AdVantShop.NET is a Microsoft ASP.NET/MS-SQL-based ecommerce shopping cart solution with well-crafted modular architecture and out-of-the-box templates. The product has been developed since 2006 based on the experience we have gained in creating numerous and various ecommerce stores.
“Our main goal was to create a shopping cart that is as user-friendly as possible for both customers and software developers. Our company also provides tech support services, professional software installation and custom software development.”
PeC: Is the cart hosted or licensed?
Kalimullin: “Licensed, with open source program code.”
PeC: How much does AdVantShop.NET cost?
Kalimullin: “The Lite version costs $199 USD and AdVantShop.NET Pro is $299 USD. The purchase of a license entitles the merchant to free tech support and access to software updates as they are released.
“We also have a special dealers’ program where the price of the cart is $99 USD for the Lite version and $149 USD for the Pro version.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Kalimullin: “First, Microsoft ASP.NET is an advanced technology from the IT market leader, and a standard for corporate information systems.
“The cart offers easy integration into other applications, and it integrates well into different platforms, including common computers, pocket PCs, and cell phones.
“Another strength is its professional database. The solution uses a MS SQL database server, the current standard for database management systems.
“Lastly, it has a built-in scaling mechanism allowing for system expansion.”
PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?
Kalimullin: “The absence of a hosted version, and the fact that only the most popular payment and shipping systems are available.
“Also, AdVantShop.NET is produced on Microsoft Visual Basic.NET, and there is currently no MS Visual C# version.”
PeC: What plans do you have for future cart development?
Kalimullin: “Very generally, we will keep developing the integration of the cart into other platforms and making it more functional and useful for our clients. In the immediate future we will continue to improve the existing payment and shipping system integrations and add new ones. We will also proceed with making a more intuitive user interface.
“Moreover, we are adding new language packages (such as German, French and others), and an enhanced URL optimization module offering more features will be added soon.
“For developers and advanced users, we plan to improve the object model of the platform and possibly build the source code editor into the admin back-end [so that users will be able to] change the source code and markup through the admin panel.
“Lastly, a MS Visual С#-based solution is planned to be released in the future.”
PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
Kalimullin: “When compared to other ecommerce solutions, AdVantShop.NET is sold at a reasonable price but comes with many high-level features. It is extremely user-friendly because we analyzed different variants of interfaces and branches as we created it.
“Additionally, its high-grade software engine makes it easy to import products into the catalog and to manage the store with little effort.
“And, development updates are provided to users as they are released, at no extra charge.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly ecommerce merchants?
Kalimullin: “A user-friendly and easy-to-understand shopping cart is half the success of your business. And, because our solution doesn’t require much effort for setting up a store, it allows merchants to spend more time on business development instead of trying to understand and learn various functionalities.
“Think like your customers; make the navigation through your ecommerce store as easy as possible. Make it clearer and attractive and you’ll see that your attention to this will not be a waste. A happy customer . . . will be a stable benefit for your company.”
A Customer’s View
Suhail Husain is CEO and co-owner of Zebaish Boutique. The store sells traditional Asian-styles of casual and dress clothing for women, men and children, representing about 200 SKUs.
PeC: Why did you choose AdVantShop.NET?
Suhail Husain: “I was searching ecommerce solutions on the web and found several providers but none of them grabbed my attention. By using a trial version of the AdVantShop.NET shopping cart, I noticed they had the complete solution I was looking for at a reasonable price.”
PeC: How long has your company been using AdVantShop.NET?
Husain: “About 4 months.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Husain: “It is completely user friendly. A customer can place an order without creating a user name and password. The payment information is integrated directly to the merchant account through its gateway, and it charges everything in real time. The customer credit card information is saved directly on the merchant database not your system.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
Husain: “The cart should not forcefully charge in real time if the gateway service is somehow down. Or, if you just want to collect all the data including the credit card information and wait to charge the order until the time of shipping, that option should be available.”
PeC: How would AdVantShop.NET improve another merchant’s business?
Husain: “His or her site will become user friendly if currently it is not.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
Husain: “Definitely, there is no doubt about it.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning the cart?
Husain: “In my view, this is a complete ecommerce solution for a small businesses like mine. But, the cart also has the potential to work with enterprise-level businesses. It can be modified to suit your business needs.”