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 Oleg Chehovsky, head of marketing for Pentasoft Corporation, developers of Avactis shopping cart. The company is headquartered in New York City, and, according to Chehovsky, it serves “tens of thousands” of users worldwide.
We’ll also hear from an Avactis shopping cart customer, Brina Bujkovsky, owner and CEO of The Younique Boutique.
PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.
Oleg Chehovsky: “Avactis is a PHP/MySQL shopping cart solution and ecommerce platform. It is a performance-optimized shopping cart that can be quickly and easily integrated into an existing design or website, thus minimizing the time to market for our customers and partners.”
PeC: Is it hosted, licensed or both?
Chehovsky: “There are several editions of Avactis, including both hosted and licensed options.”
PeC: How much does Avactis cost?
Chehovsky: “Avactis Shopping Cart Full Version is available for $19.95 per month as a hosted, leased option; or an unrestricted license may be purchased for a one-time fee of $199.
“A web developer or designer can receive one copy of Avactis eBusiness for free, and also receive a 50 percent lifetime discount on additional copies.
“Avactis Shopping Cart Full Version White Label is available for a one-time fee of $299. The White Label edition allows reselling Avactis shopping cart software as your own, including full re-branding rights.
“The Avactis Shopping Cart Free Version is an absolutely free, open-source shopping cart. There are some limitations in the free version; for example, the SEO-friendly URLs module is not included. Nonetheless, the code is not encrypted and it is possible to modify the software and add any functionality to the free edition. The only restriction is to not remove our copyright labels.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Chehovsky: “Avactis allows for fast and easy integration of an online store into an existing design or website. A key benefit is performance; the cart is not resource-heavy and works fast even on shared web servers.
“Other important features include:
- Multiple storefronts. Merchants can have one admin area and many storefronts, even in the free version.
- Unlimited number of products and categories.
- Unique design for any category or product.
- Strong Blowfish and RSA encryption of sensitive data.
- Fully PCI DSS-compliant design [certification is pending].
- Intelligent automatic upgrade system.”
PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?
Chehovsky: “We do not yet have strong network of partners and affiliates.
“Also, our software is not localized for the local markets yet. We still do not have multi-language packs.”
PeC: What plans do you have for future cart development?
Chehovsky: “We plan to release a multi-language version later this year. We also look forward to obtaining a PA-DSS certification for the software, and adding CMS [content management system] features.
“Another current focus is on developing our partner and affiliate network. We plan to create a directory listing our partners, including web design studios, web development companies, marketing companies and hosting providers.
PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
Chehovsky: “You can choose any Avactis edition you need, from an absolutely free version to the full-featured commercial software version. There is low time-to-market, optimized software performance and high-quality affordable services. These are the key factors that make Avactis a strong player among both commercial and free ecommerce shopping cart platforms.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly ecommerce merchants?
Chehovsky: “Everyone is welcome to join the Avactis community. Customer contributions and feedback help us make a better product.”
A Customer’s View
Brina Bujkovsky is the owner and CEO of The Younique Boutique, located San Marcos, Calif. Her online store sells handcrafted, personalized gifts for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas, bringing in approximately $600,000 in annual revenue via the Avactis cart. Bujkovsky provides her comments and opinions about Avactis below.
PeC: How long has your company been using Avactis and why did you choose it?
Brina Bujkovsky: “We have been using it since August 2008. We selected it because, of all the available carts, Avactis had the most flexibility in product options.
“Since our products are all custom-made, and each product line is so different, we needed the ability to display HTML for option types and allow different methods for selecting options. We needed a way to walk the customer through a very complicated buying process and Avactis was the only cart [we found] that had that capability.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Bujkovsky: “The single biggest strength of Avactis is its team of developers. We look at the cart out of the box as a starting point for our online store, but in order to make it really work for us, we need to be able to modify it. The team at Avactis is inexpensive, quick to respond and very helpful. For a very small investment, we have been able to tailor the software to our needs.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
Bujkovsky: “The biggest improvement we would like to see would be a built-in mechanism for retaining abandoned carts. Currently, once the user session ends, the cart contents are lost. We would like a way to save the cart contents and access the customer’s cart from the back-end.”
PeC: How would Avactis improve another merchant’s business?
Bujkovsky: “The look and feel of the Avactis cart, right out of the box, is very current and professional looking. Without any prior knowledge of style sheets, templates or HTML, a merchant can build a basic store and present a very organized catalog to their customers.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
Bujkovsky: “Yes, we have invested a great deal of time and energy in building our store. We plan to continue improving our version to best suit our needs.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning the cart?
Bujkovsky: “It’s a good idea to start with a list of features you need to run your online business and find a cart that best matches your individual needs. Every cart has its strengths and weaknesses, and it’s impossible to find a cart that works for every business. Find a company that stands behind their software and is available to make the modifications necessary for your business.”