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 Joshua Manley, president and co-founder of Cartfly, a hosted ecommerce solution created by Ustrive2 Inc., and headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. Cartfly is an ecommerce widget that works as a portable, mini-storefront across social networks, blogs and personal websites. Cartfly is currently in use on more than 8,000 websites and personal pages.
We’ll also hear from a Cartfly customer, Dani Campbell, who uses the widget to sell merchandise on her popular MySpace page.
PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.
Joshua Manley: “Cartfly started as a simple concept allowing sellers to take their shopping cart with them everywhere they hang out and network on the web. Instead of trying to drive traffic to your website where your one and only cart is located, Cartfly allows you to drive your cart to where the people are.”
PeC: How much does Cartfly cost?
Manley: “[There is] zero upfront cost. Every sale made at any cart location comes directly back to the sellers, and they are only charged a 3 percent transaction fee when something is sold.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Manley: “Cartfly gives anyone the opportunity to easily set up or create a portable, shareable storefront that can live on an unlimited number websites, social networks, blogs, and even personal websites. Cartfly shops can be shared by friends, supporters, or existing customers. We even get the consumers involved by allowing them to discuss, bookmark or broadcast any shop by clicking ‘Share.’ They can type a personal message that instantly ties into places like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, and others.”
PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?
Manley: “Cartfly provides only a basic feature set.”
PeC: What plans do you have for future cart development?
Manley: “We plan on providing a feature set similarly provided on Cartfly’s sister site, Sellit.com. Sellit works with existing Cartfly shops and offers a more robust experience, without setting up or designing another storefront. A number of our sellers are already using both.”
PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
Manley: “Cartfly complements any ecommerce solution. We don’t ask merchants to decide to if they want to use Cartfly, we just ask them where they want to use it. If you’d like to offer your products on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or even blogs, we’ve got the solution.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly ecommerce merchants?
Manley: “Cartfly recently launched as an ecommerce provider on Ning, allowing networks to display stores available to their entire network.”
A Customer’s View
Dani Campbell is a Cartfly user with an online store called pinkboybluegirl based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Although Campbell’s main website uses a cart from Big Cartel, she uses Cartfly on her MySpace page to supplement sales. Campbell grosses roughly $16,000 yearly through the MySpace Cartfly widget alone, and she provides her comments and opinions about Cartfly below.
PeC: How long has your company been using Cartfly?
Dani Campbell: “Almost two years.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Campbell: “When we started as a new business, we liked the fact that we didn’t have to build a website from scratch to get our merchandise out there. With Cartfly, we could just plug in a few photos and some information, and we were ready to sell.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
Campbell: “The cart would be perfect if it kept track of inventory.”
PeC: How would Cartfly improve another merchant’s business?
Campbell: “The more people that see your product the better. Even though we have a website now, we still have Cartfly on our MySpace page for easy access to our products.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
Campbell: “As long as we have merchandise to sell, we will use the cart. It just makes sense to use every avenue possible to get your stuff out there.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning the cart?
Campbell: “The staff at Cartfly is very helpful and willing to lend their expertise to those who may need it. When we started our store they were more than happy to help. I give them an A+ for customer service.”