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 Gad Serruya, president and founder of Dextel.net, a Montreal, Canada-based company that produces Dextel Ecommerce Manager.
We’ll also hear from a Dextel customer, Morris Herzog, director of online business development for Noble Gift Packaging.
PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.
Gad Serruya: “The cart was built to reflect our many years of experience and expertise creating custom ecommerce websites for all types of clients in various industries. Having been there and knowing exactly what merchants really need and the problems they typically encounter, we decided to build an enhanced ecommerce platform designed from the ground up to continually grow with the customer and help them maximize sales.
“Being also designers by trade, we felt that many of the platforms out there have limitations in terms of their usability, which we take very seriously, along with the ability to carry the client’s branding; and so we wanted to create a solution that allows us to provide graphically-appealing websites and at the same time offer an unparalleled ease of use. It uses all the latest available web technology.
“This version of the cart is actually brand new. Until this release, the cart was made available only to our customers, and it is currently used only by a few of our existing clients. It’s only very recently that we decided to offer it as a standalone cart solution to all merchants, however, we expect that by the end of 2010 we’ll have approx 1,000 users on it, and continue to grow.”
PeC: Is it hosted, licensed, or both?
Serruya: “The cart is offered as a hosted solution, and can also be licensed, if desired. However, we recommend the hosted version as it allows clients to take advantage of enhancements and new features with no effort on their part.”
PeC: How much does the cart cost?
Serruya: “Our specialty is to provide custom solutions, so the price for using the Dextel Ecommerce Manager can vary drastically from one business to the next, depending on the client’s particular needs and business model. We study each client’s needs and then propose a solution that really bests suits their targeted budget.
“We can build a complete store from $5,000 to $25,000 [USD]. A monthly fee of $100 to $300 covers the monthly maintenance, hosting and more. You get a completely dedicated team of experts that help you plan, analyze, design and build the best store possible for your budget.”
PeC: What is your company doing to become PCI compliant?
Serruya: “Security is a serious matter and so we decided early on that our solution would not collect or store credit card information at all. We rely only on third party payment systems that are PCI compliant to process all credit card transactions, such as PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.Net and Moneris [a Canadian payment gateway].” [Dextel Ecommerce Manager is not currently named on The PCI Security Standards Council’s list of validated payment applications or on Visa’s global list of PCI DSS validated service providers.]
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Serruya: “The cart was built to be as simple to use as possible. One of our main objectives was to really streamline every step of managing your store so that tasks like adding products, updating pricing, and managing orders could be made with a few simple clicks and unparalleled ease of use.
“We didn’t just ‘pack’ the cart with all kinds of bells and whistles, we really wanted to focus on the merchant’s first and foremost purpose in venturing online, which is to sell, sell, and sell some more. The cart empowers merchants with solid tools to increase conversion rates, encourage repeat buying and maximize the sell-through of products online. Additionally, pages are SEO-optimized with clean code.
“Another strength is its ability to be continually customized and to grow with the customer as the business grows and as his or her needs increase and evolve.”
PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?
Serruya: “Because we’ve been solely catering our ecommerce platform to a privileged group of clients, its biggest weakness is the lack of popularity and exposure that some other carts currently have. And, we’re still not really catering to every single merchant out there.”
PeC: What plans do you have for future cart development?
Serruya: “Our goal is to really make this cart a best-of-breed platform designed for people who take selling online seriously. We want our clients to benefit from constant improvements and additions to the platform so that their store continually evolves with the most recent features and technologies. By next year, we’re looking to integrate more tools, such as an intelligent search tool, to allow advanced customer management, as well as a complete set of advanced marketing tools.”
PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
Serruya: “They will probably spend less time managing their store because of the fact that the Ecommerce Manager allows them to do things so easily and quickly.
“Secondly, it would help them convert more visitors into actual buyers by giving their customers the ease to browse and find products quickly and to checkout with confidence in just a few easy clicks; which would increase their conversion rates and also encourage repeat buying and maximize sales.
“Lastly, they’ll be happy to know that the cart can grow and evolve with their success and they won’t have to worry about having to change their cart.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly ecommerce merchants?
Serruya: “I see many merchants entering the ecommerce world without really being aware of what it really takes to succeed online. It is important when beginning your venture online to not only select the right software but to also work with people who can assist you along the way and help you make it successful.”
A Customer’s View
Morris Herzog is the director of online business development for Noble Gift Packaging. The company specializes in gift packaging products, including tissue paper, wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbons, and gift boxes. Noble Gift Packaging has physical offices in New York, Canada, the U.K. and Switzerland, and according to Herzog, “The Dextel Ecommerce Manager cart is generating approx $1.5 million in gross income per year.”
PeC: How long has your company been using Dextel Ecommerce Manager?
Morris Herzog: “We’ve been using the cart for approximately four years. We initially chose Dextel through a recommendation. We looked at many ecommerce solutions and providers but always felt they were coming up short. We met with Dextel and felt at ease right away.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Herzog: “The cart we are using today has actually evolved quite a bit since we initially started, and, this is one of the benefits we appreciate with Dextel. They have always been very responsive of our needs and their team has always been able, throughout the years, to adapt their cart technology to our specific needs and add the functionalities that we specifically need for our business model.
“Our company has four locations, so we need to deal with four warehouses, various currencies, and four sets of needs; so there are a lot of specific requirements that most cart out there would not be able to handle for us. Dextel’s team provides us that flexibility which we find very valuable.”
“Also, we’ve been able to have our staff use the cart with very minimal training and have them up and running quite rapidly on the daily management of orders, tracking, and so on.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
Herzog: “Although we are able to get valuable analytics quite easily as it is, we’d be interested in having access to much deeper analytics integrated within the cart itself.”
PeC: How would Dextel Ecommerce Manager improve another merchant’s business?
Herzog: “I think that the cart and technology is really one of the best ones out there. Other merchants would definitely benefit from using the product but also (and maybe more importantly), Dextel’s support, expertise and guidance. Throughout our journey online, Dextel has been extremely valuable to us, and I think that most merchants could benefit from having partners they can really count on to take their ecommerce to the next level.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
Herzog: “Yes, absolutely. We’re very happy with it and continuously work with Dextel’s team whose support has been always impeccable. In fact, we’re in the process of building another new module with the Dextel team that would allow our customers to fully customize, preview and order merchandise bags online. We value our relationship with Dextel and hope we’ll continue working together for many more years to come.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning the cart?
Herzog: “I would strongly recommended Dextel and their Ecommerce Manager to any merchants out there. We are extremely satisfied with their professionalism and level of service. For our business this is the most important thing.”