There are over 350 online shopping carts by Practical eCommerce’s count. We feature one of them each week, by interviewing both the cart’s developer and a customer of the cart. This feature is not a review or an evaluation.
This week we profile Oklahoma-based Merchant Metrix. The company was launched in 2000 as Apple Pie Shopping Cart. It later changed its name to Merchant Metrix due to “the company in California called Apple,” according to Merchant Metrix’s president. Roughly 100 clients use Merchant Metrix, which is a hosted solution. Prices for the cart range from $35 to $195 per month, depending on the configuration.
Lee Roberts is president of Merchant Metrix and we spoke with him about the cart. We then interviewed Chris Vasta with The CPAP Shop, a customer of Merchant Metrix. The CPAP Shop is a New Jersey-based retailer of sleep apnea related products.
PeC: What are Merchant Metrix’s biggest strengths?
Roberts: “Search engine friendliness. We guide the web designer or business owner through optimizing his or her categories and products while adding them to the website. Category and product URLs, page titles, H1 tags, anchor text, meta keywords and meta descriptions are all customizable during the product and category import process.”
“Our patent pending affiliate advertising system helps achieve higher positions in the search engines. Affiliate publishers can link to any page in the website and get credit for the purchase. The anchor text in the affiliate links are directed at clean URLs, which then aid in search engine optimization efforts.”
“We have a second pending patent that helps merchants increase their sales through word-of-mouth advertising. The merchant’s customers can send discount coupons to their friends to entice them to make a purchase. When the friend makes a purchase the referring customer receives a reward. A business’s best mode of advertising is through its customers; why not give them a reason to help with sales?”
“We are fully integrated with Google Analytics, and we offer over 84,000 ecommerce template design variations for merchants to choose from.”
PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?
Roberts: “We are not integrated with QuickBooks.”
PeC: What plans do you have for future cart development?
Roberts: “Adding QuickBooks integration and continuing to add even more SEO and marketing features.”
PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
Roberts: “The majority of our clients came from other shopping cart providers with a common problem: They didn’t show up in the search results. Understanding this problem, we made a concerted effort to ensure our clients’ stores are search engine and SEO friendly. We provide free SEO training to our clients, too.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are ecommerce merchants?
Roberts: “Each of our support technicians are certified in (X)HTML, CSS and the Adobe CS3 suite of tools. We use screen-sharing technology to aid our clients in understanding how to solve their problems which helps them become more independent.”
The View of a Customer
Chris Vasta is manager with The CPAP Shop, a retailer of sleep apnea masks, machines, and accessories.
PeC: Tell us about The CPAP Shop.
Vasta: “We gross between $2 to $5 million in annual revenue. We have four full-time employees, and we outsource accounting, payroll, website design and maintenance service. We’ve been using Merchant Metrix for about three years.”
PeC: What are Merchant Metrix’s biggest strengths?
Vasta: “Our competitive landscape requires that we show up early in the search results. Our previous shopping cart was unable to provide us with this ability. Within 30 days of going live with the Merchant Metrix shopping cart, we began to see our products appearing on the first page of Google. This has helped us gain new clients and reduce our AdWords budget.”
“Managing our products is very simple in the cart. As we add products we are able to optimize our page titles, heading tags, and keywords. With the added SEO training they provide us we really enjoy doing business with them.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
Vasta: “They are working on adding QuickBooks integration.”
PeC: How would this cart improve another merchant’s business?
Vasta: “Keeping up with your competition is always a challenge. Merchant Metrix will develop a sound game plan and provide several ideas to fit your budget. Their prompt support is done through telephone, email, chat and screen sharing technology.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
Vasta: “Yes, for many years to come.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning Merchant Metrix?
Vasta: “Merchant Metrix continues to do something that very few companies do, and that is to listen. This is extremely important when dealing with the vast array of SEO and HTML issues. Merchant Metrix will explain these foreign terms in a practical method and will continue to manage all of your concerns and shopping cart in this effortless manner.”
Customer Incentive Video
Staff of Merchant Metrix supplied this video to illustrate the cart’s referral program, where consumers can refer products to friends and receive discounts when the friends then purchase products from the merchant.