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 Charles Garvey, CEO of NitroSell, an ecommerce provider for Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Systems. NitroSell’s international headquarters is in Cork, Ireland, with U.S. headquarters in San Diego, Calif. Its cart currently has roughly 1,000 users.
We’ll also hear the views of Melissa Van Flandern, co-founder of tottini, a NitroSell cart user.
PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.
Garvey: “NitroSell is a software plus services ecommerce system. NitroSell has been [helping] retailers since 2002 and now represents more than 2 million registered customers in its retailers database, representing 25 million page views per month and more than 1 million unique retail products for sale across its web store base.
“NitroSell works exclusively with bricks-and-mortar retailers seeking to become multi-channel retailers or those who wish to upgrade their current web store with comprehensive point of sale [POS] integration.”
PeC: Is the cart hosted, licensed, or both?
Garvey: “With our software plus services model, we license a set of on-premise software. The web store itself is hosted.”
PeC: How much does the cart cost?
Garvey: “We offer a variety of pricing options, starting at $199 per month.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Garvey: “There are a few things. The tight integration into the in-store POS system, which allows retailers to manage data in a single place for both channels. The automatic creation of content required to ensure good search engine visibility. The content delivery network that [creates] a pleasant, responsive shopping experience. We are search engine-friendly with specific attributes to drive higher rankings.
“We also offer a host of features including gift registry and lists, discount schemes, promotions, review and ratings, multi-language, multi-currency, shipping integrations (UPS, USPS and FedEx), many payment gateway integrations, gift wrapping, gift cards, and vouchers, order history and reordering, and more. A popular option is the ability to run multiple web stores off a single POS database.
“A wide variety of templates are offered as well as a simple scripting language called NitroScript, a superset of HTML, which allows full customization of the web store.
“In addition, it provides online tools which allow retailers to manage the routine updating of the store themselves, and an integration toolkit for POS providers and ISV’s [independent software vendors] who have an interest in leveraging NitroSell as their ecommerce front end.”
PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?
Garvey: “We get asked about eBay and Amazon integration quite a bit, so this is something we are planning to address.”
PeC: What plans do you have for future cart development?
Garvey: “Priorities are eBay and Amazon integration, further enhancements to our B2B capabilities, and support for loyalty schemes.”
PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
Garvey: “The biggest single [improvement] would be the automatic integration into his or her in-store POS system. Product data taken from there is used to create the web store, and orders received by the store are delivered right back down to the POS software for order fulfillment.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly ecommerce merchants?
Garvey: “Do not underestimate the importance of the architecture your web store will be running on. Sharing a single server with other web stores, or even having a dedicated server to yourself, is not a resilient solution. If the server goes down, so does your store. Ensure you are running on a server cluster with multiple levels of redundancy.”
A Customer’s View
Melissa Van Flandern is co-founder of tottini, a Seattle, Wash.-based online store that sells children’s merchandise, including modern furniture, toys, books, nursery items, bedding, bath products and other accessories. Tottini grosses more than $500,000 annually, and Van Flandern offers her opinions on the cart below.
PeC: How long has your company been using the NitroSell cart?
Van Flandern: “One-and-a-half years.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Van Flandern: “The cart’s biggest strength by far is the ability to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System, allowing us to maintain one inventory for both our storefront and our website.
“Another strength is the ability to customize the website to fit both our aesthetic and functional needs. NitroSells’ technical support has also been extremely helpful.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
Van Flandern: “One improvement would be the gift registry feature for customers accustomed to one-click registrations on other ecommerce sites. We look forward to ongoing improvements in this area.”
PeC: How would this cart improve another merchant’s business?
Van Flandern: “The integration feature would benefit any merchant who needs to integrate inventory for a storefront and website, or for a business maintaining multiple businesses. The feature eliminates ‘overselling’ product which results in much better customer satisfaction and smoother processing of online orders.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
Van Flandern: “Yes. Overall we have been pleased with NitroSell in comparison to other companies we used in the past. We spend a lot less time on technical issues, allowing for more focus on conversion rate, traffic generation and customer service.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning the cart?
Van Flandern: “We did a lot of research when we initially launched tottini in regard to the best ecommerce software. As a small business, it was important for us to have a product that was functional, allowed us to provide the best customer service possible, was affordable, and could be customized to meet our needs. After two previous carts, NitroSell has proven to be the best match for us.”