There are more than 350 online shopping carts. And each week we feature one, interviewing both the cart’s developer or management 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 Neil Smith, ecommerce director for G-Forces Web Management Ltd. His company owns Tiger Commerce, a hosted shopping cart located in Bearsted, Kent, England. After a decade in the business, G-Forces has more than 2,000 stores using its cart software.
We’ll also hear the views of Chris Smith (no relation), managing director of LIME, a seller of gaming console headsets, and a Tiger Commerce user.
PeC: How much does the cart cost?
N. Smith: “The basic package is £17.99 (29.66 USD) per month. This includes the Tiger Commerce platform with full features, hosting, free software support (including telephone support), unlimited products, and no long-term contract.
“The cost of the professional package, Tiger Pro, is £250 per month (412 USD) for a 24 month term. This includes a whole host of add-on services, including shop setup assistance, design, marketing and technical integrations. Tiger Pro is designed to give the merchant the best possible start to making a successful online shop.
“We also offer a whole host of add-on ecommerce services, such as SEO [search engine optimization], pay-per-click advertising, design, training, technical integrations, and more. Rather than provide a one size fits all, our service solutions come at a number of different price points, catering for all budgets. The services are all available through our Services Shop and are delivered by our G-Force in-house team of specialists.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
N. Smith: “Tiger is designed to facilitate visitors in becoming actual paying customers and avoiding common problems such as shopping cart abandonment.
“Other strengths include the platform’s excellent reliability and performance. Tiger Commerce uses Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) giving us complete control of our computing resources and ability to quickly scale capacity and build a failure-resilient application.
“Also, Tiger Commerce has all the inbuilt SEO tools that a business requires to optimize its listings in the search engines, as well as a full range of marketing tools, including an email marketing suite (for sending out newsletters or for communicating promotions) as well as full promotions functionality allowing for discounts, offers, voucher codes, etc.
“Regular updates to the Tiger Commerce software are typically made on a monthly basis, taking into account feedback from our client database.”
PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?
N. Smith: “We don’t have a currency converter functionality, but this is in the pipeline. Also, we don’t allow hosting of our software on another third-party platform, [but this allows us to] make necessary hardware configuration changes with the least disruption to our client base.”
PeC: What plans do you have for future cart development?
N. Smith: “We are just about to launch the Tiger Commerce iPhone application.
“We are also in the early stages of developing superior analytical reports on customer behavior which will be available in the administration area of each shop. This will provide merchants with the most comprehensive information regarding their customers’ movements and actions so that decisions can be made to optimize their storefront and increase overall profit.
“We have some other pretty exciting stuff, including integrations into Amazon’s marketplace and some third-party fulfillment services for merchants who don’t want the hassle of packing and delivering their products themselves.”
PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
N. Smith: “Better search engine performance, increased traffic, increased conversion rates and ultimately increased profits.
“Merchants have also expressed their appreciation for the level of support and guidance they receive, as well as the easy-to-use administration interface which regularly scores highly with clients who have tried competitor solutions.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are ecommerce merchants?
N. Smith: “eCommerce is now a maturing market and gone are the days when it was easy to set up and make money from selling online. Shopper expectations are high, competition is fierce, and the technology has become increasingly sophisticated. Now is the time for merchants to review their current ecommerce platform, especially if they are using technology more than three years old. Tiger Commerce is a quality and cost-effective solution, whether merchants are startups or established players.”
A Customer’s View
Chris Smith is managing director of Live Interactive Media Events Ltd. (L.I.M.E), a seller of gaming console headsets, and a Tiger Commerce user. Here, he offers his opinions and comments about the cart.
PeC: What does your company sell via the cart?
C. Smith: “We sell the most comprehensive range of next-generation gaming console headsets available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.”
PeC: What is your store’s approximate total annual revenue?
C. Smith: “We are currently turning over around £750,000 to £850,000 [1,235,925 to 1,400,715 USD] per annum.”
PeC: How long have you been using Tiger Commerce?
C. Smith: “Since March 2008.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
C. Smith: “The cart’s strengths include a fast checkout option, no logging in required, and industry standard-layout. Also, it is continuously being updated with new features.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
C. Smith: “It would be great to have text alerts available to our customers for stock updates and even ordering via text. I think it would be a massive benefit to be able to link our [shippers’] tracking info into the automated responses to give the customer full tracking information via ether a text or email as requested. [Another improvement would be] increased data base search options, such as customer email or postal code searches. ”
PeC: How would Tiger Commerce improve another merchant’s business?
C. Smith: “I think the speed with which a store can be arranged and new products loaded is key. Also, the ability to technically use it in conjunction with drop-shipping suppliers gives retailers greater flexibility when looking at new untested lines.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
C. Smith: “Yes, we intend to continue to use Tiger commerce and the G-Forces team on an ongoing basis.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning Tiger Commerce?
C. Smith: “If you have an ecommerce business already and are looking to take the next step in its development, then I would seriously consider Tiger Commerce for a more professional and successful online business.”