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 Michael Levit, executive vice president of marketing and business development for Vendio, a ten-year-old ecommerce company located in San Mateo, Calif. The Vendio cart is a free, hosted ecommerce solution, with approximately 25,000 users. Optional multichannel selling begins at $10 per month plus a percentage of sales. Overall, Vendio says it serves more than 100,000 merchants with its combined ecommerce services.
We’ll also hear the views of Cynthia Lizana, owner of TexCynGoods, Inc. and a Vendio cart user.
PeC: Please provide some general information about the Vendio cart.
Levit: “Vendio is a multi-channel selling solution. It includes order and payment management, inventory management and a flexible, template-driven storefront with an integrated shopping cart. There are no monthly fees, final value fees, or listing fees of any sort.”
PeC: What are the Vendio cart’s biggest strengths?
Levit: “The cart is a part of the Vendio Platform, making it seamless to sell on Shopzilla, Shopping.com, eBay, and Amazon all from one set of inventory. The platform is integrated with an array of third parties, including shipping providers (i.e., UPS, U.S. Postal Service), payment providers (i.e., PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.net), and QuickBooks.
“There are a variety of options for customizing the look of a store, including drag-and-drop designs and an array of widgets to embed in your store or distribute through partners. The cart also includes SEO [search engine optimization] and Google Analytics support. The cart is scalable and reliable, and the best part, of course, is that it is 100 percent free.”
PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?
Levit: “The Vendio cart is not currently integrated with third-party inventory management systems. It does not support Amazon payments, and it is not available on a licensed (non-hosted) basis.”
PeC: What plans do you have for future cart development?
Levit: “We plan to expose a series of application program interfaces [APIs] to enable third-party developers to extend the Vendio Platform. The first API exposed will be order management. The cart will also be extended to support other payment gateways.”
PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
Levit: “The Vendio cart will save the merchant money in a tough economy, and the Vendio platform makes it quick and easy to add, remove, feature, and edit store items, layouts, and categories. The cart includes a directory listing to help a merchant be found on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other major search engines. Finally, Vendio keeps items and orders in sync across Amazon, eBay, and the merchant’s own store, without having to input and export processes across channels.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly ecommerce merchants?
Levit: “First, help customers find you by selling where they are browsing. This includes eBay, Amazon, comparison-shopping engines, in addition to your own storefront. Secondly, make sure your cart is SEO-friendly and is capable of submitting your products to Google Product Search.”
A Customer’s View
Cynthia Lizana owns TexCynGoods, Inc., located in San Antonio, Tex. She uses the Vendio cart on her store to sell women’s’ wallets, handbags, and other accessories, with around $300,000 in annual gross revenue. Lizana offers her opinions and comments about the Vendio cart below.
PeC: How long has your company been using the cart?
Lizana: “We have been using it for about one month.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Lizana: “The Vendio cart provides excellent SEO. Our store is already on page one of Google search results for several of our main search terms. Another strength is its unique ‘drag and drop’ shopping cart feature. This makes it very easy for our customers to shop and add and remove items in their shopping cart. Also, the Vendio cart is free regardless of how many items I sell.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
Lizana: “I think the feature we would like most right now is the ability to customize our category pages. We have requested that enhancement and expect it will be available soon.”
PeC: How would the Vendio cart improve another merchant’s business?
Lizana: “This cart would most likely increase sales due to the excellent SEO features, which would also result in a savings on PPC [pay-per-click] marketing. It is also easy to use, so store owners with limited online experience could easily be up and running in a few days. And, because it’s free, storeowners can apply the savings to other aspects of their business.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning cart?
Lizana: “Anyone who has a Vendio cart can also take advantage of the Vendio Platform. [It allows you to] sell across other sales channels with one set of inventory, from one location, saving a ton of time. Vendio’s free shopping cart and storefront portion sets them apart from other programs that do this.”