Field Test: Shopping Carts, Part One Of Three

In Field Test, Practical eCommerce has gathered twelve seasoned ecommerce merchants and asked each of them the same questions around a given topic. This month’s topic is shopping carts.

The participating ecommerce merchants are: Dave Norris, House of Antique Hardware; Justin Hertz, MuttMart; Chris Stump, Only Hammocks; Mike Feiman, PoolDawg; Dan Stewart, Xtreme Diesel Performance; Cindy Barrileaux, Write Your Best; Claudette Cyr, Gear-Source; Kristen Taylor, Juvie; Jeff Muchnik, RedBox Tools; Kara English, Candles & Such.

Here are three responses, chosen randomly and published anonymously to maintain candor.

PeC: What shopping cart do you use?

  • FIELD TESTER 1: Miva Merchant 5.5.
  • FIELD TESTER 2: GravityMarket by Netconcepts.
  • FIELD TESTER 3: Yahoo! Merchant Solutions.

PeC: How long have you used this cart?

  • FIELD TESTER 1: We have been a Miva customer for nearly three years now. We just made the switch to the upgraded 5.5 version recently.
  • FIELD TESTER 2: More than two years.
  • FIELD TESTER 3: Two years.

PeC: Why did you choose it?

  • FIELD TESTER 1: We went through our share of trials and tribulations with other carts, and this ended up being the third solution we tried. They say third time is a charm, and it certainly has been for us.
  • FIELD TESTER 2: Our previous cart was no longer meeting our needs, and as a result, we ended up doing a rebuild with Netconcepts.
  • FIELD TESTER 3: It came with our store.

PeC: Are you pleased with it?

  • FIELD TESTER 1: Yes, absolutely.
  • FIELD TESTER 2: We are extremely happy with GravityMarket.
  • FIELD TESTER 3: Yes.

PeC: Which aspects of the cart are you most pleased with?

  • FIELD TESTER 1: It’s a highly customizable shopping cart solution, and compared with others, it is quite affordable as well. Out of the box, it’s fairly robust, but the vast number of modules allow you to add any feature you could imagine at a very minimal expense. As a small business owner, I appreciate the way they set up their solution in an “a la carte” fashion because I only have to pay for what I need.
  • FIELD TESTER 2: Since the launch, we’ve seen conversion increase, cart abandonment decrease and have seen drastic improvements from a search engine optimization perspective.
  • FIELD TESTER 3: It was easy to incorporate our custom web design into the shopping cart, so it is seamless when customers check out. The shipping calculator feature has been a wonderful tool for our customers. They like that they can check shipping cost before they check out. I also like that the cart accepts coupons. For us this has been a terrific feature that has closed many sales.

PeC: What would you change about it?

  • FIELD TESTER 1: Six months ago, I would have said their support needed a revamping. But they have a new management team in place and have revised their support entirely, making it all in-house.
  • FIELD TESTER 2: We are constantly working with Netconcepts on upgrades and improvements to the site. Most recently, we had Netconcepts add “Bill Me Later” as a payment option. We’re also looking at making some minor visual changes to the checkout pages.
  • FIELD TESTER 3: As most everyone remembers, Yahoo! was down on Cyber Monday, so I guess the change I would like to see is more reliable services on high traffic dates. Other than that, we haven’t had any problems with the shopping cart.

PeC: What advice would you offer merchants who are seeking a new shopping cart?

  • FIELD TESTER 1: Rather than having to experience the pitfalls of a poorly functioning shopping cart solution and then needing to switch, do your research first. Read reviews online and in magazines, and then go with a cart that other merchants are truly happy with. Taking the time to have a little diligence in advance can save you from years of heartache and stress down the road.
  • FIELD TESTER 2: Find a platform that is scalable and flexible, and most importantly, find a development partner you are comfortable with.
  • FIELD TESTER 3: Look at your options from your customer’s point of view. The shopping cart needs to be easy to understand, simple and fast so converting the sale is easy. The cart should also match the look and feel of the rest of your site. Customers don’t like feeling like they have left your store when they are ready to purchase.
Brendan Gibbons
Brendan Gibbons
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