Ecommerce merchants frequently incur development fees to obtain specific features or appearances for their websites. But there are also prebuilt templates that can do this, at prices much less than custom-built solutions. One maker of these is AlgoZone. It offers hundreds of ready-made templates for, mainly, open source ecommerce platforms. Its CEO is Pavel Rojkov, and he recently discussed his template solutions with us.
Practical eCommerce: Your company, AlgoZone, produces ready-made templates for ecommerce websites. Tell us, what is a template?
Pavel Rojkov: “The ecommerce templates that our company provides are a quick and cost-efficient way to adapt a given shopping cart application with a professional storefront design. The template is a graphic site design integrated into the template system or the given ecommerce application. The template design and development process usually includes the creation of overall design, site navigation, and it also includes product presentation within the templates. Templates are often confused with the complete shopping cart solution. That is why the templates are designed and developed to be integrated and brought into the specific shopping cart or ecommerce platform like osCommerce, for example. The other important point to mention that with a template, clients generally save about 10 times of the cost because the templates that you buy from us cost around $150, and are available for immediate download. Compare that to the brand-new cost of up to $2,000 and weeks to develop.”
PEC: How many ecommerce-related templates do you offer?
Rojkov: “We should have about 1,000 currently. But we constantly add new ones and discontinue old ones. We also sell templates exclusively, which means the client comes in and purchases a template, and we agree to remove it from the site. Our templates support about five shopping carts at the moment.”
PEC: You mentioned osCommerce earlier. Give us an example of a an osCommerce template that you sell to ecommerce merchants.
Rojkov: “I could give you an example of a sportswear or sneaker business, for example. You would select the template. We have categorized designs based on the theme or the product line that you’re using. So, you would pick a template for the sportswear or the sneaker business and you can pretty much focus on many things. One of them would be you look at the overall main page presentation. Some templates can have dynamic slide shows, where you can put your featured products or your key products.
“There’s also the availability of refined search features, where you can search products by keyword or by attribute, such as color, size of the sneaker, and brand. So, that’s pretty much a brief description of what it could be.”
PEC: You mentioned five carts that you work with. What are those?
Rojkov: “With a large number of shopping cart solutions available nowadays, it’s really difficult to provide for all of them. That’s why we pre-selected five most popular and stable shopping carts. They are osCommerce, Zen Cart, OpenCart, Magento, and CRE Loaded.”
PEC: Are those all open source platforms?
Rojkov: “All of them are free except CRE Loaded. It has both a free version and a paid one.”
PEC: Let’s say I am a merchant and I have a Magento cart. I sell sneakers or running shoes and I go to your site, Algozone.com. I see a template that I like, and I buy it and download it. I’m not a developer; I’m a merchant. What do I do after I download it?
Rojkov: “There are a number of ways to go. We provide video instructions on how to install. With Magento, we developed a tool that allows you to install templates more efficiently. It comes along with the template. So, if you view the instructions in the video, it will give you the basics of how to open the archive that you download from our website and how to upload it to your site. After that, you can go to the admin of Magento and enable the template.”
PEC: How many merchants use your templates?
Rojkov: “It’s hard to say. We sell in excess of 3,000 templates a year, but we have a lot of custom requests, which are done separately.”
PEC: Merchants can buy your templates and download them immediately. If they have questions, can they call your company?
Rojkov: “Yes. We have support for any questions related to the template purchased. We actually go beyond helping with the template. In a lot of cases, we also help with the cart itself. But can’t really take the responsibility of the cart, but we do help clients with a lot of issues that they have, and we also help them with custom developing extensions.”
PEC: Tell us a little bit about AlgoZone When did you launch the company?
Rojkov: “We started the business in 2003. When we started it, we only supported two shopping carts, which was Interchange and one more that is no longer available. We also supported osCommerce and, since then, we grew to all five carts that I mentioned. In addition to that, we developed quite a few modules to shopping carts.
“We also launched, about four years ago, our fraud screen service, which helps clients protect from fraudulent orders and warns them upfront. The reason we released the fraud service is because there were large numbers of fraud that were coming to our own site. We also released iPhone templates just a little under a year ago.”
PEC: So, you do have iPhone templates?
Rojkov: “Yes. In fact, we are planning to develop templates for all mobile devices. So, that’s something that will be coming in the future.”