There are more than 500 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 Don Schnure, president of 1AutomationWiz.com. The company is located in St. Louis, Mo., and it provides online shopping cart software called 1AutomationWiz. According to Schnure, roughly 7,000 merchants currently use the cart.
We’ll also hear from a 1AutomationWiz customer, Kim Wilson. She is the owner of Elite Xpressions, a site that sells products for garages.
PeC: Please provide some general background on the cart.
Don Schnure: “The first incarnation of the cart was originally developed in roughly 1998, and 1AutomationWiz was released in 2002. The design intent was to provide a shopping cart developed by marketers for marketers. Originally the product was a simple shopping cart that tied-in autoresponders, and broadcast email capabilities. Pretty revolutionary in 2002, but we soon realized that there was more we could offer.
“Some of the biggest names in marketing have contributed ideas instrumental in how the cart has changed and grown over the years to meet the needs of online merchants. It has evolved to include affiliate tracking software, ad tracking and split testing software, digital product delivery, coupons, upsells and downsells offers at checkout, and much more.
“Additionally, we offer sales analytics and reports, credit card processing, and the ability for merchants to do surveys and custom web forms. The cart supports more than 60 payment gateways and offers PayPal integration as well. It has everything needed to market online from a single online control panel.”
PeC: Is it hosted, licensed, or both?
PeC: How much does 1AutomationWiz cost?
Schnure: “There are three different ecommerce packages. The Starter version is $34 per month, or $349 annually; the Basic version is $59 per month, or $599 annually; and the Pro version is $99 per month, or $999 annually.
“We also offer a separate Autoresponder package for $29 per month, or $299 annually (included in Basic and Pro versions).”
PeC: What is your company doing to become PCI compliant?
Schnure: “Our network and system were among the first to become PCI/CISP certified. We maintain PCI compliance with ongoing validation from multiple security authorities and by implementing upgrades and enhancements as needed to ensure 100 percent compliance and security at all times. It is tested and scanned for PCI and security compliance by both McAfee Secure and Trust Guard.
“As the 1AutomationWiz software is also in use by other service providers through our ‘white label’ program, it is not feasible to list all the companies that license this technology on Visa’s Global List of PCI/DSS Validated Service Providers, even though all of them use the same PCI-certified secure network and system.
“Administratively, 1AutomationWiz operates as an independent company under the umbrella of Web.com. As only one site listing is available per ‘secure network’ with Visa’s Global List at this time, our network certification and approval are listed under the name 1ShoppingCart [also owned by Web.com].” [Editor’s Note: 1ShoppingCart is listed on Visa’s Global List of PCI/DSS Validated Service Providers.]
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Schnure: “Its biggest strengths are the ease of use and flexibility. Because it is a hosted cart there is nothing for the merchant to download or install. Creating a ‘buy now’ link is as simple as copying and pasting a URL into your web page, email or blog.”
PeC: What are some of its weaknesses?
Schnure: “Currently we do not offer an online store builder like you might find with a Yahoo! store, and a number of clients have asked for this feature. The online store builder is actually scheduled for release in the next quarter.”
PeC: What plans do you have for future cart development?
Schnure: “We have a slew of new features sitting in the queue ready for release in the near future, including the aforementioned online store builder, website hosting, web design services, SEO services, logo design, and even sales lead generation.”
PeC: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
Schnure: “There is so much involved in starting your own online business that it’s hard to know just where to start, let alone what software and tools you’ll need. 1AutomationWiz offers both new and experienced merchants a simple, all-in-one ecommerce and marketing solution that allows them to get up and running very quickly.
“Plus, we offer peace of mind in knowing that all the ecommerce software tools are going to work together seamlessly.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly ecommerce merchants?
Schnure: “If you’re not happy with the shopping cart you’re using now, remember you are not married to it. I’ve seen way too many cases of merchants feeling ‘held hostage’ by their ecommerce provider because the merchant was afraid to move to a better solution.
“It is oftentimes worth the short term pain of moving to another shopping cart provider rather then losing sleep wondering if your existing ecommerce solution is on the ball with PCI compliance, tech support, security, and other issues.”
A Customer’s View
Kim Wilson is the owner of Elite Xpressions, a Corpus Christi, Texas-based company that sells flooring, cabinets, and storage solutions for garages. The site processes approximately $2,000,000 in annual sales via 1AutomationWiz, and Wilson provides her comments and opinions about the cart below.
PeC: How long has your company been using 1AutomationWiz?
Wilson: “Since 2004. I chose it because I was just starting a new online business and I didn’t have a lot of money to spend. 1AutomationWiz was an economical shopping cart solution that met my ecommerce needs.”
PeC: What are the cart’s biggest strengths?
Wilson: “The versatility of design, item options, automatic emails, and reports.”
PeC: How could the cart improve?
Wilson: “The only glitch we’ve had with the cart is with shipping. Although the cart is great because it calculates real time shipping cost, we have a wide range of products. When clients are buying several products at once, the cart doesn’t differentiate that we will combine an order into one package therefore making shipping cheaper. If an item is set up to calculate shipping, it calculates it per item.
“We also have some products where, if an order is large enough, it would ship via freight truck. We have alleviated these problems by offering free shipping. Customers are very pleased to know that they won’t be hit with extra fees, so free shipping works very well for us.”
PeC: How would 1AutomationWiz improve another merchant’s business?
Wilson: “Once an account is set up, it’s easy to maintain and self sufficient. When I first started my business I didn’t know where to start with a shopping cart. I contacted several companies that write shopping cart software and they wanted $25,000 or more. For a moment I thought my business idea was over. Then I found 1AutomationWiz, and it offered everything I needed for my website.”
PeC: Do you plan on continuing to use the cart?
Wilson: “Yes. It meets our needs, so we won’t be leaving.”
PeC: Any other thoughts for our readers concerning the cart?
Wilson: “1AutomationWiz is an invaluable tool for our online business.”