eCartReviews

MonsterCommerce Losing Market Share?

Hosted Shopping Cart Solution Report (Feb. 2007)
MonsterCommerce Losing Market Share?
Every time MonsterCommerce releases an update to their shopping cart solution our forum sees an increase of merchants looking for a new solution. Why this happens is best saved for its own blog entry but most tend to be moving to 3dCart because of their easy to use user interface and more robust feature list. A few of their larger stores seem to prefer Volusion. Both are great solutions (in my opinion) and offer a better product (overall) than MonsterCommerce.

I’ve found this site to be interesting:

ProStores Review

Prostores Review
An eBay Company...

A few years ago eBay bought ProStores in hopes of retaining business from merchants that outgrew their online auction product. ProStores was originally developed by Affinity Internet, Inc., the same company that developed the Bigstep e-commerce solution (last I heard this solution was circling the drain). The marketing money behind ProStores in impressive. The question is, does it live up to hype? Answer: no.

Prostores has two strong suits. They offer 24x7 support and a tight integration with eBay. This bodes well for the eBay merchant making their first step to a full-fledged online store. Highly available support can offer hand holding to get a new store off the ground and the eBay integration allows the merchant to continue sales on their auction channel without the need of a secondary product database.

What is a Merchant Account? E-Commerce 101

E-Commerce 101: Merchant Accounts

I’m going to start a series of blog entries that cover the beginning steps of opening an online store. This is the first of the series. Enjoy!

A Merchant Account is a relationship between an online retailer and a merchant bank that enables retailers to accept web-based credit card payments from their customers. This is the account which a Merchant Account provider deposits payments into the merchant's business checking account from the transactions that are made online. To qualify for a merchant account, retailers must meet the bank's requirements.

Avoiding the Google Sandbox Effect

A Storeowners Guide to Beating the Google Sandbox Effect
Don’t put the ecart before the horse.

Launching a new online store takes a lot of work. Merchants spend hours sourcing products, taking pictures, finding a shopping cart solution, signing up with a merchant account and then populating their webstore with products and content. The next stop is marketing the new store. Online marketing begins with gaining high rankings in search engine result pages (SERPs). This is done by having loads of unique content and quality links to your store. Sadly, for new store owners this isn’t enough. New stores will find their ranking in Google stymied by the Sandbox Effect.

Google Sitemaps Made Easy by Hosted Carts

Creating and maintaining a xml or txt Google sitemap for your store can be a huge time drain. Sure it’s worth it. Adding one will ensure that Google will have a detailed road map to crawl your site and make sure all your product pages are indexed . This is hugely important for newly launched stores.

Two hosted cart solutions I use make it real easy to create and maintain a Google sitemap. Volusion and 3DCart automatically generate an asp page called (or something like) googlesitemap.asp. Its updated whenever you add a page or product to your store. You can then easily point Google to this page of regular downloading. Talk about easy. No more searching for third party tools or site to crawl your store in order to generate a site map.

3DCart Leads the Hosted Cart Market with Ajax

The recent release of 3DCart brought with it some pleasant surprises. Foremost is the inclusion of Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) into the cart’s backend. Merchants can hover over Order, Customer and Product links and have the information displayed without the need to click and load pages. This seemingly small feature improvement can drastically improve the efficiency of day-to-day store operation. It effectively brings an entire database of store and customer information to one page – ready to be displayed in a hover window. Hats off to 3DCart for the addition of Ajax as they the first of the shopping cart on our radar screen to make use of this cutting edge technology. One must assume that the next logical step for 3DCart is sprinkle in some Ajax on their front end.

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MonsterCommerce Shopping Cart Review

MonsterCommerce Review
Software Version Reviewed: 4.2

MonsterCommerce is a leading provider in the ASP hosted shopping cart arena. Boasting a clientele of 5,000 store owners, they offer highly available 24x7 support, rich product documentation and a lively customer forum. Support is what separates MonsterCommerce from its competition and appears to be the cornerstone of their business model. This high level of customer support goes a long way to entice fledgling online merchants to select their shopping cart solution.

Where MonsterCommerce Excels

1. Support, Support and Support.

As stated above, MonsterCommerce offers 24x7 phone support, excellent documentation and a lively customer forum that when combined; provide an industry leading support system.

InstanteStore Shopping Cart Review

InstanteStore Overview:

At last, a solution based on something other than ASP. InstanteStore separates itself firstly by their ColdFusion platform and secondly for vast array of features provided. At first log in, we were impressed with the slick and easy to navigate admin or control panel. The admin panel only takes a few minutes of clicking around to get the hang of it. I must say, this was a breath of fresh air after working with some more cumbersome shopping cart solution admin panels. Most everything was easy to find and laid out in a cohesive and well thought out manner.

Setting up the store was easy and a splash page on the admin panel offers a step-by-step checklist for the merchant to follow. First was adding categories, which was easy and straight forward. Next was adding products. There were a few way to accomplish this as the merchant is given the choice between adding product one-by-one or via a .csv or .txt file in bulk upload mode. The bulk upload tool is robust but not forgiving in terms of formatting. The files for upload MUST follow InstanteStore format to the letter or the merchant will receive error messages at upload. We found this process not that easy to master and a potential source of frustration for a merchant that didn’t review the formatting guidelines. Save yourself time and review these standards before attempting any product bulk uploads.

Welcome! eCartReviews First Blog Entry!

eCartReviews Blog Unleashed
Welcome the first entry for the eCartReviews blog. My name is Brian and I’ll be updating this blog. I’m an e-commerce merchant with a number of stores with various host shopping cart solutions. The blog will be used to discuss a range of e-commerce topics that impact merchant. Topics will include e-commerce hosted shopping carts, merchant accounts, SEO and any technology that impacts the industry. I welcome feedback and invite all reader to visit our forum.

Our forum is full of helpful merchants with a wide array experience with all the inner workers of e-commerce. It is a pleasure to maintain this forum made up of a unique group of friendly and knowledgeable merchants, vendors and solution providers. www.ecartreviews.com/forums