by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 20 April 2012
Geography is history.
Thanks to the worldwide web, even small businesses can leverage an international audience for their products now. To do that, however, they need to enable great shopping experiences for customers.
Earlier it was shop assistants and cashiers who facilitated this experience. In the Internet-enabled world, eCommerce solutions do all the work.
This week, we will review an eCommerce solution that enables you to manage multiple aspects of your business, including orders, inventory, fulfillment, and customer service-even when selling across multiple channels such as via web storefront, call center, mobile devices, and leading online market places like Amazon.com® and eBay®.
So let's dive in to our review of Goecart360 - and a brand new integrated eCommerce suite from GoECart - and see how it can be of use to you.
Building An Integrated Ecommerce Solution
"We are more of a product engineering company in that we believe in focusing on building our product rather than on marketing and sales," says Manish Chowdhary, founder and CEO of GoECart. Chowdhary led the design and development of the first iteration of the company's ecommerce platform in 2000, while he was still in grad school. Later, GoECart was one of the first ecommerce technology companies to leverage the subscription-based software as a service (SaaS) delivery model.
Today, under Chowdhary's leadership, the company is breaking new ground once again with its latest SaaS solution, GoECart 360. The new solution is a real game changer, according to Chowdhary. "We are unique in that we bundle all of the core components required for a merchant to be successful in a single solution. This includes not just our award-winning ecommerce technology but also order management, purchasing, inventory, fulfillment, and customer relationship management (CRM) into a single application that can be accessed anywhere," he said.
Despite packing in multiple features into a single offering, GoECart 360 is customizable. "GoECart 360 is both highly customizable and configurable (which are two different things). This enables customers to tailor unique and different shopping experiences for their customers," he said. Thus, GoECart's clients can use the solution to suit and enrich their existing business model.
Let's Go Shopping With Goecart360
Ecommerce comprises seven different elements in GoECart 360-customers, orders, vendors, products, payments, shipping, marketing, and CRM. Taken together, these elements make up the flow of your customer's shopping experience.
One of the biggest benefits of GoECart 360 is that it includes an advanced order management system (OMS). The price for a comparable OMS would cost the merchant tens of thousands, and that is before you add on the cost of required integration. The order management system integrated with GoECart 360 provides customizable order approval, processing, and routing; call center Mail Order Telephone Order (MOTO) sales and support; single-screen order entry and payment processing; multiple fulfillment methods and custom workflows; bulk printing orders, pick lists, packing slips, and shipping labels an efficient returns/exchanges processing and management, and integrated UPS® Online Tools, USPS®, and FedEx® shipping labels.
In the area of inventory management, merchants can set threshold inventory levels for individual items based on demand forecasts. The system generates an email alert each time the threshold is reached. The customer shopping experience begins with product selection, so it's great that the system enables customized tagging and image uploading for products. "We are big supporters of rich media including images, audio, and video," says Chowdhary. In addition to supporting multiple file formats, GoECart 360 already has native integration with Adobe multimedia products, such as Flash® and Scene®.
You can configure multiple parameters related to your application. These include customizable and pre-configured shipping options. For example, you can configure ship methods and rates for FedEx® and UPS® directly from the system. In addition, the system includes GoECart's innovative Intelligent SEO capability that helps the merchant automatically employ search engine optimization techniques so the web pages in the store front will achieve desirable rankings in the major search engines.
Given social commerce's recent popularity, the developers at GoECart 360 have adopted a "SoLoMo" strategy (Social, Local, and Mobile) for 2012-2013. This means that the solution's developers will be going all-out to optimize the solution for mobile media platforms as well as integrate more advanced social features into the solution. Currently, GoECart 360 already integrates with Facebook and Twitter, enabling customers to integrate user comments from their website directly to their Facebook product news feed page.
There are two areas where the solution could do with improvements.
The first one is analytics. You can already generate rich data using the solution. However, that data's utility might be greatly enhanced if it included inputs from multiple modules. For example, the "abandoned shopping carts" data point is currently displayed as a number that corresponds to abandoned shopping carts on the storefront. While this is helpful, a novel idea would be to include metrics from other modules in the solution to produce a richer data set that showed details such as SKUs being abandoned and customer interaction with such products. Similarly, the solution could do with a more robust dashboard reporting capability.
Second, the solution could integrate better with other cloud-based productivity suites. Because many small businesses use Google Apps or Docs for their work, integration with such popular cloud software will make it easier for users to switch between applications and make GoECart 360 a natural choice to work with cloud-based productivity suites.
GoECart founder is already listening.
"In addition to more robust mobile device support, reporting and revamping our dashboard are focus areas for us this year, and our development team is exploring how we can better integrate with the cloud out of the box," says Chowdhary.
To be fair, GoECart does offer a robust set of APIs, so the sky is the limit should a merchant decide they want to take on the challenge of integrating with specific technologies on their own.
The Basics: What Does The Interface Look Like?
"The hallmark of our solution is to bring multiple customer modules into a single cohesive module and make the solution easy to learn and use," Chowdhary said.
The company has already completed work on the latter task. The solution's interface was redesigned recently. The horizontal global navigation menu enables you to switch between modules. A vertical specific menu enables users to access each element within the module. The navigation is seamless for the user, which should cut down on learning curves and training costs for small businesses.
Supporting The Shopping Experience
"We have never forgotten that the second S in SaaS stands for Service," Chowdhary said. Thus, the company has 24X7 customer tech support. Key executives work on client-and account-management tasks. In addition, they have comprehensive user documentation and a robust knowledge base, Chowdhary said. "One of the best compliments we have received for our solution is related to our fanatical customer support," Chowdhary said.
Is It For You?
I was intrigued by the solution when it was first assigned for review. I cannot say I am disappointed after reviewing this ecommerce solution. By itself, investing in an ecommerce solution is a substantial investment; however, throw GoECart 360 into the mix and your bets are hedged.