Mar 3 2010
Just after graduating from high school, a few friends and I, all well versed in the ways of the internet, decided to start a business. We’d been buying knives and swords for many years through a mail-order company in the mid-west, using a made-up company name, and wanted to turn our boyish fascination with edged weapons into an online business. It was a perfect idea, we reasoned. An online business has virtually no overhead cost, we wouldn’t need any stock because the knife company was willing to drop-ship, and I’d been designing websites for a few years at that point, so we wouldn’t need to pay anyone to build our dream.
We skewed the website toward guys our own age (and with our same tastes) and featured decorative samurai swords, multi-function pocket knives, and science-fiction inspired throwing weapons. We put knife-throwing demonstrations on the site and even had a primitive blog-like section. I got a credit card in my name and, such was my faith, I covered any business costs myself, stipulating to all involved that the card would need to be the first thing to be paid back once we showed profit. We undercut our competitors, offered free shipping, and after one long summer month of preparation, we opened for business. It was a geeky knife-and-sword-enthusiast’s dream. By God, we thought, it was just crazy enough to work.
Unfortunately, the idea wasn’t “just crazy enough to work”, it was “just crazy enough to tank spectacularly and take my credit rating with it”. We had virtually no advertising budget and no concept of how to do guerrilla marketing, so no one knew about us. A few months passed with meager sales and the web-hosting bills piled up on the credit card, and then went delinquent because I didn’t have the money to pay it. The worst thing though, was that the e-commerce solution that I’d chosen required frequent security updates which frequently broke the shopping cart. The front end of the store never looked the way I wanted, it had large encrypted areas that I couldn’t edit myself, and I had to baby-sit the error log and chase down sales that were lost due to downtime. Eventually I grew frustrated with the whole project and it was abandoned, but not without some serious regret.
Even though the bitterness of my first experience with ecommerce lays a decade in the past and many website-building experiences have come and gone since, I still maintain that if I’d chosen a better ecommerce solution, the site could have worked. I could have ridden out the first lean months, tried out some marketing ideas, and worked another job to support the business until it picked up. Instead, I was stuck banging my head against a wall for several hours every day because I’d invested too much time and energy into a software system that was created by lazy, slipshod, corner-cutting code-monkeys who cared very little if their software functioned, just as long as they got to collect the initial licensing fee. If something like ZippyCart had existed, I might have had a chance to become one of those young internet millionaires that we all dreamed of becoming back then.
ZippyCart is a website that allows users to compare and contrast the top ecommerce solutions available today. There is no sign-up required, no mailing list you’re forced to join, and the whole thing is free.
ZippyCart couldn’t possibly make it simpler to compare and contrast various ecommerce software packages. The top ecommerce solutions are presented, so you don’t have to slog through several hundred options to find the best. The very best (most feature-rich and highest-rated) ecommerce software is linked right on the homepage, making it a good place to start if you don’t have a clear idea of what you really want. After selecting a software package, you can read a ZippyCart write-up on each ecommerce solution by clicking on the “read an expert review” button or you can see what customers who have used the product have to say in the “read customer reviews” section. Or, if you’re just interesting in the facts, you can check out a straightforward features list.
Be sure to check out the ecommerce guide and shopping cart area, where you’ll find some well-written articles to help get you started with choosing software that’s right for you. There are resources for learning about how shopping carts work, the benefits of paid solutions versus free or open-source software, and marketing your online store once it’s finished. The marketing ideas alone are worth visiting ZippyCart.
My favorite part of ZippyCart is how easy it makes comparing ecommerce solution features. Viewing an A/B comparison makes it easier to determine which solution will best fit your needs, and also makes it easier on you if you need to sell an investor or partner on one solution over another (something I’ve had to do on several occasions when building websites). You can simply say that you prefer an ecommerce solution, but it’s easier to sell it if you can simply show how your choice stacks up against the competition.
If there is room for improvement, it lies within the limited selection of ecommerce solutions featured on the site. There will undoubtedly be more options added in the future, and I’m hoping they add a few open-source shopping carts to the mix, just for the sake of variety.
Whether you realize it or not, choosing the right ecommerce solution can mean the difference between a successful business venture and a frustrating failure. ZippyCart helps you make this important decision. Better still, it’s easy to use, well-designed, and provides some great resources for free. To put it simply, ZippyCart is one of the best ways to compare the top ecommerce solutions available on the web today.