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Old 11-Mar-2004, 13:09
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BobbyDouglas BobbyDouglas is offline
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[Review] SalesCart Pro


SalesCart Pro 3.0 Review

By,
Mr. Bob’s Web Design [http://mrbobswebdesign.com]

Last updated: March 18th, 2004


Features/Customization: 10/10
Installation: 9/10
Integration: 10/10
Requirements: 5/10
Plug-ins: 10/10
Support: 8/10
Price: 8/10
Why Buy?
Why Avoid?

After recommending SalesCart Pro for many years now, I have decided to write up a short review of the product, and why I believe it stands out from the rest of the shopping carts today. http://SalesCart.com is the location of their web site.

SalesCart Pro 3.0 Demo: http://demo.salescart.com/
PowerPoint Presentation: http://www.salescart.com/demos/SalesCart.pps

SalesCart FrontPage Web Site Examples:
http://www.frontpage-ecommerce.com/welcome.asp


SalesCart DreamWeaver Web Site Examples:
http://www.dreamweaver-ecommerce.com/welcome.asp


Product Overview:
SalesCart PRO contains over 60 features. In fact, it provides more features than any other shopping cart that I know of. With key features such as auction capabilities in the base product at no additional cost, flexibility of having different shipping modes, and single button removal of shipping and payment from the entire checkout system makes SalesCart PRO one of the most powerful shopping carts in existence. There is just no limit to what you can accomplish with SalesCart PRO. In addition to its level of power, SalesCart PRO will integrate with any website within a matter of minutes. During checkout, the sensitive data can be encrypted with SSL prior to transmission. This includes the customer ordering process and processing of orders. SalesCart PRO also comes with many other plug-ins that I will describe in detail. As a web developer, this shopping cart program doesn’t just help my client. It gives me the showcase of a superior shopping cart backend. I would recommend this program to other people who plan to have a fully customizable shopping cart with almost every feature one would need. The one-time license fee gives you the latest fixes and release for that version. If you purchase version 3.0, you will get 3.1, 3.2, and so forth. However, when it comes time to upgrade to 4.0, there is an upgrade fee of around $150-$250. The basic program itself costs $399. A little expensive compared to the other ecommerce shopping carts, however, none of the other shopping carts can compare to the features of SalesCart PRO. The software I think is worth well over $599. I do believe if they set their price down to $199 or $299, more people would be interested in their software. The only reason I say this is that their competitor’s prices are very low- even though the competitors cannot compete with the features SalesCart PRO offers.

Features/Customization:
Using the one license, you have the ability to create an unlimited number of shopping carts, without paying any monthly fees. SalesCart has unlimited features, is fully controllable, and allows you to purchase an unlimited number of items. SalesCart completely integrates with both the FrontPage AND DreamWeaver interface. There is NO other shopping cart that can compare to something so wonderful. It is easy to add products to your web site. In fact, SalesCart integrates into your web site as another ‘Tool’ option. You click the SalesCart tool, select ‘Add product’ enter a few details, and you are done! It is as simple as that.
The database is very expandable; the product database can be any ODBC language you desire including, for instance, Excel, Access, SQL, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, FoxPro, etc. I find that Access works well with SalesCart.

The checkout system is just as great at the actual shopping cart it self. Using the Link-Wise checkout will allow you to control every aspect of your order. You are able to customize all of the pages, as well as view the source code for the actual shopping cart! Of course, SalesCart PRO already has a basic template that needs no configuration at all to function. You can open all of the pages inside of either FrontPage or DreamWeaver! Never do you have to modify source code to change certain aspects of your page.

SalesCart PRO allows you to disable shipping, payment, and tax directly through a wizard. Special discounting can be accomplished by either a percentage of total cost or an absolute amount.

The extensive shipping module allows you to specify shipping cost using: Weight-based, Value-based, Volume-based, Quantity-based, Product Only-based, Whole Order-Based, and Free-based shipping methods. Some of these shipping options can be combined; for instance, product-based shipping can be used in conjunction with Weight-based shipping.

In addition to this, SalesCart PRO offers three-tier tax support for products at three different levels. It allows you to calculate the Tax at the State or Province level, Tax at the Country/County level, to apply a single tax percentage on a product-by-product basis for luxury items, or to account for taxes imposed on a product-only basis.

SalesCart PRO also offers coupons that can be based either on entire orders or specific items. It allows you to specify coupon numbers and specific discounts which can be a percentage or an absolute amount. Upon checkout, your customer can specify coupon # and receive either a % discount off the entire order or a flat-discount (like $5.00) off the entire order depending on your entry.

The ability to have an unlimited number of product attributes, as well as all the price attributes for each setting are easily configurable inside of the wizard.

SalesCart PRO comes with an integrated currency converter that will work directly with OANDA. This real-time currency calculator gives the specific “real-time” International currency calculations at checkout time. These calculations are done at checkout instead of during the product display.

Shipping and handling can also be set inside the wizard. Specify an individual shipping cost/amount for each product. Specify a per-product shipping amount which can be used in isolation or in combination with whole-order shipping options. As well as specify an individual handling cost/amount for each product. Specify a per-product handling amount which can be used in isolation or in combination with whole-order handing options.

There is a step-by-step Web Wizard that builds your shopping cart for you. All you have to do is enter a few fields, and then you are off! Basically, everything can be customized in your wizard in a matter of minutes.

The support has 30-days of unlimited on-line support via their support tracking wizard. Although SalesCart PRO is very easy in terms of setup and installation, everyone understands that support is a must in this world.

The functions for the shopping cart keep getting better and better. The latest release of SalesCart PRO has the affiliate tracking built-into the program. A product-by-product basis specifies a particular merchant/affiliate/shipper or supplier code for each product. It allows you to track particular products to particular affiliates, merchants or suppliers.

The ability to have an auction for the item can allows you to specify auctioning on a product-by-product basis. Also, it allows you to enable and control the size of the price field so that the customer may specify a price during an auction. Mix auction and regular sales in the same shopping experience. One of the attributes you can set for the auction is the minimum auction price. This allows you to change the minimum acceptable value during an auction. Another auction feature allows you to specify a product expiration date and description. You can specify a date for each product. When this date is reached, the product can no longer be ordered or bid on if it is being auctioned. The specifics of the expiration message can be customized on an item-by-item basis.

SalesCart PRO’s built in e-mail friend is the easiest way for others to spread the word about a particular product. You can allow your customers to e-mail specific details to your friends which will then send a detailed description about the product to the friend’s e-mail address.

Returning customers will have no problems with picking up where they left off the last time they visited your shopping cart.

SalesCart PRO has support for International currency Displays and complete customizability for back-end check-out internationalization. There are very detailed instructions with it that explain how to set these features up.

One thing that makes this shopping cart unique is the ease of working with products. Utilizing, multiple product discounting options available, you can set a 10% discount if the price is great than $100. If they pay in the USA, they can receive a 5% discount. If they pay for $105, they could get 10% discount, plus a 5% discount for being in Arizona. There are unlimited possibilities for this product.

Products can be set up to have unlimited options. This is perfect for displaying a separate price for the color of the item for sales. All of these customizations are done using a wizard, or a product options tab. Never do you have to mess around with source code again.

One of the best parts about this product is the ability to have real-time shipping rates calculated from UPS! Automatic shipping calculations can be done by value, by weight, by volume, by product. Even automatic sales tax calculations are customizable on a product-by-product basis or for tax-exempt customers. Support for all major online transaction processing systems are available, including on-line, real-time checks. There are detailed purchase orders and other Access (or whatever Database you chose to use) Reports built-in on all orders.

There are plug-ins that will allow you to administer the database online, so that you can view your customers, sort by name, price, and so forth. You can even set up your products online to get the product information directly from the database! Another plug-in is the On-line Store Management system allows you to create purchase orders, invoices, configure shipping, taxes, even labels all on the online interface. It possesses an Open Back-end with over 7 different payment gateways, Including: PayPal, WorldPay, AuthorizeNet, CardService, LinkPoint, CyberCash, VeriSign, Bank of America and more... You must visit their web site for more information about the plug-ins.

Installation:
Installation for SalesCart is a breeze. You will usually not have problems with the software; however, there tends to be problems with Windows ME in setting up the Personal Web Server. SalesCart receives a 9/10 on the installation, just because there are problems with setting up the software to run on PWS (Personal Web Server) or IIS. This is very complex to get set up, and people run into a lot of problems while trying to set it up.

Integration:
SalesCart integrates directly into FrontPage and DreamWeaver. Easy installation takes less then 10 minutes to configure. When installing a SalesCart PRO web site in FrontPage, you will be prompt with some boxes that will ask for your web site name, username, password, admin e-mail address, the e-mail messages used that are sent out when orders are complete, along with a few more fields. To integrate SalesCart PRO into an existing web site, simply click on ‘Add to current web’. It will add all of the files needed.

Requirements:
SalesCart lacks the ability to work well if your computer fails to meet its requirements. The biggest problem is when you try to set up the server and successfully run http://localhost. I have never been able to get the PWS set up on Windows ME. Microsoft does not support Personal Web Server- something that SalesCart Pro needs, unless you are using IIS.

There are a few requirements for the SalesCart Pro 3.0 program to function.

The client will need:
  • Microsoft® 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP
  • Design tool: Either Microsoft® FrontPage® or Macromedia Dreamweaver/UltraDev
  • 10 Mbyte of Disk Space or more depending on size of order database
  • Microsoft Access recommended unless you have the optional order management tool/plug-in
  • Personal Web Server or IIS (The ability to publish and view http://localhost on your computer)

For the server, the requirements are as follows:
  • Microsoft Windows NT/2000/2003 with IIS 4/5/or 6:
  • with Complete Support for Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP) and Complete Support for MDAC 2.1 or greater, Active-X Data Objects (ADO) including Database Support for Microsoft Access Database and Microsoft SMTP services are required for e-mail functionality
  • Script executable privileges
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): If you wish to protect communication between your customer and the server, we recommend a dedicated SSL certificate for your domain name.
  • Internet Explorer 6 or greater (for MSXML Parser 3.0).
Be sure to contact your host to make sure that they support this program. Most hosts will support it; however, there could be the one that doesn’t quite meet the standards.

As you might notice, SalesCart Pro works on a Windows NT/2000/2003 server with IIS 4/5/or 6. When choosing a host for this, be sure to pick the Windows platform.

Plug-ins:
SalesCart Pro 3.0 offers a wide range of plug-ins.

Product Management Tool:
Introducing a whole new way to manage your SalesCart products - dynamically. The Product Management tool offers an easy to use interface for entering products into a product database, updating products in the database, product inventory management, displaying products from database search queries, and providing template query results pages. If you want to create a dynamically generated SalesCart web with hundreds our thousands of products or have more than 5 designers per project, than this is the plug-in for you.

The Product Management Tool provides real-time product management and optionally includes inventory management as well. A dynamic search page is already provided and linked to a dynamic product listing lobby page with "refined" search capability. The dynamic product listing page allows one click access to a product details page that lists all of the important parameters about a single product.
See a working demo of the product management plug-in: http://demo.salescart.com/dynamic.

Order Management Tool (advanced edition):
The advanced edition of the Order Management Tool provides SalesCart with an easy-to-use online Web interface to retrieve and manage your SalesCart Orders. The Order Management tool eliminates the need for individual merchants having to purchase Microsoft® Access® software or Microsoft ® SQL® clients to manage facets of their online orders. Merchants can retrieve orders directly online by single order number, by date or order range and then print orders/invoices or create labels. All through the web browser without any additional software. Merchants can now configure sales tax, configure shipping options and create and manage other merchant account access privileges and permissions via the online interface. Using the SSL certificate attributed to the domain, the entire Order Management can be accessed and maintained securely via a password protected https, SSL connection.
The Order Management tool also allows customers to review past sales figures, send marketing notices to past customers and prospects, manage affiliates, and track order fulfillment to name just a few of its numerous benefits.
QuickBooks integration: Export and maintain your sales record to QuickBooks... Now the Order Management tool offers direct integration with QuickBooks, allowing you to quickly and easily export customer information and sales data from your online store directly into the QuickBooks accounting software with the push of a few buttons.
See a working demo of the order management tool: http://www.salescart.com/scorderdemo

Transaction Processing Plug-in:
Includes all of the transaction processing gateways currently offered for PRO:
  • Authorize.Net AIM or SIM
  • Clear Commerce
  • LinkPoint
  • Card Service International
  • ECHO - Electronic Clearing House
  • Penzio
  • Bank of America
  • IonGate
  • COSTCO
  • VeriSign PayFlow PRO

PayPal Plug-in:
Ability to take payments with a Buy Now link from PayPal at the end of the payment screen.

WorldPay Plug-in:
WorldPay accepts payment information via the web, capturing card and shipper details for authorization of payments via the banking network. Transaction results can be viewed by the merchant and their shoppers and automatic messaging facilities provide digital receipts directly to both parties from WorldPay. The advantages of having WorldPay as a credit card bridge is that the merchant account can be setup in only 2 business days, pending if all documentation is provided. WorldPay uses state of the art security tools and techniques to protect you and your customers. These tools are regularly updated to ensure their conformity to high standards of banking security. Additional checks are regularly built in to protect against fraud.
  • WorldPay provides uninterrupted service 24/7
  • The shopper's transaction details are encrypted before leaving the shopper's browser to ensure security of the transaction.
  • WorldPay provides all you need to pass secure transactions over the Internet.
  • WorldPay can send confirmation of orders in any format you may require.
  • WorldPay is capable of handling multiple simultaneous transactions.
  • The multicurrency option enables the customer to converts your merchant currency to the customer's local currency.
  • Customer is able to choose from a menu list of 20 standard currencies.

Support:
The basic 30-day support should cover most of your initial problems. However, they have very expensive support procedures after the 30 days are up.

A VERY extensive knowledgebase is available for everyone to view. Not only that, but there is also a newsgroup type of thing that will allow you to ask questions via e-mail, and get the answers within a few days. Usually, it takes about a day to get something answered.

SalesCart Free Help Information:
After 30 days, support is offered on a priority fee-based basis. Priority Paid support provides unlimited phone and on-line support. The following Paid support options are available for SalesCart 1.2, SalesCart PRO, or SalesCart STD.

Single Support Option:
  • You may receive paid phone support at the rate of $40/incident for support after 30 days.

6 Month Support Option:
  • You may receive unlimited paid phone support for only $349 for 6 months.

Price:
SalesCart is rather expensive in comparison with other shopping cart systems. Despite this fact, however, the features and reliability that SalesCart have are better than any other shopping cart on the market today.
The single license allows you to create an unlimited number of shopping carts on an unlimited number of domains.
When I first purchased SalesCart Pro 2.0 back in 2000 (I believe) I paid around $599. I thought it was well worth it. Now, I noticed that they have lowered their price, and added more features. Why can’t more businesses do this

Sales Cart is expensive compared to other shopping carts. Nothing can compare to what SalesCart does. A lot of free shopping carts work very nice for people, but developers usually use them ONLY to save money. Using SalesCart will not only save time, but it makes your design look very professional. What I did, was charged the client at least the amount for the license of SalesCart. I thought of it like this… I make one site for free, and get a license of SalesCart for free too. It was well worth it, and I am so happy I made the purchase. I only wish that SC Pro worked perfect on a Linux server. Unfortunately their SalesCart X (that works on Linux/Unix) does not come with even half the features that Pro comes with.

Currently, SalesCart Pro 3.x is available for a download price of $399.99.

Why Buy SalesCart PRO?
I recommend SalesCart PRO for any web site. It’s designed mainly for the type who need a stable, easily integrated shopping cart that is compatible with popular WYSIWYG editors, as well as possessing every feature you could think of. I believe more developers will be using this tool than specific clients. Reason being is that the price of SalesCart PRO is more for the market of using it more than once. The web design and shopping cart prices these days are so low, that high priced software are usually not purchased. Being a shopping cart user myself, I find that creating shopping carts using SalesCart PRO is very simple, never becoming a hindrance.

Why Avoid?
SalesCart PRO needs a web server to run. Configuring a web server takes a lot of time, especially for the newer developers in this age of technology. Those who run Windows ME cannot run PWS on their computer, and thus will not be able to run SalesCart PRO. This is the biggest set back for SalesCart PRO. I would also not recommend this product for someone who plans to have only a slight income from the web site. There is no need for something as extensive as SalesCart PRO. SalesCart PRO is designed for the professional shopping cart market, and those who do not fall into that category might not get the most out of the software. If SalesCart PRO had a lower price tag, it might take over the entire e-commerce market. SalesCart PRO is almost twice as expensive as some of its competitors, and this is why I believe less people are using SalesCart PRO. Lastly, if you do not use FrontPage or DreamWeaver, SalesCart PRO isn’t the shopping cart for you either.
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Mr. Bob's Web Design - Tirelessly looking for ways to enhance the customer base of your business.
 


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