There are so many online shopping cart options for today’s entrepreneurs and business owners to choose from. ShopTab features reviews of popular and recommended online shopping carts, interviewing the featured cart’s developer, to provide an opportunity to learn about why their cart may be right for your business.
ShopTab recently had the privilage of interviewing founder and Project Director of ozEwords, Kym Romanets. Romanets founded ozEworks in 2004. It is based in New York with offices in the Ukraine.
ozEcommerce was first released in 2006. The system was a recently renovated to create ozEcommerce Pro during a complete rebuild last year in 2010. Today, Product Management is a joint responsibility between Romanets and her Technical Manager, Sergey Kharchishin.
Q: Why did you launch ozEcommerce?
A: ozEworks started out using osCommerce as its eCommerce solution. osCommerce shows a brilliance in its simplicity. It is a core eCommerce solution that is meant to be customized to suit your unique business model. It does not try to be all things to all people. Plus its technical architecture avoids using unnecessary technical complexities such as Zend which can make supporting it a huge learning curve for even experienced programmers.
We found over time that we were always adding a set of common components so we created a new code baseline for our projects which we nicknamed “ozEcommerce”. It was osCommerce with a specific set of extras and we used it for most of our projects from then on.
ozEcommerce Pro grew from that. Today, ozEcommerce Pro supports the needs our particular customer demographic which is typically bricks and mortar small business with online revenues of $1M or less.
In creating ozEcommerce, we deliberately kept to an open source model to keep the site owner in control of their own site and therefore their own business. Using ozEcommerce, the solution is as open as it can be – customers have the source code and they can get pretty much any php programmer to support it.
Q: What features or benefits make ozEcommerce stand out (such as cross-selling and up-selling, built-in site search, etc.)
A: It is 100% customizable.
eCommerce is about selling and selling online is about presenting information to the customer in a way that moves them effortlessly thru the sales process. There is no out of the box way to do that if you really want to differentiate yourself from your competitors so every implementation is customized in, at least, its design with the focus on the user interface/workflow.
It has powerful catalog management, content management and advertising tools. It has a streamlined checkout. It also has an optional multi-store module.
The code is PCI Complaint with a built in self-auditing module. Plus, it is fully SEO-enabled with all the techniques we have learnt optimizing customer sites over the last few years.
Q: What are some of its weaknesses?
A: Site search. I would say it is the weakness of all eCommerce solutions. It can be addressed by using third party site search solutions that can handle synonyms and misspelt words. Those solutions are fairly cost prohibitive for many online retailers. Our approach is to customize the search capability to suit the nature of the site: change what fields are searched; adding word association functionality; building in search within search results and so on.
Q: How would your cart help an ecommerce merchant, versus the cart he or she is using now?
A: A lot of our sites are second even third generation sites.
People have tried hosted solutions and found them lacking in their ability to be customized. The company wants to grow and the solution is stopping them because it is not customizable. Where they can customize, they find the process costs too much or takes too long and it removes them the solution’s upgrade path so defeats the purpose of using the package in the first place. And often they are simply growing and the monthly fees to use the hosted solution are growing with them and they can no longer see the ROI. The old why rent when you can buy? ozEcommerce is 100% customizable from the get go plus you own it.
Then there are the existing open source users who become frustrated by either the constant upgrades to patch security or functionality defects or the difficulty in finding programmers who can support their code due to its complex architecture. By comparison, ozEcommerce has a lower cost of ownership due to its stable code base, the ease with which it can be modified and the huge number of programmers, apart from ozEworks, available to support it.
Q: How many products will your eCommerce platform allow?
A: There is no limit.
Q: What is the cost for ozEcommerce’s service?
A: An implementation of ozEcommerce Pro can cost anything from $2.5K for out-of-the box with high end custom design to around $10K if complex customizations involved. Average site is probably around $4K.
As a give back to the open source community, we also offer ozEcommerce Base as a free download.
Q: What are ozEcommerce’s future plans for development or additional features?
A: We’re looking at social commerce and mobile needs as well as image hot spot technology.
Q: How is support handled for ozEcommerce customers?
A: We use qdPM Extended as our project management solution which comes with an inbuilt Ticketing system for customers to use. Customers wanting support simply log a Ticket.
Q: Do you have any other comments about ozEcommerce for ShopTab readers?
A: ShopTab works with a product feed from your eCommerce store. For customers with a large inventory you may not want to include all your products on your FB page. So you might want to customize your feed creation process to allow you to select products based on specific criteria such as new, best sellers, featured or specific categories as a sample of what your store has to offer.
If you have any questions or feedback, we welcome you to contact us. You can email us, calls us on our toll-free numbers or chat to us online. We are here to help.
Check out ozEcommerce at http://www.ozecommerce.net/. If you are currently using ozEcommerce please share your experience below in the comments.
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