ShopTab eCommerce Cart of the Week Interview with FoxyCart – Simple Shopping Solutions

With so many online shopping cart options, finding what is best for your business can be overwhelming.  Each week ShopTab features one online shopping cart, interviewing the featured cart’s developer to provide an opportunity to learn about why their cart may be right for your business.

This week ShopTab had the privilege to speak with Brett Florio, co-founder and president of FoxyCart. Florio has been involved in web technologies and internet marketing for the past decade. He is responsible for FoxyCart’s marketing, business development, and researching new functionality that the programmers think is impossible. He lives in Seal Beach, CA, and enjoys discussing politics and religion over happy hour tacos if you happen to be nearby.

FoxyCart had an “accidental” launch mid-2007.  Without any intention to go live or any prior marketing they started to receive signups thanks to some #1 rankings on Google.  Despite having “just a few more” pieces of functionality to implement, they were pushed out of the nest.  In the two years since the launch, they have developed the functionality on their roadmap even more than they initially anticipated thanks in large part to their amazing community.

FoxyCart puts a large focus on customers and their satisfaction, effectively utilizing their inputs and ideas to continuously improve and develop FoxyCart’s service. FoxyCart is designed to eliminate frustration for web retailers, store owners, and entrepreneurs. It is extremely easy to use, fully customizable with CSS and HTML, and built to cleanly integrate with your existing CMS systems via XML & JSON.

Q: Why did you launch FoxyCart?

A: FoxyCart was birthed out of frustration with existing ecommerce solutions. While 2010 is seeing the birth of a lot of very nice looking e-commerce systems, the options weren’t always so pleasant for the average web designer or developer. The systems that were half-decent had integrated CMS’, which can be a mixed blessing. After two years of searching fruitlessly for the Holy Grail of e-commerce, we decided to build it ourselves and hope that others had the same frustrations and sought the same solution: A highly integrateable, CMS-free eCommerce platform built with web-professionals in mind.

Q: What features or benefits make FoxyCart stand out (such as cross-selling and up-selling, built-in site search, etc.)

A: FoxyCart is unique in a few ways. The biggest, is the lack of a CMS or any sort of product catalog. One of FoxyCart’s primary objectives is to eliminate any duplication of data that other systems require, from the product catalog to the inventory tracking to the templating. Since FoxyCart isn’t a CMS, there’s no need to integrate your client’s e-commerce site into the “other” site.

Similarly, FoxyCart’s “AutoMagiCache” eliminates the need to rebuild your templates in yet another template language. Just use your existing template (with your existing CSS, javascript, images, and etc.) and FoxyCart will cache it securely on our servers. It basically copies and caches your HTML and your non-secure assets and caches them all on FoxyCart’s secure, PCI compliant systems. This not only saves time in development, but also radically eases the merchant’s PCI requirements. FoxyCart has had its AutoMagiCache since we launched in 2007, and it remains the only system available to incorporate such technology.

Another nice thing about FoxyCart not being a CMS is that complex products are limited only by your ability to create a form to accept the input. Products with 100 complicated and inter-related options that affect the price, weight, and SKU are all possible. While there are certainly times when an “all-in-one” solution is desirable, there are other times when the ability to completely customize things is paramount to a merchant’s success.

At the same time, FoxyCart is built to integrate. Complete transaction details are provided via an encrypted XML datafeed; JSON and JSONP are available for advanced javascript implementations; single sign-on and an API allow complete synchronization between FoxyCart customer records and external systems. It’s really a lot of fun, but getting started is as simple as adding a link or form to your site.

Q: How many products will your eCommerce platform allow?

A: Since FoxyCart isn’t a CMS it’s only limited by the site or system powering FoxyCart. While many people think of FoxyCart as better suited for stores with only a handful of products, if you have a solid CMS like ExpressionEngine, WordPress, MODx, Drupal (or just about anything else) you can easily power a store with thousands or products.

Q: What is the cost for FoxyCart’s service?

A: FoxyCart is $19/mo, with additional fees for a custom subdomain (ie. checkout hosted at secure.example.com rather than example.foxycart.com).

Worth noting, however, is that FoxyCart is completely free for as long as you’d like to develop with. As web designers and developers ourselves we realize that it’s useful not to have to pay during your setup and testing. You can take all the time you want for free and start paying once you’re ready to flip to a live payment gateway.

Q: What are FoxyCart’s future plans for development  and additional features?

A: We have many, many plans. What we don’t plan on is moving away from what’s made us unique, however. While we’re adding functionality constantly, we don’t anticipate ever becoming an all-in-one solution with a built-in CMS. We’re more concerned with providing an extremely solid, secure, and radically flexible e-commerce platform than we are in trying to reinvent others’ wheels.

Q: How is support handled for FoxyCart customers?

A: Like many SaaS providers, we have very active forums as well as a helpdesk available when necessary. We don’t offer phone support, which is a turnoff for some users, but it’s just not a cost effective way to communicate with our users. Also, most of the issues we deal with are related to HTML, CSS, and javascript. It’s very difficult to clearly communicate those types of issues over the phone.

Q: Do you have any other comments about FoxyCart for ShopTab readers?

A: If you are already in love with a CMS, take a look at FoxyCart the next time a client wants e-commerce.  There’s no magic bullet for shopping cart systems, but it’s important to understand the options. Also, we strongly encourage any web professional doing eCommerce to explore the security and liability implications of PCI compliance. While the knee-jerk reaction may be to avoid hosted services, for something like e-commerce it really does make sense to outsource the compliance and liability when possible.

Please feel free to get in touch with us at http://forum.foxycart.com/, or by completing a contact form on our site. We love to talk shop, and we’re here to help.

Check out FoxyCart to simplify your online cart experience and ShopTab to expand your business through social media by having a shopping cart directly on your Facebook Fan Page.

If you are currently using FoxyCart please share your experience below in the comments.

Want to have your company’s eCommerce shopping cart featured or have a Shopping Cart Recommendation for a ShopTab Cart of the Week? Contact us with your suggestion.

Zach Beattie

Zach Beattie

Hi, I'm Zach! Welcome to the ShopTab blog, the best place to get the latest and greatest tips and tricks for Facebook selling and marketing your Facebook shop. Feel free to email me at zach (at) shoptab.net (yep, that's a real email) if you want to connect. I'd love to hear from you.