There are so many online shopping cart options for today’s entrepreneurs and business owners to choose from. 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.
ShopTab recently had the priviledge to interview Jamie Whitney of Squirrelcart. Squirrelcart was launched in 2002 as a self proprietorship. Whitney functions as the owner, developer, support tech, sales manger, marketing manager, and janitor all in one. He has developed a cart that is very customizable and easy to use. Squirrelcart will even generate the HTML for all of your store’s pages based on the built in templates provided or allow you to fully design the layout with HTML yourself. The
Q) Why did you launch Squirrelcart?
A) I’m always looking for ways to do things myself instead of relying on others, and like to look for ways to improve upon existing products. I am the type of person that learns by doing and reverse engineering rather than reading a book from beginning to end. There is a Christopher Walken quote that I can relate to:
“If you want to learn how to build a house, build a house. Don`t ask anybody, just build a house.”
I started doing BASIC programming when I was a kid back in the 80s on an Apple IIc and loved it. Years later I had a career as a network systems engineer, working in a server room for a major bank. I obtained MCSE and CNE certification. During that time, I discovered a renewed interest in programming. I began working with DOS BAT files, login scripts, Lotus Notes, and Perl. That lead me to an interest in web design and development. I had a friend at the time who wanted to start an ecommerce business. I designed the website for them, and coded a basic cart in PHP and MySQL to get them started. After many changes, improvements, and rewrites that cart system became the foundation for what is now Squirrelcart. I started selling online in 2002 and the rest is history.
Q) What is Squirrelcart ‘s unique competitive advantage?
A) We have search engine optimization features that work very well. When enabled, you can change your product and category URLs from query strings to a format that contains more meaningful information. We’ve had very positive feedback on our SEO features, and have had many SEO professionals use Squirrelcart for all of their customers.
Our CMS features (new in version 3) allow our merchants to use Squirrelcart not just for a store but to run their entire website. You can create your own pages, content, navigation, links, etc…
One feature that I’m rather proud of is our rule system. It’s used to designate when certain things happen (when discounts are offered, when certain shipping rates are available, when downloads are offered, etc…). You can setup very complex rules that would probably require custom programming in other carts. For example, you can offer discounts based on any combination of the following examples:
– Customer is in a particular state or province
– Customer placed more than 3 prior orders
– Customer spent more than $500
– Date is between 6/23/2010 and 7/15/2010
– Coupon code entered is XYZ123
– Order total is greater than $150
– Weight total is between 2 and 10 lbs
– Regular expression matches on any customer and order data
To give you an idea of just how specific you can get, this crazy discount is actually possible in Squirrelcart without any custom programming:
15% off your entire order every Monday and Thursday from now until 12/15/2011, for customers with last names beginning in “Wh”, who are in the “Loyal Customers” group, who are also in the continental US and have ordered (3) or more widgets in the past and are spending at least $250 on their current order.
Q) How many products will your eCommerce platform allow?
A) We do not have a limit as to the number of products you can have.
Q) How much does Squirrelcart cost?
Q) What does the future hold for Squirrelcart?
A) We are working on a few additional modules, including a configurable contact form module, a FAQs module, and additional improvements that we will be announcing soon. We also have plans to offer more themes in the near future.
Q) How is support handled for Squirrelcart customers?
A) Squirrelcart PRO comes with 120 days of support. Regular Squirrelcart includes 90 days. All support is handled via our online helpdesk, Mon – Fri 9 AM – 5PM EST. I provide the vast majority of support directly to our customers. We do NOT route customers to a call center staffed by personnel reading from a script. We understand that support is just as important as our software and is an integral part of our business. Consequently, we are a bit obsessive when it comes to offering as much assistance as we can to our customers.
Q) Do you have any other comments about Squirrelcart for ShopTab readers?
A) I’d like to offer your customers a 10% discount on Squirrelcart PRO and regular Squirrelcart from now until 8/31/2010 to thank them for reading about us. To get that discount, they can enter the coupon code SHOPTAB during checkout at Squirrelcart.com.
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 Squirrelcart at http:www.squirrelcart.com If you are currently using Squirrelcart please share your experience below in the comments.
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