Cart66 Cloud Review – Complete WordPress Ecommerce
Cart66 is different from other WordPress ecommerce options because, in addition to getting a plugin you also get a suite of hosted services. This means you get features that go beyond what you can do with a plugin alone. For example, Cart66 is the only WordPress ecommerce option that makes your site secure and PCI compliant so you don’t even need your own SSL certificate. With Cart66, building and ecommerce site is just like building any other WordPress site because Cart66 handles all of the technical details for ecommerce security for you. Let’s take a look at how it all works.
The Big Picture
WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system. Out of the box, you get a really easy to use, powerful platform for creating and sharing your content. There are two fundamental ways to extend and customize WordPress; themes and plugins. Themes define the presentation of your WordPress site. Page layouts, graphics, colors, and branding are all managed by your theme. Plugins are for adding functionality to WordPress.
Cart66 works within this structure. You can use any theme and make your site look exactly like you want it. Then use Cart66 to provide the shopping cart and ecommerce features.
Here is a quick video that shows how it all works together.
What Makes Cart66 Different
Cart66 makes building ecommerce sites just as easy as building any other WordPress site. Other WordPress ecommerce plugins leave it up to you to figure out all the technical details for your online store. For example, it’s up to you to find the right payment gateway add-on, how to make sure your email receipts aren’t flagged as spam, and how to make sure your credit card payments are secure and PCI compliant. Cart66 takes care of all of that for you with a suite of hosted services that includes:
- Built-in support for 100+ payment gateways
- Built-in recurring billing engine
- Content delivery network for digital products
- Business class, verified mail server to send customer emails
- Secure hosted payment page to accept credit card payments
- Secure customer portal for order history
In addition to the hosted services, you also get access to all the features you need without having to buy and install a mashup of plugins.
A Look At Products
You can sell virtually anything with Cart66. Here are some examples:
- Sell digital products like music and videos
- Accept donations online
- Publish a digital magazine
- Sell and ship physical products
- Sell subscriptions with monthly payments
- Sell products on a payment plan
- Event registrations and tickets
- Sell access to premium content on you site
Products can have as many different variations as you want, like color and size. You can even have the product variations change the price of the product. Variations can be required (like picking a size for a t-shirt) or they can be optional. Optional variations can be used for upsells like buying and extended warranty.
In addition to being able to define as many product variations as you need, products can also have the following features.
Digital Files: Optionally attach as many digital files to your product as you want. When a customer buys the product they will be able to download the attached files.
User Defined Pricing: Let your customer enter the amount they want to pay. This is great for donations. You can also use it to create a product form that you can put on your site to let your clients pay invoices.
Manage Inventory: You can track your inventory on any product to prevent overselling your products. You can also use this feature for selling things like event registrations and raffle tickets.
Membership: Memberships enable you to sell access to premium content on our site. For example, set a one year expiration date and give your customer a year of access to your premium content.
Subscriptions: Collect recurring payments for services, donations, or anything else. Subscriptions can bill your customer until they cancel, or set a fixed number of billing cycles and sell products in monthly installments.
Hosted Payment Page
Perhaps the most significant of the included services is your PCI compliant, secure hosted payment page. Securing ecommerce credit card payments is a challenging thing that involves a bunch of steps to make sure you do it properly. Many people erroneously believe that installing an SSL certificate is all it takes to secure your site and achieve PCI compliance. The truth is, an SSL certificate only plays one small role in the overall security of your site. In fact, an SSL certificate does not actually secure your server at all.
An SSL certificate encrypts the communication between the web browser and the server that the browser is talking to. It doesn’t actually protect the server. You still need to run a firewall, turn off unused ports, disable insecure communication protocols (like FTP), run vulnerability scans, and more.
To avoid all of that hassle and expense, Cart66 provides a hosted payment page that uses your WordPress theme so that everything looks consistent. Here’s a quick demo of how the hosted payment page works with Cart66.
More About Email
We have already talked a little bit about how Cart66 uses a verified, business class SMTP server to improve the speed and reliability of sending emails to your customers. In addition, Cart66 also provides a bunch of really nice features related to sending emails.
Products specific receipt content: When setting up a product, you can include some custom content that will be included in the email receipt when that product is purchased. For example, you can include setup instructions, or links to tutorials for your product in the email receipt.
Order notifications: You can set up one or more email addresses to receive a notification when an order is placed. You can get an email when somebody buys something from your site. This is also great for informing drop-shippers of new orders too.
Customer notifications: Follow up with your customers at timed intervals after they place an order. You can set up notifications for specific products. Some uses for this are:
- Follow up after a week and include a coupon code for the next purchase
- Follow up with additional instructions on how to use the product
- Suggest additional products that might be of interest
You can even create products that use these emails to deliver the content for your product. For example, suppose you have created a speed reading course in a series of 5 lessons. You could create a “Speed Reading” product which, when purchased, emails your customer one lesson per day for the next five days. Here is a quick video about how you can use sales follow up emails.
Selling On Social Media and Email
You can create Buy Now links which, when clicked, can add one (or more) products to your customers shopping cart and place them directly on the checkout page ready to pay for the order. You can use these links in email newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere you can put a link.
Suppose you wanted to offer the readers of your newsletter a special deal on a pair of sunglasses that you sell on your website. You could go into your Cart66 Cloud dashboard and create a special product that you do not list on your website that offers the sunglasses for a discount. Create a buy now link for this product and include that link in your email newsletter.
Here is a video that shows you how to use Buy Now links.
Cart66 provides a complete set of ecommerce tools that make building your online store just as easy as building any other WordPress site. You don’t have to worry about the technical details required for securing an ecommerce site because Cart66 handles that for you. You get your own slice of the PCI compliant secure cloud to host your payment page. Cart66 also secures your order history, product prices, digital files (if you sell them), and even the contents of the shopping carts (so they can’t be tampered with).
In addition to the security, you also have everything else you might need including built in support for 100+ payment gateways, built-in recurring billing so you can sell subscriptions, accept recurring donations, and sell products on a payment plan.
You also get features that let you sell access to premium content on your website. You can provide premium access to sections of page – like if you only wanted to show a streaming video to paying customers – but the rest of the page was public. You can provide premium access to individual pages, posts, or even entire categories of posts. Cart66 handles the subscriptions and when a subscription expires or is cancelled, the customer is no longer able to access the premium content on your site.
All of this comes in one easy to use package. It’s better together.