AmeriCommerce Review

Right off the bat let me say I am impressed with AmeriCommerce. It looks like programmers created it (it’s pretty ugly), but it runs like programmers created it, fast and feature rich. I didn’t know what to expect from AmeriCommerce when I first started developing around them; so I have made this review more detailed than usual because I had to discover most things the hard way.

I should also apologize for the delay getting this review out but I don’t like to start these reviews until I have worked with a cart for several months, otherwise this is just another truckload of affiliate bollocks.

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The bullet points:

  • Support: Phone support always answers within acceptable time frames, however only from 9-5 Monday to Friday. This is limiting especially, to internationals, but slightly fair enough as not many people answer their phones on the weekend.
  • Look and Feel: Very well organized and clean. The Admin area was updated in August 2013 and is very easy on the eye and a wonderful user experience. I used to give Americommerce a hard time about the look and feel of the backend but they have stepped up and really delivered a great cart admin experience - sign up for a trial just to have a look.
  • Reliability: In the 12 months I have been developing on it I have never seen it down, which puts it up there with BigCommerce & CoreCommerce for reliability.
  • Reporting: Lots. Very detailed, easily customizable and you can export to Excel. That’s about all you can ask for right?
  • Templates and Customisability: Very few free themes. Like 16 (well 14 plus a mobile and a Facebook theme. I double checked with several paid accounts – if I missed something someone tell me). But with the tools available you should be able to start with one of these and make it your own. Otherwise it is no more expensive than BigCommerce to get a custom template created.
  • SEO: The usual tools to help with URL redirecting, the usual fields for custom META data and editable tags. Multi-store may create a duplicate content problem if mi-used and ONLY if you use it. The page content is mostly of your own doing so if you want to optimize the pages you can. The free templates could do with some love, but as with most shopping carts the template is the least of your optimization worries (I am looking at your product descriptions).

My Immediate Thoughts on AmeriCommerce

AmeriCommerce is a good, well thought out piece of software that has grown in a sensible and maintainable way over the last few years. It has enough of a user base to give a sense of stability and longevity. It works exactly as it says it will and when you call support during office hours they answer and help. It is really difficult to pick a fault with them, except to say they need to get a designer on staff to tart things up a bit. CoreCommerce had the same problem a year or so ago, and spent some money making things look nicer and the complaints around here started slowing down. I know it sounds nice, but pretty interfaces make for happy customers even if they have more bugs than the ugly ones. People are just more tolerant if something looks good.

I would say AmeriCommerce‘s biggest plus is that they understated the customers needs, and they have just gone about the business of providing a solid shopping cart. There is no noise, no desperate attention seeking and no sacking support staff to bump up the marketing budget. I guess that is why they are so easy to like and work with. They built a great cart and they continue to improve and support it, letting the results speak for themselves. Well done guys, you have a new fan – can I have a t-shirt?

Super simple and modern Admin interface

Until August 2013 I was very critical of Americommerce admin area – it had everything, it flowed nicely and was relatively fast but it was ugly – like hard to use ugly. Well, consider my hat eaten because the team there have polished the software to a fine point and it is now one of the best looking carts out there and very simple to use. It is a nice change of pace to see SaaS company reinvesting as heavily as Americommerce are in the software instead of just blindly adding features tit for tat. Try it, I’m sure you will agree it is bloody good to look at.

AmeriCommerce (as the name would suggest) is very US centric. You can customize it to make it work for markets outside the United States with just a little work, but I would like to see AmeriCommerce spread it’s wings a little in the coming years. They have a great product that people from all corners should be able to use without jumping through hoops.

Not many themes. I have covered this already, they don’t supply a great number of themes for free like a lot of other carts. The ones they supply are nice enough and generic enough that you should be able to find one to start you off though. Hopefully they start building on this library soon.

Nice built in help – I really hate the green icons everywhere though and hope they find something else soon. They do a great job and I use them a lot to make sure I am doing the right thing, but they are like a punch in the eyeballs.

AmeriCommerce‘s Good Features

It just works.

The best feature of all. It does exactly what it says it will and it does it at a reasonable speed. The hardest part of reviewing shopping carts is separating the marketing nonsense for the day to day reality’s of using the software. With very little hype surrounding AmeriCommerce, it was a pretty easy job to just knuckle down and size it up.

Mutil-store

Multi-store front is fantastic. Do you sell the same products to several markets or countries and wish you could manage it all from one common back-end, but deliver different front ends to the users? Do you sell from a single inventory store but segment into different stores to specifically target different niches? Have you ever asked your developer if you can just add a store to your BigCommerce account, so you don’t have to log in all over the place to manage orders and inventory?

You probably need to look at AmeriCommerce for it’s multi-store goodness.

The only downside to multi-store front seems to be from an SEO perspective and duplicated content. You could use different templates and soon to be released URL Format feature, but unless you substantially rearrange the content on your page (and use alternative content per store) you will have trouble escaping the duplicate content issues. Don’t get me wrong you can escape them you just need to plan.

Language string editor and creator

Do you need a store in multiple languages? Done. Do you want to change some of the text the cart outputs? Done. This is a great feature and one that most Volusion users take for granted. Check out the forums for the other carts and you will see a chorus of complainers begging for a tool like this.

Drop shippers, multi warehouses

If you think this is a small feature look at my BigCommerce and Shopify reviews they are chock full of people talking about this feature.

Tools, tools and more tools

Clearly AmeriCommerce have got some very responsive programmers on there team because there seems to be a tool or shortcut for everything. It is almost too much and the menus carry on a bit but everything is nicely structured and very well named.

Built in affiliate program

It’s pretty good. It’s no iDevAffilate but it is better than a smack in the lips. The built in affiliate program has enough features to get you running your own private program, and offers nice transparent reports to ensure all your partners are happy.

Microstores

Microstores allow you to partition your store based on a user preference, while maintaining a common set of core cart functionality. Do you sell school uniforms? Create a microstore for each school and users will be able swtich to there school microstore and only see the shirts, dresses and jumpers for that school. Check the demo application at http://www.myjacketpatches.com/

We used to do this with tags and categories but this microstore partitioning is much slicker and looks more professional.

AddToCart Link Generator

Ever wanted to embed a Buy Now (or add to cart) button in your blog or a friends website just like Paypal does. Boom! Let me present the Add To Cart Link Generator from AmeriCommerce, it lets you do exactly that. Not since CoreCommerce let us deep link product forms has a shopping cart saved developers so much time and work. This feature does exactly what it says it does. It allows you to easily generate code to embed a product in a website or blog with Buy Now or Add To Cart functionality perfect for store owners that blog about there products or run closed affiliate programs. Try it once and you’ll be addicted.

This is an infinitely better option than people having to pay me to write and re-write WordPress plugins, to allow people to add BigCommerce, CoreCommerce and Shopify products to WordPress blog posts.

User Permissions Editor

The User permission editor is incredible – you can pick a group and detail precisely what they can read, create, delete or edit. The paranoid, tin foil crew will drool at the prospects. Very fine grained control of everything that you and your administrators can and can’t do.

AmeriCommerce user permissions editor

AmeriCommerce user permissions editor

Lots of Reports

OK I am going to cheat here and just list them because I mentioned them in the introduction.

  • Marketing
    • Marketing Dashboard
    • Organic Summary
    • Affiliate Dashboard
    • Affiliate Analysis
    • Affiliate Visits
    • AdCode Summary
    • PPC vs Organic
    • PPC Summary
    • PPC Click Fraud
  • Sales
    • Sales Dashboard
    • Sales Analysis
    • Sales (by category)
    • Taxes and Shipping
    • Abandoned Carts
  • Visitors
    • Visitor Dashboard
    • Visitor Analysis
    • Visitor Log
    • Top Referrers
    • Top Referring URLs
    • Top Search Engines
    • Top Sources
    • Top Spiders/Crawlers
    • Top User Agents
    • Top Host Names
  • Site
    • Account Usage
    • Top Searches (on site)
    • Top Searches (organic)
    • Top Searches (by engine)
    • Most Popular Pages
    • Top Entry Pages
    • Top Exit Pages
    • Entrance Bounce Rates

Payment Providers

AmeriCommerce has one of the smaller payment provider lists, but it has all the major gateways and methods so you should have no trouble connecting and getting paid. Besides the list below AmeriCommerce also has a handy little feature that allows you to create custom payment types like IOU, COD and Purchase Order.

  • 3 Delta Systems
  • ACH Payments
  • Authorize.Net
  • Bank of America
  • Chase Merchant Services
  • Cyber Source
  • CyberCash
  • ECHOnline
  • ECX
  • eProcessing
  • eWay (Australia)
  • Fast Transact
  • FirstData / CardService International
  • goEmerchant XML
  • GoRealTime
  • IBill Processing Plus
  • Innovative Gateway
  • Intellipay ExpertLink
  • iTransact RediCharge HTML
  • LinkPoint
  • Merchant Anywhere (Transaction Central)
  • Merchant e-Solutions
  • Merchant Partners
  • Moneris eSelect Plus
  • MPCS
  • NetBilling
  • NetworkMerchants
  • NexCommerce
  • Ogone DirectLink
  • Payment Resources International PRIGate
  • PaymenTech Orbital – Salem
  • PaymenTech Orbital – Tampa
  • Payments Gateway
  • PayPal
  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • PayPal PayFlow Pro
  • PayPal Website Payments Pro
  • Planet Payment iPay
  • Plug ‘n Pay
  • PSIGate
  • PSIGate XML Interface
  • Quickbooks Merchant Services
  • RTWare
  • Sage Payment Solutions
  • SkipJack
  • TransFirst eLink
  • TrustCommerce
  • USA ePay
  • uSight Gateway
  • Verisign PayFlowLink
  • WorldPay Select Junior Invisible
  • YourPay

3rd Party Integrations

  • Quickbooks Synchronization (This will cost you an additional $300 + $60 a year)
  • PeachTree Sync
  • Shipworks
  • T-HUB (This will cost you an additional $300-$700)
  • Stone Edge (This will cost you an additional $239 + $60 year for one store)

Missing Features

3rd party email integration – for those MailChimp experts out there this is a must

Wishlists – these are crucial in some industries.

Comparing AmeriCommerce to other shopping carts

AmeriCommerce vs Volusion

I would recommend AmeriCommerce here. Volusion 2011 is much nicer than it’s predecessors, but it still has a lot of work to do before your average mom and pop can use it without technical help. AmeriCommerce has a comparable set of features and tools. Volusion has a lot more templates to offer you, but the way they have structured it now they clearly want to sell you one for about $900.

AmeriCommerce vs BigCommerce

Both use a very similar template system so designers can just flip a coin. If you have more than one store look at AmeriCommerce to save you a great deal of time and money, the back-end needs modernizing and a friendlier color palate, but there really isn’t anything wrong with it.

AmeriCommerce vs Shopify

There would only be two reasons to go with Shopify over AmeriCommerce.

  1. You have a very simple shop, simple needs and just want the easiest eCommerce experience available.
  2. You have an intricate design and refuse to compromise – and why should you! I love Shopify and do a happy dance every time I get to create a theme for it, but there is no denying it is seriously lacking so out of the box features, (yes you can pay extra for some of them but come on, that can’t be Shopify‘s answer to everything!)

Should you use AmeriCommerce?

I guess that is why you are here isn’t it? Yes you should. I have had very few issues since working with AmeriCommerce and every time I got answers in the forums or on the phone. If you are disillusioned with the lack of support at BigCommerce or the recent security problems at CoreCommerce then AmeriCommerce is worth your time. If you are just starting out they are a solid company with a strong history and bright future so you should get on board.

 

Comments

    • says

      Yes, you are absolutely correct these two are missing although eBay and multi language functionality are added advantage. You can use Iqecommerce as I am using..It is better.

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  1. says

    Well – First let me say that I have tried (meaning signed up for trials and built carts with) BigCommerce, AmeriCommerce, Volusion, Shopify, PremiumWebCart, SubscriptionBridge, 3DCart, CoreCommerce, ShoppingCartElite, Fortune3 and probably a few more that I am forgetting about . . . But seriously, I have tried ALL of them and have been smacked down Each and Every Time! Our problem is that we offer products that customers can have “Automatically Shipped” aka, subscription billing aka recurring billing, aka AutoShip.

    AmeriCommerce is the ONLY system that we were able to make work. Now, I’m not saying it was “Out of the Box”, but I am saying that AmeriCommerce gives you enough features and edits, that we were able to make it work. I may call and ask them to do a little customizing to get things a little more Automated, but hey… I’ve talked to providers that want well over $500 – $1000 PER MONTH to get this setup. Now we’re doin it with Americommerce for $25 a month. Well worth it.

    My BIGGEST Gripe so far is when importing orders from our previous system, we BIFFED it bigtime . . . we are talking 2000+ orders. Well Guess what, Americommerce doesn’t have a “Mass Delete” feature for Orders. So now we’re stuck with all these incorrect orders . . . but hey, at least I was able to cancel them is mass form. (Really – you let people import thousands of orders at a time, but can’t delete the same way!!??)

    Anyway – I run another site on BigCommerce and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Them too! Although I was soooo close to just purchasing a license from Interspire and adding the Recurring Billing Feature, I am very very happy that I chose to stick it out with AmeriCommerce.

    Your Review is GREAT and I ALSO AGREE with your comments about the colors used in the Admin Console. Take a page from BigCommerce here! Theirs is SOO nice!

    (0)
    • says

      David,
      Try importing all of those orders with a new order staus if cancelled doesnt fit the bill. Give your AC support rep a call and ask them to delete all orders witht that status. There may be a minimal cost associated, but its worth getting rid of the headache!

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  2. Lee says

    I am in the middle of evaluating a half a dozen ecommerce sites and you nailed this one exactly right. So for I really like AmeriCommerce but the admin is butt ugly.

    My concern is what if I leave and someone less experienced needs to take over. AC is not that intuitive and certainly not as easy to use as BigCommerce.

    I am leaning towards BC right now just because of the admin but I read so many bad things about their support that this is a concern.

    (0)
  3. says

    Hey Andrew,

    Thanks for the great review. If you have time, I would encourage you to give us another look. We’ve been crankin out some really awesome features over the past few months and judging by the screenshot most of them were not available on the version of the site you were on.

    One of the most fundamental changes is the new Theme System. Full front end point and click css capability. Full front end widget editiing capability (style, drag/drop, edit, add, delete, etc)

    Front end Layout resizing mode… Want your site to be wider, left/right column wider, header taller?… just drag the resize handle and save.

    Oh and also we’ve tweaked some of the butt ugliness to more neutral looking (same colors just toned down quite a bit.)

    (0)
    • says

      I have noticed Ryan but I have been so busy doing a heap of Americommerce SEO work I haven’t had the chance to redo the screenshots and reviews. I will make it a priority though because it is a great shopping cart and I wish more people would use it

      (0)
  4. says

    Hi Andrew, I have a couple of BigCommerce sites and love the system, the rankings I get are great but If I had seen AC sooner I may well of used them for the multishop system. Im based in the UK so can you run down whats so bad about AC for users in the UK, also being in the UK is this a problem re rankings etc as the AC servers etc are US based, its not been a problem for my BC system. By the way, I hear people moaning about the back up from BC, well I have only ever used their forum to get help and have never been let down, there always seems to be a mod you can use or someone with advise…

    (0)
  5. says

    Hi Andrew
    Sorry for the duplicate message but I could really do with your thought re below…

    I have a couple of BigCommerce sites and love the system, the rankings I get are great but If I had seen AC sooner I may well of used them for the multishop system. Im based in the UK so can you run down whats so bad about AC for users in the UK, also being in the UK is this a problem re rankings etc as the AC servers etc are US based, its not been a problem for my BC system. By the way, I hear people moaning about the back up from BC, well I have only ever used their forum to get help and have never been let down, there always seems to be a mod you can use or someone with advise…

    (0)
    • says

      I will do a run down for you tonight. Simply though it comes down to what shipping and payment provider’s it supports or doesn’t support as the case may be. I have very successfully implemented many UK based Americommerce stores though – it only needs a little kick.

      BigCommecre support is something I have always defended – I am glad I am not the only one that hasn’t had an issue, I was beginning to think I was imagining things

      (0)
  6. says

    I look forward to any info you can give me re U.K. usage etc. We use DPD as our courier but that’s not an issue as we do not connect our sites to the courier. We use worldpay so that shouldn’t be an issue I would imagine. My issue is weather or not the servers etc being US based will effect the seo/rankings etc.
    Thanks

    (0)
    • says

      World Pay is supported so check that off your list. See this FAQ to confirm exact details http://www.americommerce.com/kb/afmviewfaq.aspx?faqid=32

      As for US hosting affecting search engine rankings, this will NOT be an issue as long as your site uses a .co.uk domain name. I believe this is the case for your site.

      If you are using a .com domain name you can negate any negative effects quite easily by building a solid UK profile into your website and social media profiles. This should include GBP pricing, UK addresses and phone numbers, UK spelling. You needn’t fly the Union Jack, but it is the Queen’s big year so it would be a nice gesture ;)

      I am a huge fan of Americommerce. Multistore is a wonderful thing and micro stores are a great selling tool. If you switch you will not regret it and I hope you share you story with us if/when you do

      (0)
  7. says

    Thank you Andrew, If we go with AC it will be a new venture, we will stick with BC as well as I have nothing but good things to say about them. I know nothing of codes html etc and I think I have made a couple of nice simple sites with one of the BC normal templates. Take a look as these could be examples for your readers..
    http://www.which-tent.co.uk
    http://www.crosscamping.com
    Thanks again.
    Gary

    (0)
    • says

      The duplicate content from multistore arises from store owners only entering one product description and using ver similar templates.

      As I said it is easy to alleviate – use very different templates with different menu’s and navigation labels and add a unique product description for each store using the tags provided

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      • says

        Hello Andrew,
        Have just found your website, and finding it very informative. Our business also sell’s to two markets, wholesale and retail. We have been looking for a ecommerce site, and have been leaning towrds Bigcommerce, but when we read your comments re the benifits of AmeriCommerce if you sell into to markets.
        But your last comment above has raised the question…if you “use very different templates with different menu’s and navigation labels and add a unique product description for each store using the tags provided”…does this then mean you could achieve the same results with BC using the two templates model?…we are in Aust so BC seemed the best provider for us, except for selling into two markets.
        Thank you for the great reviews!
        William

        (0)
  8. Mark Smith says

    We used americommerce for over two years and had to leave due to their horrible customer service. I even tried to resolve with their CEO Ed Sturrock and after initially promising positive resolution and that he would get back to me within a week, he ignored all future attempts to resolve the issues we had. We paid them for custom work and when it didn’t work, their customer service team ignored all communications for six months. This is all true, they are the worst – we were polite and civil with every communication. Hopefully the will be out of business soon as they deserve to be.

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  9. says

    Wow Mark…that’s a tough situation. Moving a business from one cart to another can be a pain. I’ve found AC service to be fairly good so far. Not perfect, and somethings get dropped or may drag on for awhile but usually a call will take care of it.

    If I may ask, what cart did you decide to go with?

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  10. says

    Hi Andrew, Thanks for the great reviews!

    I’m a store owner, not developer.

    I’ve been playing with several platforms with the intention of migrating existing store from CS-Cart. This has turned out to be a much more complicated decision than expected.

    So far the top choices are:
    1. 3D – Has most features we need but would have to use their $100/month plan to get them all so expensive.
    2. AmeriCommerce – Nice but lacks ShipStation or OrderCup integration.
    3. LemonStand – Appears you can do anything with it but probably have to pay lots of $$ to developers.

    What are your thoughts on these three?

    Here’s our wish list of features:
    1. Import existing orders (not just products & customers) from CS-Cart
    2. Extensive auto-responder email capability for various conditions and events – Examples: Wholesale customer first order, order over certain size, product specific follow-up email, abandoned cart follow-ups, etc.
    3. Affiliate program/tracking codes
    4. Shipping label printing with automatic update of order status and notification to customer – could be done with 3rd party integration such as ShipStation.
    5. Wholesale customer support
    6. FaceBook store
    7. FaceBook login/registration (Twitter and Google if possible)
    8. QuickBooks integration
    9. International checkout such as Bongo or IC

    Thanks!

    (0)
    • says

      The biggest issue you will face will be getting hosted platforms to help you with integration’s since you will not be able to do these yourself on there platforms. Things like adding OrderCup to Americommerce – which is a shame because 3D cart would be a great fit – but the missing features wil stay missing until they fix it, there is nothing you can do.

      A platform like LemonStand would give you more control and options, development shouldn’t cost anymore than it did with CS-Cart – just get some good hosting and you will be fine, Lemonstand is a great cart and very easy to extend to incorporate new requirements

      (0)
  11. David says

    Hi Andrew,

    We are setting up an ecommerce site that sells monthly subscriptions. We need recurring billing. Volusion and Americommerce are the only ones to offer recurring billing. What would you recommend?

    We also really like Bigcommerce but they don’t offer recurring billing. Do you know if there is a way to use bigcommerce and use securepay recurring billing? Would that integration work?

    Thanks for your help and keep this website going – its very interesting!!

    (0)
  12. David says

    Andrew,

    Thanks for the reply. Do you know if americommerce works with Australian merchant accounts (and the recurring billing feature)??? I cannot seem to find it on their website.

    Thanks for your help?

    (0)
  13. Tony says

    I am looking for a cart that I can set up different discounts for customers. We have a retail end that we sell with a fix price on products but we also have a wholesale end that we have different customers with different discounts off a wholesale base price. Do any of the carts offer an account log in for customers in which they could see there discounted pricing. Which cart if any would be best or could even do this.

    I am looking at americommerce and big commerce I have also look at 3Dcart.

    Thanks for your help.

    (0)
  14. says

    Hey Tony, Americommerce has the most extensive pricing capability – I mean like MANY ways to set pricing for different customers including a “price calculator” which I didn’t study enough to understand but here is a KB article about it http://www.americommerce.com/kb/afmviewfaq.aspx?faqid=202 – 3D has the second most and BigCommerce last as far as wholesale. I’m migrating from CS-Cart to 3D even though I like Americommerce but it lacks some integrations I need for shipping.

    (0)
  15. says

    Tony, You can use ShipWorks with Americommerce. It’s very good and affordable. the only reason it doesn’t work for us is because it requires local software installation and we need a browser based solution.

    (0)
  16. says

    I have to say that I love Americommerce features and design flexibility. Their customer support is, however, the worst. After spending about 80 hours of labor time building out a new site within 4 days, I have been waiting 4 days for them to make the site live. Their network techs have limited technical knowledge, are slow to respond, and generally unapologetic in their behavior. I would say they rank as one of the worst experiences I have had in over a dozen years doing business on the net.

    If you are building a new store, stay away, far away, from these folks.

    (0)
    • says

      My best advice is to call them. I’ve used their tech support a lot and yes, sometimes they can be slow, sometimes very responsive, but when things didn’t quite go the way I wanted I ended up making a phone call and things seemed to move along a bit better.

      Otherwise just know that once you’re up and running and get any bugs tweaked out, you shouldn’t need to correspond too much. I wish I could suggest a perfect system but haven’t found one yet, and I agree, AC has some appealing aspects.

      (0)
  17. Jim says

    Hi Andrew,

    Your blog is great! I love the reviews and all the comments.

    I am supporting a customer who currently has a bigcommerce site but is planning to expand their business with more distributors and more effort online.

    I’m hoping to go with BigCommerce or Americommerce but might be forced to use something like Magento.

    Here’s some background with emphasis on points which seem to be problematic with regard to this decision, based on what I have read so far:
    * HQ is in Australia
    * Target global online revenue is $1M/year
    * Planning to have distributors in up to 20 countries. Each may need different pricing and different packaging. Distributors handle fulfilment and would manage their own pricing/content but the revenue would go through HQ then be dispersed to distributors each month.
    * We’d love to have a single domain with a country selector so that prices and content were appropriate but would also consider separate domains for each country
    * Catalog is quite simple – under 100 products – new products are not introduced very often
    * Shipping fees can be quite simple – flat fee or no fee over price “$x”
    * It would be good to have Mailchimp integratation with a separate mailchimp list or account for each country

    So,
    * Do I try to use the Americommerce multisite features or will I be tripped up by feature gaps such as AU payment processing, Mailchimp integration or limitations in what can be realistically achieved with a multi-site solution?
    * Do I build 20 separate BigCommerce sites and deal with the cost of getting all the content loaded 20 times then hand over the sites to the local distributors to maintain, with significant oversight from HQ?
    * Do I build a more sophisticated multi-site Magento platform and accept higher TCO which comes with hosting, operations etc?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts…

    (0)
  18. says

    We have been on Americommerce for a year now. I am going to just correct a few things that people have mentioned. Recently, we have had “outages”. In fact we had 2 today. This is VERY unusual but it has happened.

    If you use their Zendesk tech support, be prepared for a Lengthy question debate from them. Personally it would be better to pick up the phone because they ask questions that are not relevant and it takes forever to get responses. (sorry americommerce, it’s true)

    If you are running a retail B2C storefront, I imagine it is pretty darn good. B2B seems to have missed the boat. They just don’t understand B2B nor are they interested in it.

    All that being said, it is a pretty decent cart and you can drive yourself crazy with all the customization you can do.

    (0)
  19. Bolor says

    Hi Andrew,

    I’ve been struggling here to find a right ecommerce solution. I find your site very informative and useful for people like me. Yet, we still can’t find perfect solution so far. Have you tried this shopping cart http://shoppingcart.goemerchant.com/? I like they offer unlimited products, unlimited storage, and 20GB for $99/mo; while Americommerce 5000SKUs and 15GB for that price range. What do you think? Have you ever tried to this shopping cart before?

    (0)
    • says

      I found it very “new” for want of a better word. there is not much of a user base and I couldn’t find any live stores – the company seems to be on the right track but I would steer clear of it until it has been properly tested in the wild. Pricing like you see there is a common way to get users on board at the start and always changes for the worse

      (0)
      • says

        Andrew,

        They have a decent customer base now. I felt the same. About 2 years ago, I felt like you were signing up with a start up. It showed in many ways. The thing that made us commit at that point was that they were willing to try hard. And they did. When and if something went wrong, they tried hard and successfully solved the problem/issue.

        I do not feel that they have the same passion anymore and it seems that they are particularly interested in a certain type of customer. (we are that type).

        If you are selling to consumers, and you need advanced capabilities, then this cart is for you. If you are a weekend hack looking to sell candles or something small, then this is not for you.

        If you are looking to upload 5000 products and hope for the best, this is not for you, but then again, neither is that business model. :)

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  20. Bolor says

    OK, finally I had a chance to try Americommerce. I don’t like it all. It is not just hard to use, it doesn’t do the simple things. It says it supports multi-language, but cyrillic alphabets become all ???? characters in the admin back-end. And to make photo zoom, I have to sign up for Zoomify. Blah! Two simplest and yet most important features are failed. I’d rather go for Corecommerce. It is so much easy to translate multi-languages right in the spot.

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    • says

      I am not sure where you are getting your information from OR if you are actually an employee of corecommerce however, you DO NOT need to sign up to Zoomify to get photo zooms. It does support multiple languages (and we are using them) provided you know what you are doing.

      Each and every cart we tried had a few drawbacks and several pros to them. I believe that no cart will satisfy 100% of your needs regardless of how much they say they can custom develope. You just need to choose the cart that fits the majority of your needs. Although Americommerce pisses me off sometimes, it is the better cart for us now.

      Now if a better ecommerce solution came along, we would leave in a heartbeat. Americommerce has not done much to make me fall faithfully in love with them but again, they have the better product now.

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  21. says

    I have to say I had a play around with AC but I just didn’t get on with it, not enough good templates etc. I can highly recommend BigCommerce, I’ve been using them for about 12 months now, take a look http://www.crosscamping.com and http://www.which-tent.co.uk . We have tried CoreCommerce now for a new venture and love it, its y far the best cart we have tried, its simple and the templates are great and the slider is simple and built in, again you can take a look at what we’ve done in just a few weeks of an hour or so each day, http://www.kinkykinky.co.uk

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    • says

      True to a degree. Like I said before, if you are look for pick and place templates, Americommerce is not for you. I liked Bigcommerce when we looked at it but, it was very restrictive on end user pricing and customization was just not an option.

      Out of the box template carts are a dime a dozen. When you get real serious about your business, you get a lot more with americommerce. It just frustrates some people because the back end is clumsy, slow and awful colors. americommerce is an investment, not just a monthly fee with a template.

      I looked at the website your referenced and there is really nothing to them. Same layout, same function, same look as every other retail cart out there.

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  22. says

    Hey Tom
    you are 100% correct, I’m sure AC is the way to go if you know what you are doing, just for me as a none techy guy I found it a bit hard to use but as you say cart suppliers like BC and CC are great for learning on.

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  23. Mark W says

    After having been with Americommerce now for about a year, and I use Big Commerce too, they are kind of different animals. I honestly couldn’t do as much easy template modification in BC, but in AC it was really quite simple once one get’s the hang of things. No doubt, AC is not push button, or toggle box simple. I hope someday it is, but there’s always tradeoffs on things. If you need something simple to get up and running there are a lot of options and maybe AC won’t fit that bill. But now, after figuring things out a good bit, and getting pretty good support there too, I see no reason to change. It’s working well and profitable for me and I’m glad actually that I worked through all of the kinks and frustrations at this point.

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  24. Kate says

    I knew if I looked enough on the site, there had to be info on Americommerce! Awesome! I am glad there is so much feedback. We are getting ready to trial Americommerce and I was hoping someone had experience using it for their base retail/wholesale sites, as well as then building out custom sites (mini sites). Basically, what we are going to try and do is have our flagship retail site, offer wholesale pricing to our dealers, and then sort of franchise, mini-affiliate sites. Anybody doing something similar that could provide some feedback on how it is going? Also, templates, I am really not finding any designs I love. I know Big Commerce and 3D cart have “off-the shelf” designers and templates, kind of like Magento, XCart, etc. I am not finding that sort of thing with AC. Am I missing something somewhere? Just not enough interest out there for designers? What are you guys doing for templates? Hiring a designer, using the free ones, or?? Feedback would be greatly appreciated!

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    • Mark says

      Hi Kate,

      We don’t do wholesale or the mini site thing but I see no reason why AC wouldn’t do this. On the theme design, in my mind it depends on where you are with things. If you’ve got an existing business that’s making money, or you need to spend money for some reason then looking into a custom design might make some sense. If you’re just starting out, I’ve always preferred to bootstrap and let the concept make some money first, then put some of the profit back into the business with a new design or something. The thing is, I’ve had friends who spend $3K or more on a custom design and ended up not selling enough to even pay for that.

      The AC template system to me at least was very straightforward. If you have an html background or an existing design like I had, it was really simple to set up the way I wanted it. Big Commerce which is the other one I’m familiar with was more complex, but they have suggested designers you could use. I visited with one once, but the cost was higher than I wanted to go at that point. I’ll revisit this in the future. But I personally think too many people spend way more up front than they need to just to get the look they want and I’d rather suggest that because many ecommerce stores have some workable templates, one can at least start with that, modify it if needed, and prove that the store can be profitable before spending too much up front…after all, one of the great aspects of the internet is to lower the cost of setting up a business (compared to a brick and mortar retailer) and keep your risks low in the beginning.

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      • Kate says

        Mark – Thanks for the very thoughtful response. You are absolutely correct in not going overboard with spending a bunch on a design. We do have an existing business and an existing design. Hopefully the process will go smoothly in getting it set up. I am a pretty skilled, tech type, so from what you are saying, I am hoping I can do it myself.

        Unknown, sorry, but there was no way to contact you, I don’t like leaving an email address in a public forum – spammers love that :(

        I very much appreciate the feedback. We are rolling into tax time, so I need to focus on clearing out the books before starting the trial. I want to be sure to make use of all the free trial days, uninterrupted.

        One last questions – it seems like there is a lot of nickel and diming with back end stuff. For instance, they charge for the Quick Books integrator – $300 – this is free or minimal cost ($15) for most other carts. Are you guys finding you are having to pay a lot to get modules to do stuff. I am a little concerned about this. One of the reasons we got away from other carts, like Magento – was in order to do things, sometimes even basic stuff, you had to get a module and they add up over time. I don’t want to get set up and then find we are paying hundreds to get modules to do basic stuff that should be part of the cart.

        Thanks again! This is such a helpful forum and so much appreciated :)

        (0)
        • Mark says

          Kate,

          I personally wouldn’t use the integrator that AC offers. We tried that and it was glitchy (maybe it’s better now). We switched to T HUB which has worked out great. It syncs well with both AC and FEDEX, UPS, etc and imports tracking data back into AC so the customer can view it in their account. It’s all automated which is a great time saver. There are other benefits too but I can’t recall what those are at the moment…I don’t handle shipping at the moment. We went with the T HUB Pro version, its a bit more expensive but it’s worked great.

          (0)
  25. says

    Kate,

    Nickels and dime’s is just a part of the real world with shopping carts. Yes, there is a fee for linking QB plus an annual expense which is not really that much in the big picture compared to the time you save. Here is the problem you will have.

    Americommerce is designed more towards the B2C market. Therefore most of their enhancements and focus is on that market. The mapping from AC to QB is that of a consumer base and not a business base. I have a copy of the mapping . Now with that said , you can always pay for some customization. They love the extra for doing little work.

    We are retail and wholesale with multiple price levels per customer with and without net 30 terms.

    As for a shipping integrator. Just use Shipworks and don’t look back. The product is good, the support is good and it is pretty seamless with AC.

    As for “basic stuff” that should be included, well, that is subject to one’s concept of basic. AC has the most features available and the cost is comparable to the other top carts.

    After using AC for a couple of years now, It has a tremendous lack in visual design meaning it makes it very difficult to let outside designers in and do the graphic and layout work. Stand alone themes are………..well,……..pretty darn lame! (yes, AC, I hope you are reading this). SEO optimization is weak. If you hire that out, they really need to learn AC before they can do anything.

    AC likes to promote their own services however, we have had some customization and I think it falls short. It works to about 95% but, as they do updates (which are mandatory) your customization gets degraded and you have to pay more to get current code just to keep up with them without any benefit to you. Bad business in my book but, unless you do it yourself, you will always be a hostage.

    We stay with AC because there is nothing better. When something better comes, we are gone………………….

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  26. Albin says

    Andrew,
    Your reviews have been very helpful. I have been working with my wife to pick out the right e-commerce provider. I feel that a hosted provider is what we want, although I do use concrete5 and wordpress sites (which have add-ons for carts or stores), I am not so sure I want to deal with security issues that will arise. So based on this we narrowed it down to Volusion and Americommerce. I like volusion but I see they recently started charging a $25/mth PCI Security Fee http://www.ecommerce-platforms.com/ecommerce-selling-advice/volusion-surprises-merchants-with-25-pci-security-fee/
    (I am still trying to figure out if this is in their stated rates or if it is something I will be surprised with). I am now leaning towards Americommerce due to their multi-store single inventory feature (really don’t know if volusion has this).

    My wife is a power seller on ebay and is concerned about how to make the transition from ebay to store. If I list item #1234 (assuming I only have a QTY of (1) one) through americommerce to both your store front and ebay and item #1234 sells on ebay, does americommerce automatically pull that listing from the americommerce store front or do I manually have to do this. Also does this work n reverse meaning if it sells on the store front does americommerce automatically pull it from my ebay store and/or listings.

    Seeing we are just starting our store, we have to list on both ebay and the store front. We need to list on ebay to continue bringing in money as we start selling on our store front (which may take some time to produce revenue).

    One other important question is usability. My wife is very concerned about easy of use. She can figure things out, but this may be through the provided documentations, youtube videos, or web forums. I am not sure straight out ease of use should be the deciding factor, but does need to play into it. Which is better documented, by the provider, which is better documented by users via blogs, youtube, or websites, which is straight out the easiest for beginners. Based on this which do you recommend.

    I know I did not mention shopify, but I am not so interested in transaction fees 2% or 1% and their no transaction fee plan is to much plan for us right now.

    As it stands now we are looking at these rate plans
    Volusion (1000 items) $65/mth and $75/year SSL (sounds like some are not to happy that there is not shipstation integration which they are saying would save a lot of shipping costs…. I think it works with shipworks)
    Americommerce (500 items) $39/mth and $75/yr SSL (no shipstation but does work with shipworks)

    Thanks for any light you can shed on the above.

    Albin

    (0)
    • says

      The $25/month is more likely $3.75/month on the Volusion plan you are selecting.

      Americommerce and ebay work nicely together however you are better setting aside a fixed inventory for ebay if you are going to work both platforms because sooner or later the integration hiccups and you will be left in a jam. While it is a good theory to use one platform to run multiple channels you can get better results by running each channel separately especially if it is short term.

      Shopify misses out on a few customers because of the fees it charges but otherwise it is a fantastic product.

      Your wife can sign up for free trials of Americommerce and Volusion to see which i easiest to use – if you want my opinion I would be signing up for Americommerce

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    • Kate says

      Hey Albin,

      Just chiming in here – I have to agree with others about AC going through some growing pains. We had no luck with Volusion, hopefully you are having a good experience. I would recommend that you look at 3dCart as an option. Although every cart has their issues, and I definitely have things I don’t like about 3d Cart, it might work very well for you. I use Shipworks with it and I have to say it is very streamlined. Tom is correct with his comment below, their support is dreadful. However, that being said, if you stick it out, they will help you, eventually. I know a lot of people using 3dcart for their drop shipping businesses and it is working quite successfully. I am not sure how it integrates with eBay, but for the sake of making sure you get what you need, you might just inquire. Get a cart is a pretty big deal, switching isn’t fun. Better to do the research on the front side. I will tell you, in the long run, 3Dcart is cheaper than Volusion. Our bandwidth overages were exceptionally expensive. We still go over ever month with 3dCart, but it is cheaper for us to go over than to upgrade to the next level. We pay an extra $5-10 per month in overages, it would be $30 to upgrade. Good luck and I hope you find something you like!

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      • Albin says

        Kate,

        Thanks for your in put. My wife got more concerned about volusion (customers are complaining about large charges for bandwidth overages) and she did not have a good feeling about americommerce. We ended up going with shopify, even though they have a transaction feel. It is too early to say if we feel we made the right choice or not, but so far so good. I am sure as we get further down the road we will have a clear understanding of what we need and we will have to re-evaluate where we are.

        Albin

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  27. tom says

    Albin,

    Save your self the time. Go with Volusion. You need a lot more experience with Americommerce than with Volusion. Volusion was built for people like you and your wife. You will struggle with Americommerce. We are an americommerce user.

    Volusion integrates with Shipworks so just sign up, get your site going, integrate it with Ebay and shipworks and don’t look back. The templates you get with Volusion will work for you right out of the box. You can not get that with Americommerce. Also Americommerce is going through some sort of growing pains and your website will frequently not work right now.

    I am not bashing Americommerce, it is just not going to be for you.

    (0)
    • Albin says

      Tom,

      Thanks for the input. I see you are saying you are an americommerce user, but you are saying I should go with volusion. Did you use volusion in the past or are you looking to change to volusion? Are you using shipworks with americommerce? Have you used shipstation in the past with any other hosted solution. I am trying to understand the pros and cons to both of these shipping solutions. I realize there are others, but I am focusing on these two seeing I know they both (to the best of my knowledge) work with volusion and americommerce. I can tell americommerce is going through the growing pains as you mentioned. I guess their big push right now is a revamp of their admin panel.

      Thanks again for your post.

      Albin

      (0)
  28. Tom says

    Albin,

    ok, we have not used Volusion. We came from our own cart and servers to Americommerce and their servers. We did that because we just didn’t want to manage servers anymore and this made sense to us at the time. We looked at hard at Volusion and Magento. We wanted to go with Volusion however, the deciding point was the sales reps lied to us and customer support was very weak and took to long to answer. So we were never able to get the final questions answered or tested.

    It sounds to me that although you and your wife want to spend some time on the site, you would prefer to sell. Volusion would be much better for you. Americommerce is very work intensive. If you have the time, talent and dough, it’s a decent cart. It just looked to me that you were pinching some pennies, and those are the least of your worries when running a successful online shop.

    Now our only experience is with Shipworks. The product is seamless with AC and works very well. The only down side is that Sipworks has the WORST support I have ever seen. We like the product but we are currently evaluating alternatives. When something goes wrong in the online world, we need to pick up the phone and get answers and resolutions. Not emails or forum searching. Some of these small software companies never grew up in a service world. When we find an alternative, we will cancel Shipworks just based upon support alone.

    The Americommerce admin panel is not as bad as people claim. That is not the growing pains. The growing pains are constant server moving and restarting. If you are a PPC advertiser, that is a killer. If you are entering an order manually and the server goes down, that is a killer too. I am not talking about graphics.

    Does that help?

    (0)
    • Albin says

      Tom,
      My wife like volusion and was hearing the same as you said (americommerce is work intensive). I might consider Magento on a bluehost hosting account at a latter date, but felt we could be up and running faster with shopify. I can work on and play around with magento.

      Thanks for the heads up on shipworks. Shipstation works with shopify and so we will give that a try. I will try and get back here to post how it is going in about a month or so. If I forget…. maybe someone looking can drop a note to remind me.

      Thanks again.

      (0)
  29. Tom says

    Albin,

    That is probably a good choice for you. please do reply back with your experiences. Mark it in your calendar.

    (0)
    • Albin says

      I added a reminder on my calendar for the end of August. That should give me time to have something worth while to post about.

      (0)
  30. says

    Nice to see some honest reviews as many like me are faced with seeking a more perfect ecommerce platform for online sales and back office delivery. Since 1997 I’ve put up and maintained several hundred ecommerce sites for clients so I’m well versed in the pitfalls of all the carts mentioned here. One major client is Holdup Suspender Company that started with 14 products and now has over 260 USA made and patented products featuring their exclusive clips and composite gripper clasps. Needless to say the handmade pages ( using Microsoft Frontpage 2003) at http://www.suspenders.com have gotten to be a maintenance headache. I learned about Americommerce from the folks at http://www.Americart who have a support relationship. Let me say one thing for Americart.com … in 15 years they have never missed a sale or had a down day for my clients sites… suspenders.com holdup.com http://www.Holdup-Suspenders.com momaids.com. THe newest one I build last week on a lark using Weebly Drag & Drop site builder, is medicalsuspenders.com. Weebly allows HTML inserts so the remote Americart forms work just fine. Suspenders.com amazes Google staff as one of the top conversion web sites in th eworld for ten years straight averaging 1 sale per every 14 visitors regardless of traffic source.

    THe client has hired twice some SEO high end PR and Web development firms to redo the main site suspenders.com. One tried a custom Magento and then a Xcart rendition with some clunky Site builder frontend that after 12 months never saw the light of the day. Thank God as in development the carts were hacked and placed spyware/adware web bugs into the developers systems and infected the testing hosting systems… :-) Thankfully I refused to touch it and only provided product images and category images and refused any username + password access. The client paid him off in full after 12 months as I merrily went ABOUT ADDING NEW PRODUCTS AND INCREASING SALES BY 25% last year.

    I did a few Volution sites, but the bandwidth penality and ooh so slow page loads were not something I was going to put up with and their SEO features sucked as Holdup Suspenders has page one free SERP listings for every buying key word term for their products for the last 12 years. No way can the client get that page 1 SEO back with 301′s and criptic URLs. Heck I was the consultant to Google Base/Google Shopping who gave those greedy Libtard Adwhores all the key requirements they followed to launch Google shopping via paid PLA’s in July 2012.

    Now the client has been paying another professional web design PR/SEO firm since Nov. 2012 for a replacement to the ugly http://www.suspenders.com which I’m sure will be a disaster using Jumbla editor and some cart fed by a database called Avactis. Meanwhile I expect that to be a site remake disaster and reviewed and tried out all the hosted carts offerings with my must have… feature list.

    1. ability to keep all those page 1 Google SERP URLs in place with a cart that allows you to rename product and main category pages.
    2. Must have multiple product detailed images with a zoom feature like I recommended to Amazon staff they demand from all their merchants… which led to doubling Amazon.com sales in 2011 & 2012.
    3. All brand centric Clients will need Satellite sales sites to get more SERP listings for buying search terms. So a Multi-Site management console, with sales reporting per site, would be a top feature.
    4. Affiliate sales tracking and reporting would be a nice add-on
    5. Inventory control down to the option SKU level is a must as I spend a lot of hours removing or placing Out of Stock messages on products, and the warehouse panics when Out of Stock sales occur.
    6. Ability to quickly copy a ecatalog product and it’s options to another new part would speed up catalog building.
    7. A cart without an automatic export to the brand new Google Merchant Center for Google shopping feeds will assure you have to build out a handmade Google and Bing Shopping feed. If you don’t appear in Google shopping … you really don’t exist in retail.
    8. Cart must have a search box feature that indexes product pages and keywords in real time. Big Plus is if the search results bring back both relivant thumbnail images and text.
    9. Horizontal and vertical expandable navigation link aids and alternate or recommended upgrade product inserted in product detail pages.
    10 Simple checkout screens with option to not require registration to buy right now.
    11. Capture of email address on orders for promo emails that can be exported to excel and the ability to run seasonal promotions in a variety of ways. Buy 1 get 10% off, buy 2 get 15% off buy 3+ and get 20% off list… plus others for getting promotional emails noticed.

    12. Ability to turn off any “place coupon code here” prompt or box in the checkout screens as these are cart killers if you don’t push coupon or incentives
    13. Export feature so you can back up your ecatALOG to a local machine and for manually creating those expensive comparison shopping engines with their special feed formats.
    14. Good user/support forum and no per-sale fees. Plus you should be able to feed photos from a Cloud storage account like Sugarsync or Google Drive to eliminate excess bandwidth fees that kill of Volusion and the others seeking to rape existing account holders with add-on fees.
    15. Site/Page Templates must update all standard pages and be given to site designers to make premium templates or custom built for those willing to pay them.
    16. Shipworks, or T-Hub interface for shipping and a direct link to Intuit’s QuickBooks is a Godsend for small and medium sized merchants needing to limit their CPA and tax prep bills.

    After all the research and trying out Americommerce for 11 months I can say it is the solution and platform most online sales outfits will need to go forward. None of the rest compare so send some bucks their way will only improve their offerings

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  31. says

    One of my stores has been with Volusion since 2005 and was initially very successful but with the lack of new features and bandwidth issues, not to mention admin side template degradation that focused on making prettier not more efficient, AmeriCommerce is looking very attractive.

    Raphael

    (0)
    • Tom says

      Raphael,

      If you are leaving Volusion because of the admin panel, then you will hate Americommerce. Their admin panel is not just ugly, it is slow, clunky and if you do not learn how to use it properly, you will crash it because of it’s bugs. You need to understand what you are doing in SQL before you can learn how to use the admin panel.

      For example, let’s say you are going to take a phone order and you create a new order, but, before you finish that order, the customer says “What did I order before?” Well in order to do that, you need to go to the customer history files which means you lose your order, or you can save it as something else, however, you burn an order number with that AND based on how you have shipworks integrated, it probably will not automatically print a pick ticket.

      If you open a new tab under the customer heading, you will crash the sales order.

      Regardless, you will find little issues like this as you move around. The admin side is fairly weak.

      (0)
      • Mark W says

        Hi Tom,

        I’m not questioning your experience with Americommerce, but having used that for over a year now, I haven’t had any problems that you described. Maybe we will down the road, who knows. I don’t know a thing about SQL and I’m not quite sure how that has much to do with the admin panel. Granted it’s not the cleanest and simplest thing I’ve ever seen but so far, no big glitches with it. FYI, we don’t use shipworks with it, so maybe that’s part of it. The only add-on we have is THUB and that’s worked fine.

        I’ve spent enough time with AC now, that I can pretty much figure out how to do something, but it’s not always intuitive, that’s for sure. Support has been pretty good to work with in my experience, it may take some patience but we eventually figure things out.

        I wish I could comment on Volusion but I have no experience with it other than looking through a 15 day trial. I don’t recall what I didn’t like about it, but something kept me from going with them at the time.

        (0)
  32. Frank says

    OK,
    I just spent the last hour at AC on your recommendation for AC, templates are really bad, i mean really bad, i didn’t expect to spend the entire free trial figuring out and customizing a template. On to the next………….

    (0)
    • says

      I know this comment might be a bit late for you, Frank, but for others with the same concern we have exciting news.

      Now that we’ve completely revamped our admin experience we are actively building an entirely new selection of themes. As very small sign of the things to come we recently released our Deja Vu themes which are clean/modern set of themes that were ultimately designed to provide a solid framework for theme builders both on the team at AmeriCommerce or independent web developers.

      You can read a bit more about that theme here:
      http://www.americommerce.com/dejavu-responsive-theme

      We expect to have at least 3 more beautiful new themes by the end of the year and are working to completely replace the old theme library over the next 6 months.

      (0)

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