The Ultimate AmeriCommerce Ecommerce Review 2016

Ed Sturrock, Stefan Barlow and Charlie Cooper established AmeriCommerce in 2005. Whether you are looking to open one ecommerce outlet or multiple, the company has the tools to get your started selling your goods. Famous clients include huge companies such as Kellogg’s, USA Hockey and World Series of Poker. The company powers more than 5,000 retailers, which compared with other competitors such as Bigcommerce or Shopify this seems like a very small number. However, I still feel the company has something to offer for those looking to start their own online store.

AmeriCommerce Features

The whole admin panel went through a major overhaul in August 2013, the new design is very nice and easy on the eyes, but more importantly it has made managing your business much easier as well. With this company you can create and run several stores from within the same control panel. Each can be individual from the other and can have its own unique design and products. You are given the same features whether you are operating one or a dozen storefronts. This feature is also really smart if you need to support different languages. AmeriCommerce - Setup support

If you need help with setup, or you just don’t have time to create your own store then the company can help you get started. They offer several setup packages, these include catalogue setup, custom shipping methods setup as well as custom form creation.

AmeriCommerce Ease of Use

Getting started is relatively easy, the reason why I say relatively is because depending on the choices you make it can quickly become much more cumbersome. If you decide to use a pre-created theme then the setup wizard will help you get started in a few quick steps. If you are an experienced store builder, then the company also has some more advanced features for you. Instead of using a premade theme you could for example create your own themes and upload these to their server.

AmeriCommerce dashboard

One negative I found with the login process is the fact that while login is very fast, if you click the login button on the homepage, then it doesn’t take you to your admin panel but instead to a general account dashboard. Honestly if you are just starting out and this is your first encounter with AmeriCommerce then this can be very confusing. What you need to do instead is access the dashboard through a URL specifically created for your account.

AmeriCommerce Pricing

The company offers five different pricing tiers, with the cheapest plan, called steel, starting at just $24.95/month and the most expensive (platinum), costing $299 per month.

AmeriCommerce pricing

The cheapest plan allows users to add 100 products to their store and only offers 250 MB storage, while the most expensive allows for an unlimited number of products and comes with 5 GB. most competitors offer at least 1 GB space with their cheapest plan. None of the plans charge a setup fee; similarly none of them charge any transaction fees, which is a big plus compared with the other platforms out there. Furthermore all come with free shared SSL. As mentioned earlier in the review, AmeriCommerce allows you to manage multiple stores from the same dashboard, setting up an additional outlet costs $39 per month. If you read the fine print it also costs a $49 one-time setup fee.

AmeriCommerce Inventory

If you are looking to micromanage your inventory then they offer everything you need, if you are just looking to run your store and add a few products then honestly you are bound to get confused with all the different choices. As you can see in the image below the company offers a plethora of different choices when it comes to inventory. You can decide whether inventory rules should apply to this product or not, you can enter how many units are available and how many are currently on order. Similar to other platforms such as CoreCommerce you can decide the maximum and minimum number of products anyone can purchase. AmeriCommerce inventory

If you have already opened a store on a different platform then you can import your products with the CSV import/export feature. The number of features for customizing your products is really mind blowing, both in a good and a bad way.

Try-Shopify

AmeriCommerce Templates and Design

Many users would argue that the theme or design of your storefront is one of the most important aspects of your online presence. Unfortunately this is exactly where the company has their biggest weakness. The number of templates available really isn’t enough; there are exactly 52 themes available. While that might seem enough, many of the themes are just repeated with different colors. The company does offer a few good templates however, most of them really lack in design and layout.

AmeriCommerce templates

One thing that makes the lack of themes a little more bearable is the fact that you can upload your own themes and then apply these to your store. This is similar to other companies, Shopify for instance also allows this.

AmeriCommerce SEO & Marketing

If you are looking to transfer your store from another company then these guys have a special built-in tool, that will protect your current Google rankings by simply directing old URLs to your new AmeriCommerce URL. One great marketing feature is the possibility to rewards repeat customers. You can easily motivate customers to purchase more products or receive bonus points for purchasing a certain product. You can even allow these points to be used a payment for future purchases. Similar to many competitors you can quickly start selling your products on Facebook using the Fb store theme that comes with every AmeriCommerce account.

AmeriCommerce Payments

The more payment methods you accept the more likely customers are to complete a purchase through your store. They integrate with more than 50 payment processors; they accept most local U.S. gateways such as Bank of America, Chase Paymentech, PayPal and Google Checkout, so it's a great options for US citizens who want to sell locally or internationally, but they don't have any options for international sellers who want to open up an online shop.

AmeriCommerce Security

AmeriCommerce offers 99.9% uptime; they are constantly updating their servers and server utilization remains at or below 30%. The stores are hosted optimized Dell servers with Cisco hardware at Rackspace datacenter. The company makes sure to be PCI-compliance. Similar to other companies the company protects the admin panel with 128bit SSL security, and unlike CoreCommerce additional security cannot be purchased at an additional cost. If you want to grant employees access to parts of the admin panel without giving them full access then you can generate multiple login accounts each with a distinct password.

AmeriCommerce Customer Support

If you are looking for support then AmeriCommerce offers phone, email or you can submit a support ticket. Even though I am happy to see the company offers phone support, it quickly becomes frustrating when you need to keep an eye on their limited hours, support is only offered from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. CT. While this might not be a big problem for American clients it can quickly become an unnecessary burden for global clients. The company does state that email support is available 24/7 however sometimes the wait time for a response was more than 24 hours, so if you need support in a timely manner you really are stuck using the phone support.

AmeriCommerce's support review

They do offer live chat, however they are staffed with sales reps who are only there to help potential clients. It would have been great to see them offer live chat for support as well, especially with the restricted phone hours.

Conclusion

AmeriCommerce review

The ability to manage multiple stores from the same admin panel is a really big plus for some people. And the fact that you can administer different stores for different countries or markets all within the same dashboard really sets the company apart from their competitors. So if you're interested in these two features I strongly advice to sign up for their free trial, you've probably found the best platform for your needs. Otherwise, I would suggest to read the Shopify review and the Bigcommerce review before deciding which is the best fit for your needs, and take a look at the char for an overview of all reviewed platforms.

What do you think of AmeriCommerce? Let me know what's your opinion in the comments. 

AmeriCommerce Rating: 2.2 - Review by

Catalin Zorzini

I'm a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.

7 Responses

  1. This is my Americommerce review:

    I have been using Americommerce since May, 2014.

    Pros:
    1. Americommerce has many features for retail and wholesale.
    2. Reasonable price

    Cons:
    1. Customer service is too slow and terrible – Sometimes it takes few more days to receive an answer.
    When I tried to change my domain DNS to launch my website, I did not receive any server information from them for more than 6 days after submitting tickets and phone calls.

    2. Because of very poor manuals, it is very difficult to use some features of Americommerce.
    For example, according to their manual we cannot properly display categories and subcategories at the left column that is one of the most important things.
    (See the manual: http://support.americommerce.com/hc/en-us/articles/201904640-HOW-TO-Setup-horizontal-vertical-navigation-and-drop-down-fly-out-submenus- )

    3. Customer services are lack of knowledge for their program.

  2. long time americart user 15 years upgraded fully to americommerce

    1 order processing is awesome

    2 inventory control using amerisync and quickbooks although added cost works great

    3 the search engine on the site plan and simple does not work well , so expect added cost to upgrade to a working search like google site search or freefind

    4 phone support some of the nicest people i ever dealt with , and they try hard but i found that they have limited experience with the product but they will do their best to get you the help you need

    5 online support , much of the information on the support site is in fact outdated and does not apply to the current cart system thats 2 years old and other is just confusing or just plan incomplete

    6 expect a wait on this normally two days min and here again very nice to deal with but little experience with the product , sometimes its a lot longer

    7 pages have huge amounts of script if you use google page speed insights you going to find problems like
    Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content

    8 since each page is so big and the sitemaps works so well expect large extra for bandwidth , they do have a tool to try help with this and kinda point in the direction
    but they honestly do not seem to work easly

    i spent year getting this site ready to go before , but when i turned on full time it took a profitable site to costly site

    so would i use again , well it does play well with quickbooks and shipping programs
    so from a order process stand point from that point a would say 100 percent yes

    what burned me is that no where , did it say that this product is made for company with a full time IT staff. its a great fit for a million dollar company , for a small company like mine the switch over to americommerce the most likely out come will be the end of the company since sales have dropped and the amount of time trying to fix it has taken a large toll

  3. Been using the product since 2007. had 8 websites with them using a master database. I like 90% of everything the software offers. The company was sold 2 years ago and was reorganized to attract a sale. In the process, support on several levels has declined. Quality Control on the new features launched in 2013 was not great, so you will still small find bugs that Tech Support will have a hard time fixing or just timeout and close the ticket altogether.

    I think part of the problem is they have a Sales Dept and a Tech Support Dept. NOT a Customer Service Department. What I mean is a dept. or persons dedicated to working with the customer, expediting a fix, finding or recommending solutions tailored to the client and most importantly smoothing over any upsets. Problems don’t move up the chain of command and the C-Suite is not noticing. It’s a big hole for the client when something is not working and the customer is losing money.

    As an example, we spent 6 weeks each on several important tickets with no end in site. (Back in the old days sometimes even a Founder or other fully training coder would pick up the phone and fix something in a few hours) Today most of the entry-level Tech Support is clearing a ticket (little training on the product) rather than fixing a problem. If they can not fix a problem, the ticket is marked “SOLVED”

    In frustration, I asked even Sales for assistance with no luck. I then asked two different departments to be transferred to Admin, C-suite or a Founder and was told I (as a customer) was not allowed to speak to to them by phone. Over several more calls, asked for an email address and was told I would not be allowed to email them unless I first send the email (whatever the subject) through Tech Support for approval.

    No new features, updates, community posts or even blog entries have been coming out for about a year. Typically, when a company is sold and the name changes, the Founders leave and most of the happy excited staff you see on the website are replaced within a year. (Unfortunately, that’s just the way these things go.) So the name change to Sparkpay doesn’t look like the product’s Staff will be getting better (no leadership in place).

    David (above) is correct, it is marketed as no IT Dept required (DIY with average skills), but when you run into a problem they expect you to find someone else to fix it. Even third-party partners are complaining to us customers.

    Reluctantly, we have planned our exit and hope the system will not lose us too much until we flip the switch on the new launches.

  4. We’ve been using Americommerce (now SparkPay) since 2008. I have a long background in internet retail, but not in IT. This cart is not at all friendly to someone who has to learn from the ground up. I’d used other carts previously without a problem, but needed Americommerce’s ability to run multiple sites from a single admin. I built our site for almost a year before the launch. Launch in 2008 went perfectly, but since then I’ve wanted to leave so many times. Support can be slow, and they aren’t always patient with someone who isn’t a tech. But I’ve also had wonderful support, so if I don’t get a person that is helpful, I try again until I do.

    When trying to sell you this program, their sales staff will promise the moon. Anything you want, they can do, so they say. However, many standard features of other carts remain lacking, inconsistent, or non-existent on this cart. I’ve had to pay for them to “fix” standard features that didn’t work, just so I could use them on my store.

    Inventory control is spotty at best. I believe (no idea if this is true) that when the site hits a hiccup, it reverts back to a previously stored version. If you’ve updated inventory or had sales in the meantime, then those inventory numbers are changed back to a prior point in time. Short story…our inventory is almost always off, especially on the products we sell the most of. We manually count and correct often, so we’re sure this is a program error, not human error.

    Bottom line…what it does well, it does very well. But if you’re somewhat a novice (i.e. if you don’t know HTML, CSS, or Dreamweaver) then walk away. I’ve learned a lot through blood, sweat, and tears, but the stress isn’t worth it. The program is also expensive to keep up with. A couple of years ago they switched to a new format for websites. New customers get the new format automatically, but old clients like me have to pay to upgrade. It was in the thousands of dollars for our stores and I can’t afford it. So my sites are losing usability and I no longer receive free upgrades or new features. I’m sure that before too long, I won’t be able to receive support, either. My day is coming very soon…do I pay to upgrade or pay to switch companies?

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