What’s the best ecommerce platform for your store?
With such a wide array of choices, picking the right ecommerce solution for your business is not an easy task.
Different platforms have different pros and cons, and the right one for you could be lurking in the shadows.
For most merchants, the top contenders in our comparison chart are the way to go.
But each business has its needs, and the mainstream options are not the way to go for certain companies. Instead, an out of the box solution with unique features is what they require.
That’s when AmeriCommerce steps in.
Get ready – You’re about to learn what makes AmeriCommerce a viable choice, and for which types of stores.
Could it be the right pick for your business?
AmeriCommerce Review: Features
Let’s start off at the top with what’s considered the main feature of AmeriCommerce.
Keeping it simple, it lets you manage multiple stores from the same admin panel. Merchants who’re looking to simplify their lives a tad seek AmeriCommerce for that reason. Having a single login allows you to look at the catalog, orders, reports, and customer data of all stores within the same place, and that lets you forget about the hassle of having to deal with multiple account logins.
This feature is the best weapon AmeriCommerce has against its competitors. Its multi-store operations are what truly differentiate it from the other ecommerce platforms.
AmeriCommerce might be lacking in certain areas, but it’s got many things that make it the preferred platform for some.
Other than multi-store operations, a couple more features are worth mentioning.
First of all, it lets you expand your store to other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Amazon, eBay, and pretty much anywhere else. Your products can be sold through any website by copy-pasting code snippets created with one of its many tools.
Expanding your store to other platforms lets your business reach customers that lie in other marketplaces. Fortunately – AmeriCommerce’s got you covered on this one.
Another highlight of AmeriCommerce is that you can decide how simple or robust you want the dashboard to be.
For merchants looking for more advanced features, AmeriCommerce offers the option to enable ‘power features'. This is a set of additional options that can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers, which is why users have to click the “power features” checkbox before activating them.
Isn’t that nice? You get to make the configurations as complex as you need them to be.
AmeriCommerce Review: Ease of use
The current dashboard is easy to use and navigate, but it wasn’t always this way.
In 2013, AmeriCommerce went through a revamp that made it much easier to use. Before this update, navigating through the platform used to be much harder and confusing.
The dashboard wasn't intuitive enough for those who weren't tech-savvy, and you couldn’t even access it from a mobile device.
Many customers reported how hard it was to use, and AmeriCommerce had a bad reputation for its admin area. The company knew this, and they responded with the update mentioned.
Now, the graphics are up to date and managing your store is much more comfortable.
When you go to the dashboard for the first time, you’re met with a clean, minimalist looking design. The menu at the left holds different categories that make the management of your ecommerce store neat and straightforward.
It shouldn’t take the average user too long to get used to the interface. Within a few days of using the platform, you’ll feel comfortable with the buttons and options.
The company has done a great job at making the platform appealing to new users. Not only with the design but with the setup process as well.
To make the setup easy a setup wizard guides you through the steps you need to take to configure your store. You just have to follow the instructions laid out for you and, in no time, you’ll have your products in place.
If you need to, you can visit its knowledge base. They’ve got many tutorials and guidelines about the interface and other aspects of the platform for users who need some extra instructions.
AmeriCommerce Review: Pricing
In terms of pricing, there are five different tiers offered by the company.
The lowest tier, steel, costs $24.95 per month. This entry-level plan allows users to add up to 100 products, which isn’t much comparing it to other ecommerce platforms’ cheapest plans.
The highest tier, platinum, costs $299 per month. It supports unlimited products – something that doesn’t happen until this tier level – and up to 50 GB of traffic.
AmmeriCommerce also scopes bigger plans for larger stores. The platinum tier simply falls too short for many big enterprises that require large amounts of bandwidth and storage capacity.
However, that’s not a concern for most of its users – small to medium sized retailers.
And speaking about the pricing of AmeriCommerce’s hallmark:
Their big boy, the multi-store feature, has a price of $39/ month for each additional store you add. If you’re picking AmeriCommerce over the other ecommerce platforms, it’s probably because this specific feature caught your eye.
Extra bandwidth costs between $3 to $8/GB/month depending on your tier. If you think your store will overdo the bandwidth usage for that month, but you don’t want to upgrade your current plan, you can pre-purchase additional bandwidth.
AmeriCommerce Review: Templates and Design
One of AmeriCommerce’s weakest points is its theme options.
First of all, its template pool lacks variety and sheer volume. It has around 80 themes, which seems like a decent amount of alternatives at first glance.
But don’t be fooled by that number. A considerable portion of its designs looks outdated and old-fashioned.
A good visual impression on is one of the most critical aspects of running a successful ecommerce store. Customers care about looks, and the appearance of your website directly affects sales and revenue.
But don’t let me scare you too much. I’m not saying that your website’s looks will be doomed if you choose AmeriCommerce. You can still have an excellent looking website that’s appealing to your visitors.
Their newest themes, although not great in quantity, have up to date looks that meet the current design standards.
With their mobile-optimized templates, you can design a storefront that’s responsive and appealing to customers visiting you with their phone or tablet.
And, to make customization easy, they’ve got a “live design” editor that allows you to tweak your website intuitively with a drag and drop interface.
If you want to take the customization of your website up a notch, AmmeriCommerce lets you access the HTML and CSS files directly. Being able to play with the code allows you to gain full control. And that means its small template pool does not limit you.
AmeriCommerce Review: SEO & Marketing
Marketing wise, you’ll get most of the tools required to promote your brand.
Whether you're looking to promote your store with content marketing or social media marketing, AmeriCommerce’s got your back.
The software allows you to implement a blog so that you can build your brand and increase organic traffic.
And to lend a hand with SEO, It has various tools to help your site rank well in search engines.
It even has email marketing add-ons that let you send newsletters and automated messages to your email list.
AmeriCommerce Review: Security
In terms of credit card security, they’re PCI certified. So they meet a set of security standards that ensure the safety of your business’s transactions.
To keep those pesky hackers at bay, they include protection against DDOS attacks and enterprise-level firewalls. These security measures come at no additional cost.
And, to make sure employees don’t screw up, it lets you create accounts with limited permissions. You know, just in case some rebel screws around with the wrong parts of your business.
AmeriCommerce Review: Customer Support
One of the drawbacks of AmeriCommerce’s support is its limited availability during the day. Their limited support hours – 8 AM to 6 PM CST – can be quite bothersome, especially for people living far from the US.
To speak with a support member, you can use either phone, email, or live chat.
To help users with common issues, AmmeriCommerce has resources like guides, ebooks, and a knowledge center. They’ve also got quite a few video tutorials that you can find on their youtube channel.
AmeriCommerce Review: Conclusion
AmeriCommerce might not be as powerful as some of its competitors, but it’s solid enough to be the right pick in certain conditions.
Businesses that greatly benefit from the ability to manage multiple stores find AmeriCommerce to be a very appealing choice. And for some companies, the multi-store feature isn’t just useful and convenient, It’s crucial.
But if your business doesn’t benefit from this specific feature, AmeriCommerce might not be the best alternative.
Shopify, BigCommerce, and many other platforms offer a better overall experience without many drawbacks.
You see, AmeriCommerce doesn’t have that many negatives. But it’s got a few weak areas – like the poor template list and the limited support hours – that are worth considering.
Will these weak spots break your business? Probably not.
But there are other options worth considering if you don’t specifically benefit from their multi-store functionality.
What’s your take on AmeriCommerce? Let us know in the comments down below.
Comments 8 Responses
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?
I rediscovered this post and I’d like to update. In June 2017, we left Americommerce for all the reasons stated in my original comment. They’d made some changes that caused a 90% drop in our sales, virtually overnight. I worked with tech support for 3 months before we jumped ship, and they never could agree on the problem or solution. Since our business supports our family, obviously we couldn’t afford to give them any more time, and we bailed. We’re now with Shopify and I love it.
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.
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
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
Thanks a lot David, totally agree with all your notes!
Thanks a lot David, totally agree with all your notes!
This is my Americommerce review:
I have been using Americommerce since May, 2014.
1. Americommerce has many features for retail and wholesale.
2. Reasonable price
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.
Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us Ken! So did you move away from this platform and tried another one you’re still with them?