Matt DeLong established the company in 2001. However it wasn’t fully launched as CoreCommerce until 2008. They offer an ecommerce shopping cart software that is completely web-based and easily allows you to launch an online store. Noteworthy clients include among others, Tendergrass Farms, Spark Living and The Poster List. Since their launch the company has powered more than 13,000 stores. While that might seem like a lot it is actually only 1/10 of other major competitors such as Shopify. We still feel the company is worth considering and here’s why.
CoreCommerce offers one of the larger feature sets I have ever seen in an ecommerce platform, they offer tools to help you create your store, manage inventory as well as create customized reports and much more. The company offers a large number of security enhancements to help ensure that both your and your customer’s information is secure. Once you sign up you are greeted with a setup wizard, this guides you through setting up your online store by taking you through the most important areas, such as the design of your store, adding new products, setting up different payment methods as well as adding taxes and calculating different shipping costs.
You can easily add new products to the store, or you can import previously created products in bulk by using a CSV spreadsheet. Moreover when adding new products to your store everything is divided into categories creating a much easier overview. These categories include product information, description, shipping info, inventory, search engine tags, upsell products, vendors, and custom fields. One rather neat feature is the option to receive a text message when someone places a new order on your store. Another feature is their social media connections; the company will allow you to sell your products directly through your Facebook profile. Furthermore returning clients can easily register on your site through their Facebook, Twitter or Google profiles.
CoreCommerce Ease of Use
When you first sign up for CoreCommerce the admin panel might seem a bit daunting. Compared to some of the other dashboards out there, I must admit the admin panel is a bit boring. While it does offer all the features needed to run an online store it does look rather dated. However, getting used to the design only takes a few minutes, then you will be on your way to creating your first online store.
One area of the dashboard that is pretty neat is the fact that you can easily rearrange different elements by simply dragging and dropping their boxes, to display the information you are most interested in first. The different drop-down screens underneath each category offer easy access to the different areas of the dashboard. This you never need to search through lengthy menus to find the right area. If the layout or design of the dashboard was updated I am sure it would be much more appealing to the users, right now it offers the features you need to run your store, but the basic layout and overall user experience could really use some work.
CoreCommerce offers four different pricing plans, the cheapest costing $29.99 a month and the most expensive setting you back a cool $199.99. The cheapest plan comes with a rather restricted offer allowing for only 150 products and a 2 GB bandwidth limit.
Unless you sign up for the professional plan costing $79.99 your bandwidth will be limited. Should you sign up for one of the cheaper plans but use more bandwidth you will be charged $9 for each additional GB. While 2GB bandwidth might sound like a lot it quickly becomes constrained as your store gains in popularity. One thing I do like is the fact that the company doesn’t charge any transaction fees, no matter which plan you sign up for.
CoreCommerce Templates and Design
CoreCommerce offers customers more than 100 free templates. This might seem like a big number but you quickly realize many of the themes could use an update. Even though they have been updated over the past few years they still lack some of the professional look offered by other companies such as Shopify.
Once you have chosen your theme you can easily edit the layout of the store using built-in widgets. The manipulation of these takes place using the simple drag and drop editor. If you are unfamiliar with code then you can edit the whole layout without ever looking at the HTML or CSS code. Of course if you are advanced in HTML or CSS then you can also edit the themes using these, unfortunately however, you cannot upload a theme you have created from scratch. This is a featured offered by some competitors such as Shopify. If you just can’t find the right theme, or you just don’t have time to create your own theme, then you can purchase additional design services, here the CoreCommerce team will design a store from scratch, there is a catch however, the main design package comes with a $2,299 with add-ons costing as much as $799 for responsive design. Another catch with this option is that the design process can take anywhere from 60 to 120 days. So if you are in a hurry to get started this is probably not an option.
CoreCommerce SEO & Marketing
Making sure your store is SEO friendly is one of the most important tasks when running your own store. Similar to other companies CoreCommerce has integrated SEO features into their platform. All product and category pages have search engine friendly URL’s. Furthermore the platform offers integration with Google Analytics and Google sitemaps are automatically generated making it much easier for clients to find your store through Google. Moreover the company has implemented Automatic Google Product Feed to list your products on Google Shopping. CoreCommerce offers several features for marketing your store, one great example is the fact you can offer your customers different kinds of coupons, gift certificates as well as mailing lists and newspapers. Furthermore you can implement different incentives such as refer a friend programs where customers get discounts if they refer friends to the store. You can easily offer bundle discounts as well as show related products that might interest the customers.
Without inventory there is no store, in other words inventory management is one of the most integral parts of running a store, whether online or offline. Inventory tracking in CoreCommerce is one of the better systems I have seen in a while.
As you can see in the image above the company offers many different ways of tracking and dealing with inventory. You can easily keep track of remaining inventory by entering the available inventory when creating a product, the company will notify you automatically when the level of inventory dips below a certain level. Furthermore you can set the order quantity, in other words if you only want customers to be able to buy in bulks then you can set the minimum level at a certain number, correspondingly you can set a maximum number. You can also make it to that customers can only purchase in multiple quanitities, if you want to sell in pairs for instance then you can force customers to purchase 2, 4, 6 and so on units.
CoreCommerce offers access to more than 50 payment gateways, among these are the most popular ones such as PayPal, Google Checkout, moreover you can accept all major credit cards. One nice feature is the fact that you can set a minimum and maximum order amount, so for instance you can say, there is a minimum order amount of at least $20. Furthermore you can easily accept credit card payments through e-onlinedata. This is an all-in-one merchant account and gateway solution that will allow users to easily accept major credit card payments directly through your CoreCommerce store”. As with all payment gateways there is a fee for completing each transaction, similarly this is also the case when signing up with e-onlinedata this fee amounts to 2.09%+25c, if you decide to use this gateway then there is monthly minimum of at least $25.
CoreCommerce takes security very serious, and therefore their software is PCI/DSS compliant. Furthermore the company provides a free 256-bit encryption SSL shared certificate to all customers. If security is very important four you then this will be a great feature, Shopify for instance only offers 128-bit encryption. Moreover each server is behind a firewall and includes an Intrusion Detection System. If you feel the security offered just isn’t enough for you then you can always sign up for a dedicated SSL certificate, this means your unique domain name with be used on the secure pages of your store. This dedicated SSL service costs $25.99 a year. Other companies, such as Shopify, don’t offer this additional security.
CoreCommerce Customer Support
Hoping that you can create a whole online store without needing support at some point is just wishful thinking. Sometimes you just need help from the support team, luckily for you CoreCommerce offers some very great customer support. The company offers 24 hour phone and chat support Monday through Friday and then 8 hours on Saturday, however no phone or chat support is offered on Sunday.
Should you need support during other hours they do have a quite substantial KnowledgeBase with answers to almost all questions you might come across. Furthermore they offer dozens of video tutorials that cover topics such as store design, payment options and how best to ship your products. After having reached out to the support team on several occasions I can truly say they are very competent and ready to help with any problem you might come across. The team was very eager to answer any questions I had prior to signing up, as well as help clarify any questions I had after signing up. The only downside I could find is the fact that they don’t offer any live support on Sunday.
After having tested CoreCommerce rigorously, I can honestly say it is one of the better ecommerce platforms I have tested. The company still lacks a few features before I would say it is as good as Shopify, but I truly believe they are on the right track. The features offered as well as the excellent security options make this a great solution. I would definitely recommend this to store owners who are looking for a stable platform, however don’t mind a boring dashboard. They offer a 15-day free trial as well. What do you think of CoreCommerce? Let me know what's your opinion in the comments.