CloudCart In 2018: What Do CloudCart Client Reviews Say?
Are you looking for e-commerce hosting that’s easy to set up and doesn’t require a web wizard’s aid? Then CloudCart could be for you. Without committing any money or knowing any HTML, you can set a store up and add products to it in minutes. When you’re ready to commit, choose a plan and set up payment processing, and you’re in business.
If you have just a couple of products to sell, you can choose the low-priced Beginner plan. Businesses looking for more features have three other plans to choose from, each one adding features and capacity. However, even the top-end plan is best suited for creating an online store, not a full website.
The company is a young one. It started development work in 2013 and went live in 2015. Thanks to Google Cloud, it has access to a worldwide CDN, so customers anywhere should get quick-loading pages.
Setting up a minimal store is simple. You need to pick a subdomain name that fits your business, something like “coolgadgets.cloudcart.net”. On the first step, you give the subdomain, your email address, and a password. If the domain is available, CloudCart then asks you for a little more personal information, including your phone and city.
You don’t need to give a credit card number at this point. You have fourteen days to play around before committing to a plan. You can’t accept payments yet, but your site will be publicly visible, and you can put products on it.
After you provide all the information, you come to your site’s dashboard. The process stumbles a bit here. The first thing most people will want to do, even before adding products, is setting up the site’s look and layout. It’s less than obvious that you need to click on “My Store,” which is low in the sidebar.
When you click it, you’re initially taken to the Themes page. You’ve been given a default theme, which you can replace or customize. Hovering over one of the available themes presents a description of it and the purpose it’s intended for. You can preview it before installing it. All of them are good-looking.
Editing the pages is a matter of selecting and configuring widgets and adding products. It’s not designed for general-purpose page layout. You can also add “static pages,” but the editor for those pages is extremely limited. There’s also a blog feature, but much better ones are available on general-purpose hosting sites.
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Choosing a plan
You can spend a little or a lot, depending on the features and capacity you want. Committing to a year costs 25% less than going month to month.
At the low end, limits on products and storage are tight, but all the plans include the essential features for selling physical products. A social sharing app lets the store extend its reach. A big concern with the entry-level plan is the lack of any online payment option.
Three higher-level plans offer more capacity and options. The advantages with each level upgrade fall into several categories:
- More payment options. A number of credit card services are available, as well as wire transfers and PayPal.
- More storage. All but the lowest level are in the multi-gigabyte range, and all the plans offer unlimited bandwidth.
- Greater pricing flexibility. Options like promo codes, label discounts, and global discounts accumulate at each level.
- More apps. A broad selection of apps is available to enhance the store, with more of them becoming available at each level.
- Digital downloads. These are available with all but the lowest level.
- More types of reports. With the top plan, sales, product, payment, and customer reports are available.
All the plans include support around the clock by chat, email, or phone. SSL security is always included if you use a subdomain. Alternatively, you can use your own domain with any of the plans and bring your own SSL certificate.
The SEO settings allow custom meta titles and descriptions for each page. If you’re comfortable with setting up a robots.txt file to aid search engines, you can edit it directly.
Products and customers
With the Basic plan and higher, a store can sell digital downloads as well as physical products. There isn’t a lot of support for selling services, though.
Apps can expand a store’s capabilities, with more of them available in the higher-end plans. It would be nice if they had hover text or category groups to make it easier to identify interesting ones. Apps like MailChimp, Post to Facebook, SalesForce, and HubSpot are self-explanatory, but others are more obscure, and you have to click on each one to see its page.
Customer management is simple. Customers can create their own accounts, or you can create accounts for them. Assigning them to groups helps to keep track of them. The page on a customer shows past orders, payments, and refunds. If you have troublesome customers, you can ban them.
Is CloudCart the right choice?
You wouldn’t want to build a full website on CloudCart, but if you don’t mind having your site and your store on separate hosting, it offers a nice set of features. It’s easy to create a store, and there aren’t any setup or transaction charges. The themes are well designed, and support is always available. You can upgrade to higher levels at any time as your business grows, or downgrade if it doesn’t.
Businesses that want detailed control of their store’s look or want their store closely integrated with their website won’t find what they’re looking for here. The ideal CloudCart user is one who wants a good-looking online store with a decent selection of features but doesn’t want to expend a huge amount of effort in setting it up. You have fourteen days with no commitment to find out if you’re that user.