I have wanted to write an eStore Advanced review for a while now, so I apologise in advance for the delay. eStore Advanced is marketed as “The smartest eCommerce platform for small merchants” – I can’t vouch for it’s intelligence but it is full featured, easy on the eyes and didn’t get in the way.
Who can use eStore Advanced?
Most anyone could successfully run an online store with eStore shopping cart software. There are very few shipping providers which limits it out of the box setup to North America but with some effort. I would have to think long and hard about recommending it over BigCommerce to any Australian, United Kingdom or Indian customers (or anyone outside the USA and Canada) ecause of the shipping limitations but if you wanted to put in an hour or two setting it up manually it would work. [The next release will have support for indian shipping providers which should open up the market when pair with the Indian specific payment gateways they support]
The interface is clean and well spaced out so it is very easy to navigate, adding new data is very simple.
The cart very easily supports multiple languages for the interface (many of which can be installed complete without the need to translate anything), not the product descriptions yet, although it would be very easy to add this yourself in the product description HTML
Facebook login, which is not only a social plus but save customers needing to create an account just to buy. Facebook has enabled this for a while I would have expected more shopping carts would have integrated it by now.
QRCodes and Widgets have campaign settings to allow better organisation and tracking. Especially useful for QRCodes which are usually added as an after thought and poorly implemented.
Proper and complete backups – no partial CSV’s or dodgy propriety formats that don’t help if you ever need to switch providers
Whats done well
Google conversion tracking is very easy to implement and nowhere near as tricky or convoluted as with other carts.
Global sale price setting for quick flash sales
DOBA Drop Shipping Integration – Love this
Drift marketing – which I love and is appearing in more and more shopping carts
Product update emails – send users email with all your new products
File Manager built in that allows browsing ALL files
Easy mobile theme settings and configuration. No secret sauce here, just a simple settings page.
A Pinterest button. They have every other social network somehow Pinterest was left out – an easy fix but a clear over sight. – Coming next release
A version to download an host on your own server – although it looks like this was how it was initially built.
Three packages. $37/month, $57/month and $87/month they all have unlimited products which is a nice change, the difference is with the storage and bandwidth each package provides. 5gb and 500Mb for the $37 package, unlimited bandwidth and 5Gb storage for the $87 package
For the budget and bandwidth conscious this is the cheapest unlimited bandwidth package I have seen on a cart worth using.
eStore Advanced Templates
The Payment Gateways
All the usual payment methods supported, certainly enough for most merchants in most places – they are missing a few obvious ones, eWay for the Australian merchants comes to mind, SkipJack and Pay Mate. None the less most people are covered for payments but until they get more real time shipping providers in there it is a bit redundant
Amazon Simple Pay
Chase Paymentech Orbital
Credit Card Storage
First Data / LinkPoint.com
Intuit Payment Services
Moneybookers Quick Checkout
Secure Trading Payment Pages
SecurePay (Australia) SecureXML (Australia Post)
Custom Payment Methods
Nothing new or earth shattering here. I will list them for completeness but they have the same reports as everyone else.
Page Views Monthly, Unique Views, Sales
Top Viewed Products
Top Viewed Categories
Orders by Products
Users Activity Report
Top Referring Sites
Sales by Customer
Consolidated Orders by Date
Individual Orders by Date
Promo Codes Usage
If you live in the United States or Canada give this cart a trial – it is solid and full featured. Otherwise you have to decide if you want to be stuck manually edited a shipping provider for the foreseeable future. If you have simple shipping needs that might be fine, eStore advanced has plenty of great features and is not far off the likes of BigCommerce. Personally I wouldn’t use it for a customer outside North America but that is only because of the shipping setup.
I would like to see two things happen with eStore Advanced before I started wearing the tshirt. I would like a self hosted version for people that don’t want a hosted product (the software looks like it is already setup to allow this anyway) and I would like them to put a bit of spit and polish onto the admin interface. Much like Core Commerce did about 12 months ago, it really makes a huge difference to usability and customer uptake if the interface is clean and very professional looking. BigCommerce is well out in front on this (as is Shopify) and it wouldn’t take a huge investment for eStore to make some improvements and really stamp there place as one of the top 10 pieces of shopping cart software worldwide.
Sorry I have not had time to give there support channels a good poke this time, but when I do I will update this eStore Advanced review to include notes on there support channels.
If you use it let us know how you found it. If you tried and rejected it share your experience.