If you’re planning to create an ecommerce store or migrate an existing store to a new platform, it’s a good idea to research various platforms prior to making a final decision. One ecommerce platform that stands out is Pinnacle Cart and is simply the ecommerce platform everyone wants to try. It offers two different versions, a hosted solution and an enterprise solution. If you’re ready to see what it can do for you, read my Pinnacle Cart review to see if their shopping cart is right for your online business.
WHAT IS IT? WHO IS IT FOR?
Pinnacle Cart is an all-in-one ecommerce platform that is capable of building an online store and a lot more. Since it’s a hosted solution, it doesn’t require you to purchase a separate hosting account (self-hosted carts like Magento will need a separate hosting).
Due to its scalability, it’s going to be a good fit for a lot of businesses, both big and small. Their competitive feature lineup is something that most of you will probably find appealing.
NOTEWORTHY PINNACLE CART FEATURES
In order to keep this Pinnacle Cart review brief, I’m only going to pick out the features that stand out from the rest.
Here are the features you can expect to find on Pinnacle Cart:
Recurring billing – This is a new feature that Pinnacle Cart recently launched. It’s a must for anyone selling membership-type things. At this time, it’s compatible with Authorize.net and FirstData payment gateways.
Store customer billing data – Your customers can now save and use their billing information from previous orders for a quicker checkout for future orders.
Log in with Facebook – Allow your customers to log in with Facebook, increasing convenience and eliminating the need to waste time creating a store account.
Product images – Pinnacle Cart allows you to upload unlimited product images. They support image magnify, zoom, light box and enlarge.
Wholesale/drop shipping – Supports advanced wholesale and drop shipping capabilities, making it easy to run and manage a drop shipping business.
Offline orders – Pinnacle Cart enables you to accept orders by phone, fax and mail.
Calculation of shipping and taxes – Their cart has multiple shipping configuration options, including free shipping. Also, they support multiple shipping carriers. Tax rates can be configured by state or country. It also allows you to include the tax in the product price.
Powerful multi-lingual capabilities – If you plan on selling to multiple parts of the world, you’ll find their multi-lingual capabilities very useful. They support multiple currencies and allow you to change your store languages.
Importing & exporting – Their bulk product loader enables you to import both products and categories with ease. You can also export your products to popular marketplaces and comparison shopping sites.
Product options – Pinnacle Cart allows you to create unlimited products attributes/options. So if you’re selling products with multiple options, this feature will come in handy.
Advanced store reports – You can track just about everything with their advanced store reporting tools. You can also integrate with Google Analytics.
The above features are just a brief overview of what Pinnacle Cart really offers. For a more comprehensive feature lineup, visit their website here: http://pinnaclecart.com.
TEMPLATES AND DESIGN
Here you can say that Pinnacle Cart is at a bit of a disadvantage over their major competitors.
They have a limited template selection, featuring 33 free templates to use for your online store. They also have a handful of premium templates that are incredibly expensive (starting from $395).
Here is a closer look at Pinnacle’s Cart free templates:
Design is an area where Pinnacle Cart excels over their major competitors. Like many other ecommerce platforms, Pinnacle Cart allows you to edit both CSS and HTML using your browser.
For a more in-depth design control, they offer a drag-and-drop editor and a design mode for the less experienced user. These two editors will allow you to adjust your layouts.
Pinnacle Cart has a logo uploader that makes it very easy to add a custom logo to your store. In addition, all of their templates are DreamWeaver compatible.
Even though their templates are limited when it comes to selection; their easy to use design tools make up for it. I also liked that you can design your templates using DreamWeaver.
PINNACLE CART INVENTORY
Another area where Pinnacle Cart excels is their product inventory management.
What I like here is that you can easily add a product to your store using the basic product details. As you get more comfortable with the whole idea of adding inventory, you can enhance your products by adding advanced product settings (things like SEO, inventory count, keywords, and so on).
You can also add categories and manufacturers for your products with ease.
Here’s the actual Pinnacle Cart “add a product” page:
Another strong function of Pinnacle’s Cart “add a product” page is their WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. For the ones that haven’t got the chance to use this editor, you’ll fall in love and will find it easy to work with. A lot of the other ecommerce platforms use a limited editor.
PINNACLE CART SEO & MARKETING
Pinnacle’s Cart search engine optimization tools are at par with their major competitors.
Every product you add or page you create, Pinnacle Cart will allow you to configure the SEO settings. You can add things like Meta tags and descriptions, along with search keywords and friendly URLs.
You also have the option to generate a sitemap with a single click.
Their array of marketing tools is what initially drew me in. If you’re just starting out, you’ll find these marketing features vital:
Drift marketing campaigns – This is one feature that you rarely see on other ecommerce platforms. It allows you to create an email campaigns (sort of like a newsletter) and send it out to anyone that abandons the cart/checkout. You can send it out immediately or within a specific timeframe.
QR codes – QR (or quick response) codes are square shaped barcodes that allow your customers to purchase items by scanning the QR code with their smartphones. If you have an optimized store for mobile users, you’re going to want to enable this feature.
Promotions – You can create and run special store promotions at your discretion. You can also set it up so it starts on a specific date.
Bestsellers – Bestselling and “customers also bought” products can be enabled to showcase on your store. This is determined based on which product sells the best and what products your customers purchase together frequently.
The above feature lineup is just what stood out to me and what I’d incorporate in my marketing strategy.
PINNACLE CART EASE OF USE
If you plan on working with the basics, Pinnacle Cart is about as easy to use as Shopify (see Shopify review here) However, as you start using their advanced settings, things can get a little tricky and may take some time to learn.
Everything is set up so that both beginners and experienced users find the platform attractive. A lot of the basic store information can be configured from the settings page (things like payments, shipping & tax options, currencies, languages, etc.).
All of the store functions are carried out right from the store dashboard. You can even do it from a mobile device.
The store frontend that the customer sees is just as straightforward as it could be. Even the mobile version of the store is user friendly. You’ll sleep happy knowing your customers can shop with ease.
PINNACLE CART PAYMENTS
Pinnacle Cart supports 29 payment gateways in the United States, 4 in the United Kingdom, 6 in Canada & Australia, and 4 in all other countries.
PayPal Express Checkout is one of the payment gateways that is available in every country and happens to be the most popular as well.
As mentioned earlier in this Pinnacle Cart review, recurring billing will only work if you use Authorize.net and FirstData payment gateways.
Since Pinnacle Cart doesn’t charge any transaction fees, you’ll only pay the fees that are associated with the payment gateway you use.
PINNACLE CART SECURITY
Pinnacle Cart takes security to the next level. To get thing started, their shopping cart is 100% PCI/PA-DSS compliant. The control panel is secured and locks out your administrators after too many failed login attempts.
The cart has basic security for your customers as well. For example, your customers will get locked out if they have too many failed transaction requests.
You can also purchase a SSL certificate through Pinnacle Cart. This certificate will further protect all of the information that is transmitted through your store.
APPS AND EXTRAS
Sure they offer an app section, but it’s limited to things you might never find yourself using. However, one thing that Pinnacle Cart does well is the ease of integrating with the available apps.
So, for the curious ones, here are the apps that Pinnacle Cart integrates well with:
PINNACLE CART SUPPORT
Pinnacle Cart offers phone and email support. Phone support is available from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Email support is available 24/7.
I found it a little disappointing that they don’t offer support via live chat.
You also have full access to their community forum where you can chat and get help from other Pinnacle Cart customers. Additionally, you can browse through hundreds of support guides in various categories.
Pinnacle Cart has a blog that provides you with news, articles and tips relating to ecommerce/small business.
PINNACLE CART PRICING
Setup fees – Pinnacle Cart doesn’t charge any setup fees. In fact, they offer a 14 day free trial, giving you a chance to try their ecommerce platform without any commitments.
Monthly fees – Pinnacle Cart offers four different monthly plans, ranging from $29.95 to $149.95 as follows:
You can start your Pinnacle Cart free trial by clicking here.
In addition to the four hosted packages above, Pinnacle Cart also offers an enterprise solution aimed at high-volume stores. Their Enterprise Level Solution is also for those that want run multiple stores. These two plans cost $249/month and $349/month, respectively.
Bandwidth charges – Since all Pinnacle Cart plans have limited bandwidth, ranging from 2 GB to 100 GB, you can expect to be charged overage fees for going over such limits. These bandwidth overage fees run between $2.50-$3.50/GB, depending on the plan you’re on.
Transaction fees – Pinnacle Cart doesn’t charge any transaction fees.
PINNACLE CART VS COMPETITION
If for some reason after reading this Pinnacle Cart review, you decide that Pinnacle Cart is not the ecommerce platform for you, you can compare the best ecommerce software here (I’ll post more links as they become available):
PINNACLE CART PROS
- Pinnacle Cart offers a free migration service that can transfer your existing store from over 40 major ecommerce platforms.
- You have the option to leave a message and receive a callback when their support team is helping other customers (no more waiting).
- Their interface allows you to program multiple languages and currencies onto your store.
- The interface/dashboard was redesigned to make it easier to carry out all of your store functions.
- Pinnacle Cart is part of a handful of ecommerce platforms that are integrated with recurring billing.
PINNACLE CART CONS
- Pinnacle Cart doesn’t have a built-in point-of-sale system like their competitor Shopify.
- Limited storage and bandwidth. Larger stores may run into a problem here.
Pinnacle Cart is an all-in-one, above-average ecommerce platform. With a slight disadvantage in terms of templates offered, they offset this drawback with their customization capabilities.
The robust multi-lingual capabilities make Pinnacle Cart a good platform if you’re planning on selling in other parts of the world.
If you’re ready to get started and see how Pinnacle Cart can help your online business, click here.