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Shopping Cart/Mailing Manager Analysis

Ian Griffin

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Has anyone done a cost-benefit analysis, or have comments on the ease of use and features available on the various software packages available to capture visitor sign-ups on your Web site and build a mailing list; manage newsletter and email campaign distribution; run auto-responders and, finally, shopping cart functions? How does an integrated system like 1ShoppingCart.com compare to aWeber and Constant Contact? Are there specific features available with the stand-alone systems (like Constant Contact for newsletters) or cost advantages which makes it worthwhile to use these and maintain multiple copies of your email lists over the one-stop-shop approach of 1ShoppingCart?

— Marie Smith

The answer to your questions is a slam-dunk. 1ShoppingCart (1SC) is by far the all-in-one, one-stop-shop system and is all you need — for $49/mo (or get 12 months for price of 11 if you buy a year in advance) you get everything you could possibly need to have your internet business run smoothly: email management, autoresponders, broadcasts, shopping cart — and it all runs seamlessly with your merchant account and PayPal as well.

The next level up is $79/mo and includes your own affiliate module — a very beneficial feature if you have multiple products/services and want to offer commissions.

I used to use ConstantContact for years — though they are somewhat user friendly and have nice templates, they do NOT offer autoresponders nor do they have a shopping cart. ALSO — and this is a big consideration — they do not require double opt-in for new users. What this means is that new users can upload their existing lists and start emailing right away... unfortunately, this gets them on more blacklists and lowers the deliverability rate — a big concern for internet marketers!

1SC’s deliverability rate is not perfect; but, because they are so huge on the internet, they are always working at maintaining relations with ISPs, etc. to help increase deliverability. However, often people use their own spam filtering system anyway and email cannot always get through. (For example, I use SpamArrest and totally LOVE it, by the way. I get zero spam these days).

When you import an existing list to 1SC, they force a re-opt-in, which can be a nuisance and reduce the size of your list — however, this can also be a good thing as you’ll strip out the dead wood anyway. Always better to have a smaller list that is responsive than a bigger list and no one opens/reads your emails!

With aWeber and any other similar email-management-only system, you are missing the shopping cart option. So, I say, why bother having multiple systems when you can have everything under one roof.

Having said all this, I do know some internet marketers who experiment with two systems — they’ll use 1SC for product sales (shopping cart) and aWeber because they apparently have a better deliverability rate. I use Cooler Email myself for a local events ezine and really love their system — their metrics (tracking) is stellar. I can see at a glance who opened, who read, which links were clicked on by whom, who forwarded to a friend, bounces etc. Cooler Email includes a whole CRM system. It’s fabulous — I just wish they also offered a shopping cart.

— Tom Justin

I’ve been using 1Shopping Cart for three years. They have a range of services up to $79 a month, which is what I have.

They have gotten better over the years on almost every level. The tech stuff is not for the non techie who never wants to be a techie. It’s the same with most of the carts. I do like the range of services from the Shopping Cart to autoresponders to the affiliate program and ad trackers, all under one URL.

While they are far from perfect, they do have a solid customer service back up and are really ramping up to better online manuals, video tutorials, etc.

P.S. When you begin a shopping cart/autoresponder service, make sure to catalogue and have copies of all autoresponders, where they are, dates placed, etc. if you ever change or the service goes down, you’ll have to scramble to tie everything back to your website again. It would be a nightmare!

— David Farr

I use the sister company (private label) of 1ShoppingCart called AutomatesYourWebsite.com.

They are rolling out a new user interface before 1SC does.

I love this system because it makes it so simple having all of these tools under one roof and integrated together.

You can sell your book online, capture email addresses for your newsletter, broadcast email messages, track ads, plus a lot more. Some of the features I don’t use but that’s only because they don’t really apply to me.

Here’s a great example. Say you sell a book on your Web site. Using this system, the customer purchases the book. She automatically receives an email receipt from you, the credit card is charged, and she is automatically put on your newsletter list. If she found you by clicking on one of your ads someplace, it tells you which one.

This is all possible because these tools are integrated into the same system. Check out www.AutomatesYourWebsite.com and click on the “start now” button and you can see the brand new and improved user interface when it’s rolled out.

If you had to purchase all of the tools offered separately, it would be a very expensive monthly bill. That’s why I think it’s such a great value for the money. And they always seem to come up with cool new tools that help with my web promotions.

— Sean Cohen

(Sean is the Director of Client Relations at aWeber who responded to a request for comment I sent to aWeber in an attempt to balance the 1SC fans who responded)

aWeber has many features and benefits, including:

  • Unlimited autoresponders.
  • Unlimited personalized follow up messages.
  • Unlimited message length, unlimited changes, and full integrated HTML creator and/or plain text message capability.
  • Templates pre-designed HTML to allow larger fonts, bold, colors, and images. Fully customizable.
  • Unlimited personalized broadcast newsletters and segmented broadcast capability.
  • Blog Broadcaster
  • Easy web form generator allows easy addition of opt-in forms to your website, pop-ups, pop-overs, hover pops, and exit pops along with split testing of different forms.
  • Name, date, geographical, 25 custom fields, and more personalization features.
  • Graphical account statistics and reporting with automatic emailing of reports.
  • Automatic undeliverable email handling.
  • Automated ad tracking features.
  • Complete 24/7 control over your own account, via an online control panel.
  • Integrated CAN-SPAM compliance checks with SPF & Sender ID email authentication included.

We maintain regular communications with ISP’s to make sure we maintain the highest deliverability in the industry.

We have several different pricing plans which compare favorably with 1SC:

Billed Monthly:$19.95 per month
Billed Annually:$179.40 ($60.00 savings)

Includes storage of up to 10,000 subscribers, each additional 10,000 is $9.95 per month.

— Ian Griffin

Finally, since no-one responded with a summary of Constant Contact I’ll provide one. I am the secretary of the NSA/Northern California, and we send out our monthly Newsletter using Constant Contact (as does SNN).

The main advantages are:

  • An easy-to-use, fully customizable series of HTML template (much improved over the original version)
  • Good safeguards against mass import of spam addresses and reassurance that clients can easily “opt out” with “SafeUnsubscribe”
  • Extensive reports showing when each subscriber opened the newsletter, how many were refused for what reason (mailbox full, spam arrest etc) and which links in the Newsletter were clicked on.

Constant Contact does not have autoresponder or Shopping Cart features.

Prices vary from $15/month for up to 500 names to $75/month for 10,000 names.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions