Manish Chowdhary was an e-commerce pioneer in 1997 when he started developing websites for retailers in his University of Bridgeport dorm room. Today he’s at the helm of GoECart, a company that offers software solutions to small and medium businesses who make online sales.
Asked if he ever imagined in 1997 what the e-commerce world of 2014 would look like, he says, “The adoption has been mindboggling. Nobody ever expected or thought that we would be in this state this soon, including Amazon. The speed of change has even increased. Especially with regard to online commerce and retail. You’re seeing faster-than-expected adoption."
In this second half of our two-part interview with Chowdhary, he tells Yahoo Small Business how his company’s e-commerce solutions have evolved with the marketplace. See part one of our interview for Chowdhary’s views on the challenges facing small e-commerce businesses today and what any startup needs to know about managing multichannel commerce.
YSB: How does GoECart address the small business owner’s pain points and what makes it different from other such solutions?
Chowdhary: We put them on the same footing as the JCPenney stores of the world, with one view of the customer regardless of the channel they shopped in, access to consolidated information, management of inventory across all channels, and a central place to look at all orders and sales.
There is almost no other all-in-one commerce suite that allows you to run all aspects of your business from order to cash on one web-based platform. You would have to put together a bunch of systems to make it happen and employ an IT systems person to put it all together. And, if you’re lucky, it will all work only until you need to upgrade something. It gets expensive.
Our suite handles all functions in a seamless, easy, cost-effective fashion. Such technology has only been available to enterprise players at enterprise prices. For proven SMBs that have gotten through the initial challenges of e-commerce, our software can help them grow their business.
YSB: What are some anecdotal examples of how GoECart has helped your customers to do more business or grow their revenue?
Chowdhary: We recently announced partnerships with two international shipping providers called Bongo International and GlobalShopex to enable US retailers to effortlessly expand their business globally. These partnerships enable shipping to more than 200 countries across the globe, so U.S. retailers can now target a global market and ship as easily to Bangkok as they can to Boston. It immediately opens up a wider market without the retailers having to lift a finger.
Merchants who are on the platform can add an “international checkout” option that transfers customers to an international version of the shopping cart. GlobalShopex handles the checkout on behalf of the merchant and facilitates international shipping to locations around the world.
YSB: What does it cost a business to use GoECart?
Chowdhary: Subscription fees based on volume start at $1,000 a month. It’s relatively affordable given the depth and breadth of the services, and it includes lifetime upgrades, 24/7 customer service, compliance, and a fully managed solution that’s constantly upgraded and supported.
The subscription gives retailers full access to our entire commerce suite, which includes their storefront, back office, hosting, maintenance, upgrades, and support. This is the only system they will need. They don’t need a server, software, or licenses. It works out to be a steep savings for most people.
YSB: Does the platform include a Point of Sale system?
Chowdhary: We just introduced GoECart’s Next Generation Web-based POS, which integrates in-store selling capability with all the back-office functions of the multi-channel commerce suite. It gives a single view of the customer and inventory across all channels and the supply chain. And it equips store associates with wired and wireless barcode scanners, credit card swipe terminals, a cash drawer, and receipt printers. It also lets them manage price disparities, price match, and perform shipping overrides. Using one platform for web, mobile, and store experiences accelerates time to market, and reduces technology cost and complexity.
YSB: What do you see in your crystal ball for the future of e-commerce?
Chowdhary: There may be new e-commerce marketplaces that see additional dominance. Rakuten is the Japanese company that acquired Buy.com and is making a push. Fulfillment by Amazon is another, and there things on the horizon in mobile. Those are three things we see coming besides omni-channel fulfillment like ship-from-store programs, where, if you have three or four stores, you can channel your orders to the specific store that is closest to the order to deliver it faster, or you can optimize your inventory so that if you’re out of stock in one place you can fulfill an order from another store; you don’t need a distribution center.