The Internet has drastically changed our economic landscape. With just a website and a product or service, you can now access a worldwide market. Of course, you still need tools to help things run efficiently but – that’s where eCommerce platforms come in. They are an essential part of running any online store. In this article, we will take a look at and review PinnacleCart, one of the more popular eCommerce platforms on the web.
There are a lot of eCommerce platforms to choose from and most of them are created by programmers. Programmers can be brilliant, no doubt about that, but the thing with programmers building eCommerce platforms is that they can be too focused on the technical aspects of the engine. As a result, everyday online entrepreneurs may have a bit of difficulty using the platform. They may get frustrated trying to decipher how to do a seemingly simple task.
This is an area in which PinnacleCart is making its name. It’s an eCommerce platform that’s primarily designed and specifically intended for entrepreneurs. This means that online merchants who have little to no technical skills will be able to promote and sell their products effortlessly, with the help of the platform.
With PinnacleCart, a user will be able to quickly edit and add products. The platform also allows easy website customization, the creation of promotions, and order management. Keep in mind that PinnacleCart is a SaaS or Software as a Service platform. A SaaS platform means that there is no need for you to deal with site security and hosting. You simply pay a monthly fee to PinnacleCart, and fixing software-related issues is included in the service.
SaaS services have varying bells and whistles, but you’d be pleased to know that PinnacleCart has above average SaaS technology when compared to other similar services. In fact, PinnacleCart is used by A&E, Mike and Ike, UFC, Discovery Channel, The Onion, and many more.
There is one thing to note about PinnacleCart. They do not offer refunds when you purchase a plan. Fortunately, they do offer a 14-day free trial, and it doesn’t even require a credit card. So, make use of the trial period before you lock into a plan.
The flexibility of plan options are another great thing about PinnacleCart. With PinnacleCart’s pricing plans, you can start with the cheapest and then work your way up the pricing plan as your business grows and could use more features. It’s really that simple. PinnacleCart’s pricing plans are largely based on the amount of storage and traffic bandwidth.
If you are just starting out, take a look at their Start Up or Small Biz hosted shopping cart options. It doesn’t make sense to order an expensive plan, as most of the features will only go to waste. If you’re a more experienced eMerchant, however, the Entrepreneur or Enterprise level options will be the way to go.
As of the moment, PinnacleCart offers 4 hosted solutions. Most online merchants will find a plan that’s a right fit for them. However, super high-volume sellers may need a plan outside PinnacleCart’s standard hosted solutions.
All of the plans feature PCI/PA-DSS compliance, free migration, email support, unlimited phone support, daily backups, and unlimited products. Also, cancellation fees and transaction fees are non-existent with PinnacleCart.
PinnacleCart’s cheapest plan starts at $29.95 per month, while the most expensive one is at $149.95 per month.
PinnacleCart also offers other services such as SEO audits, marketing services, custom design, consultation, training packages, migration support, and premium security certificates for additional fees.
For high-volume sellers, PinnacleCart provides a different solution known as Virtual Private Server Solutions. For such plan, the pricing could be anywhere from $149 to $349 per month.
Since PinnacleCart is a SaaS-based technology, you can expect the same benefits that you get from a cloud-based software. This means that the information you have will be made available on all of your devices. You will also have the option to sync your other cloud-based devices effortlessly. There is no need to worry about platform updates as they are already automatic.
When it comes to system requirements, all you need is internet access and a computer. It’s highly recommended that you only use an up-to-date browser to minimize issues as you interact with the PinnacleCart platform.
As recommended, start with the 14-day free trial. You can quickly set it up in just a couple of minutes. Once you have already created an account, you will be directed to your admin panel. You will also receive an email from PinnacleCart which will include your account details and other useful links to help you get started.
If you are completely new to PinnacleCart, there is a link to a setup tutorial included in the email. The tutorial is a 20-minute video and it’s actually very helpful. Even if you have dealt with other eCommerce platforms before, you may still need to check out the video as PinnacleCart has an entirely different look and feel compared to other platforms.
PinnacleCart Admin Control Panel: 4 out of 5 Stars
The first time you visit the admin panel you will be greeted with a screen overlay to help you navigate through the site. The most important things that you need to set up are found under ‘Settings’. It’s where you can change your shipping information, tax information, and other critical business information.
PinnacleCart extensively markets their services as user-friendly and they do deliver on such promise. Adding or editing products is now a breeze. What’s more, adding attributes to your products can be done as many times as you want. Adding categories is also easy and unlimited. You can easily add meta descriptions, customize product URLs, and add multiple images of a product.
The core platform of PinnacleCart is really powerful. Despite that, you still have the option of adding additional add-ons. PinnacleCart features an App Center, and from there you can choose from different add-ons. Add-on installation is easy and automatic, and it will just need a few clicks. This article will discuss this area further below.
PinnacleCart Tech Implementation: 4 out of 5 Stars
From the admin panel, you will be able to edit the design of your website. If you know a bit of coding, then you will find the HTML/CSS editors very helpful. For users that are not accustomed to coding, then there’s a visual editing and design tool that you can make use of. With this tool, you start by choosing a theme. After that, you can further customize your website by changing the images, colors, texts, boxes, and adding buttons.
For those who know coding, the theme editor looks completely different to other platforms. Hence, you will need a bit of time to get accustomed to the interface. So, yes, the coding editor will have a bit of a learning curve.
PinnacleCart allows you to access 30 fully-customizable templates. All of the templates are already mobile responsive, which is crucial these days as most of today’s internet traffic is done with a mobile device.
If you want a completely unique website look, PinnacleCart offers premium design services. You can expect to pay between $2,100 and $5,200 for a premium template.
PinnacleCart’s choices of add-ons are not extensive, when compared to other eCommerce platforms. On the upside, the core platform comes with extensive features already which means you don’t have to install any add-ons.
Under ‘Apps’, there are 27 add-ons. Some of the most important ones are:
- Avalara – an automatic tax calculator
- Endicia – generates shipping labels and helps in shipping solutions like tracking packages
- MailChimp – for email marketing
- Exactor – another automated tax calculator
- Doba – a drop shipping app which allows you to access different products at wholesale prices
- Quickbooks – a popular accounting software
- Shopzilla – shopping search engine
- Shipwire – order fulfillment and warehousing service
PinnacleCart also allows easy integration of other online marketplaces. If you have products on eBay, Yahoo, Amazon, and other major online stores, you will be able to integrate them on PinnacleCart.
PinnacleCart Payment Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
If you are reading this article, then there is a good chance that you are thinking of starting an online business. Or perhaps, you already have an online business and you want to transfer to PinnacleCart. When choosing an eCommerce platform, one aspect that you should never skip researching is the payment processor. After all, if your platform can’t accept a certain payment medium, your customers will never be able to pay.
With payment processors, the more payment gateways they allow, the better. As for PinnacleCart, you will be able to integrate over 30 payment gateways. While this number is not excessively high, it’s perfectly acceptable.
Some of the popular payment gateways you can integrate with PinnacleCart include:
- Amazon Payments
- World Pay
Keep in mind that PinnacleCart has a preferred payment gateway, which is FirstData.
PinnacleCart Customer Support: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
PinnacleCart offers a number of channels for customer support. You can contact them via chat, web ticket, email or phone. They also have an active information outreach which you can access through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, user forum, video tutorial, blog and knowledge base.
Keep in mind that PinnacleCart’s phone support has limited hours. The phone support is available from 6 A.M. to 5 P.M. on weekdays only. Not to worry, they have other support channels available. Here’s the schedule for PinnacleCart’s standard support hours:
Phone: Mon – Fri (6AM – 5PM MST)
Live Chat: Mon – Fri (6AM – 12AM MST) / Sun (3PM- 12AM MST)
Email: 24 hours / 7 days a week
Emergency Support*: 24 hours / 7 days a week
* Emergency support requests will only be addressed if a store is no longer operational and customers are unable to transact.
All stores under PinnacleCart are 100% Payment Card Industry (PCI) level one compliant. They are also certified with PA-DSS.
The default storing of credit card information is done through an OPEN SSL encryption. SSL certificates are available, but they are not free. If you want this feature, you can start with shared SSL, which costs around $15.
- Good support
- Easy marketing features
- Easy integrations
- Slight learning curve
- Limited language availabilities
- No content delivery system or CDN
- Restricted permissions and access
- Unlimited administrator accounts
- Unlimited attributes
- Sell digital and/or physical products
- Custom fields
- Enable product reviews
- Unlimited product images
- Cross sell and upsell
Marketing and Promotions
- Facebook store
- MailChimp integration
- Enable wish lists
- Gift certificates and discounts
- Abandoned cart saver
- Shipping tracking
- Autoresponder email
- Guest checkout
- One-page checkout
- Receive offline offers
- Accept multiple payment gateways
- Real-time shipping quotes
- Automatic tax calculation
- Enable recurring billing
- Unlimited subcategories, categories, and products
- Bulk export and import
- Inventory tracking
- Analytics and SEO
- Variety of reporting tools
- Extensive SEO tools
- Google Integration (e.g. Google Adwords, Google Analytics)
PinnacleCart Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
PinnacleCart’s main goal is to offer an eCommerce platform that is very easy to use, even if you are a complete beginner. In this area, PinnacleCart has fully delivered on its promise. No wonder it’s one of the most popular eCommerce platforms for beginners. There are a lot of experienced and high volume online sellers that are using PinnacleCart, thanks to its Virtual Private Server Solutions.
If there’s one aspect about PinnacleCart that’s worth thinking over, then it’s phone customer support. As mentioned before, phone support has limited hours. If you operate your business in a different time zone, make sure that you are well-aware of the phone support hours. Otherwise, you might have problems and you won’t be able to talk to a customer support – a very frustrating scenario.
On the upside, PinnacleCart is very stable and that means you will rarely have any problems with your website crashing down. PinnacleCart is one of the best eCommerce platforms out there. The core engine is powerful enough that you rarely need additional add-ons to run an efficient online business. Plus, it’s easily one of the easiest eCommerce platforms to use, once you are accustomed to the interface. Furthermore, they offer a free 14-day trial. It’s a risk-free way of test driving the platform.