PinnacleCart E-Commerce: Turnkey Solution for Bloggers
If you’re looking to add e-commerce to your blog or business, you’re probably already aware that your options include two very different types of solutions.
Many bloggers want to add e-commerce functions to an existing site.
They can easily accomplish this by integrating plugins and extensions into the content management systems (CMSs) that power their blogs. Examples of these solutions would include WordPress plugins like WooCommerce and Shopp.
Another popular approach is a hosted e-commerce platform. Examples of this type of solution include popular options like PinnacleCart.
Let’s take a closer look at PinnacleCart to get a better understanding of what benefits it offers and what sort of business would most likely find this solution to be the right fit for their needs.
Profile of PinnacleCart
Childhood buddies Craig Fox and Mike Auger founded PinnacleCart in 2003 based on their mutual shared perception that the e-commerce solutions available at the time were lacking. They set out to create a better platform that included the major features they saw missing from the current marketplace.
Specifically, Fox and Auger were interested in expanding e-commerce tools beyond mere transaction processing into features that could help grow an e-commerce business. This included tools aimed at marketing, driving traffic, and encouraging upsells and cross-sells.
Over the years, PinnacleCart has evolved into a popular turnkey solution for small and mid-sized e-commerce businesses.
PinnacleCart distinguishes itself from its competitors on three fronts:
- All plans include access to the application’s features
- The platform is fully customizable
- The inclusion of marketing, design, development, content, and other services
As expected of any serious contender in the e-commerce market, PinnacleCart offers basic shopping cart functionality. In addition, the company’s plans permit an unlimited number of products to be added to each store.
But PinnacleCart goes further. All plans also offer the ability to calculate shipping costs prior to purchase, as well as the ability to offer and accept discount or promotional codes. All plans also provide daily backups.
Another key advantage PinnacleCart offers is the capability to provide multilingual support. This type of access is crucial if you’re interested in cultivating a global brand and customer base.
On the other hand, the company provides fewer templates from which customers can select to govern the look of their sites — around 33 or so. However, all templates are available at no additional fees and are professionally designed.
The major differences between the company’s four plans are varied limitations on both storage and traffic (measured in GBs). There are also enterprise-level plans that will better suit larger brands.
PinnacleCart’s E-Commerce Performance
PinnacleCart allows you to set up recurring and subscription-based payments, so you can build stable revenue streams. That’s important for any small business, but especially for freelancers, bloggers, and other digital brand managers, for whom cash flow can be sporadic.
Even better, the tools to set and manage your recurring subscription payments are among the most robust available. Just about any configuration you can think of, PinnacleCart can handle.
- A free trial period, then price “x” per month thereafter, with a specified increase in year two
- A “pay what you want” (PWYW) model
- A plan that bills every 60 or 90 days.
And if you’re currently using another e-commerce shopping cart solution, PinnacleCart will help you migrate your store to its platform for free.
Supported payment gateways and platforms include the major names one would expect to see, such as Stripe, Authorize.Net, PayPal, 2Checkout, and more. PinnacleCart provides a handy list of all supported payment platforms, together with information on geographic availability.
The chart also specifies whether each payment platform requires customers to visit an off-site domain in order to complete the transaction. If you want to keep your customers on your own domain throughout the checkout process for branding purposes, this can be a dealbreaker.
If you’re building on the drop-shipping model — that is, you don’t physically handle the products yourself, but rather redirect or process orders to a manufacturer or other brand on behalf of your customers — PinnacleCart provides a time-saving shortcut. With its integration of DOBU, a drop-shipping marketplace that provides commerce access to over two million products in its inventory, the platform lets you set up your drop-shipping e-commerce site simply and quickly.
Most importantly for bloggers, PinnacleCart does support digital and physical products.
The platform also allows site owners to control digital inventory by setting numeric or date restrictions on download attempts.
Other aspects of PinnacleCart’s e-commerce tools that help you sell more and drive more traffic to your product pages include the ability to provide unlimited attributes from which customers can choose (i.e., sizes, styles, colors, other variants); the ability to enable customers’ product reviews for purchased items; and custom fields for personalization options.
You can also include an unlimited number of images for each of your products. In addition, PinnacleCart lets you enable image tools such as magnification, zoom, enlarging, and a lightbox feature.
Is PinnacleCart a Good Fit for Blogs?
As many hosting companies do, PinnacleCart offers reseller plans, allowing customers to become essentially a virtual PinnacleCart franchise.
However, operating as a reseller is not necessarily something you can “set and forget.” So if passive income is more your speed, PinnacleCart also offers a robust affiliate program. Marketing SaaS companies as an affiliate can provide bloggers a decent recurring revenue stream, if they have the time to market the company’s services assertively.
PinnacleCart doesn’t only pay commissions for sales, though. It will also compensate you for any qualified leads you generate, whether those leads result in purchases or not.
Customer Support and Billing
The company’s 14-day free trial period isn’t a terribly long amount of time in which to examine the platform in any in-depth way, but it’s better than nothing, and it’s within the norm for providers in the hosted e-commerce market.
PinnacleCart has created and published a well-organized knowledgebase you can consult for many of the common issues e-commerce site owners encounter in setting up, launching, and growing a digital store. That page also provides access to API and design documentation.
However, if the self-help resources are not quite sufficient, PinnacleCart also utilizes a ticket-based system for individualized support requests.
Is PinnacleCart the Right Solution for You?
It’s possible you could find a more robust e-commerce solution than PinnacleCart, but the company seems to be aiming at the sweet spot — that is, the middle of the e-commerce market, with a balance between features and value.
Its multilingual support and affiliate program are its standout offerings. If either feature is important to you, PinnacleCart is a solid choice that’s worth a closer look.