I chatted with Brett Florio and Luke Stokes of FoxyCart earlier this week. Here’s the transcript:
TheCartBlog: Tell me about FoxyCart.
TheCartBlog: Just the cart and the checkout?
FoxyCart: That’s it. We look at it this way: rather than doing a half-baked job at, say, newsletter production or inventory management, we encourage you to use your existing tools which are purpose built for those tasks, and simply integrate FoxyCart. Rather than forcing you to use a content management system that we created, we tell you to use your own, and just add FoxyCart in. FoxyCart is platform as a service.
TheCartBlog: Well, to the best of my knowledge that is unique.
FoxyCart: And because we don’t provide those facilities, the amount of data duplication you now have to deal with is really minimal. We give you data in XML or as a JSON object, and you deal with it in whatever way works best for you.
TheCartBlog: What do you mean when you say, “designers or developers?”
FoxyCart: Designers have deep expertise in layout, css, and the user experience, but they’re not computer programmers. So for them, we have pre-integrated offerings like MODx that don’t require any programming. But for developers who want to get under the hood, do complex integrations and make adjustments to how things work, we say, “here’s the data; do what you want.”
TheCartBlog: Now what about merchants?
FoxyCart: We really don’t target merchants or sellers. We assume that if you’re a seller, you’re working with a professional to develop your web presence.
TheCartBlog: If you’re serious, you want to build business, not your website.
TheCartBlog: OK, so the cart and checkout. What does that encompass?
FoxyCart: adding and removing things from the cart, taxes, shipping, and payment gateways.
TheCartBlog: … and for everything else, you bring your favorite solution and do the required integration.
TheCartBlog: And how is the pricing structured?
FoxyCart: Basic service is $15/month. Billing begins when you migrate from a test gateway to a production gateway. You can test for as long as you like and not get billed (but you also won’t get paid).
TheCartBlog: That’s it? No percentage of sales?
FoxyCart: Nope. Flat fee. Now there are a couple of other optional fees: if you want to offer multi-ship (multiple ship to addresses in one checkout session), you pay an extra monthly fee. And if you want your own domain name, you pay a small yearly surcharge.
TheCartBlog: I’m impressed that you offer multi-ship.
FoxyCart: To the best of our knowledge, it’s just us and Magento.
TheCartBlog: Let’s talk discounting.
FoxyCart: We have lots of flavors of Quantity Discounting, including BOGOF and related discounts.
FoxyCart: Coming up in the next release.
TheCartBlog: And how do releases work?
FoxyCart: Well, it’s really feature driven, and we try to do something every month or so. But one thing that we do that’s also unique with respect to releases is that each cart has its own version, and we allow customers to time their own upgrades. It’s a pushbutton upgrade, but you schedule it so there’s no risk of things breaking while you’re on vacation.
TheCartBlog: OK, what’s an implementation going to run me?
TheCartBlog: What about support?
FoxyCart: Support is done through our forum, but we’re pretty active participants.
TheCartBlog: Can I hire a pro?
FoxyCart: We have preferred providers for design, programming, etc.
TheCartBlog: Let’s talk competition. Magento and Shopify – your take?
FoxyCart: Magento is a fabulous product – as is Shopify. We admire them both. And for some people, they will be more appropriate solutions than FoxyCart. But both of them have downsides. With Shopify, you’re paying fees on every sale. With Magento, you have the headache of maintaining your cart. And neither of these systems let you bring your own CMS to the party.
TheCartBlog: Well guys, I think you’ve built something really special. What I’m going to do is sign up for FoxyCart and build a cart out of an existing website (and time the process) so that people can get a sense of how it all works. I’ll keep you posted.