Cart66 just rolled out a new service called Cart66 Hosted, which is replacing their Cart66 Sky offering. Why is this cool? First, they’re focused on creating a very secure checkout system that meets (and exceeds) PCI requirements and guidelines. They’re also actively removing steps between you following through on an idea and the setup of a fully functioning eCommerce site, and will remove your responsibility to be the middle man between your hosting company and your eCommerce solution. Reducing friction in any process will usually lead to more people completing the process (a lesson we should all know from our research on checkout processes and conversions), so the ease of this setup will hopefully bring even more people to WordPress for eCommerce and make an already solid offering even better.
So what does Cart66 Hosted do?
Cart66 Hosted combines the Cart66 Cloud eCommerce solution with Page.ly hosting services. Doesn’t sound like much on the surface, does it? Erroneous. I love convenience, so if you do to, you’ll probably be interested in this.
Let’s start with the Cart66 Cloud side of things. We already covered this platform pretty extensively in our eCommerce guide, but let’s go through a recap. First, Cart66 Cloud already hosts your checkout process for you. Cart66 Cloud rips the CSS from your theme so that the cart and checkout experience look the same as the rest of your site (leaving customers none the wiser), but take process on their servers, which drastically reduces the burden of security on you. You avoid the need for an SSL certificate and therefore avoid much of the requirements for PCI compliance. You also benefit from the fact that Cart66 manages recurring billing for you (and integrates with over 50 payment processors to do so) so that you don’t have to worry about being limited in which payments you accept. If you want this service alone, you’ll be paying $25 per month for Cart66 Cloud.
Now let’s talk about how this is different for Cart66 Hosted. By partnering with Pagely, Cart66 brings you a solution that also hosts the rest of your site. You benefit from only worrying about purchasing one package (and one monthly bill) that covers your eCommerce solution plus fully managed site hosting, which includes great security, automatic backups and updates (for both WordPress core and plugins), and optimization (speed, security, etc) for WordPress sites. Support will also be specific to Cart66, which, I’d hope, will result in a streamlined experience. No more finding out that an issue might be related to hosting, then contacting your hosting provider and going back and forth between two support desks. I really hate that. Kudos to Cart66 for knowing that their customers probably love convenience already (they did go after a hosted cart solution) and would be willing to buy an even simpler solution.
Costs and Selling Points
Now that we’ve covered some the benefits, let’s discuss costs and some other selling points. Cart66 Hosted clocks in at $66 per month. Since this includes Cart66 Cloud ($25) and Pagely hosting (something between the $24 personal and $64 business plans), you’re probably getting a bit of a discount for bundling the services in addition to more convenience. Hosting is closer to Pagely’s business plan than the personal plan, but you get some elements from each. The 5GB of storage for your website is similar to Pagely’s personal plan, but you also get storage for digital products from Cart66 Cloud. Hosting also includes up to 50GB of bandwidth (about 200k/mo visitors), which is in line with Pagely’s Business plan. Determining the cost of the hosting side of things is therefore difficult, but it looks like the bundle service is a very competitive price and you’re not going to be paying a surcharge for convenience with Cart66 Hosted, which is pretty awesome.
So, let’s recap: you only have to pay one bill each month and the hosting setup is managed for you. You also get two products at a price that’s probably slightly cheaper than purchasing them together (especially since hosting is improved over the personal plan), and security will undoubtedly be better than what you can do on your own (since selling this as a service requires Cart66 to meet more stringent guidelines). More importantly, you also benefit from that simplified support process we talked about: support will be handled in one channel and specific to Cart66, which (hopefully) results in a more efficient experience. Sounds pretty awesome, and again, I think Cart66 users will be excited to try out an even more convenient solution, as they’ve already shown they’re interested in convenience by paying for a managed cart/checkout system.
Regardless of whether you like the idea of bundled hosting or not, I like seeing that WordPress is constantly evolving in the eCommerce space and trying to experiment to see what ultimately brings the most growth to the platform and further expands its offerings. I think this kind of move will be great for customers who love the flexibility of WordPress, but dislike managing every single piece of site setup and maintenance, and will be curious to see how it works out. I’d also recommend checking out WP Tavern’s article on this announcement for more info.
Note: Special thanks to Lee Blue from Cart66 for answering some of our questions about the new service!
We’ll also be talking about other WordPress hosting solutions tomorrow, so don’t forget to check out our next article