Cart66 Launches WordPress Managed Hosting for E-Commerce

cart66Cart66, previously known as PHPurchase, was one of the very first WordPress e-commerce plugins on the scene. Over the years the company has experimented with different WordPress e-commerce products but this week marks a major milestone. Cart66 Hosted has launched the first fully managed WordPress e-commerce platform.

In partnership with the folks at Pagely, the Cart66 Hosted platform provides fully managed WordPress hosting plus its flagship e-commerce product, Cart66 Cloud. This hosted solution was created to make security and PCI compliance something that customers don’t have to think about. Store owners can concentrate on selling, instead of trying to wading through all the technical aspects of managing an online store.

The Cart66 Cloud handles everything related to the secure storage and delivery of digital products, customer order history, storage of customer credit cards, payment gateways and all the e-commerce features you would normally get by installing a dozen different plugins and add-ons.

The Rising Cost of WordPress E-Commerce

Cart66 is delving into an area of e-commerce products and services that hasn’t yet been fully explored by other companies. The all-in-one approach is unique, given that most of the leading WordPress e-commerce solutions have business models centered around creating dozens of commercial add-ons or high cost bundles. Each piece of that puzzle adds up, especially when you include the costs of hosting, PCI compliance, backups and anything else server-related. Even with conservative estimates on all of these requirements, the price tag and responsibility of hosting and securing an online store will be fairly considerable for the average small business.

There’s also quite a steep learning curve for hosting your own WordPress e-commerce site. It’s not easy and will require store owners to study up on everything related to site maintenance and security. Many prospective store owners would gladly opt for a WordPress-powered store but have trouble grasping the whole concept of hosting, much less installing SSL certificates or getting a dedicated IP address. No matter how easy a WordPress e-commerce plugin is to use, if the user cannot get WordPress operational in the first place, he’s out of luck. The only other option for someone in this position is to pay a developer thousands of dollars to set up and build his store for him.

Cart66 has identified a segment of the market that has been overlooked. What do you think about hosted e-commerce? Is this a product that’s long been needed in the WordPress market?


12 responses to “Cart66 Launches WordPress Managed Hosting for E-Commerce”

  1. Hi Sarah! Thanks for the write up! We’re very excited to finally have Cart66 Hosted available. It’s something we’ve been working on for a very long time – just so many details to work through. It’s great to be able to let folks use WordPress and all the awesome themes and plugins in the WP community to build e-commerce sites while not having to worry about all the technical mess associated with getting an online store up and running safely.

    There’s a lot of stuff that we are able to provide that folks might not even think about. Like how to keep your email receipts and customer emails from getting flagged as spam. The main point was that we felt like the WP community deserved a way to build e-commerce sites with WordPress without having to become experts on PCI compliance, SMTP servers, configuring Amazon S3, etc.

    We are currently working with WordPress theme developers to create Cart66 e-commerce themes that folks can purchase and install right from within the WP admin which will make the process even easier. If any of your readers are WP Theme developers and want to get involved we’d love to connect with them!

    Thanks again!
    -Lee (Cart66)

  2. @Emil Thank you! We’re really excited too!

    @Chris: We’re encouraging folks setting up new stores to use Cart66 Cloud (or Hosted) because it gives a much more comprehensive experience. In many ways Cloud is Pro 2.0. You get all the e-commerce features plus all the security and supporting services you need for your store. So the main pricing page does not list Cart66 Pro. It is, however, available for sale via the links at the bottom of our home page. Again, we’ll be updating the whole site very soon to make everything easier to find.

  3. @Lee – Congrats on launching and you partnered up with a great company. As I mentioned in the latest edition of the WP Weekly podcast, when I think of E-Commerce, I think of big, complex, full of headaches. If you’ve managed to take all of that pain out of the e-commerce process, congrats! I don’t see how this wouldn’t be successful.

    In terms of implementation, I’m curious to know what was the most difficult aspect of putting a hosted Cart66 solution together?

  4. Thanks Jeffro! There were plenty of challenges in developing Cart66 Hosted. Building all the features for e-commerce (coupons, shipping, taxes, digital products, memberships, subscriptions, etc.) is a challenge. Keeping the functionality the same no matter which of the 50+ payment gateways you pick is hard. For instance, not all payment gateways support storing credit card data or recurring billing, so we developed our own built-in recurring billing engine. The most challenging part, however, was the security.

    As complicated as PCI compliance is for an individual building themselves a website, it is even more so for companies offering an e-commerce service. Most people don’t know this, but PCI compliance is far more involved than just installing an SSL certificate. Even the simple tricks like submitting credit card details over javascript don’t cut it for payment applications. So we spent over 2 years researching, inventing, and implementing the Cart66 Cloud solution so that it not only meets but far exceeds the PCI requirements. For instance, we don’t just secure the collection and transmission of cardholder data, we also secure product definitions, order history – we even secure the individual customers’ shopping carts.

    Now, WordPress folks can build e-commerce sites like they build any other kind of site. What once was expensive, complicated, and confusing you now don’t even have to think about. Wrapping up all that security (and the technology behind it) in a way that you barely even notice it was the primary challenge in developing this product.


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