When the nice folks at Wazala asked if I'd like to try and review their online shopping cart, I did some research to see how other businesses were using it. They feature several examples on their website, all of which looked pretty slick. Still, before writing a review on anything I need to know first hand if it's something I truly find useful. Wazala understood this and generously offered a free year of their "large" package (a $300 value). I immediately got to work and started building a store.
This plan allows users to upload 250 products with nine photos for each. There are also two smaller subscriptions for a reduced monthly fee. You can also sign up for a free 15 dy trial. Regardless of which package you choose, all stores offer full integration with Paypal, Paypal Express, and Google Checkout. These well recognized payment solutions make transactions convenient and secure. Linking the store to my Paypal business account took less than one minute. Besides browsing and making purchases, customers can also share an item on their Facebook or Twitter account. This terrific feature can potentially be used to give your store greater visibility. After just a few short hours working in the Wazala interface, it was clear they had created a well thought out service for businesses and customers alike.
I wanted my store and website to have a similar feel, and Wazala cleverly offers complete customization to make this possible. You can adjust the color of a page and add a background image. I uploaded a textured wall that I photographed in NYC, but users may also choose from the many stock backgrounds provided. Your logo can then be uploaded into the header area to make for a more branded experience. As I continued to click through the setup options, I was pleased to see several different options for adding a store to your site.
Here are several examples of how you can use it:
Then came the fun part, adding products to the store. I started with my new photo instruction DVD, and continued to add prints with various sizes and pricing options. The next step is to enter the product name, description, and pertinent keywords. These keywords are used to show store visitors "related products". This process could not have been easier, and within one day I had a large variety of items for sale. I then added shipping options for U.S. and International customers, along with sales tax. To celebrate the store's launch, I was even able to create a custom coupon code and set the discount amount and expiration date. I thought this was a really nice addition by Wazala. From now until 4/16/11, save 15% off every order by using the code "grandopening".
Every step of the way, I was pleasantly surprised at the many choices available for my business. Instead of just adding products randomly, you can separate them into different categories. I arranged mine into four distinct areas; nature prints, scenic prints, black and white prints, and Photo Instruction. This type of organization can help a potential customer find what they're looking for quickly. Users visting from a mobile device or iPad will be directed to a mobile specific platform for intuituve browsing and simple online checkout. After years of dabbling with several half baked e-commerce services, it appeared I'd finally found a solution for selling images online.
When building an online store, the customer experience is by far the most important consideration. Again, Wazala exceeded expectations here. First, when a purchase is made, the buyer receives a friendly email confirming their order. This notification includes a small thumbnail image of the product purchased, and a detailed receipt specifying the item price, tax, and shipping cost. All of my business contact information is present should they have any questions.
Wazala's backend makes it very easy to manage all transactions. Every account has a store dashboard, sales statistics, and inventory tracking. After marking an item as "shipped", there is an option to update the customer with an email. It should also be noted that you are responsible for all order fulfillment. This is critical for my photo business as all print orders can still be processed through my trusted lab for superior quality.
If you've been considering a shopping cart for your business, Wazala provides a sophisticated product without the complication or cost of most e-commerce services. With total customization, a deep menu of options, and a shopper friendly interface, the potential for increased sales is within reach for businesses of all sizes. You can build your store today and start selling tomorrow. To get started, click here.