Ecommerce Spot

Meet the Maker: Alistair Brookbanks of Cubecart

Meet the Maker: Alistair Brookbanks of Cubecart

I'm pleased to introduce Alistair Brookbank, the director & lead developer behind CubeCart, one of the most popular shopping carts (maybe the most popular) available today. He took a few minutes to share some thoughts about the state of e-commerce with us.

Tell us about Cubecart
CubeCart started as a small university project which was published and became extremely popular and at the time of writing boasts a user base of over half a million. CubeCart became backed by a registered company in the United Kingdom to provide continual development in order to become the most widely used shopping cart solution in the world.

What is the most important thing someone thinking about setting up an online shop should consider?
I would say firstly spend time experimenting with the cart and if a free trial is available to make sure it functions how you wish. You should try many carts and write up pros and cons for your particular needs of each to help you choose. Once you have chosen one I think it is fundamental essential to give it a bright fresh design but keeping it as friendly as possible to use (no red text on a blue background please!). How many stores have you visited where it's easy to add a product to you cart BUT you cant find you basket anywhere?!? CubeCart has an extremely flexible template system which means you can customise the look and feel radically from its default designs with only (X)HTML & CSS knowledge. To help with this three templates are available to choose from out of the box.

What do you think is the most common cause of failure of an online shop? How should people avoid that?
I think many new store owners often fall into the classic mistake of believing that just because they setup an online store they will automatically make money. Careful and strategic marketing is essential for any e-business. This needs to be matched with a clear strategy of where you want to go and plan for how to get there.

What trends do you see happening in small to medium business ecommerce stores in the next few years?
Here in the United Kingdom there is expected to be a boom of up to 40% in e-tailing over the next few years and more shops providing digital downloads. After the dot com crash confidence has been regained and the people of many countries such as the Chinese are starting to have much more confidence in purchasing goods on line. What does this mean? Extra revenue for online stores of course.

What one thing do you think most shop owners should do more of?
The key to any website is content. Make you site not only display product but have informative resources, be it reviews or product installation guides. Small & Medium businesses are often blown out of the water by the big boys. Keep real testimonials about your products and service to help customer confidence.

Who do you see as the primary audience for your software?
The audience varies massively and we have users in every continent. Primarily they are small to medium businesses from home hobby stores to high turnover concert ticket sales companies, so the room for expansion is there.

Why should shop owners choose CubeCart over the competition?
CubeCart can be used 100% free if our copyright remains in place with no other restrictions. If you wish to remove it there is a small fee. We are continually releasing new versions with new features and bug fixes and have full time staff dedicated to making it progress and secure its place as the best shopping cart in the world. We take any security matter extremely seriously and will release a patch at the first possible opportunity. What's more is that there is a wonderful and dedicated community of friendly people willing to help.

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