Cartfly.com is an online e-commerce site that allows users to place retail store widgets on popular websites such as Facebook and MySpace. Actually, the code for the widget can be copied/pasted into most any website, but there is special integration with the major social networking sites. The Cartfly website assists users in setting up their online store, and uses PayPal payment processing for checkout. When someone clicks on a user’s widget on a website, they are taken to a convenient online store located on the user’s own subdomain of the Cartfly main domain.
Store setup is easy, and the user can choose from several “looks” for their widget. Adding content to the store is a guided process, and requires no ecommerce experience. The result is a pleasant-looking online store with all of the housekeeping handled by the Cartfly site. The store interface makes it easy for a potential buyer to browse or search the user’s store. The user’s store is also displayed in an online directory on the Cartfly site.
Cartfly.com was launched in April 2007 by Phoenix-based Ustrive. The company is headed by co-founder Joshua Manley and the board of directors includes David Watson, a member of the family that propelled IBM to the forefront of technology.
Cartfly’s main competition comes from Shopit and BlinkCart. Both of these companies also offer a widget-based online store concept, with the major difference being that Cartfly is by far the simplest and easiest to use. Cartfly also competes with the likes of Amazon and PayPal, who both offer ecommerce solutions with widgets. Again, the major difference between these sites and Cartfly is that Cartfly is so easy to use.
The Cartfly site has a very clean look and feel. Navigation is intuitive and obvious. Pages load quickly, and uploading of images of products is fast as well. There is a convenient left-hand navigation tab shown on all of a user’s pages on the site. The tab has headings for Products, Profile, Appearance, Account, Payment, Share (this is where the user obtains the widget code or publishes to MySpace, Facebook, etc.), and Orders (where users can see the orders that have been placed.).
Basic registration at the Cartfly site is simple, with the user being asked only for email address and password. The user must validate their email address. Setting up a store requires providing more information. When setting up a store the user must provide a store name, a name for their subdomain, the email address where orders will be mailed, and their PayPal email address (a PayPal account is required to use the site). The user is then prompted to upload a store photo/logo, and then can move around using the tab interface to select the appearance of their store and begin adding items.
Registration at Carfly is free, and there is no premium membership offered or available. The Cartfly site makes its profit by charging a 3% commission on all transactions, and there is no advertising displayed on the site or in a user’s widget or store.
Cartfly is recommended to anyone who wants to easily setup an online retail presence. User’s can promote their widget to their own social networking sites and those of their friends and acquaintance to get started. In addition the online directory offered by Cartfly allows anyone to place a user’s widget on their site. The site is especially recommended to newcomers to the ecommerce world, as this is probably the easiest method available anywhere for setting up an online retail presence.