SunShop eCommerce Review
SunShop was created by Turnkey Web Tools, Inc., a company established in 2000. The company is based in San Diego and is well known for their accessible, affordable eCommerce software, directed at small to medium-sized companies. The company has a wealth of experience, and a very unique pricing system consistently of a simple, one-time payment for full access to the product forever.
SunShop ProsThey provide their SunShop Tool app that allows you to manage your store on the go. Their ShopBuddy plug-in offers product marketing on your Facebook fan page.
SunShop ConsThey only offer a self-hosted version of their service which can have a steep learning curve for someone new to eCommerce. The client is responsible for their own SSL security and PCI compliance.
SunShop starts with a quick online store setup. The browser-based installation wizard gets your shop online quickly and makes it easy to migrate from other shopping cart software. There is no need for HTML skills to design an elegant storefront, though HTML editing is permitted. The templates are fully customizable and you can easily upload your logo with a single click and customize email templates as well for a consistent and professional shopping experience.
The administration panel is highly intuitive, and you can access your managerial control system from any computer as long as you have access to the net. You are permitted as many admin logins as you want, and you can export orders to Excel. There is no limit to the number of products you can upload, and you can upload as many images as you want. Draw attention to products you want to showcase using the “Featured Products” option. You can also display related products for cross-selling opportunities. Security is fully PCI/CISP-compliant and HTTPS and SSL protocol is supported. Administrative logins are provided along with whatever restriction access options you want to select.
Fraud protection is a limited, optional feature provided through a third party called FraudScore. If you want to use fraud protection, you can activate the app for your store. You are given 100 free credits to start with, after which you need to pay if you wish to continue using this feature. It would be nice if fraud protection were included in the package, but we can understand why it’s optional considering the one-time licensing fee.
Marketing features integrated into SunShop include a loyalty “Rewards” points system, a tell-a-friend referral program, customer reviews, an optional affiliate program, customizable coupons and gift certificates, tools for setting up discounts and doing associated calculations, and on-site tools for up-selling and cross-selling your products. We didn’t find a daily offers option or email retention tools. Live chat is an optional feature that you can include to keep in touch with your customers and answer their questions about your offerings.
Pricing for SunShop is very unique and definitely one of its best selling points. To get started with SunShop, you have to pay a one-time setup fee of $199.99. The great part of it is, that’s the last payment you need to make. There are no monthly payments, no annual renewal fees, and no transaction fees. Once you’ve paid for your license you get full access to the eCommerce software and its many features. For small businesses that don’t have the money to pay for monthly installments but who have enough to swing the one-time licensing fee, this is a great cost-saving option. The one drawback is that there doesn’t appear to be a free trial offer, which means that there is no way to get your money back if you are dissatisfied. So make sure that before you decide on your purchase, you thoroughly research the platform to make sure it’s what you need. It’s a big initial investment, but it can pay off over the long term.
Customer support for SunShop is a little less thorough than we have seen for some other eCommerce platforms. There is no 24/7 availability, though you can reach the company through multiple channels including phone, email, and live chat on the website. We are uncertain whether the support is all provided in-house or not. There is a user manual if you prefer to look for answers independently, though we did not find an FAQ page or video tutorials. More information is available through a knowledge base, a discussion forum, and a company blog.
SunShop provides a solid eCommerce platform which has most of the features you’ll need for administrating your store and for creating a professional storefront with great product displays. There is no uptime guarantee, and you have to pay extra for fraud protection after you’ve used up a set number of FraudScore credits, however, so there are a couple of security drawbacks, and customer service could use a little improvement as well. SunShop’s one-time fee provides a simple and cost-effective eCommerce solution to business owners however, and small to medium-sized businesses in particular will benefit from the long term savings which come with SunShop’s license. TopFiveAdvisor gives SunShop an 8/10 and highly recommends checking them out if you do not want to keep paying monthly fees or transaction fees for your shopping cart software.