The Recycler interviewed Duane Miller and Jemin Patel, creators of the CartridgeWebsite.com e-commerce platform, about the technology and its potential for use by remanufacturers and retailers looking to sell products online in North America.
What is CartridgeWebsite.com?
As a retailer or a wholesaler, you either have a website or not. Companies who do have an e-commerce site that provides the full shopping experience spend a lot of money hosting and maintaining the website. Additionally, a significant effort is required in keeping the e-commerce site up-to-date with all the model and part numbers and pricing from various brands and manufacturers. If accepting credit cards, additional effort is required in setup and configuration, along with signing up for a merchant account etcetera. Most companies are not geared for e-commerce due to the time and significant expense required to setup a fully featured shopping website.
CartridgeWebsite.com is an all-inclusive platform specifically geared towards the ink and toner cartridge merchants. The platform is designed specifically for the sale of ink and toner cartridges, and provides an easy-to-use search engine and visible links, allowing the website visitor to find the cartridge they’re looking for within one click.
CartridgeWebsite.com can be deployed as a standalone e-commerce platform for merchants who do not currently have a web presence, or it can be integrated with an existing website using a simple link such as an inkjet and toner product tab. The solution is designed specifically for the independent merchant that is in the ink and toner cartridge market, and has an all-inclusive feature set that includes a built in payment platform for accepting credit cards, so there’s no requirement for going through the laborious process of getting a merchant account etcetera. There is also a “Bill me” feature that allows customers with approved accounts to order online without using a credit card.
If you have an existing website, we can augment it with full capabilities, and provide the full-blown e-commerce experience. You can compete with larger companies within two days, and there’s a very low entry cost for the full product.
If you don’t have a website, it can be a challenge to do all of this on your own, and very expensive, and if you don’t accept credit cards, this can be an issue with some platforms. CartridgeWebsite.com can offer all of this instantaneously, and there’s no need for a merchant account. We manage and host everything, so there’s no maintenance needed, but you’ll have your own e-commerce website, which is branded with your company’s logo and colour scheme accessible via your own URL.
How does the e-commerce platform work?
Out of the box, the platform comes with pre-loaded information for all major OEM and alternative ink and toner cartridges. There is no setup required or uploading of any products, images or pricing, and no complicated integration with supplier networks. Everything is pre-loaded, including retail pricing, so your e-commerce platform is up and running within two days. The platform is zero footprint – you don’t need to install anything, it’s all managed through an online browser. You can also create and edit the categories of the products on your platform to fit your product range or if you have another line of products, such as printers, that you want to sell through the platform.
Within 48 hours, you can have your own custom-designed e-commerce website with a comprehensive set of features. Your e-commerce website acts as your online store. The online store provides an online ordering facility for your existing customers, as well as new customers via the web. The CartridgeWebsite.com expert design team will create a custom look for your website, and your website will be designed with your logo and colour branding.
Optionally, the merchant has the ability to adjust the pricing of each product to suit their individual pricing mechanism. The CartridgeWebsite.com team is constantly updating the product list along with pricing so that the merchant does not have to worry about whether their website has all the latest OEM and alternative cartridges listed on their web platform. If you already have a website, you can create a “shopping” tab on your existing website to easily link to the CartridgeWebsite.com e-commerce platform, and offer a comprehensive shopping experience for your customers.
How much does the ecommerce platform cost, and are there plans to expand it beyond North America?
The platform is online-based with a unique look for each customer’s site, and the platform costs $99 (€71) a month – one price, one tier, inclusive of all services. There are also no fixed costs, and we have a one-time initial set-up fee of $299 (€216). There is no contract required, you pay as you go on a monthly basis, and can cancel anytime.
We can take any client from around the globe, but only in English and with dollars at the moment. We’re looking to add other languages and currencies in the future, but for now, we can offer the service to companies in other countries that want to use an English language site and dollars. We already have a few live clients – and the product is ready now.
What is unique about the CartridgeWebsite.com platform?
There are several e-commerce shopping platforms in the market, but what makes CartridgeWebsite.com stand out is the fact that it is specifically designed keeping the ink and toner cartridge market in mind. The solution has a built in payment platform for accepting credit cards and a “Bill Me” option to accommodate regular customers as well as commercial customers who require billing instead of an upfront payment. Individual branding provides uniqueness to each merchant’s storefront.
Also, an online payment facility allows you to accept all major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express without the hassle of going through extensive paperwork. There’s no need to go through the approval process of setting up a merchant account. Our solution comes with a built in “payment platform”, so that you can start transacting immediately.
Some of the other key features of the platform include the ability to create your own category/sub-category of products (in case the merchant is engaged in selling other products); a simple pricing model that allows for unlimited products and usage; the ability to generate coupon codes that can be circulated to key customers for providing storewide discounts; and the ability to set shipping rates. The platform is fully-loaded with information that is constantly updated, and if the information isn’t on there, contact us and we can add it.
Choosing the price of products, as well as the products that you sell as a business from our preloaded list, allows for customisable sites, and you can choose not to have products listed. Maintaining information is difficult for some companies with e-commerce sites, and if you look at the current landscape, some other platforms offer a blank canvas on which you have to enter all the information. There are thousands of products in this industry, and you need images for each, and would have to load this all in, but with us the information is already there and ready out of the box.
In turn, our dynamic search engine allows your website visitors to search for any model or part number from any major manufacturer. Customers quickly find the product they are looking for, turning it into a quick sale, and the issue for many companies is that there are so many different numbers that it can be confusing, and you can lose customers in seconds if you don’t have the right product information available. We have a dedicated team working constantly on data accuracy, organising the information and ensuring it’s correct – getting the correct data takes a lot of effort, and we’ve done it for customers as part of our service.
What made you decide to produce this platform for the cartridge aftermarket?
The company is a partnership between the two of us – we’re friends that decided, based on Duane’s experience of the industry, that there was a need for the product. Duane has worked in the ink and toner industry from the mid-1980s onwards in wholesale, and found that a problem for smaller businesses is that they can’t develop and launch a comprehensive e-commerce website – it is too cost prohibitive and they do not possess the knowledge. But in this modern world they need to be online if they are to compete and retain their existing customers.
The SMBs that we’re targeting don’t have the capability to do what we are offering to do for them. Most people won’t have done this because it is too cost prohibitive and requires a significant time commitment, our software is optimised for them and others in the industry. It is ready to go out-of-the-box with very little effort and minimum costs. And best of all, the price comes inclusive with all the support necessary to keep your e-commerce platform humming smoothly.
You can view the company’s website at www.cartridgewebsite.com.