Are you interested in building a startup similar to Etsy?
One where third party vendors come to your website and sell their own products through your platform. A startup where all product management is completed by those third party vendors, leaving you to only keep track of maintaining the website.
Etsy-style websites are called multi vendor systems, since each of the vendors receive their own profile, and buyers land on the site with the ability to include products from multiple vendors in their shopping carts.
How do you go about making your own multi vendor ecommerce platform? Well, it turns out Yo!Kart is a pretty solid place to start.
The Yo!Kart multi vendor cart system from Fat Bit Technologies is not only affordable, but it caters to startups in need of powerful tools and helpful support.
Since Yo!Kart isn't that popular, let's take a look at an in-depth review to decide whether it's a viable option for your business.
I will start by saying, not much unbiased information is out there about the Yo!Kart platform. I haven't found many other reviews or blog posts besides ones listed by the folks from Fat Bit. Unfortunately, the company doesn't have much information listed on how many people use it or what the retention rate is like.
So, all we have to go off is our own hands on testing and the features listed on their website.
As with many multi vendor platforms, Yo!Kart has far more features than your average online store builder. To start, it offers robust reporting, with real-time tracking to see how your sales are going. Periodical reporting is included to help merchants notice market trends and tailor their offerings accordingly.
However, one downside is that the primary script sold by the folks at Fat Bit requires a little technical knowledge. They'll help you install it, but it looks more like a complex opensource program, as opposed to something designed for beginners.
That said, if you have the experience, or the will to learn, the following features are available:
- An intuitive interface
- A highly secure system
- Multi vendor capabilities
- Multiple stores for those vendors
- Real time shipping cost calculator
- All orders are split and consolidated for shopping carts with products from multiple vendors
- Most SEO is completely automated
- Divide customer into groups based on buying behavior
- an Android app
Yo!Kart Ease of Use
Technically you have four interfaces to look at: Frontend, Buyer side, Admin side and Supplier side. As much as I thought they'd all look drastically different, they don't. All backend areas are clean and easy to move around. Although advanced customization is allowed, I would argue it's not that easy to find on the admin backend. In fact, a huge downside is that the backend has tons of tabs to choose from. As you can see, the top has nine tabs, while the left side presents another eleven.
Also, keep in mind that you only get to choose from a single theme. After that, it's completely up to you to figure out how you want to customize the thing. You get some help from FATbit, but it's generally up to you.
The Yo!Kart system has two pricing plans, one for $250 if you run a startup and another for $999, which is a plan where you own the rights to the license.
This is extremely reasonable considering the functionality you receive. Just keep in mind that the $250 price is a yearly thing.
One major advantage with Yo!Kart is that despite the package price, you get the same set of features regardless of the package you select. This makes it a good choice for small scale startups, since they get a multi vendor platform with standard features at a comparatively low price. Additionally, one-year of free technical support is also offered. With low pricing and no maintenance costs, profit can be marginal from the start with Yo!Kart, given that the business execution is well.
Yo!Kart Templates and Design
From the frontend, Yo!Kart looks great. Users easily manage product categories and display settings. In addition, you as an admin can have complementary product cross selling to drive more sales.
As talked about above, the templates are lacking in Yo!Kart. In fact, you only get one. It's worth noting, however, that this is the crown jewel of templates, and every feature you need is included. In addition, heavy customization is an option.
However, that's just the problem. Customization is almost required for you to achieve the type of branding you need. Even if the primary theme were the best in the world, who cares if you can't make it look good for your own company?
Inventory is a mixed bag since we're talking about a multi vendor system. First of all, you as an admin don't need to worry about inventory, since the vendors typically handle this. However, the backend admin interface provides details for each of your vendors, along with the sales and products that people have bought.
The vendor profile is where the magic really happens, however, since vendors manage their inventory in a clean list, with options for changing details, checking in on buyers and fulfilling orders.
Yo!Kart SEO and Marketing
Yo!Kart provides Google friendly hierarchical organization, giving you easy to edit tags and meta tags. Descriptions and page details all show up well on search engine results.
The system also automatically generates a sitemap that updates and contacts search engines whenever content changes on your website. I like this because you don't need an extra plugin to contact the search engines of changes.
Overall, SEO is extremely comprehensive through Yo!Kart, since much of it is automated, and you don't have to install plugins like you would with WordPress. However, if you'd like to customize your own SEO settings, have fun digging through the dozens of tabs in the dashboard.
The primary payment solutions for Yo!Kart are Authorize.net and PayPal, but just about any integration is supported, making the payment processing rather flexible. You don't have to worry about only choosing an ecommerce platform because of the payment provider, because someone at the Fatbit company will be able to speak with you and help you integrate with the system.
Yo!Kart is not an open source program like Magento. This means hacking is much less likely to occur.
Yo!Kart has 3 level security checks implemented on both the frontend and backend. Not to mention, they have secured the system to present SQL Injections which keeps your website and your data more secure compared to many similar systems out there.
Tech support is offered through all plans, and it goes through the folks at Fatbit Technologies. The company has plenty of support options for you to choose from. For example, you can call in, email or even Skype for certain circumstances.
The company has a knowledge base and several documentation pages, along with social media accounts and a blog. Really, if you have a question at all, you can pretty much choose any medium you'd like to contact the support team.
In terms of pricing, you can't go wrong with Yo!Kart if you're a startup. Sure, you'll have to pay for some other integrations, hosting, domains and payment processing, but a one year license for $250 isn't bad. Other than that, the reports are amazing for predicting trends, and the frontend has plenty of features for buyers to play around with.
On the other hand, two problems arise with Yo!Kart. One, the themes are lacking, and two, it's not a system built for beginners. You can customize this design however you want, but it takes technical experience to truly modify the design to something new.
That said, if you have any questions about the Yo!Kart platform, leave us a comment in the section below.
Yo!Kart Rating: 3.6 - Review by Catalin Zorzini