For many years, we have used a special self-hosted shopping cart for our company. This cart is what you currently know as Delavo. While the name is new, the software itself is not. Delavo has gone through quite a few years of re-branding and upgrades, beginning as JV Manager, Fantasos and now Delavo. We have been using the cart since JV Manager 1 days and can say from a user and ‘insider’ point, this is far from just a re-branding and re-naming exercise and I’ll talk a little more about that shortly. For now, let’s look at what you get for your money.
Here’s the good news. Delavo is free. I purchased it for a couple hundred and others paid over a thousand for it before. But now you can now get it at the super affordable price of $0.
I haven’t seen one, but I suppose it’s what you consider a catch. If you want to add plugins, they come at a price. You may be thinking now, well there’s the catch. Give you crippled software so you will upgrade. Not true. Delavo is marketed as a Freemium shopping cart solution. The free version is fully functioning and even includes some key plugins like the ability to connect to third party scripts like WordPress.
We never used many of the features that the premium plugins afforded us for a long time. So, the basic version will probably last you a while, especially if you are selling only digital products with a workable affiliate program. When you want to start doing more advanced marketing techniques then the plugins certainly make it a whole lot easier.
Like anything self-hosted, you will have to install it yourself. There are people whom you can hire (like us). If you are prepared to do it yourself, the install is pretty straight forward and we usually don’t have problems on regular Linux servers.
Features Important To Internet Marketers
Without a doubt Delavo is one of the most feature rich carts I’ve worked with. With the basic version, you can:
- Run your own affiliate program
- Host multiple products, there is limit on the number
- Have many customers – As long as you don’t max out your web hosting database you’re good to go
- Link up many payment options like PayPal, 2Checkout, Google Checkout, Authorize.net, Linkpoint, Moneybookers, Setcom, Eway, Protx and Pageseguro
- Connect your products to third party scripts like phpBB, WordPress, SMF, Drupal – this is so very convenient for membership sites or even free community sites
- Skin your checkout pages for each product – we love this feature. If you’d like an example, visit BloggingStarterPack and TechBasedTraining. Click on the checkout links you will see they have very different themes or skins but they all run under one cart. Awesome if you want to maintain the branding for each product or even for JV products.
- Import your affiliates and users when switching over from another cart
- Publish posts directly to your blog from inside your shopping cart – we haven’t used this because we don’t have a need but if you do it is certainly a nice feature.
- Hook up your own scripts/solutions with the API – this is quite technical and most won’t use it. We do and we love it because we can pass information from one script to another easily and do more exciting stuff.
It’s quite plain the basic version is packed with features that online marketers need. But there’s more.
We’ve already dropped hints of plugins everywhere. They are what makes Delavo go from great to awesome. There are so many of them which we will admit haven’t got around using yet. Here are the ones we have used for a while.
- One time offers – pretty self explanatory. No more juggling with external scripts or worrying about cheaters. The OTO really is an OTO. Once it is gone, its gone. No way to re-load the page to circumvent your OTO
- Packages Pro – this adds a bunch of features to your product including the ability to integrate with TurboAutoresponders or Aweber which we use, customize the pay now button, add terms, pay-per-click commissions, and more. To us, it is an essential plugin just for the autoresponder integration alone.
- Products Pro – adds order restriction or renewal restriction, giving charity commissions, limiting commissions after so many installments, disabling thank you pages.
- Upsell – works a lot like one time offers but upsells are displayed during the checkout process, makes it super easy for customers to add extras to their order
- Customized Forms – another essential plugin. You can edit what information is collected in the checkout form.
- Taxes – these days you can’t escape it. If you have to collect local taxes. Essential plugin
- Questionnaires – a very handy plugin. We used a questionnaire for custom work where the customer is asked to supply us with FTP or login information right after checkout. This way, we can get to work on their site quickly without having to email back and forth, wasting time. You can customize the information you want and have it sent to any email.
- Dynamic Pricing – you don’t have to use a separate script anymore. Automatically adjust the pricing for a limited time. You can choose to have it increase every day, every hour or month you can even set it to increase every X sales. All automated. No more manually editing your sales page how many packages you have left to sell.
- Coupons – this is an essential plugin
- Rewards – this plugin allowed us to create a different sales model using points. You can reward customers points for each purchase, for each recurring subscription. With just a little creativity this alone can help you make some unique products.
- Privileges – have assistants? You can create accounts with limited access for them highly configurable.
There are also plugins we think are great, just have not worked them into our products yet for example:
- Content Series – drip feed content into you membership site – yes, you don’t need yet another script or system if you don’t want to.
- Support Tickets – no need to create yet another help desk. Manage it all in one place. This is a really attractive feature.
- Clouds - solicit ideas and feedback from customers quickly
- Follow-up Manager – it is an autoresponder. You can even use it to manage your own newsletters and not pay monthly fees anymore.
- Testimonials – easy way to collect testimonials and display them on your sales pages
- Affiliate series – reward better affiliates with higher commissions or more
To us, the minuses are few. There is a learning curve – but then, so do most shopping carts so we think this is a small issue. Another thing, we found affiliates often get confused when they log into their account and aren’t sure how to go about getting their links. So you will need to educate them and have proper documentation to help them through.
The Bottom Line
Obviously, we like Delavo – a lot. We wouldn’t be using this for the last 4 years if we didn’t. In the beginning, we briefly talked about where the product has been since we started using it. We can confidently say that Delavo is actively being developed and keeps getting better. Those in the market for a new free shopping cart software, get Delavo.
Notices: DELAVO(R) is a registered trademark by The Internet Company. All rights reserved worldwide. And yes, this post contains affiliate links where we would obtain a commission if you make an upgrade.