A Motivational Story About Us
How we Became Today's Most Sophisticated Ecommerce Solution
Our Sixty Second Pitch
Shopping Cart Elite is for companies who are dissatisfied with the limitations of their shopping cart. Shopping Cart Elite is an ecommerce solution that will completely automate your online business. Unlike the majority of shopping carts on the market, we have created a software that doesn't require you to have a bunch of third party apps in order to have automation, marketing and SEO tools for your online business.
Our Brand Commitment to You
Shopping Cart Elite will solve the labor-intensive, sleep-depriving daily grind of your online business in 30 days or less by combining our software, experts and processes that will consistently deliver results that will WOW you.
In Pursuit of the American Dream
Steve Jobs said, "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me."
What They Don't Tell You About Entrepreneurship
Ed Catmull, the author of Creativity Inc., was also a computer scientist who invented the technology behind Pixar, the same company that created the hit series "Toy Story". You may not have known this bit of trivia, but Pixar technology was created in 1974, and it would take 21 years for the company to reach substantial success beginning with "Toy Story". If it weren't for Steve Jobs acquiring Pixar in 1986, we would not be able to enjoy today's cartoon animation technology because Pixar would not have existed.
Catmull's story is ultimately about the perseverance it takes to overcome the struggles to achieve and maintain success. As an entrepreneur, it was not surprising to hear him say that still today, Pixar continues to face unprecedented challenges.
If you listen to the stories of successful company founders like Steve Jobs, you will often get the impression that success is one smooth ride. You'll be led to believe that their success was due to their smarts and perhaps a little luck.
But entrepreneurship is never like that. You constantly fail, suffer setbacks at every turn, and live with the fear that you won't be able to make payroll, or your product won't work. You have to deal with disgruntled employees, unhappy customers, and concerned investors. Even when you achieve success, you still wake up the next morning to find that everything is falling apart, and before you've gotten over one hurdle, there's another one to overcome.
The truth is that every successful entrepreneur experiences setbacks before reaching success. The successful ones don't always mention these setbacks in interviews with the Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg TV, but the reality is, entrepreneurship is really more of a roller coaster ride than a cruise.
Shopping Cart Elite is Agile and Innovative. One month of ecommerce is a year in real life which means we must continuously innovate and deal with ongoing challenges to stay ahead of our game.
In this way, our company operates as an assembly line - we are 200+ employees, each employee at every workstation moves processes and systems forward to streamline products, processes, and systems. Having gone through 15 years growing Shopping Cart Elite, we've now come full-circle to say that:
We're Big Enough to Serve Your Business and Small Enough to Know your Business.
Meet the People Behind Shopping Cart Elite
If you are already a brand, we want to:
- help you automate your processes
- scale your integrations
- expand your ecommerce team with our experts
- grow your revenue with our world class marketing software
If you are a startup, we want to:
- transform your company into a brand
- turn your ideas into processes
- motivate your employees to become a team
- recharge you into a CEO
About the Founders
My name is Igor Soshkin, CEO of Shopping Cart Elite. As a child of immigrant parents to New York City, I acquired a strong work ethic from my father, the primary breadwinner of the family who slaved as a tool maker giving my mother the ability to learn computer programming at a local university. We emigrated from Ukraine to America for the sake of professional and economic freedom. Growing up in the States, I'd watch my older brother Nick become quickly taken up by our first personal computer in 1995. His passion grew so steady that at age sixteen, he started running a file sharing website. At eighteen, he was hired by a top Wall Street firm as a computer programmer, and by 24, he wrote the program that currently processes all the ACH transactions for Bank of New York.
I struggled to figure out how to translate my love for sales and marketing into a business. As a young and motivated employee for various companies, I hoped my bosses would take notice of my ideas, but unfortunately, they ignored me, and each time I felt put down.
Still, I wouldn't give up. An entrepreneur with perseverance knows that feeling well.
I continued to listen, observe, read books, and take notes on how small businesses operate. Slowly, I seeded the vision for what soon would be our software company known today as Shopping Cart Elite.
My Dream Job
On my sixteenth birthday in 2000, my parents gifted me with a 1994 Mitsubishi 3000GT - which became my true love! A year later, the smash hit "Fast and Furious" movie created a huge demand for automotive parts and an opportunity to sell auto parts online.
Due to the tragic events of 9/11, my parents lost their computer programming jobs and relocating out of New York City was not an option.
And so, we opened the doors to our first ecommerce company in 2002. Nick helped to code the website in his free time, and our parents oversaw operations. I finally got my dream job, overseeing marketing and sales.
Hurdle #1: Retailer or Software Company?
In 2002, we started as pioneers in ecommerce in the automotive vertical niche with very little competition. We went from zero to $200,000 per month in gross sales virtually overnight with 50% profit margins selling automotive accessories. We worked with Amazon and eBay early on to help them create a vehicle fitment guide to scale their product database. We've enjoyed the success for quite a few years.
In 2005, we'd officially hit a dead end. Developers, data entry, research, and development depleted our profits. Technology at the time couldn't automate anything, especially for automotive businesses. Designers and developers charged a fortune.
In 2006, a surge of competition emerged, and the economy started slowing down. Our gross revenue plummeted by 50% overnight. The recession of 2007 sucked profits indefinitely. Our company was crumbling.
We had to decide quickly - were we a retailer or a software company?
Becoming a software company would give us an advantage over Chinese and Indian developers who still had a long way to go to reach our level of expertise in ecommerce.
Nick and I left the retail company we helped build, and brought our knowledge and experience to Shopping Cart Elite, opening our doors in 2007.
Our First Marketable Software
We launched our first marketable product in 2009 known as "GRO Project" that supported new entrepreneurs launching their businesses. We taught them to start and run a new business using our expertise with our software focusing on the automotive industry. Some of our GRO Project customers later became our employees.
It took us two years to build Shopping Cart Elite, and three years to perfect it. Reinventing ourselves as a software company was a good decision, but when the next hurdle came, we had to reinvent ourselves again.
Hurdle #2: The Road to the "7 Day Setup"
Until 2012, we were so consumed by research and development that we didn't pay enough attention to growing Shopping Cart Elite.
Little did we know, our investment in research and development paid off. Since opening Shopping Cart Elite in 2007, our feature rich software could now address all levels of integrations. We had gained enough traction to be recognized as "go-to" experts in our industry, but still, we were playing it safe.
In need of inspiration and insight, I picked up Seth Godin’s well-known book The Icarus Deception. His advice? Don't settle for the ordinary. Continue pushing through your comfort zone.
That spoke deeply to me. I'm the kind of person who constantly strives to do better for the sake of our company. Settling for the ordinary was out of the question.
Determined to grow our company right, I dove into Gino Wickman's Traction, and Gerber's EMyth Revisited to learn how to create the right systems and processes without depleting company's profits. We firmed up a process to help our clients launch their online business in a shorter timeframe. After all, if we could grow our company in a shorter timeframe, why couldn't our clients?
Seven days was an ambitious undertaking, but we didn't let our fears interfere with our passion and vision. We stayed focused despite the fact that we still needed to learn the workings of such a setup.
By March 2013, our staff grew from 12 to 50 working around the clock to provide mobile responsive and modern looking websites with an integrated backend that could handle updates and large database integrations.
But soon enough, madness took over.
We're Not a Data Dump
Our clients showed us data that was incomplete, and we became overwhelmed. Each challenge became a learning opportunity, but still, could we just become a data company like that? Refusing to turn away clients, we quickly rolled up our sleeves and got busy developing systems and process for data integration and import. Still, this isn't easy when you're a young software company suddenly thrown into the "muck" of data integration and import.
To cope with this task, we developed innovative software called "Easy Data Feed", that could scrape a website with millions of data records into Excel and right into Shopping Cart Elite's platform. But still, more work was needed for to restructure the massive undertaking of data integration and import.
We started setting up processes and systems for new data clients which included:
- compliances so data would be compatible with marketplaces like Google, Amazon, and Ebay
- filters so a product could be searched on both the sellers website and Google's first page
- rich snippets, high-quality images, meta tags, full descriptions and dimensions
This process also required implementing new settings, redirects, system updates, and content pages to support each process.
We soon discovered how complicated launching a fully integrated client's website in 60 days could be!
By the end of 2013, we pared the time down to 60 days instead of original six-month time frame. Still, it was nowhere near our initial seven-day goal. What were we thinking?
Hurdle #3: Learning Our Self-Worth
Learning our financial worth was painstaking. We realized we needed to charge high enough setup fees that justified our high-quality service. The premium we charged for setup baffled clients, causing them to price-shop our fees with those of others. Aiming for transparency, we posted a 30-page document online that educated the consumer on the various processes in launching a website. We knew we couldn't afford to lose clients at any time to third party partners who offered a quick and easy "solution" that involved more headaches and less setup work. Still, we were willing to take the risk.
Working with clients without a budget also challenged our perspective of our financial worth. Clients would often nickel and dime us for our services. They requested an unlimited number of revisions without payment. When we missed a deadline due to unforeseen problems they wouldn't be able to pay. We always questioned whether letting a client badmouth us over the Internet could be justified by the lessons we learned from these challenging experiences growing our brand.
It was a hard lesson to learn, but we finally started asking the right questions, and as a result, we were able to educate our customers on the grounds that they could expect their project to take three times the original time, and as a result, we could justify the price of the setup.
Each quarter of 2014 presented various challenges disguised in the form of an opportunity for developing new systems and processes. But in the world of ecommerce, you cannot afford to run away from innovation and change; otherwise, your business suffers. See how we were able to grow from various hurdles each quarter:
A client requested 30 new features that took 4-6 months to develop. Rather than bill the client for each feature, we verbally agreed on the enhancements knowing he wouldn't be able to launch his store as quickly as he wanted. We didn't communicate the beta process early on, and as a result, the client refused to partake in it. When his website was ready to launch, he gave up on us, leaving us "high and dry" only to blast about the experience online. Rather than get upset, we learned the value of documenting projects in writing before committing to a timeline.
For the first time in Shopping Cart Elite history, we launched most of our clients within a 30-day window - a real feat! But our understaffing problem interfered with ongoing development requests such as merging inventory with eBay and Amazon.
Using a focusing process widely known by the management world at large as the Theory of Constraints , we evaluated our process to identify the source of our backlog to keep the time to launch client's websites within a 30-day window.
Uber is a prime example of a company that has had to overcome major hurdles to grow. It realized that to conquer the world, it first had to " conquer India " by dealing with unexpected cultural and technological problems. This is where applying the principles of the Theory of Constraints made sense for Uber, a company aiming for true globalization.
Once we identified our problems, we restructured our processes to deliver faster results using Lean Six Sigma Systems to increase productivity. Uber too realized the importance of in-house training so Indian drivers could navigate cultural and technological issues. When our clients saw the possibilities for growth, many upgraded to our enterprise marketing package, launched additional websites and referred others.
By the end of the third quarter, clients who had been waiting 6-12 months could finally launch! New clients could now launch in 30 days. We were on target to meet our anticipated 100% launch goal in less than 30 days!
We had to develop the right procedures and software to scale our business and handle our growing clientele. A software platform was also needed to communicate more efficiently and to run our complex operations among designers, programmers, marketers, and managers.
Since there was no such system on the market, we ended up designing our own to expedite the process of onboarding and launching clients within 30 days.
Our automated score chart system evaluated each employee's productivity and tracked revenue and project flow from various departments. We introduced the Myers-Briggs system for performance evaluation. Since 2014, our new project management system has allowed us to take on better clients and scale our business.
We ended 2014 with a great feeling of accomplishment. We had launched most of our clients' websites in under 30 days, and most of our clients were happy with the results. With more stellar reviews, we were committed to learning from challenges we encountered.
The Nothing is Impossible Attitude that Keeps You Profitable
Staying profitable without any venture capital funding has always been a major goal for Shopping Cart Elite. There was no way we would close the doors on a company we'd worked so hard to grow. We didn't want another bad experience.
Global events in Asia and Europe created a surge of experienced IT professionals allowing us to charge 60% less for the same quality of work we'd previously outsourced from other places. Hiring a new comptroller stabilized our finances.
By the end of 2015, Shopping Cart Elite had grown to a competent staff of 130 including a full-time recruiter and trainer who hired and trained five people each month so they could work at Shopping Cart Elite.
We refined Revive My Team, a proprietary software that monitors keyboard and mouse movements, and records screenshots of activity after opening a ticket via the support desk . This way, we monitored the productivity of remote employees as if they were in-house.
We bundled Acumatica, an accounting ERP system with our new enterprise plan, which offered an integrated ecommerce software solution. Acumatica also authorized us to integrate our application software inside of their core system allowing us to develop the connector for Shopping Cart Elite's brand.
We converted enterprise clients under our Shopping Cart Elite Enterprise plan that bundles Acumatica with Shopping Cart Elite software at a significantly lower rate. But staying profitable meant innovating our software.
Innovate and Stay Profitable
The end of 2015, saw releases of our software that integrated with Amazon, eBay, Jet, and Overstock . Our unique platform featured additional functions designed to boost our clients' business:
And hundreds of other releases .
We upgraded our app for faster speed and better user interface and virtualized our Windows app for any browser that could be operated on any device - PC or Mac. For the first time, clients could install and run a free trial of our software in a matter of minutes.
By the end of 2015, we were on track to grow. But could our growth sustain us in 2016 and beyond?
The Road Map to Success
Growing Shopping Cart Elite for the past 15 years finally instilled the confidence needed to believe in the consistency of our newly evolving brand:
Shopping Cart Elite will solve our clients' labor intensive, sleep depriving daily grind for their online business in 30 days or less by delivering consistent WOW results.
Our achievements in 2016 included:
- 95% customer retention.
- Media coverage with Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post featuring our expertise in ecommerce.
- We hired 15 new developers which allowed us to release the latest 2017 release schedule .
- We increased employee count to over 200.
- We started a new division called Omni-Channel Hub software, to help sellers list and manage products on eBay and Amazon.
- We also started a new division called Hire Once and Forever to offer experts as a service to customers.
- We started a new division Rek9 for consulting as a service to customers to grow their business.
- We started a new division TEA Software, an Adwords pay per click automated bidding agency giving customers satisfying results. In 2016, we increased to 20 staff members in that division alone.
We also hired key managers to move our company forward for project lead, data, design, setup, tech, client marketing, sales, and marketing. Nick oversaw operations as CTO and COO, and I finally took the CEO seat without wearing many other hats.
On the surface, Shopping Cart Elite had become a success story. But behind the scenes, we were drowning in chaos. Nobody tells you how tough entrepreneurship is even when things feel like they're moving along.
As it turned out, the 450 processes that operated client and employee systems weren't helping. At various moments, those processes backfired alerting us to the need to identify and solve another problem. We faced two equally difficult alternatives. Do we tackle each evolving problem or ignore the process as a whole?
With concerted effort, we brainstormed and designed Company Lifecycle Process System to identify failing processes to prevent future problems. This ongoing transparency would make it possible for every employee at each level identify the problem and take the correct action steps.
Building Momentum for Success
Using the company lifecycle process system, we organized our research and development team headed by two idea creators, four process creators, and multiple implementers to conceptualize an idea to a final product in less than 60 days. Using this system, we've now launched 12 new marketing packages including SEO, PPC, SMO as well as operations packages for our customers .
We've also developed nine discovery processes for launching new customer websites and delivering new projects with a 100% success rate.
Our commitment to automation and marketing continue to propel us forward. We actively engage our clients to help them grow their businesses. We continue to develop tools and systems to help our customers work towards becoming multi-million dollar online operations.
It is very difficult to express our passion behind Shopping Cart Elite without powerful visualization and tonality.
As Albert Mehrabian said: "We communicate through a 7%-38%-55% rule".
WE HAVE A VISION
TO CREATE THE WORLD'S MOST SOPHISTCATED ECOMMERCE SOLUTION
WE <3 WHAT WE DO
WE WAKE UP EVERY DAY WITH A LOVE FOR BUILDING SOFTWARE
WE HAVE A DREAM
TO LAUNCH A SOPHISTICATED BUSINESS IN 24 HOURS
ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BUSINESS
THE POWER OF KNOWLEDGE
IN GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE
WE WANT TO
CHANGE THE WORLD WITH SHOPPING CART ELITE
WE ARE COMMITTED
TO ELIMINATE YOUR GRIND
WE WILL FIND A WAY
BECAUSE WE WON'T ACCEPT AN EXCUSE
BECAUSE WE HAVE