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Review: MobiCart

Review: MobiCart

December 4th, 2010 by

Anyone selling anything online these days faces the technical challenge of connecting their services and inventory to their customers. You must allow your customers to easily order and pay for goods and services in a way that is convenient, trusted, and flexible. This is not an insurmountable problem to be sure, but I think there are probably lots of small business owners that may not even have the slightest idea where to start.

MobiCart, while not an iOS app per se, allows anyone to set up and manage their own mobile storefront. Anyone can sign up for free, check a few boxes and upload a few pictures, and have MobiCart publish a native iOS app to the iTunes App Store. All for free.

How It Works

You can sign up easily at the MobiCart website. Once you get your activation email, you can log in and start setting up your app. If you already have your own e-commerce website set up you can use the MobiCart APIs with your existing setup, but you can also use the service if you have no existing internet storefront.

The site has two major sections: “Create Application” and “Manage Content”.

“Create Application” gives you some basic appearance tweaks in terms of color and layout, gives you Store Settings options like shipping and tax rates, and has an App Vitals tab. It’s here where you set up the price of the app, the regions in which you would like to offer it, and what images you would like shown for the description. Once this is all done you can submit the app to the App Store for approval.

The “Manage Content” section is where you build the actual mobile storefront. Upload images for a gallery, add “departments” and products to your store, create additional custom pages, and even add a News page with custom RSS and Twitter feeds for the app once it’s published.

Bottom Line

The unfortunate fact about the nature of this app is that I can’t really complete this review: publishing to the App Store is free if you have your own developer account, or MobiCart can publish for you but you have to pay a $99 fee. Not only that, but I have no need for an e-commerce solution: in other words, I have nothing to sell so why set up a storefront?

The service however was fairly simple to use, and the developers have done their best to guide you through each step of the process. Given that this is a free service (especially if you pay the one-time fee to Apple for a developer account), it seems like there is really nothing to lose in trying it out. Set up your “store”, build your app, decide what forms of payment you want to take, and voila! You have an iOS app that people can download and use to buy your products!

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