TruTech Tools’ Blueprint for Online Retail Success: 1000 Percent Growth in First Year with 3dcart
Since 2007, TruTech Tools has been a veteran-owned and operated supplier of testing equipment for energy auditors, HVAC/R technicians and home inspectors. Located in Akron, OH, the company has scaled quickly over its existence, outgrowing four offices and accommodating five full-time employees.
Startup Gets Its Fix with New Ecommerce Software
In just five years, TruTech Tools has grown from a start-up business run out of an upstairs bedroom to a five-person operation, complete with a warehouse, a calibration and repair lab and a fully functional consulting arm.
Everyone has to start somewhere. For TruTech Tools, the business started with an online store designed by a high school kid. They chose Zen Cart as their supporting shopping cart software.
Jim Bergmann, TruTech Tools CTO, explains. “As a small business, we looked for the lowest barrier to entry, and Zen Cart was free. But hardly anything is really free. We found there was a huge tradeoff for website novices in that there was no customer support.”
Without support, the team had a tougher time dealing with issues. To make matters worse, their site experienced frequent downtime, sometimes due to the cart itself and sometimes from their own doing.
Jim was a service technician by trade, without any working knowledge of how to run a website. In addition to support, the TruTech Tools team was looking for guidance and best practices—neither of which they found with Zen Cart.
By 2008, it was clear Zen Cart wasn’t going to allow TruTech tools to grow as quickly as they had envisioned. Their competition was simply out ranking them consistently on a lot of products. Jim knew there had to be a better way.
Eventually, he came across 3dcart. “3dcart was light years ahead of Zen Cart in terms of what we needed our software to do,” Bergmann says. “It was the perfect platform to continually learn more about running an online store. We wouldn’t be where we are today without it.”
Jim cites three main reasons for the switch to 3dcart
• Strong support staff: Jim says that he can “pick up the phone pretty much anytime of day and get help with managing the product.” 3dcart features 24/7 phone support in addition to email and live chat resources. “Everything a growing online retail business needs to stay on track,” Jim says.
• In-depth ecommerce learning resources: “Starting with limited ecommerce knowledge, we were able to learn and excel quickly based on 3dcart’s library of information,” Jim remarks. The TruTech team easily learned tricks like how to upload products and get them indexed by Google. “We’ve outpaced even the manufacturers in search results, thanks to strong content and the formula that 3dcart has put together.”
• Solid foundation for a business: According to Jim, “A lot of people try to design their website, then sit down and try to find a product that fits it. We needed a framework that would hold our product steady. 3dcart is a proven example of a solution that works for ecommerce.” After finding the right solution, they put it to the test.
TruTech Nails Down Support Beams to Build Ecommerce Success Story
Running a business isn’t without its challenges, and TruTech Tools has had its fair share of them. “It’s nice to have a team you can rely on when things go wrong,” Jim explains. Jim shares the story of one situation. “I was working with the importing/exporting feature on our store. I made some changes and lost formatting on the whole site. That kind of mistake can cost our store thousands of dollars. Luckily for us, we were on the line with 3dcart support staff. They understood the urgency and made it a priority.
After a few hours, we were back up and running, minimizing any downtime or losses in sales.” Overall, Jim says 3dcart has been an extremely reliable sales partner. The team uses third-party software to monitor site uptime.
According to TruTech Tools statistics, uptime is “way into the high 90s”. Downtime is practically non-existent and only lasts for a few minutes in the rare instances it occurs. 3dcart’s robust feature set has proven to be a great resource for the business. Three crucial functions have come in handy:
• Customer relationship management: TruTech does a lot of business over the phone in addition to online sales. As a result, the company requires a strong customer relationship management (CRM) platform. 3dcart delivers strong features for managing customers, offering Jim and his team the ability to manually input phone sales for full sales tracking.
• Upselling mechanisms: When 3dcart recently launched 3dupsell, TruTech Tools jumped onboard. The feature automatically designates certain pop-up commands that point customers towards deals, specific products or other action items. For TruTech, 3dupsell has proven especially useful in pointing customers towards manufacturer rebates to offset the cost of purchases.
•Time-saving marketing tools: Email marketing is more effective when it includes a personalized touch. Using 3dcart’s autoresponders, Jim and his team send out special messages to different types of customers, including thank you notes, calibration reminders, notifications when consumable products are due for replacement, customer satisfaction surveys, coupons and more.
3dcart’s features demonstrate another level of reliability for Jim. “Google is an important resource for any online business,” Jim elaborates. “Of course, the company is constantly evolving and overhauling products. To stay in step with the major web brand, 3dcart keeps its own integrations with Google up to speed. They’re working on the new integration before the new service or feature hits the market.”
Jim also mentions the company’s respect for customized stores. “3dcart doesn’t push updates to customized stores. At first, that may sound like a drawback. But in reality, automatic updates can cripple certain customized functionality. The support team waits until we’re ready. Then, we get them on the phone and they’re ready to help us get started with the new features.”
TruTech Nails Down Support Beams to Build Ecommerce Success Story
In the first year TruTech Tools switched to 3dcart (2008), the business grew by a whopping 1000 percent. In 2009, the company saw a 200 percent increase in sales. By 2010, the company had expanded to include 30 product lines and logged another 20 percent increase in sales. 2011 brought another 35 percent jump in business. Jim attributes much of this expansion to the strength of his shopping cart software.
One of the most important results of the switch to 3dcart is difficult to put an exact number on. “Before 3dcart, the majority of our traffic came through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Now, almost all of our traffic comes in organically. It’s an important part of brand growth when you can make that kind of flip-flop.”
What matters most is that TruTech Tools has undergone an evolution. Jim points to the fact that their business has moved physical locations five times (to accommodate growth), but they’ve only switched shopping carts once.
“It doesn’t matter how great of a house you build,” Jim adds. “Everything comes down to how solid your foundation is. 3dcart has been that foundation for TruTech Tools, from our days as a small startup up until the present.”