What is Shopitect?
Shopitect is an affiliate store builder with extra conversion features and marketing features built in.
Some of the features included are:
- Auto insertion of products from Amazon, Ebay, and Commission Junction (which saves time)
- Automatically finds and includes product videos for better conversions
- Automatically finds and includes product reviews from Amazon (even better conversions)
- A points based prize system that rewards users for the activities you choose, and dispenses the prizes.
- Autoresponder integration features to build your list
- Can be embedded in Facebook for wider exposure.
Surprise! Shopitect is NOT a WordPress Plugin
Shopitect is NOT a WordPress plugin that lumps a “store” of some sort onto the side of a WordPress install.
Instead it’s a full blown, real shopping cart with an amazing array of features.
One of the pros of not being a WordPress plugin is that the software won’t be vulnerable to the constant WordPress oriented attacks that are going around in cyberspace.
Another potential plus is that you won’t have to worry about plugin conflicts.
Ease of Install
Shopitect isn’t complicated to install however– and Brett has recorded very detailed videos showing how to install it in just a few minutes.
I installed it in a subdirectory side by side with a wordpress blog, where it worked fine after I made one small tweak to the config file to include the subdirectory in the rewrite base.
I even used the same database as my WordPress blog which saved me time, and since the Shopitect cart uses its own database table prefix, there’s no risk of conflict with my WordPress install over table names.
Amazon, Ebay, & Commission Junction Integration
After install you’ll also need to add your Amazon, Ebay or Commission junction API keys to Shopitect under Catalog Settings so you can search those market places for products to add to your store.
Adding Products to the Store is Easy
If you want different product categories, those are easy to create using the Categories option in the side bar.
Once you have created your categories, then just go to products and search through the marketplace you want to use– for my test I used Amazon.
It was easy to just go down the list and choose products by checking the box next to the items I wanted to add.
Once I was done, I just clicked Add to my Store, and the products were instantly imported into the category of my choice
One thing I would have liked to see in the product search results however, would be the star ratings for the products, or a link to check the product out on Amazon.
Another nice feature that will lead to higher conversions among shoppers is the automatic addition of relevant product videos from YouTube to the product page, and an Amazon reviews block.
Even the see more reviews link contains your affiliate ID, so you’re getting the cookie for those visitors who choose to read more reviews.
Unlike some Affiliate product importers I’ve seen where you can’t alter the product listings, the products in Shopitect are actually fully editable– so you can change the description, switch out images, as you like.
Shopitect SEO Features
The Shopitect cart has fairly good SEO features baked into the software.
For instance, products have SEO friendly URLS, and both products and categories have places to configure meta descriptions (often used as the search listing snippet in Google), meta keywords, and meta page titles.
Marketing Features Included In Shopitect
One of the best marketing features in the software is the ability to set up a prize system, managed by the cart where users earn points for things like registering an account, sharing on facebook, etc.
Once the user has earned enough points, they can “buy” the prize with their points. Brett has even included some bonus prizes with the package for you to offer, which means you might not need to create one to get started collecting leads.
This is of course a GREAT way to encourage users to give you those important social signals for your shop and sign up for your email list.
Listbuilding and Auto Responder Features
On the surface, Shopitect is a bit limited when it comes to autoresponder choices– it officially integrates with only two– Aweber and GetResponse– and I found connecting Aweber to it to be very easy.
But Shopitect also supports adding custom HTML to pages through the shopping cart modules section, so you can add optin form code from just about any other autoresponder.
Brett again has a very good tutorial showing how to do that in the members area.
The one caveat to this is that if you want to use custom HTML form codes, you actually will need to design the way the form looks using your autoresponder’s form designer.
Miscellaneous Features Worth Mentioning
Site Backup & Restore
Shopitect has a backup and restore feature, however as far as I can tell, it doesn’t run automatically at intervals or on crontab. Which means you’re likely to forget to do it. One the other hand, since this is an affiliate store, and you won’t be taking orders directly, constant up to date backups won’t be quite as necessary.
One way around that issue would be to install it with a WordPress install next door, sharing the same database, and use a plugin like BackWPUp in the WordPress install to back everything up together.
There are about four “badges” you can apply to products like “featured” “new” “Sale” to highlight and draw attention to them.
The badges mean you won’t need to make special product images and swap them out to draw attention to products that are a really good deal, or best of breed.
Shopitect comes with standard disclaimer pages like those needed for the FTC, Amazon affiliates or others to comply with the law regarding advertising. And they are fully editable, automatically shown in the footer of your site.
You can even add more pages inside the cart if you need other types of policy pages.
Putting Your Store on Your Facebook Fanpage
Brett includes a fantastic tutorial in the members area that shows you one easy way to get your Store directly integrated into a tab on your fanpage. Which means you can get more exposure for your affiliate products… even on an affiliate product unfriendly platform like Facebook.
Nothing is Perfect... A Few Tiny Complaints...
Though I think a full blown shopping cart with all these affiliate features is absolutely an amazing deal, there were a few little things I thought could be improved.
Small Font Sizes
For one thing, in the admin dashboard, some of the text is a bit small. If you’re 20 years old with perfect eyesight, you might never notice, but I had to focus to read some of the light grey text.
Changing Categories for Products
Though you can change the categories for any product after import, I found it was not that easy to locate the option in the product editor.
Subdirectory Configuration During Install
The install script did not fully account for the subdirectory it was going into and so I had to edit the .htaccess file to add the folder name before the SEO friendly URLS would work.
Not everyone will know how to debug this and fix it, so here is the part I changed, if you run into this issue installing in a folder instead of the website root.
This is a very nice, feature-rich affiliate store builder— I was able to set up a niche store full of Amazon affiliate products in one afternoon, even not knowing a thing about the software before I started. And I think I could set up the next one in about 30 minutes from start to finish, now that I know how it works.
Add to that the innovative reward system, the automatic importing of videos and reviews, list-building features, I think this is a product that is only going to get better and definitely worth grabbing if you are building affiliate stores as part of your income model.