When it comes to e-commerce, you usually have two choices: a simple website builder with few features or a versatile builder with lots of features that’s also difficult to use. Zoey came from roots of the latter, but managed to turn its platform into something simple yet functional.
It was only two years ago that Zoey went live, and yet, it’s already risen to become one of the most versatile e-commerce builders out there. Zoey has received glowing reviews both from customers and websites, and does indeed seem to have attained an astounding level of quality.
So, what makes Zoey great? Is it the builder, the e-commerce features, the infrastructure? Let’s take a closer look at this e-commerce builder tool and see what it has to offer.
- 1 A Descendent of Magento
- 2 Above-Par Design Features
- 3 Enterprise-Level E-commerce Features
- 4 Hosting, Infrastructure, and Add-ons
- 5 A Few Problems
- 6 The Great Things About It
- 7 A Great E-commerce Builder for Mid-Sized Businesses
A Descendent of Magento
Zoey’s origins run deep, all the way back to a company known as Pixafy. Pixafy used Magento as a base to build e-commerce sites, and its five-year run under the future founders of Zoey was extremely successful. But they saw Magento’s unnecessary complexities, and decided to start a new project aimed at automating and simplifying these issues.
While they slowly chipped at the big issue, Zoey’s team quickly realized that they needed to take the developer out of the equation. E-commerce should be run by the merchant. Now, while Zoey began on the base of Magento, they’ve evolved into something completely new.
While they’ve hit all the big goals, the team still strives to improve this service as much as they can. Even so, two years in, they’ve created something that can compete with and beat other e-commerce platforms. Efficiency at its finest!
Above-Par Design Features
Like most others, Zoey provides a drag-and-drop web builder, though it seems simple enough for a novice user to get the hang of. The themes included for free are all responsive — extremely important for a business — and while they’re not as drop-dead gorgeous as themes provided by some other builder tools, they look modern and professional.
The Zoey builder also includes standard design tools such as snap guides, style editors, menus, and buttons. Live previews let you make sure it all looks great on every device.
A pretty large downside to this platform is that transferring from another site requires you to pick a theme and essentially reorganize everything. Products and customers are transferred via just a few clicks, but not the layout of the site.
Also, only the most expensive plan allows access to the hard code. Otherwise, you’re restricted to the apps, themes, and builder elements provided by Zoey. For those of you not familiar with HTML or CSS, the code-free design is a major asset.
Enterprise-Level E-commerce Features
You’re here because you run a business and the single most important element of your e-commerce builder tool is what it will enable you to do to generate sales. Well, lucky for you, there are quite a few features here that will do exactly that:
- For starters, Zoey works just as well for physical or digital goods and you can manage everything from pricing to inventory within the platform
- You can organize your merchandise however you prefer and introduce unlimited variations, such as color differences
- Customers can be grouped based on pricing and order volumes. You can also set different access levels to customers, requiring some to enter a password prior to checkout
- There are tools to help you update images, make products easier to find, and cross-sell relevant products
- Discounts and gift cards are easy to implement, so there are a number of ways available to upsell customers through your store
- Customer reviews are enabled to show off how truly valuable and popular your product offering or services are with others
- Multiple currencies and languages are supported if you cater to an international audience
- You can make your store “smart” and offering suggestions based on data provided by your customers
- There are also advanced marketing features included, like targeted email campaigns and abandoned shopping cart reminders.
Although SEO isn’t a strictly an e-commerce feature, it’s an important part of your online store’s success nonetheless.
Zoey boasts a number of solid SEO support tools including:
- Speed: search engines factor it in when ranking your site. With Zoey’s global CDN and optional in-region hosting, you’re promised “blazing fast speeds”
- Customizing tags: You can customize H1 tags, title tags, meta descriptions, URLs and more
- HTTPS: All sites on the Zoey Business Plan are on HTTPS, another search ranking factor
- Advanced sitemap: You can pick which pages are indexed first and how often your sitemap is updated.
Zoey also offers customers a free SSL certificate, sitemap builder, and mobile-friendly layouts.
Hosting, Infrastructure, and Add-ons
Zoey provides hosting with the e-commerce builder, so there’s no need to look elsewhere for it. You can choose which datacenter will be best in terms of store performance, but the CDN makes sure that everyone gets super-fast speeds no matter where they are located.
Unlike other hosts, bandwidth is not something you need to worry about. Every plan gets the same speeds and the Zoey team provides continual monitoring and security over the underlying infrastructure.
Perhaps one of the most attractive parts of this hosting is how easy it is to transfer your e-commerce store from one provider over to Zoey. Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Volusion all have easy “switches” over to Zoey.
A Few Problems
Sometimes, you have to sacrifice features like extensive customizability in order to secure a great e-commerce platform for your business, and this is one of those situations.
Here are some of the things about Zoey we think may give some potential customers pause, so pay attention:
It’s Not Cheap
In a rather odd trend, web builders and hosts seem to be suddenly cutting out their most affordable option, alienating a big part of their potential customer base and forcing you to choose a more expensive plan. This is unfortunately what happened with Zoey.
Zoey claims to cater to everyone from startups to large enterprises, but most smaller companies won’t be able to afford even the cheapest of plans for the Zoey e-commerce builder. Part of this is because of the plan costs, but part of it is due in part to the additional costs that arise from using the app library. So, if you’re thinking about purchasing this builder, do make sure to take into account all costs associated with the platform first.
As far as the ability to make your site unique, Zoey could do better. They offer the tools to simplify CSS, and the ability to design and organize your store the way you want is nice, but the overall site design leaves something to be desired. For instance, you have to pick a theme to start, which means you cannot build your store from scratch. If you want to get into the code, you’ll need to pay for the most expensive plan. Ditto if you want to use custom apps or themes, or make your own.
And there’s no mention of features like parallax or other modern design enhancements. The builder will get the job done, but maybe not to perfection. The robust e-commerce features make up for it, but that doesn’t change the fact that Zoey’s builder falls flat in terms of design capabilities.
The majority of this builder is pretty simple to get the hang of, but to make the most of it, the ideal user will come in with some coding experience.
The Great Things About It
For those who can foot the bill, Zoey is one of the best choices in e-commerce you can make. It’s not free of issues, but the pros very much outweigh the cons. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an e-commerce platform that provides as much while having such ease of use.
Intuitive Enough for Users of All Levels
While there are a few unnecessary complexities, for the most part, Zoey proves itself rather easy to use. Like most other drag-and-drop builders, it won’t take too long to get a handle on even if you’re new to this sort of thing, and it does what it needs to do.
Once you get into the more obscure settings, there are a few gems worth uncovering, too. There’s a handy tool that uses “if” commands to apply a discount in almost any conceivable situation. It’s simple to add custom product variations and more as well. It’s intricate where it needs to be, and this works out well.
Zoey’s builder is overall just a very easy-to-use yet versatile tool. Complex for those who need it, simple for those who don’t.
Too Many Features!
We jest. You can never have too many features when you’re attempting to build a high-quality online store. Just reading through their website could take an hour, and there’s a lot to discover hidden in those pages. From design to e-commerce to infrastructure, Zoey has tons of cool features to share.
It’s also worth mentioning that each feature is unique, helpful, and tailored to businesses that want to build a robust and high-performance store. You could talk about their extensive app library or the free hosting, SSL, and CDN included with the package. Then there are the SEO tools provided to help customers improve search rankings. There’s plenty to appreciate here.
No Hidden Fees
Setup fees? Nope. Hosting costs? No. Transaction and service fees? No again.
Now, to be clear, some of the app add-ons do cost money. Using third-party services, such as shipping services, may also incur their own extra costs. And, on the cheapest plan, some features like the in-region hosting and file manager can cost extra as well.
But these don’t cost much in comparison to the monthly price itself, and they’re clearly outlined. You know what you’re getting into. But when it comes to dodgy hidden fees, this doesn’t seem to be an issue with Zoey.
A Great E-commerce Builder for Mid-Sized Businesses
It’s a shame that Zoey.com is not priced for the first-time online store creator. For those who can afford it, though, it’s certainly a great choice to consider. More expensive e-commerce platforms can’t compare, and you’ll certainly get more bang for your buck.
Zoey is certainly doing well for itself in just two years. The company provides for B2B and B2C businesses, has a robust app store, and offers tons of great e-commerce features. The builder isn’t as customizable as it could be, but it’s better than other, more simple e-commerce solutions. All in all, a solid choice.