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GoEMerchant offers fully hosted payment gateway solutions with the added ability to create your own online store. We should say immediately that this solution isn't going to generate you a brilliantly designed store (Just take GoEMerchant's own store as an example), but the payment gateway features are robust and well supported. To get the most out of this service we think you would have to have a good reason to want a merchant account included in your package, in which case this can be quite cost effective. Otherwise, we suggest looking elsewhere for a more user friendly solution.
GoEMerchant offers two types of package, but we will mainly consider the 'Total' package here which includes the ability to generate an online store. The other 'Gateway' package only offers a payment gateway that you can use to handle payments from other stores you may own. Getting set up with either package isn't too much trouble, although you will need to know some programming in order to integrate your own site with the payment gateway. However, if you opt for the total package everything is generated by filling in forms on a web interface. It's not a particularly user friendly interface, but it will allow you to populate your store with products and generate a store front from some basic templates.
What GoEMerchant really concentrates on is the payment gateway aspect of the service it offers. The store generator feels almost like an afterthought and really doesn't generate the type of web site that is going to attract customers who are used to flashy web 2.0 functionality. However, GoEMerchant does provide the ability to link into the checkout page from anywhere on the web. You can simply use the button generator to generate a snippet of HTML that can be pasted into any other web sites you control, or even web forums, and will link directly to your product. This can be useful, but doesn't really make up for the poor storefront.
We weren't too impressed with GoEMerchant's pricing, which seems quite high for the services on offer. Both packages are charged at a monthly rate, but there is also a mysterious 'annual fee' which isn't explained anywhere so we don't understand what it's for. Furthermore there is a pretty hefty setup charge on both plans, which is something many providers have done away with. As a final kick in the teeth you are also expected to pay a $0.10 charge per transaction if you use the payment gateway. This cost includes hosting and free support, but we couldn't discern how much bandwidth is included in the packages. The fact it isn't mentioned anywhere speaks volumes on the quality of the service in our opinion.
We don't rate GoEMerchant very highly and think it needs to modernise and re-think its pricing strategy if it hopes to attract any customers. Everything looks dated and information on their homepage is very difficult to find. There are far better solutions out there at far better prices so we would urge you to check out our top ten before considering GoEMerchant.
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