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This interview was conducted back in 2016, but we feel the Q&A still provides valuable insights into the beginnings of 3DCart (now Shift4Shop).
In 1996, Mr. Gil was looking for an affordable and highly customized shopping cart solution. When he could not find one to meet his needs, he got to work creating one himself. Over the years, 3DCart has grown, and Gonzalo now oversees the company’s vision and day-to-day operations, leaving his days of coding and programming behind. This Florida-based business is one of our top picks in our eCommerce Platforms Reviews, and we are proud to feature the found in our latest people who rock the web interview series. Get to know the man behind this successful business to learn what makes 3DCart an excellent eCommerce service.
You’ve grown 3DCart for two decades. Any new ideas up your sleeve?
I’ve been developing numerous ideas over the years, always focused on eCommerce and our clients’ evolving needs. Our goal is to help 3DCart’s online retailers better manage and grow their businesses. And by turning our best, most innovative ideas into 3DCart features or apps (e.g., 3dBoost and Fraudwatch), we help pave the way toward easier, simpler eCommerce for aspiring entrepreneurs and businesses around the world.
How did you come up with the name 3DCart?
In our company’s early days, we noticed that having a number in front of your name would get you listed higher on web directories. With that in mind, we brainstormed for a short, easy to remember name that began with a number, and the name 3DCart was born.
How do you stay ahead of competitors and industry trends?
What allows 3DCart to stand head and shoulders above our competitors is our dedication to progress and innovation; the 3DCart platform is constantly evolving to meet our merchants’ growing needs.
Although no two businesses are identical, when your client base consists of 10,000+ businesses, it’s easy to identify how different types of businesses operate, including their needs, goals, and expectations. With this insightful information, we’re able to keep track of common merchant pain points, allowing us to continue our effort to improve the 3DCart software on a monthly basis.
What are the most important factors to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform?
The most important factor to consider when choosing an eCommerce solution is whether it’s fully hosted or downloadable, such as the case with Magento and OsCommerce. Although there are a myriad of advantages with a hosted solution, one of the primary benefits is security (which can be an incredibly difficult, time-consuming and stressful responsibility when you’re self-hosting).
How have you grown from being a programmer to leading the company?
I started by editing and modifying existing code from open source software. Over time, I began building small desktop apps, like a Point of Sale application, and later a billing software, which 3DCart still uses to this day. Eventually, after having built numerous custom shopping carts for clients, I built the first version of 3DCart around 1999-2000, which we’ve been improving ever since.
What I’ve learned from my experiences, and what I recommend to aspiring entrepreneurs, is to start small and grow only as fast as you need to. Don’t look at what other companies are doing. I’ve witnessed a lot of companies start up, grow massively in terms of employees and expenses, and eventually fail because they ran out of money.
What’s the future of online shopping?
As we’ve witnessed over the years, mobile commerce is rapidly growing to the point that over 50% of transactions are occurring over mobile devices. Now that online wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet are widely available, making the process of buying from a mobile device easier than ever before, I foresee that in just a few short years, more than 80% of shopping will occur over mobile. Consequently, businesses should direct their resources and attention toward implementing Mobile Commerce if they wish to maintain a competitive edge.
Who is your biggest mentor and what have you learned from him?
I would have to say that my biggest mentor is my father, whose determination to succeed knows no bounds. Having been an entrepreneur his entire life, I’ve experienced from a very young age what it’s like to be in business for yourself. Working alongside him has shown me that perseverance, drive, and a positive attitude are the skills I need to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Which blogs and apps can you not live without?
Blogs/sites that I read on a daily basis are Hacker News, Mac Rumors, and Search Engine Land. (Editor’s note: We love Search Engine Land too!)
Apps that I can’t live without include Todoist, Evernote, and Icatcher (Podcast app for IOS).
When not working, what do you like to do for fun?
I’m a gamer at heart, so can usually be found playing the latest video game in my downtime. When time permits, I also love to travel with my family.
Anything else you’d like to add?
3DCart is at the forefront of technological innovation, spearheading the rapid evolution of eCommerce. In the past year, we’ve launched version 7.0 of our platform; introduced a new Managed Google Shopping service, myWebmaster service, and DIY SEO service; released a groundbreaking POS system; and launched a universally-praised popup app, 3dboost. We’ve got a lot in store for 3DCart merchants, and we can’t wait to share with them the exciting developments we have planned for just around the corner.
Thanks for reading. 3DCart was acquired by Shift4 (a payments provider) in November 2020). We’re excited to hear what’s ahead for Shift4Shop and thanks again to Gonzalo for taking the time to share some of his insights with us! Be sure to checkout our Shift4Shop review and find out how they stack up vs the competition.
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