Regardless of what you are producing and selling or what your customers are, a dynamic, interactive website should be one of your pivotal assets. Having a nice stack of business cards on your table isn’t enough. Neither it’s enough to have a website that is nothing but a tired, old brochure published on the web. Business cards are effective with face-to-face meetings, while online brochures are intended for informational purposes only. This is where interactive corporate websites come into play. Built wisely, a multi-featured website should be your most effective salesperson.
How to build one? As usual, the options are endless, and one of them is Ocoos, a web publishing suite geared towards the needs of small- and medium-sized service-based businesses. I was surprised to find their own comparison table (placed on their major website, see screenshot) emphasizing the benefits of Ocoos over such options as Wix, GoDaddy and manual web design. This intrigued me a lot, actually. Therefore, I decided to sign up for their 30-day free trial and write an in-depth review of the system.
#1 Ease of Use
It’s easy. The system is very user-friendly, uses simple language and is easy-to-navigate. All major tabs are always within eyeshot. There’s also a brief inbuilt tour that will guide you through all the tabs of Ocoos as you discover them, one by one. All in all, it’s very easy-to-use regardless of what you’re going to edit, be it your Contact Us page or newsletter.
#2 Feature Set and Flexibility
Ocoos offers an impressive, business-specific feature set allowing users to manage complex business processes in an easy and professional manner. Their back-office administrative tools include:
- Native eCommerce system.
- Built-in discount manager.
- Online scheduling.
- Digital document signing.
- Client management.
- Sales tracking and more.
In other words, the platform is exclusively geared towards product/service-selling businesses. It allows you to create multiple offerings, approve or decline online bookings as well as charge your clients directly via the website. All approved bookings are automatically added to the inbuilt Calendar that will help you keep your biz well organized. You may also add new events manually, if needed.
I’ve created an offering in my test Ocoos website and booked it as a user. I’ve got instant notifications as the website owner and client. For clients, they offer handy receipts that can be printed out right after filling out the booking form.
Though Ocoos is literally packed with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and other tools, it lacks flexibility (this issue will be covered below). Besides, it will charge you 4.99% for each transaction.
Update: In August 2014 Ocoos announced the release of the second generation of its platform. Ocoos 2.0 comes equipped with a patented B2B Networking capability (Ocoos B2B), new payment structures and also design customization capabilities.
Well, they don’t have any templates. The only thing that is customizable is your content and Site Theme (color). All Ocoos-based websites are destined to have the same layout, buttons and fonts. If you have your own vision of your corporate website, you won’t be able to implement it with Ocoos (compare it with uCoz where you can completely rebuild your website from the ground up).
#4 Customer Support
They do care about their clients. There’s live chat/email support and Ocoos support database. Additionally, Ocoos will assign a professional consultant to your account to assist you in achieving your online goals. The consultant can be reached either via email or via phone.
#5 Pricing Policy
There are two paid plans: Premium ($25/mo) and Concierge ($35/mo). In case you opt for the latter plan, your website will be set up and managed by Ocoos professionals. Bear in mind that you’ll have to give away 4.99% of each transaction conducted through your website.
Compared to the other website builders, Ocoos has opted for limiting design flexibility in favor of productivity. If you need direct access to HTML/CSS and a high degree of customization, you will be disappointed in this system.
Ocoos Review: Conclusion
Ocoos is a robust web publishing platform that runs like clockwork, mostly because it doesn’t open up the source code to users leaving them no chance to mess up the design and functionality of their websites. If you’re not picky about fonts, layout and visual impression in general, Ocoos may be just what your business needs. However, if you are looking for creative freedom you’ll find this website builder too limiting.