ProStores Review: E-Commerce (4.5 stars)
ProStores is a Solution to Nearly All Your e-Commerce Needs
ProStores has the most complete set of e-commerce tools by far. It provides everything you can possibly imagine for any size business, from the small Mom & Pop Web Store to huge enterprises like Amazon.com. If you want it, ProStores has got it. The only thing lacking is the design of the shopping cart, which is a little simplistic.
Lots of Options, Easy to Set Up
We found e-Commerce set-up a little scary with its long list of options to configure, but it was easy to follow. Store, Product, Order and Shipping settings all expand to many more sub-settings ranging from payment preferences, sales tax, promotions, email marketing, etc. The up side to is that after you've done this once, you probably won't need to update often.
Most website owners will never need most of the e-commerce features in ProStores. But if this range of tools is something you need, this is the only place you'll find it.
E-Commerce Setup Has Lots of Steps
E-Commerce is set up through store administration. A quick summary of store statistics is listed in the home area, giving merchants an overview of store activities, sales, and any pending orders when logged in.
Store Administration Stats
Shopping Cart Not So Sharp-Looking, but Has Good Options
If you want to give it a very sharp, professional look, you have to know coding. Otherwise, the shopping cart is simple, but still very usable - similar to CityMax's shopping cart.
All ProStores packages come with the shopping cart. While the express package has a product limit of 10 items, all packages offer unlimited product listings. The only catch is that there's a transaction fee on each product sold. See Value section for more details.
Currency and Payment Options Give Maximum Flexibility
Different currency options are available for international merchants. Merchants can choose to charge in a native or a foreign currency providing they have the proper merchant accounts set up.
You can accept payment in 3 ways: credit card, check or money order. Because ProStores and PayPal are both owned by eBay, PayPal Pro is featured as the choice payment processor and merchant account solution during setup. Many more payment processing companies are also available, including Authorize.Net, CyberSource, and LinkPoint etc.
Many Payment Processing Companies Available
For even more flexibility, the business package of ProStores also uses Electracash (an electronic check company), while the advanced and professional packages allow you to accept purchase orders and COD (Cash On Delivery).
So Many Product Options
There are many product options available through ProStores, including product tracking numbers (SKU, ISBN, UPC), the condition of the product, weight, length, width, height, thumbnail and photo image, product promotion, applicable tax, quantity, meta description and product attributes that you assign (though you're limited to 2).
With the Advanced and Enterprise hosting packages, you can assign the same products with different attributes a different tracking code number (i.e. ISBN or SKU). This makes it easier to track your inventory,
More Competitive e-Commerce Tools for Merchants
ProStores provides a variety of Shipping Options, a Tax Calculator, even a customer management system that gives you a quick overview of past customer purchase records. All are easy to set up and use.
As expected, ProStores is integrated with eBay and lets you manage your product listings on eBay directly through your website. This is a great feature for eBay sellers, providing a central location to manage sales.
Upload Products Individually or a Bunch at Once
Products can be added to the Web store in two ways, individually or by a spreadsheet of up to 5,000 products at once. ProStores makes this even easier by offering spreadsheet templates that merchants can use to setup their product listings.
Add-On Tools For a Complete Merchant Solution
The utilities section has a number of powerful, advanced merchant tools. StoreSync, for example, allows you to integrate your store with Quickbooks for easy accounting.
Merchants can also download Store Monitor, a tool that will track activity in your store directly on your desktop.
UPS WorldShip, a desktop application offered by United Parcel Service (UPS) is also available for download. It lets merchants who need to ship many packages to easily process shipments and update order status.
Finally, a report area lets you run reports to analyze the success of your store. Although these reports are simple and most likely won't help with a complete market analysis, they're useful to have.
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