Practical Ecommerce

ProStores, Magento Add Features to Existing Platforms

ProStores, the eBay-owned hosted shopping cart, and Magento, the open-source ecommerce platform, have both announced new upgrades to their existing products.

ProStores Adds Feeds, Other Features

ProStores has added five primary enhancements to its cart. They are:

  1. Feeds to theFind.com and NexTag. ProStores now offers automated product feeds to theFind.com and NexTag, both comparison-shopping engines. The automated feeds are designed to generate traffic to ProStores’ customers’ sites.
  2. Improved Discount Functionality. ProStores’ merchants can now offer product discounts as a percent off or an amount off.
  3. Multiple Product Images. Up to four images can now be displayed per product. This should help increase conversions by allowing consumers to learn more about a product.
  4. Automate New Product Creation. With the new “copy product” feature, merchants can create new products from an existing product catalog.
  5. Checkout Improvements. Consumers who use PayPal Standard will now see store credits and promotions on separate line items. And, ProStores has added a bread-crumb progress indicator during the multi-page checkout to help customers know where they are during that process.

Ebay launched ProStores in 2005 after purchasing the Kurant StoreSense ecommerce platform and rebranding it to ProStores. Other eBay owned companies include PayPal, StubHub, Bill Me Later, Rent.com and Shopping.com. Ebay also owns Skype, the Internet telephone service, that it has recently agreed to sell. Ebay’s common stock is publicly traded. Its price on October 14, 2009 was $25.25, a 52-week high.

ProStores is a hosted shopping cart, with monthly prices to merchants ranging from $29.95 to $59.95, plus a .5 percent transaction fee.

Magento Adds Widgets

Magento is perhaps the most popular free, open-source ecommerce platform available today because it offers dozens of merchandising and customer-building features like multiple product images, image pan and zoom, wishlists, customer reviews, email marketing, cross-selling, multi-store support, live customer activity tracking, and more. But if users have one complaint about Magento, it is that the platform, while powerful, can seem complex to non-technical users.

Now a new widget feature, lets the technically-challenged add dynamic content, including all sorts of merchandising features, from the Magento back-end, without having to add any programming code.

“Magento Widgets are frontend blocks with a predefined set of configuration options,” the company said on its website. “These configuration options are displayed in a special edit form in the backend panel when a widget is being added or edited by a store owner. The ability to easily set widget configuration options allows for the full control of widget placement on a page to store owners.”

Magento was launched in 2008 by Varien, a privately-held California-based web development company. The community edition is free. The enterprise edition starts at $8,900 per year, according the the Magento website.
Since its launch, the community edition has grown dramatically, with over 1,000,000 downloads to date, according to Magento.

Practical Ecommerce

Practical Ecommerce

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