Practical Ecommerce

Spree Upgrades Its Open-source Platform; Amazon Launches PayPhrase

Spree, the open source ecommerce shopping cart, and Amazon.com have both announced new products in time for the holiday shopping season.

Spree is an ecommerce platform using the Ruby on Rails programming language. New features include coupon and discount support and an improved system of shipping calculators.

Coupon and Discount Support

With Spree 0.9.0, coupon eligibility is customizable on a per coupon basis. For example, an ecommerce merchant can configure coupon eligibility based on start date, expiration date, number of uses, and combinations (ensuring that specific coupons cannot be used with other coupons in the same order.)

Shipping Calculators

The new shipping-rate calculator system has a more modular design. The screenshot below shows how the amounts for the flat rate calculator are now editable directly in the admin interface.

Spree calculator

Spree calculator

Amazon Introduces PayPhrase

Amazon is attempting to speed-up the checkout process with the introduction of PayPhrase. With PayPhrase, online customers create (or are provided) a catch-phrase which is then used as a shortcut the shipping and payment information in their Amazon.com account. Your PayPhrase can be used for Express Checkout at Amazon and, perhaps most importantly, across the web, via merchants such as DKNY, Jockey, Patagonia, Buy.com, J&R Electronics, and Car Toys, according to an Amazon release.

PayPhrase emblem.

PayPhrase emblem.

The Benefits

The touted benefits of PayPhrase are: privacy, express checkout, and parental controls.

With Checkout by Amazon and PayPhrase, Amazon Payments handles the payment processing for the merchant and the customer.

Amazon’s checkout system is already quite efficient. But the catch-phrase component is, perhaps, more marketable and can also be used on other participating sites.

With parental controls, teens, for example, can shop online within limits their parents set. The parent doesn’t need to provide his or her child with specific credit card information, just the PayPhrase and access code. Controls include monthly spending limits and order approval notifications.

Kevin Patrick Allen

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