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This product has been dis-continued by eBay.
Technology should make our lives easier
• Integrate quickly and easily with eBay
• Simple to set up
• Large inventory
• Large range of templates
• You pay for add-on services
• Mobile version not included
Don’t expect all the bells and whistles with ProStores – this is a basic ecommerce solution and as such is suitable for beginner e-retailers and those that want something simple for online selling.
The Professional ecommerce plan is for up to 250 products and is $29.95 a month. All plans provide a hosted online store, 5GB of storage and 50GB of data transfer, a secure shopping cart, templates and design tools, and a range of other features. You pay more for up to 5,000 products – the Professional ecommerce plus plan is $74.95 a month and gives you up to 25,000 products (this plan also provides unlimited data transfer), and the Professional ecommerce Premium package is $99.95 a month for up to 100,000 items. For this price you also get extra help in setting up your store plus extra features. If you want to see what a plan offers you can sign up for the free trial. Once you have a package, the online set-up wizard and the checklists make it easy to set up your site. And if you have an eBay account you can automatically bring your listings and other settings across from the auction site.
ProStores offers a lot of pre-made templates to choose from, more than similar ecommerce packages at over 150. You can leave the template as it is if you don’t want to edit it, customize the design using the Theme Builder, use HTML to edit the code, or design your pages in an external editor such as Dreamweaver.
Up to four images are allowed per product item but you can also add HTML links if you have more pictures. ProStores doesn’t give you much in the way of choice over how you display your images, unlike other providers which offer zoom features and image galleries. If you already have a web store you can import your products directly into ProStores using an Excel or CSV file and the tools in the ProStores support area.
Inventory management – There are limited inventory organization and management capabilities in ProStores. You can track what is sold, what is displayed on your site, and you can also synchronize inventory over both your ProStores store and your eBay account.
The question is; how does ProStores differ from eBay? Can you use both to sell your products? Using ProStores you can keep both your eBay listings and your product inventory in sync, can manage both sites from the ProStores admin area, and can list items from the ProStores online store directly on eBay. This makes it easy for sellers to manage multiple product lines on the different sites. ProStores is different from eBay because you access it through your own web address and it has no eBay branding. You cannot sell items by auction on your ProStores store.
Payments – Accept PayPal payments and also credit cards when you have a ProStores store by using the PayPal site. By doing this you don’t need a merchant banking account and standard PayPal fees apply. You can also have your customers pay by check, cash on delivery or purchase orders.
ProStores offers a certain amount of marketing help built into the software. The most obvious way to promote your products is by using the link-in with eBay but you can also take advantage of submission of your products to shopping engines, and built-in SEO features. The marketing package is not the most comprehensive but there are other tools including differentiation between pricing (for example for wholesale and retail customers) plus discounts and sales.
If you want reporting features you need to buy an add-on app. ProStores isn’t as useful as other ecommerce solutions as it doesn’t offer features such as reporting, mobile optimization and social networking apps as standard.
Again, if you want your customers to be able to buy from your store using their mobile devices you will have to buy an add-on – ProStores links with DudaMobile to create an optimized storefront for iPhones and Android devices.
For your customers’ and your own security, the ProStores system uses the SSL encryption system so payment information sent through the website is sent securely. The SSL certification is shared unless you upgrade by purchasing a separate SSL through the admin area of your ProStores account.
Ease of use
The beauty of the ProStores model is its simplicity. If you know how to open and navigate a webpage then you know how to set up and manage a ProStores site. One of the cons of the system is the lack of advanced features but this makes the software easy to navigate for the beginner.
Help & support
ProStores offers storeowners 24-hours-a-day telephone support for no charge. There’s also an email option and a list of FAQs on the website. There isn’t any facility for live chat, or a complete online manual for the software.
A good choice if you don’t mind sacrificing the advanced features and additional extras that are available with other packages. The integration with eBay makes ProStores attractive for people who already sell on the auction site.
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