ProStores 10 Offers New Design, Promotional Tools

The new version of ProStores includes Page Builder for customizing storefronts plus a new promotions functionality and better eBay integration.

ProStores has launched Version 10 of its online ecommerce platform for merchants and eBay sellers.  The platform is designed for small-to-midsized businesses.

ProStores is a full ecommerce solution that lets online merchants design online storefronts, catalog products plus manage store administration tasks like shipping, invoicing and inventory from within the single platform.  It is also used by eBay sellers as the solution integrates with any eBay selling business.

New Page Builder Tool Helps Merchants with Store Design

The new version offers several new features that are designed to help drive revenues for merchants and save time with new features and back-end management enhancements. There are also options to design more trendy or contemporary-looking online stores. 

“This is a major upgrade with new features for design and management. Updates in this version are really focused on helping merchants drive sales and save time," said Lin Shearer, ProStores head of marketing and revenue.

One of the key features added in ProStores Version 10 is the new Page Builder design tool that helps merchants to create the key pages within the online store.

The Page Builder offers an easy drag-and-drop panel system that is edited and then added to the page layout. The panels are available for key pages like the home page, product list and product detail pages.  Within each panel there are different options to manage the content. For example, you can show products in columns, and you can control product attributes, such as in stock, quantity available, and manufacturer.  

Merchants can use the panels to design page layouts without needing to know any SSML or HTML, however those who are code-savvy can choose to use their own custom designs and also create, save, and manage multiple layouts using Page Builder. 

“You can go in and create different page layouts and have them lined up for testing different home-page layout versions or have layouts ready for different promotions that you plan to run.” Shearer said.

Another new layout and design feature is a store theme with horizontal category navigation, something Shearer said was a popular request from merchants using ProStores.

Automated Promotions and Advertising Banners

Page Builder introduces a new concept -- automated advertising panels -- that you can use to schedule promotions and highlight the promotion on the storefront.  The advertising panel lets you create an advertising banner and then the merchant can schedule it to run automatically on the storefront during the set promotion time.

You can display the promotions simultaneously in a grid format on the storefront or you can display them in a typical filmstrip format.

“This was another request from merchants using ProStores who had to go to a designer for creating these advertising banners," Shearer said. "Now, merchants can very easily create these advertising banners and run a series of promotions that typically are only found on the larger online retail sites.”

To run the banner adverts, merchants can use the Advertising Banner Creator in ProStores to put together the graphics, and text, set the terms and schedule it to run.  

This type of automated promotion capability for a small merchant can help save time, especially during busy holiday sales periods.  Because you can design promotions in advance and schedule them to run, merchants can spend time during busy sale periods focusing on other store management tasks and customer service -- instead of having to devote time to designing and managing a promotional campaign.

More Features, Pricing and Availability

Other features of ProStores 10 include enhancements to store administration, navigation, orders and invoicing.  Shearer said that this new version of ProStores also offers better eBay integration.  

“How product lists are imported to ProStores from eBay gives eBay sellers and merchants more control,” he added.

Additionally, merchants can convert eBay listings to products in ProStores with a single action, versus individual import, and eBay sellers using ProStores can also sync inventory between ProStores and eBay Selling Manager Pro.

ProStores Version 10 is available now. A free 30-day trial of the ecommerce platform is also available on the ProStores Web site. ProStores is a subscription-based service with plans starting at $29.95/month plus a 0.5 percent transaction fee.

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

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