eBay's ProStores Updates Inventory Management Features for SMBs

Latest release of online offering for small, midsize businesses beefs up shopping features, automation for merchants, clients

Latest release of online offering for small, midsize businesses beefs up shopping features, automation for merchants, clients

San Jose, CA — October 13, 2005 — ProStores, an eBay company that enables small- and medium-sized businesses to establish customized e-commerce sites, has rolled out new functionality and features in its newest Web storefront solution release, offering improved inventory management capabilities, among other upgrades.

The improvements apply to all four available tiers of ProStores, from the basic ten-item Express store to the Business, Advanced and Enterprise stores, which offer unlimited product inventory. The upgraded product was slated to become available at www.prostores.com starting October 10.

The upgrades in ProStores 6.0 include increased integration with eBay, search engine optimization tools, beefed up inventory management capabilities and expanded shopping-cart options. Every ProStores site will be upgraded automatically, without charge, when version 6.0 is released. Store owners will be notified of the product upgrade through an e-mail newsletter and where merchants log onto their sites.

"ProStores 6.0 incorporates feedback from our merchants and includes more of the expanded features they seek to manage their online storefronts effectively," said Chris Tsakalakis, senior director of stores and platforms for eBay Inc. "We have made the shopping experience more convenient, easier and flexible at all ProStores tier levels with this latest upgrade."

Increased Inventory Management Options

Inventory management is now available in all four available tiers of ProStores, including the Express and Business tiers. The ProStores solution, which launched in June 2005, initially offered inventory management for Advanced and Enterprise tiers only.

The new release enables ProStores Express merchants to set whether they have one or many of up to ten items they have for sale. In the Business tier, merchants now can indicate the exact quantities available for each of their items. With the higher ProStores tiers, store owners can enable backorders and list quantities by a variety of attributes, such as size or color.

Elsewhere, eBay said that the shopping experience using ProStores 6.0 will make it faster and easier for shoppers to check out. Shoppers can now purchase on a merchant's ProStores site without registering. Merchants can choose to require registration or not, or let the customer decide. The registration feature aids returning or repeat customers by automatically remembering their billing and shipping information, eBay said.

Greater eBay Cross-Functionality

While ProStores enables merchants to operate a storefront independent of the eBay marketplace, the software also provides integration with eBay. Integration of ProStores with the eBay marketplace has been beefed up in the 6.0 upgrade, allowing merchants to import numerous photos of their eBay listings of products. ProStores 6.0 also enables merchants to upload product files they create with eBay's free Turbo Lister software.

In addition, ProStores 6.0 gives merchants the option of letting the ProStores software automatically optimize elements of their online store for search engines. This upgrade includes tips to help merchants improve their store's position in search-engine results.

Improved navigation allows shoppers to add or delete items easily from their shopping cart and to access the shopping cart from anywhere on the merchant's ProStores site. Shoppers also can enter a ZIP code to determine the actual shipping cost of an item prior to checkout.

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