The reason for eBay purchase of Kurant Corp. and its flagship product StoreSense in January is now clear. Thursday, eBay launched its new professional Web hosting and e-commerce store building solution called ProStores.
"The Internet is changing and it's becoming even more mainstream and we want to evolve with you however you see fit," eBay CEO Meg Whitman said during her keynote address at eBay Live! at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. "We want to grow with you in every direction. Our fundamental mission is to make you more successful."
With this announcement, eBay is acknowledging the growing popularity of off-eBay commerce sites run by eBay Store owners. ProStores, with its competitive pricing (including 30 percent discounts for eBay Store owners) and PayPal integration, the auction pioneer stands to gain further in cashing in on more of the overall e-commerce market.
"The eBay marketplace remains the focus of our community, but more opportunities benefit everyone," added Whitman.
Bill Cobb, eBay North America president, said, "ProStores is the perfect complement to selling on eBay. eBay wants to be the best place to sell and also the best solutions provider."
ProStores offers four tiers of e-commerce packages. Each one enables merchants to set up a complete online storefront, complete with shopping cart and compatibility with most payment processing companies and shippers.
The basic package, ProStores Express allows sellers to display up to ten items for sale at one time, a PayPal shopping cart, secure ordering pages, eBay integration and email support for $6.95 per month and 0.5 to 1.5 percent transaction fees.
ProStores Business includes everything the Express package includes, but allows for unlimited item listings, a tax calculator, real-time credit card processing, real-time shipping integration, inventory management reports, 24/7 toll free phone support, up to 50 email accounts and five gigabytes of storage for $29.95 per month.
ProStores Advanced adds advanced merchandising and inventory management features, additional payment options up to 100 email boxes and 10 GB of storage for $74.95 per month.
For $249.95 per month, the Enterprise version gives you everything in the Advanced package along with integration with back-end supply and inventory systems and the ability to manage wholesale and retail buying groups. E-mail is doubled to 200 accounts and you get 200 GB of storage.
According to an eBay release, new subscribers will receive a one-month free trial and everyone who signs up through Oct. 3, 2005 will not incur any transaction fees until Jan. 1, 2006.
More information can be found at http://www.prostores.com.
Devin Comiskey is the Managing Editor of ECommerce-Guide.com