Running an online shop is a lot more complex than a simple website and most software for handling one is provided as an online service.
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SellerDeck (formerly Actinic) takes a different approach, providing a desktop application which creates and manages a shop on your own PC. The site itself can be hosted locally, too, or with a hosting service of your choice.
There are several versions of the software, starting with the simple Catalog version and moving up to an Enterprise edition for larger corporates. The Business version sits above Catalog and can handle offline sales – phone and mail order – as well as ecommerce.
It’s only a single PC licence, although confusingly it is possible to run it on two machines, where one is used for maintaining the site (upload) and the other for order processing (download).
SellerDeck Business 2013: Features
The SellerDeck Business 2013 screen is busy and there’s no attempt to simplify things or use a trendy ribbon interface, although there are four distinct work areas headed by tabs above the main control panes.
The tabs in SellerDeck Business 2013 are headed Content, Design, Orders and New order.
Content shows icons for each page and items on your site in a tree down the left-hand side, with information related to the selected icon in a panel to the right. This information is categorised, but there’s a steep learning curve to climb before detailed changes become second nature.
The Design tab shows a page from the site, again selected from a Content Tree, though this time on the right. The basic design of the site can be selected from one of 12 templates and coloured in any of 22 schemes, although these all have a fairly anodyne look and you may need to pep up the design.
Alterations can be made in a similar way to using a desktop publisher, or by editing the underlying HTML; the screen can be split to show both.
The Orders tab shows both current and historical order information and can pull up customer info, including from online fraud checks. These checks are performed by DataCash, part of Mastercard, but only if you also opt for SellerDeck Payments, a separate, sibling product.
The New order tab shows an order panel similar to a typical online order screen and is where phone and mail orders are entered. Using this online paradigm makes the screen easy to learn, so entering a new order in real time, while dealing with a customer on the phone should be straightforward.
The software links with Dreamweaver for design and Sage Accounts, for more financial analysis and bookkeeping, but can be used fully standalone, if you don’t need that level of detailed control.
New features for the 2013 version of SellerDeck Business are concentrated on improving the experience for your customers, rather than upgrading the back office database. Improvements to search and filtering offer suggestions as customers enter keywords and make it possible for the seller to create new pages from filter results alone.
Option selectors on shop pages can now be made to interrelate so, for example, different options in a size selector for a product can change those offered in the corresponding colour selector.
Prices can also be altered in real-time, as a customer makes option selections. Lists of items can be paginated, too, removing the need to scroll down many products in a big category.