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Software In Review: WebAssist eCart

Posted on 10.18.2006

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By Peter Prestipino

WebAssist’s release of the latest version of their eCart e-commerce extension for Adobe Dreamweaver gives website owners the power to build e-commerce enabled sites with powerful controls, multiple checkout options and fluid design displays. ECart makes Website Payments Pro’s point-and-click easy to implement and supplements eCart’s long-standing support of PayPal’s Website Payments Standard — together providing the complete PayPal shopping cart solution to support the four million Dreamweaver users, 30 percent of whom are actively building e-commerce platforms and accounting for over $20 million in PayPal purchases each month.

The following is what the Website Magazine design team has found most interesting about the eCart extension.

Power Comes From Control
Along with standard default columns such as product ID and name and user-defined calculations (total weight and total price), the eCart extension lets users create customized shopping carts by integrating with virtually any back-end system. ECart also supports both data-driven and static product listings and allows for custom merchandising rules. Indeed, power does come from control and eCart supports most major existing data sources such as MS Access, MySQL and Oracle.

Payment Options for Everyone
One of the more important decisions website owners make when designing and developing an e-commerce site is selecting the payment processing method and getting it properly implemented. ECart enables the customization of the checkout experience by allowing your payment gateway to accept transaction details on their secure site. This is done by using services such as AuthorizeNet, Express Checkout, LinkPoint, PayFlow, PayPal, 2CheckOut and WorldPay or through a “same site” (local) checkout option — if designers prefer to keep customers on their own site. The current version of eCart supports Express Checkout, Authorize.Net AIM, LinkPoint API, and VeriSign PayFlow Pro.

Designed and Developed by Experts
A problem with many out-of-the-box solutions is that they look like they literally came out of a box with usability to match. ECart provides several professionally designed layouts that can be customized, and provides an effortless way to tweak layouts and the CSS behind the scenes to your own preferences.

But eCart is not just about the style. The displays that you can create are actually quite powerful, from a usability perspective. Shopping cart contents can be displayed in an updateable cart (e.g. changes of quantity), read-only carts (displaying cart content confirmation before checkout), QuickCart (an abbreviated cart display which shows current totals) and an email-friendly cart (which provides shopping cart displays in email receipts).

Last But Not Least
Another benefit of WebAssist’s eCart subscription program are the minimal costs associated with the plugin. Designers and developers can create unlimited online stores for less than $20 per month and a $20 activation fee. As software updates and detailed tutorials are provided with the subscription, it is a good solution if you are serious about ease of use, gateway integration and making the most from a shopping cart system.

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