e-Biz in a Box Deluxe – Software Review – Evaluation
Victoria Hall Smith
* Requirements: Win 95/98/NT/2000 or Mac OS 7 or Linux; Web browser * List Price: $169 with one year of hosting, $14 per month thereafter; Standard Edition $89 with one year of hosting, $7 per month thereafter; three-month free trial available * Manufacturer: e-Biz Web, 888-458-9368, www.ebz.com
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OFFERING A ONE-STOP E-COMMERCE SOLUTION for your small business is an awfully big claim to make, but the people behind e-Biz in a Box have made a serious stab at it. This design/hosting bundle offers impressive tools for customizing a canned site or importing an existing one, along with all the services required to run it. Parts of the product are still developing, but the overall experience is very positive.
As its name implies, e-Biz in a Box is a packaged retail product (actually two products: a Deluxe edition with real-time credit card processing, HTML page import, and unlimited e-mail accounts, and a Standard edition without). However, the supplied CD-ROM is just a start–as with most of its e-commerce site-hosting competitors, you’re really hiring an application service provider (ASP).
Each stage of setting up, importing, or operating your online store has its own guided tour–an outline of the process with loads of choices and relevant help. Everything is built around a powerful database, so the tools for more sophisticated sites–shopping carts, catalogs, live chat, inventory management, secure e-mail, multiple payment options–are all well supported. You’ll pay a la carte for which options you choose.
While e-Biz in a Box is generally strong, we were disappointed that all of our site’s multiple domain names ended with ebz.com, which can make an operation seem small and make it harder for visitors to remember a URL. Nor is the database customizable, so we were unable to include higher levels of detail about products, prices, and customers.
Still, limited customization is commonplace among budget e-commerce hosting services, and e-Biz in a Box has enough other strengths to merit serious consideration.
[pros] Simplifies setup and operation of small site; strong navigation
[cons] Limited customization in reports and databases
HOME OFFICE COMPUTING rates products on a scale of 1 to 10–with few 9’s or 10’s–based on value, performance, innovation (medals go to rare standouts in these areas), ease of use, and suitability for home offices. The [pros] and [cons] symbols indicate pros and cons.
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