3d3.com – ShopFactory v4.4 review

build online shop catalogues quickly
Photo of 3d3.com – ShopFactory v4.4
£199 + VAT

Market-leading products like Actinic Catalog and ecBuilder Pro from MultiActive have brought the concept of creating catalogue-based Web stores within the reach of anyone with a PC and an Internet connection.

The only problem is, these applications are typically designed for creating one Web site for your own use. If you fancy trying your hand at several online ventures, or building sites for others, then you are looking at purchasing multiple copies of the software – and spending a small fortune.

ShopFactory, on the other hand, still offers catalogue-based Web shop creation in next to no time, but also allows you to create as many sites as you like for yourself. Not only that, but a sensible one-off fee for the developer’s version means you get access to everything you need if you want to create fully operational e-commerce Web sites for your customers.

During development, ShopFactory loads with an Explorer-type tree display of your Web store, showing multiple departments leading to the products themselves. The top level of the ‘tree’ caters for overall shop parameters, the next leads to department settings and eventually you arrive at the product details themselves – all very logical.

Products in your shop can have the usual definable options like ‘colour’ or ‘size’, but also special cases such as ‘add-on battery pack’ or ‘stainless steel finish’ are catered for. Each option can also affect the basic item price (up or down) if required. Shipping calculations can be based on product weight, linked to three classes of postage and multiplied by international or local region factors. You can even create your own shipping providers ‘CSV’ file and use this for total flexibility.

For online processing of credit cards ShopFactory comes with links to more than 20 real-time online processing banks, and 3D3.com can help you accommodate others if required. Orders arrive via e-mail, with a free SSL service and PGP encryption built-in and tax is handled by regional or international rates – so with a little effort you can cater for UK VAT by designating the rates applicable inside and outside the EU.

Company: 3d3.com

Contact: 0709 2025314


Verdict
You shouldn't expect 'designer' shops from a catalogue builder (and you certainly won't get them), but ShopFactory offers around 30 or so themes to pick from, and you can alter background colours, textures, button sets, the language used and font attributes as well. Straight out of the box ShopFactory is very simple and accessible, and with access to the underlying templates there are few limits to what you can achieve. All told this is an excellent example of the breed, and deserves serious attention from both end-users and developers alike.