Actinic Catalog - Frequently Asked Qestions (FAQ)

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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I get my product information into Actinic Catalog?

    Actinic Catalog is best suited to sites with between 10 and 10,000 product lines. These can be arranged in any number of sections and sub-sections, with an unlimited number of levels.

    If you already have a list of products in electronic format this data can easily be imported into Actinic Catalog via a CSV format using an import wizard. Alternatively, you can manually enter the information via Actinic Catalog's Windows users interface.

    Entering product information is simple. All that's required is to enter a part number, name and a description, price and VAT treatment. You can also link an image file with the product, or even put a hyperlink in the product description to a page of more in-depth information.

    How does Catalog generate the online catalogue?

    Actinic Catalog generates your commerce site as a set of normal HTML pages. The pages are created from three components:

    1. Information provided by the vendor about names, description and prices of products together with information on terms and conditions in the company. The vendor also provides information about the colours to be used in the catalogue (e.g. background colour, font colour etc.)
    2. Images, such as navigation buttons and product images, which are used in the catalogue.
    3. Templates which are used to create the layout of each part of the online catalogue.

    When you do an upload, the complete HTML pages are generated on the desktop according to the specifications of the above three groups of components. These are then automatically uploaded to the web site by Actinic Catalog. Once the upload is complete, your commerce site is open for business.

    Is Actinic Catalog secure?

    Yes. Actinic Catalog uses 128/256-bit encryption to safely encrypt credit card information. This is almost unbreakable and it means that customer's credit card information will not be able to be read by anyone other than the purchaser and vendor. The vendor can then process the credit card numbers in the normal way.

    Barclays Bank, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland are all more than happy to allow their merchants to use Actinic Catalog.

    Alternatively, Actinic Catalog can be integrated with a secure server (SSL) or a number of Online Credit Card Processors (who take credit card numbers securely and carry out the transactions online.) These include NetBanx, WorldPay and Datacash. Other processors are able to integrate their services with Actinic Catalog using plug-in technology.

    How do customers place orders at the web site?

    Customers can visit the online catalogue and browse through the products there. If a customer sees a product they wish to purchase then they click on the 'Add to Shopping Cart' button. The online catalogue then registers which product this customer has selected and the customer is shown an electronic 'shopping cart' with their product inside. This shopping cart is carried with them whilst they are visiting the site and it goes with them into the checkout.

    The online catalogue also has a search facility built in so the customer can easily find their ideal product.

    How can I change the appearance of Actinic Catalog?

    As with all good software, Actinic Catalog can be customised, providing a look and feel that meets your company's requirements and style sheets. What can be achieved varies from simple to complex. The product is shipped with five pre-designed 'themes' which can be imported at the press of a button.

    All of the icons used for navigating your site can be changed.

    When Actinic Catalog generates your catalogue ready to be transferred to your web site, it uses a series of "HTML template" files. These files are installed in the 'Site 1' (or equivalent) directory and can be accessed by viewing the 'Template Manager'. By changing these files you can change the appearance of your catalogue and make it look just as you wish, whilst still enabling you to add, change or delete product and other details through the Actinic Catalog application.

    Also, you can import a 'theme' into your catalogue using 'Theme Manager' (under 'Design | Themes'.) A theme is a professionally designed look for a commerce site comprising of a set of images, templates, and colours.) All the themes are fully customisable.

    Can I integrate Actinic Catalog with my existing FrontPage site?

    Online catalogues cannot be maintained Microsoft FrontPage.

    However, because Actinic Catalog creates static HTML pages, any part of your online catalogue can be easily linked into/from your FrontPage site using normal hyperlinks.

    You cannot use FrontPage themes directly with Actinic Catalog. However, Actinic Catalog's design options will allow you to make sure that the look and feel of your online catalogue is fully integrated with the rest of your site.

    How can I change all the text in my site?

    Using Display Options, you have the ability to change every bit of text in the website. This is useful if you wish to change the site to another language. Use the search facility in the dialogue to locate the precise piece of text you want to edit.

    How will I know if an order is waiting at my website?

    You will be automatically notified via email every time someone makes an order. The orders can then be downloaded at the most convenient time for you.

    Can I integrate Actinic Catalog with any of my accounts packages?

    Using Actinic Catalog's 'Export' facility, information about contacts, products ordered, product details etc can be exported as a delimited text file and imported into other applications.

    Actinic Catalog uses an Access-style database to store information in which can be manually edited using Microsoft Access. However, it is recommended that you do not adjust or integrate with this file directly as it can cause problems with Actinic Catalog.

    Why not just email the orders straight to me?

    There are several reasons why we think this is a bad idea.

    1. You will need access to a mail server in order to receive orders, and then if the server goes down for any reason, you will lose all record of the order.
    2. There is the issue of security, with most email travelling over the internet in plain text that can be read by anyone who wants to.
    3. There is the issue of convenience. Actinic Catalog's method of downloading orders means that you are in control of how and when orders are received and processed.

    What is the difference between Actinic Catalog, NetBanx, WorldPay and Datacash?

    Actinic Catalog is a software product which enables you to create and maintain your ecommerce site, allows your customers to look at your products and place secure orders, and let's you handle those orders back on your PC. It is software in the same way as Microsoft Word, Sage Accounting or a computer game.

    NetBanx, WorldPay and Datacash all provide payment clearing services which enables buyers to clear their credit card payments at the time that they buy online. Actinic Catalog connects seamlessly to these services during the buying process and just leaves you with the task of shipping the order out to the customer

    Waht else might I require?

    You may find that a DIGITAL camera (such as the Sony MVC-FD73) or a business quality scanner (such as the HP Scanjet 5200C) are useful to assit in preparing your catalogue.

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