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Who are my hosting options when it comes to Rpro & ECI
#1
Hi, we are currently using Retail Pro for 3 brick and morter stores, our warehouse and an archaic website.

The way the website works now is the host has provided us with a small program that will query a database that i construct from rpro (manualy!) and send an xml file to their server. when an order gets placed the reverse happens where we get minimal information (customer data and product) and when we complete the sales order the item is removed from Rpro.

My problem with this whole system is i have very limited ability to quickly add or remove product from our inventory for the website without having to completely reformat this CommaSeperatedValue file which takes forever.

I was told a while ago the ECI unit works good with Rpro and at the time we looked into a company called UniteU but they seemd liek a bit more than we were willing to spend at the time, now I feel we went with too little, too bare bones.

so my question to you all is, and this might be a lot to ask:

1) How is it to work with the ECI, does it offer seemless intergration with Rpro?

2) Right now we are limited to by the description length in rpro so this is why we had to rebuild the new database, does ECI allow you to have long product desc?

3) How does it handle image formating and organizing?

4) and lastly, the biggest question is, who do you host with, one company wanted to charge us $1/transaction which we thought crazy, another had such a slow server we couldn't imagine it working.

Thanks in advance, finding this forum seems really great so far!!
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#2
The things you discuss below are certainly possible.

If you are an OSD customer, I would suggest that you contact your sales rep and/or me and we can arrange a demo.

If you aren't, then you should talk to your dealer about the current status of ECI, and alternative methods to link RPRO to a website.
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#3
[quote]photoguy (5/16/2006)
1) How is it to work with the ECI, does it offer seemless intergration with Rpro?
----I have mixed reviews on ECI, it is a BRIDGE tool, meaning that it has to act as a "go between software" to set up your website. That being said, Overall I was impressed with how much it could do for the website. I was however somewhat disappointed with the level of difficulty it takes to "manage" all the information between ECI and UniteU where the website is presented LIVE to the world.

Since versions prior to the upcoming v9, have not been a TRUE Database structure, there has not been the capability to access your Retail Pro data in a dynamic and REAL TIME LIVE format, all access has had to use a bridge tool (ECI) via a polling process. I am really looking forward to when v9 rolls out and how ECI decides to allow instant access to your Rpro data.

I would definitely recommend the ECI tool to update a website, since it is going to integrate with all the current Retail Pro processes and has been built specifically for Retail Pro. Trying to finangle another method to do the same job seems to be a lot of EXTRA work.


2) Right now we are limited to by the description length in rpro so this is why we had to rebuild the new database, does ECI allow you to have long product desc?
Whatever Description you have in Retail Pro will be used on the Website, so Rpro is the limiter on this size, not the website or ECI.

3) How does it handle image formatting and organizing?
All image formatting is done manually according to layout design set by UniteU. Organizing not sure what kind of information you want about this, but you can add a Full Size picture and a Thumbnail picture to all items in ECI. Then these are uploaded to UniteU

4)
a.
and lastly, the biggest question is, who do you host with, one company wanted to charge us $1/transaction which we thought crazy
UniteU prices are what they are. They are cheaper than having to employe a Brick/Mortar employee to sell the same item, so.... If you contact your Sales Rep as Dan mentioned they can explain all the costs.
b.
another had such a slow server we couldn't imagine it working.
Most website companies will offer a demo of a site, but most of the time this Demo is not on their LIVE servers. This means that the it will be slower most of the time. I would recommend asking UniteU or any other company for a list of customers that use their service.(From my expericance UniteU has been right in the middle of website response/speed, I have seen faster and i have seen many that are slower.)

Then go to those websites and click around. PLEASE be considerate of the fact that Website Response is extremely dependant on NUMEROUS numerous factors.
**(your internet connection, time of day, how far your internet provider is from "webhost company", how complex the graphics are on the website (load time from the internet, and on older computers the time it takes YOUR cpu to process that information), was your computer running any other applications?, etc.....)
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#4
Our company runs 4 internet commerce sites. We have used 3 different ecommerce platforms including uniteu. We are currently processing over 1000 orders per month. Sadly, we have not had a good option that integrates well with retail pro. In our situation, we needed to be very agile on how we operated our sites. The best solution we have at this time includes manually entering orders into retail pro, and in this context, only using retail pro for inventory management. While this may seem labor time expensive, it has been actually been faster than using currently available ECI integration. Non ECI platforms are so much easier to use, they actually save time.

The idea of ECI integration should be that you only have to enter data into one database. This is not the case at this time.

If you need the most current web site features, customer customized price levels (i.e. wholesale), and site costs that are not per ticket (outdated sales model), you will be using another platform.

Our company is currently waiting to see what our options are when version 9 is available.
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#5
Have you talked to Retail Dimensions? For more technical integrations with ECI, we often use them to solve issues like this. If you are interested, let me know and we can hook you up with them.
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#6
Quote:djablons (6/3/2006)
Have you talked to Retail Dimensions? For more technical integrations with ECI, we often use them to solve issues like this. If you are interested, let me know and we can hook you up with them.

Not sure if this was directed at me. I am interested in finding out about "Retail Dimensions" as I am not familiar with them.

The first question I would ask however is this:

If we are looking at major change in how we do ecommerce, should we wait for the next version of Retail Pro? It would seem that the way integration will work when it comes out will be alot different.
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#7
Yes, that was directed at you.

I suppose that the answer to whether to wait or not really depends upon when you plan to upgrade, and how difficult the current ecommerce integration is for you, and the volume of your ecommerce business.

But the cost of a conversation with Retail Dimensions is free, so I'd suggest you do that, if for no other reason than to get the data so you can decide the best course of action.
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#8
If integration for you is not a big issue then I would like to suggest you for not waiting anymore. Anyways its your decision.
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