iCat Corporation, a provider of electronic commerce software, today announced the release of Version 2.1 of its iCat Electronic Commerce Suite. The iCat software allows companies to quickly, easily and affordably create interactive catalogs, deliver them on the Internet and CD-ROM, and accept electronic transactions from shoppers.
Key features of this new release include support for the First Virtual Internet payment system, email order verification for merchants, dozens of new predefined catalog templates and user interfaces, improved catalog searching capabilities, and compatibility with Sun-OS and Digital Alpha NT Internet Server platforms. The new enhancements of Version 2.1 combined with the existing power of the iCat Electronic Commerce Suite, solidify it as the premier electronic catalog publishing and transaction processing software.
"The electronic commerce market is maturing rapidly, and this release provides both merchants and shoppers with the new features they need to do business on the Internet," said Craig Danuloff, iCat's president and chief executive officer. "iCat software has been successful because our shrink-wrapped solution delivers the best catalogs on the Internet quickly and affordably. This release improves ease-of-use, payment security, and shopper convenience -- three things that catalog developers and users need desperately."
Expanded Secure Payment Support with First Virtual Compatibility
Catalogs produced using iCat software can now accept electronic payments via First Virtual's VirtualPIN numbers. First Virtual introduced the first operational Internet Payment System in October 1994 based on its unique VirtualPIN that members use to purchase goods. A verification email is sent to the buyer's address to diminish the possibility of fraud. The buyer's credit card number is registered in advance by telephone, thereby eliminating the need for encryption hardware or software.
"First Virtual is delighted to forge this relationship with iCat, a clear leader in the field of Internet commerce software," said Lee Stein, chairman and chief executive officer of First Virtual. "They have provided an easy way for merchants to get to the business of merchandising and selling online. These merchants can use First Virtual for taking secure payments and for opening new marketing channels. We will now get to work cross-marketing our products to each other's customer base."
iCat standard security options, S-HTTP and SSL, are now complemented by the First Virtual electronic payment system, in addition to the previously announced agreements with Checkfree and Open Market. For more information about First Virtual Holdings Incorporated, visit their Web site.
Improved Merchant Information and Administration
Merchants can now automatically receive email notification of electronic orders received via the Internet. These email messages can be formatted for easy importing into inventory, shipping, or accounting systems. Merchants can also check sales status remotely from any Web browser via secure administrator access. They are able to view sales by date, customer, or items sold, using predefined or customized forms.
New Searching Options
Merchants can now offer shoppers a variety of product indexes, keyword searches, or sophisticated multi-field specification searches. The specification searches allow shoppers to locate and review all products offering two or more desired attributes, and then specify additional desired attributes to further narrow the search. All search capabilities utilize the iCat Electronic Commerce Suite's ability to create Internet pages on-the-fly from the database.
Over 250 Predefined Internet Template Layouts
iCat's rich template technology allows merchants or web developers to produce not only attractive catalogs in minutes, but also extensively customizable and feature-rich ones. Over 50 new template designs are included in Version 2.1, and the original 200 templates have been redesigned to include powerful new features such as text or graphic indexes, text or feature searches, tables, frames, remote administration, and many other features.
CD-ROM Catalogs offer more shopping functionality
Both Macintosh and Windows CD-ROM catalogs can now be created easily with the iCat Commerce Publisher. CD-ROM catalogs can now be fully functional offering full screen, full motion user interfaces with electronic ordering capabilities. A trial version of the iCat Commerce Player, the CD-ROM player software now available in Version 2.1, is included at no cost.
Six Internet Server Platforms Supported, and six more coming soon!
The iCat Commerce Exchange now supports Sun Solaris, Sun-OS, SGI Irix, Digital Alpha NT, Windows NT, and Macintosh. The addition of Digital Alpha and Sun-OS support came as a direct result of iCat Commerce Partners who requested support for those platforms. iCat also announced that three additional UNIX platforms, Linex, BSDI, and Apple AIX would be released later this month.
iCat Electronic Commerce Suite
The iCat Electronic Commerce Suite includes the iCat Commerce Publisher (which permits users to collect, organize and lay out product information and publish ready-to-use Internet or CD-ROM catalogs) and the iCat Commerce Exchange (which adds secure transaction-processing capabilities to any Internet server, including the ability to accept, process and track electronic orders and shipper registrations).
By creating an interactive catalog with iCat's software, companies can quickly increase visibility and revenues, establish a 24-hour market presence, expand their product offerings, increase customer convenience, test promotions, and extend advertising efforts.
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