An Overview of iBuilder

By Laura Rush | Posted June 11, 2003
Small to medium-sized business looking to establish an online presence quickly with low risk and low costs should check out Succeed's iBuilder — a suite of products that gives a growing business everything it needs to create and manage an online business.

Built with non-technical people in mind, iBuilder's suite of e-business tools helps new and seasoned retailers present, sell, process, and track their products on the Internet, with no upfront capital investment or long-term contracts required.

iBuilder combines front end, backend, and marketing tools to help small business owners create a new online business or expand their current brick-and-mortar or catalog business to the Internet. "iBuilder provides a complete solution for doing business online," said Omar Sayed, president and CEO of Succeed Corporation. "Few businesses are online-only, which is why iBuilder enables established businesses to connect their offline business efforts with their online solutions."

The iBuilder suite is comprised of a four tools that can be used separately or in any combination to suit a business' unique needs: SiteBuilder, StoreBuilder, TrafficBuilder, and AffilateBuilder.

SiteBuilder enables small business owners to easily create their own Web site from hundreds of professionally made Web site templates. SiteBuilder comes with an image gallery that includes customizable images, which can be modified to complement a business' unique design. Other tools and services available in SiteBuilder include an HTML editor, management tools such as Web traffic reporting and statistics utilities, Web hosting, and dedicated support. One pitfall is that SiteBuilder claims you'll get a response to a support query within 24 hours, which can be a long wait for those business owners that rely on a faster response time to prevent any lengthy stoppages of business.

SiteBuilder also includes state-of-the-art Web hosting and five e-mail accounts for a monthly rate of $9.99.

StoreBuilder supplies all the functionality needed to turn small business' site into an e-commerce workhorse. StoreBuilder includes a Catalog Manager, which is designed to help small business retailers track and manage their inventory and sales information easily and accurately. Retailers can review or change product lists, or new items can be added to the catalog simply by completing the forms provided and uploading product images and text.

A detailed inventory management tool is also provided via the Sales Manager utility, which allows merchants to keep a running inventory of every product in a catalog, verify each order, and approve products for shipping.

A variety of online payments are also available, as iBuilder is compatible with more than 40 different payment gateways. Retailers can accept major credit card transactions (once a merchant account has been set up), electronic check transactions, and PayPal.

StoreBuilder also includes a tax tool that helps retailers control how much sales tax to charge based upon where their business is located. The appropriate tax amount can be applied using the menus and tools provided.

Retailers have the ability to offer marketing incentives to their current and potential customers, as StoreBuilder includes a functionality that enables retailers to create e-coupons. The amount of the discount, expiration date and limits on usage can be selected and discounts can be sent to desired recipients. Retailers can also track how many times each e-coupon has been used.

StoreBuilder also offers iBuilderLink software that integrates incoming orders with Intuit Quickbooks Pro software. iBuilderLink acts as a bridge connecting a retailer's iBuilder online sales-related information with his offline QuickBooks 2002 or QuickBooks 2003 accounting data. All customer activity, vendor information, inventory items, and online sales made using an iBuilder account can be synchronized with a QuickBooks company file. Storebuilder retails for $29.99 per month.

TrafficBuilder offers a combination of powerful tools and reports that helps small businesses owners market their Web site and track advertising campaigns and productivity. Included in the TrafficBuilder utility are submission tools, which allow retailers to submit information about their stores to the major search engines. An E-mail Marketing Center is also provided, which shows novice retailers how to build a mailing list and run a successful e-mail campaign. For example, small business owners can begin sending out e-mail newsletters that feature new products, distribute e-coupons, and announce promotions. All of the information about prior e-mail campaigns can be stored, allowing retailers to gauge the success of each and run increasingly more effective campaigns. TrafficBuilder is available for $19.99 per month.

AffiliateBuilder allows retailers to create and manage their own affiliate program, which can be used to attract new customers via online referrals. Through the Affiliate Manager tool, a small business can set up and launch an affiliate program in no time. Affiliate recruitment is simple, thanks to an easy registration process: iBuilder provides a pre-built registration form with all of the necessary fields to gather information on potential affiliates. Once affiliates sign up, they automatically receive login information to access a business' available banners and links, as well as their commission reports page. The tool also allows retailers to effectively manage their affiliate programs, including the ability to keep track of affiliates' contact information and nature of their Web site. AffiliateBuilder retails for $29.99 per month.

The iBuilder Suite is currently available for 30-day free trial.

Adapted from ecommerce-guide.com.

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