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Ron Ridley Auto Care Mall

  Actinic Catalog

"Actinic Catalog incorporates every element of a commerce site, catalog, cart, security and order processing 'out of the box', with pricing to attract the small and medium size enterprise. With Catalog any company can publish an illustrated, on-line store from a Windows 95 or NT desktop, take secure, encrypted orders over the Internet, and process these orders in-house. "

- Actinic Software


Installation of the Actinic Catalog Program itself was very simple and fast on the client machine. But as at first we were not exactly sure on what was required on the server side, we did experience a bit of difficulty in getting a catalog set up for trial. With the help of the excellent tech support at Actinic Software, we were able to get our server set up properly in a few minutes. Purchase of this software and hosted on a hosting server that is familiar with Acatalog makes installation and setup easier.

Because of the built in encryption features of Actinic Catalog, the package is only good for one online store as it is in the box. You can run multiple stores off of the same copy of Actinic Catalog, but extra registration keys must be purchased.


With many of the shopping cart systems set up on the Internet you need; an HTML program to design the pages, a good reliable shopping cart script, another program for handling how things are ordered and another for how things are paid for. You also need to have security measures set up for online credit card orders as well as someway of processing the orders. Now try to find software that will work well together to accomplish all of those goals. That can be very difficult and extremely expensive. Actinic Catalog is a complete store in a box. One software to meet all of those needs.

Actinic Catalog also is set up to be easily configured to work with any of the major online credit card processing services, or use it's own security encoding. I preferred the built in encryption methods of the software itself for a couple reasons; one, it's free as it comes with the software and; two - it is completely safe. Orders are encrypted right on the buyers computer then sent to the server in an encrypted form. The order can not be encrypted until it is downloaded to the seller's computer. The unique encryption key of the seller's computer is needed to unlock the order. There is no important information sitting on the server in text format. When an order is received to your store, you simply get an e-mail with a one sentence message stating that you have received an order. Then it is up to you to go to your catalog and download the order which is not decoded until it reaches the seller's computer..

The catalog is also very easy to have set up so that a third party designer can handle the physical attributes of the site itself and have the owner handle all of the order processing on a separate machine.

Do you need a third party designer to do the design and set up? No. The software does come with some ready made templates and themes that can be used right out of the box and have a store up and running in a very short time. Extensive knowledge of HTML programming is required in order to give your site a look to match the rest of your site. With good knowledge of HTML, you can in fact make your catalog look and feel exactly as you wish.

Actinic Catalog will support small and medium sized business with up to 10,000 products. To help buyers find what they are looking for in the online store, each store is set up with a complete search utility as well as a site map can easily be incorporated with a single click of the mouse.

What about shipping costs? Well, that can all be set up right within the catalog as well to automatically calculate all shipping costs using several different variables, such as by weight, by number of products and by cost to name a few of the common setups.

Taxes are also set up to be calculated automatically and can be configured to have the user simply check a box if the taxes do not apply for international or out of province/state buyers.

All orders are also processed directly through the software. Everything from invoices, packing slips and order picking list are all generated and can be printed out. Tracking orders is n\made easy with the ability to also mark individual items in an order as shipped, should the whole order not be available.

Cost Value:

The cost of Actinic Catalog is currently at $399.00US. Pretty steep for a small business? No way ... when you consider all of the features that this one piece of software is packaged with to all of the software that would be required to do the same thing in as efficient way ... you would be looking at three, four times that cost. $399.00US is a great bargain for such a piece of software. There are several out there that do the same thing, but cost in the thousands of dollars. At Actinic, you are paying for the software, not the name.

Overall Comments:

Actinic Software specializes in Shopping Cart Software. Actually that is all they do. They have one product (well, actually two. There is the Actinic Mall which is a variation which we didn't have a copy to test), that's the Catalog. They take great pride and channel all of their efforts to one great product. The tech support is fantastic. They also have an optional mailing list that you can participate in or just lurk around for great tips and help in setting up your store as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The one draw back that I have found is that the site cannot be administered or designed from more than one computer. It can be designed on one and administered on another, but cannot be designed or administrated from more than one computer. This may be a problem for seller's that travel a lot and would like to do their main administration in the office and still be able to do so on the road with a laptop.

Should you have any questions regarding this software, please feel free to contact me.

Review ID Number: 373
  Product Details
Actinic Software
Review Date: 2001-04-19
Reviewer: Brad Lawryk
Rating: 9 out of 10
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