Actinic is one of the longest-standing e-commerce packages around, and its maturity means that Actinic Catalog 9.0 is a program that can do just about anything your business requires to sell online.
The interface for Actinic Catalog version 9.0 has been modified considerably: when it launches, the Start Here panel provides a series of buttons for common tasks, and when you enter the main program you will see some new buttons.
Actinic Catalog 9.0's Startup Wizard simplifies the process of setting up a new shop by taking you through the process step by step. The Network Setup Wizard has also been improved to configure your shop for most web servers, including those running on Windows.
The Design Wizard, available in all versions of Actinic, is an addition that will make Actinic Catalog 9.0 easier for new users when customising a site. Also new to this release is the ability to include VAT in pricing, as well as a Product Options Wizard that takes designers through the process of setting stock and price options.
As with earlier releases, Actinic Catalog 9.0 offers a series of options for adding products to a store, selecting payment options (now with better integration with Paypal, although you will need the Business version to perform credit card payments offline), and selecting a theme and template to modify the overall look and feel.
It's simple (assuming that you know such things as details for your payment processor) to populate a store fairly easily – although be warned that the sheer wealth of options available could take you a long time to master if you so wish.
In addition to the tools required to create your store, Actinic Catalog 9.0 includes a range of marketing and promotional add-ons. You can set up best seller or new product listings on your home page, as well as make recommendations based on previous items and offer discounts to different customers, such as those paying trade prices.
One useful new feature is the ability to use Google Analytics to see where customers have come from and track product lines.
For the majority of users looking to run a single web shop and who want more features than the standard stores offered by many ISPs, Actinic Catalog 9.0 is an excellent piece of software. Unless you need advanced payment and authorisation procedures (in which case Business is recommended), this will do everything that you need.