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Upgrading to Merchant Solutions vs. Upgrading from V2 to V3

I get these questions from time to time about upgrading from legacy store to Merchant Solutions, vs upgrading a V2 template set to V3, so apparently this is still a confusing topic.

The two are two completely separate issues/topics.

First of all, how can you tell if you have a legacy store?

This is pretty easy, when you log into your store manager, it will say "Store" next to your store's name in the upper left corner in the blue band. If you have Merchant Solutions, it will say "Merchant Starter", "Merchant Standard" or "Merchant Professional".

Upgrading to Merchant Solutions

For the most part, this is only a question of money, because there is a different price structure for legacy store vs. the various Merchant Solutions packages. You can see a comparison of the various Merchant Solutions Plans here: http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/ecommerce/compare-plans

So what do you get with Merchant Solutions that you don't have with legacy store?

Two things mainly, a separate conventional hosting account (typically site.yourdomainname.com) and the option to enable Catalog Manager.

The first thing, a conventional hosting account, may or may not impress you. There are professional hosting packages available from, say, GoDaddy for only a few bucks a month, and I'm sorry to say but Yahoo Web Hosting is lacking considerably in this department. In the name of security they restrict or disable a large number of otherwise standard PHP libraries. And then, there is a "hard" restriction of how many emails per day you can send out from your PHP code (currently 200 or 250), which makes the platform practically useless for many business applications.

The second one, access to Catalog Manager, is more compelling. Catalog Manager is not just another interface to your products, it also offers these advantages:

1) You will automatically have a catalog.xml datafeed which can be used by outside processes (like comparison shopping engines.)

2) You will be able to add, modify, and delete custom fields across your entire product line, something that can only be done one by one in Editor.

3) You let third party developers tap into your catalog via the new Catalog API to add custom functionality to your store.

One thing to note, though, is that you can upgrade to Merchant Solutions, but choose not to enable Catalog Manager.

Will you notice anything in your store editor if you upgrade to Merchant Solutions?

No. The editor will stay exactly the same, none of your data will be altered, so nothing at all will visibly change.

How about editor V2 vs. V3?

You can upgrade from V2 to V3 with or without Merchant Solutions by clicking the Design Wizard link in your store manager. What will the upgrade do? It will delete all of your custom templates, and change all of your pages to use a more up to date template set with a new look, which you select from a number of available templates. This has some very important implications: unless you have a cookie cutter V2 store (using the standard, built-in yahoo store templates), you probably want to think twice before pulling the trigger on this. If you have any kind of custom template work, it will be erased as part of your upgrade to V3. If you do have custom templates, I really don't recommend upgrading to V3. V3 has nothing that cannot be accomplished in V2 also.

Summary:
1) You can upgrade to Merchant Solutions and from V2 to V3 completely independently. One does not depend on the other.

2) You can only have Catalog Manager if you upgrade to Merchant Solutions


Istvan Siposs
Y-Times

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