|Merchant Services, E-commerce and Credit Card Processing Information|
The Five Steps of E-Commerce
You set up a retail business, you advertise in your local newspaper, you get customers coming into your store, and you receive payment at the cash register. Create an online store, and...how do you get customers? How do you receive payment?
The concept is the same, but the steps are different.
Step 1: Create your website
If you don't have web design skills, you can hire a qualified web designer to create a website for you, or you can use an online site builder. Think of it as hiring an architect and an interior decorator compared to setting up shop in an existing store.
Using a web designer
With the services of a web designer, you can have a unique website template and website customized to your specific needs. A web development team can also add features such as Flash headers or any programming needed for your site. If your company image is critical, a custom-designed site that conveys the right professional image is a must.
Using an online site builder
An online site builder is the budget way to go. With site builder programs such as Site Studio, your website can be online within minutes. A step-by-step menu allows you to choose a layout and colors, and then add a site description, a logo, and content. Your template may not be unique, but your content will.
Step 2: Set up an e-commerce store
Your customers will browse at your website, select some items, and then pay for them. When you set up an e-commerce shopping cart, you're providing a way for your customers to bring their purchases to the cash register. The program you choose will allow you to enter your products in the database and allow shoppers to choose products when they click on "Add to cart" or something similar.
Two well-known shopping carts, osCommerce and Miva Merchant, both allow you to do these tasks:
? Add, edit, and delete product categories and other information
osCommerce is an open source program. Store owners can set up their online stores using osCommerce with no costs involved. For small stores, it has all the features you need for an online store. Drawbacks of osCommerce are that customization is not easy, and online stores using osCommerce tend to look similar.
While Miva Merchant carries a price tag of $995, some web hosts offer Miva Merchant licenses with their hosting plans. If you choose Miva as your shopping cart, be sure to host your site with a host that provides Miva support. Its learning curve is steep, and it requires the support of people who know how to work with it.
With the price and the steep learning curve, you get more features, and you can customize the program more. Add-in modules can be bought that perform a number of tasks. In addition, a strong support community is available in the Miva user group forums.
Step 3: Get a merchant account and payment gateway
When customers arrive at the checkout counter, you need a way for their payments to be transferred from their credit card accounts to your bank account. The method you choose may depend on your sales volume.
For high-volume sales, an e-commerce merchant account plus a payment gateway will meet your needs. A merchant account provider authorizes the transfer of payments to your account, and a payment gateway transfers the information from your customers' financial institutions to yours.
Most merchant accounts have setup fees, transaction fees, monthly fees, and statement fees. The transaction fees are less than what you'd pay using a third party credit card processor such as PayPal. With all the fees, however, the overall cost is typically lower only if your monthly sales volume is over about a thousand dollars.
For medium and low volume sales, PayQuake and PayPal are viable options.
PayQuake offers three merchant account types to choose from. Although they all require payment gateways, the two smaller plans have no monthly minimums. You can upgrade to a higher or lower plan if your needs change.
PayPal has become a household name. Customers can send payment through PayPal via credit card or via money that they transfer into their PayPal account. While the fees per transaction are higher than with merchant accounts, there are no setup or monthly fees, and you don't need a payment gateway. You pay only when you have financial transactions.
Step 4: Create a secure payment environment
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate enables you to receive credit card information securely from your customers. When a payment page is using SSL data to encrypt data, a small image of a lock appears at the bottom right of the screen.
Some web hosts offer SSL certificates as part of their hosting packages. If your web host package doesn't include SSL certificates, you can purchase one separately.
With PayPal, no SSL certificate is required.
Step 5: Generate traffic
Your products are on display in your newly designed store, your shopping cart is set up and ready to use, and you have everything in place to be able to receive payments securely. Now all you need are customers.
This is where marketing comes in.
? Submit your site to search engines.
For related information, see these pages:
? Do-It-Yourself Search Engine Optimization
Cheap Cigarettes, Discount Tobacco and Cigars Online - Is It Legal?
Many people online today still believe that buying tobacco products via the Internet is an experience that is doomed to failure. Either, the package will go astray, or the HM Customs and Excise storm troopers will smash down the door and abseil from the roof to collect the pennies that they are allegedly due for "tax evasion".
The Five Most Commonly Encountered, Off-putting E-commerce Errors
While getting less public handwringing than during holiday season, the "abandoned shopping cart problem" continues to wreak havoc on online sales. Recently I judged a raftload of sites for the Webby Awards (my second time) and for the Inc. magazine Web Awards, as well as for my own clients. Here are the five irritants and obstacles that most frequently disrupt the visitor's shopping experience at e-commerce sites.
Implications Of E-Commerce For Tax Legislation
As e-commerce develops ambiguities in the current tax code in which it may be exposed. It would not be regarded as too early to take premature steps for undertaking such a review at a time when detailed international legislation are going on to promulgate acceptable standards laws for imposition taxation in this regard. The Central Board of Revenue should take active part in promulgation of conducting research on this subject in hand and should propose any changes to tax law in the light of what emerges in development in e-business. In the meantime, Central board of Revenue will do two things:
Credit Card Merchant Account Basics
Knowing which credit card merchant account to get can be very confusing. There are thousands and thousands of banks, merchant account providers and third party sales teams that can offer you all kinds of incentives. Billions of dollars are transacted online every year and you want your share. Where do you turn? What do you look for? Read on to find out...
Getting Started in ECommerce ? Part Two
In Part One we talked a little bit about what Ecommerce is, getting a domain name and setting up a merchant account. Ecommerce is more than that, much more. To have a really good online presence that gets people to stop and shop you need a strategy for success. Your strategy must include your USP or Unique Selling Position in the marketplace. What makes you stand out from all the other online entrepreneurs looking for the same type of customers as you? Can you stand out from the competition based on quality, price or benefits? Once you know your USP, you can begin the monumental task of telling the world about your site. A really unique selling position will give you an advantage over all the competition ? well that and a lot of planning and investing of your time and money.
Intranet - The Benefits Realisation Plan
The Millennium Experience
Start doing online business using B2B Portals in Six Steps
I registered with a B2B site but what's next?
Do You Need A Merchant Account?
Deciding when to get your own merchant account for internet sales can be a confusing and expensive venture. If you have a small to medium sized business and only sell a small amount of products then having your own merchant account may not be the answer for you. Some of the costs involved include.
7 Questions to Ask A Potential Internet Merchant Account Provider
Recently I went looking for an online merchant account, with disastrous results. I made the mistake of taking information at face value and relying on the ecommerce merchant account provider's good reputation in other areas.
Web advertising e-Marketing Places!
Online Florists - Send Flowers Online When Youre In a Hurry
You did it again, didn't you? Forgot until the last minute that birthday, anniversary, graduation, promotion, or fill-in-the-blank-here. No fear, online florists are here. No longer do you have to work in that lunch time stop at the florist shop. Now customized flowers are just a hop, skip, and click away. With the added bonus of being in an international market, most of these online florists offer same day delivery to cover up even the most forgetful patrons.
Is ClickBanks Popularity Drawing To An End?
ClickBank is the Internet's most popular payment processor for online payments but with many rivals appearing on the scene is ClickBank's popularity drawing to an end?
Your Readers are Publishers Too
Too often we charge ahead and treat the web as if it were just like any other medium. We know it isn't, but somehow we just can't resist retaining complete control of the creation and publication of our website and newsletter content.
The Census and the E-Commerce Wave
Understanding business and product sales can sometimes put me in a whirlwind. My job tends to get me involved with loads of different opportunities dealing with all sorts of product lines. It is not my job to understand every single type of product, but it is my goal to assist my clientele with the broadening of their product market.
Ecommerce Comes from Customer Satisfaction
Online shopping is convenient, but many companies whose web sites do brisk sales often leave consumers wanting. That's according to ForeSee Results, a research company that studied customer satisfaction among Internet shoppers. One way to improve the experience is gift cards, according to Merchant Commerce (http://merchantcommerce.net), an e-commerce services provider. Gift cards can be used to reward loyal customers and to attract new clients. "People love to tell their friends about new shops or products they have found," said Rebecca Campbell, Manager of Merchant Commerce. "Gift cards get shoppers in the door, whether it's a Web store or a physical outlet."
Intranet Portals ? Search and Taxonomies
Knowledge Management for beginners
Creating The Perfect Ecommerce Website
If you're thinking of jumping on the bandwagon and going into business with your own ecommerce website, you'd do well to look at a few examples before you start. Finding out what a good ecommerce website looks like will help you know what to include - and what to avoid - when you start to set up one of your own. Here are some of the things you'll find on the perfect ecommerce web site:
The Clickbank Crash of 2003: Lessons Learned
I had a rude awakening recently. I checked the days worth of sales from one of my sites and there were none. This had never happened before and of course I was anxious to find out what was wrong.
The House Of Print.Com
Publishing has always been a difficult business to promote successfully, which titles by which authors to promote, which genre, will it be fiction or non-fiction? Will they sell? Will they make money, both for the publisher and for the author? So many questions which there is no definitive answer and so the publisher takes a chance with his money and his time and resources and decides on which books to publish, promote and distribute to the bookshops. He may only distribute to bookshops in his own country and if they don't sell well enough, will not be seen by anyone else in the world.
Shopping from Your Cell Phone with Froogle Wireless
Many surfers already know about Froogle, Google's shopping portal that is still in beta testing. Google has now expanded their Froogle service so that it is available on WML-enabled cellular phones. Most newer cell phones that can connect to the Internet have this capability.
|home | site map|