Components of eCommerce Websites
1) Your Website
a) Your eCommerce Website This is your online connection to your prospects and customers. There are a number of places on the web to get “free” or cheap, cookies-cutter websites, however, the design of your site is critical to the success of your business! If it does not look like a professional, legitimate business – NO ONE WILL STAY ON YOUR SITE, or BUY ANYTHING. If you are serious about doing business on the web, hire a professional to design your website.
b) Shopping Cart (included above) Originating in 1998 under the guise of e-shops, shopping cart software has come along way. In these days, eCommerce software is typically installed on your hosting server, and then set-up is done by a custom developer through the back-end (admin area) of the web application, securely accessed by a username and password. In most cases, the storefront (the public area) will need professional design, and usability testing for a successful launch. The shopping cart, or basket, as they say in the UK, can track the placement of multiple products, and total the final purchase adding shipping and tax. Robust software, like Miva Merchant Shopping Cart, also offers many catalog, shipping, payment, and order management tools that make being a site owner an amazing experience.
2) Merchant Account
This bank authorized account allows you to accept major credit cards, electronic checks, and other forms of payment. Be careful when looking for a merchant account provider! Watch out for hidden fees, high setup fees, and other unscrupulous business practices. Start by contacting your local bank, and shop around for fees, and rates. Make sure your final choice is affordable and the company is easily accessible.
3) Payment Transaction Software – Electronic Gateway (Authorize.net)
After procuring your merchant account, you need one last thing. A way to process the credit card payment securely. An electronic gateway is a software module created by the secure gateway provider, such as Authorize.net. The order and payment data is sent to the credit card authorization network which verifies that the credit card is valid, that the shipping address matches the billing address, and that the credit card account has enough credit to finalize the payment. A possible warning sign that the card has been stolen is that the billing and shipping addresses do not match, and the gateway software declines the sale. We set up Authorize.net Electronic Gateway accounts.
eCommerce questions? Talk to an EXPERT!