What You Need to Know about Ecommerce
Everyday millions of dollars are spent online. In 2011, online shoppers broke records on Cyber Monday, spending upwards of $1.25 billion. In the coming year, online sales are expected to total more than $7 billion. Online shopping has become not only an essential tool but also a means of purchasing a variety of goods and services from clothing to cars. And with this move to online store fronts, more and more businesses are finding that Ecommerce is both beneficial and cost effective.
Once you’ve moved your business online there are a few Ecommerce solutions you should be aware of. First you’ll need an Ecommerce shopping cart. There are many forms of online shopping cart software, but the best are often those that can be customized specifically for your site and your business’ needs. This can include integrating your company’s design elements, quantity options and the ability to track orders. Ecommerce shopping cart software will also allow your site administrator to log in and manage pricing and shipping as well as limit access to certain internal users and consumers.
Another important element of your online store is obtaining a merchant account. A merchant account allows you to handle online payments through the use of consumer credit cards directly on your site. Some things to consider when setting up a merchant account include merchant fees, SSL certification, what credit cards you will be able to process and technical support. Third party online credit card processors are another option if you choose not to handle credit card transactions yourself. A third party online credit card processor offers your consumers a link once they decide to purchase one of your products, they are then directed to a third party site to complete their transaction. With third party processors you may be charged additional fees including a set-up fee, monthly fees and/or per-transaction fees. Besides the often superfluous fees, consumers may be wary to purchase through your site if you are not handling the transaction personally.
Along with your merchant account, you’ll need a payment gateway. A payment gateway essentially connects your online store to your merchant account by translating the order form information and providing it to the merchant account. It also ensures the consumer has enough credit available to make a purchase. These can be obtained separately from your merchant account or as a bundle with your merchant account provider.
Finally you’ll want an SSL Certificate, or Secure Sockets Layer. An SSL will encrypt all private information sent over the internet on your site. To ease their concerns, visitors will see a distinct symbol in their browser window that designates your site page as secure. They can also see that a site is secure by looking at the URL, when consumers are taken to a secure page the URL will read “https” rather than “http”.
While these are only a few of the elements you’ll need to successfully develop your online store, they are some of the most important to consider. If you have further questions regarding Ecommerce solutions, click here to see our Ecommerce FAQ page.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net & Stuart Miles
Categorized in: eCommerce Solutions