We deal with eCommerce almost everyday as a customer, but when it comes to selecting an eCommerce solution for your website it seems more complicated. Here are some of the most common payment options.
A payment gateway is one of the first choices you will have to make. There are many payment gateway options, but not all of them will integrate easily with a website. The most common gateway option is PayPal.
PayPal is nice because they have many other options available and different levels of partnership which can save you money. If you are a registered nonprofit organization you can get a reduction in transaction fees. But, PayPal is one of those companies people either love or hate. If you hate PayPal or think your customer will shy away from it then pick another gateway. PayPal also handles all the private credit card information so you don’t need an SSL Certificate, which can save you money. PayPal also has a mobile app which allows you to use a card reader right from your mobile device for free.
PayPal also has stand alone payment buttons you can configure and post on your website. This may work great if you have one product, but if you have multiple products you are better off getting an integrated eCommerce solution. These buttons are also a little intimidating to some customers because they are so heavily PayPal branded.
Simplify eCommerce is a new payment gateway by Mastercard that will accept Visa, American Express, Discover, JCB and Diners Club, debit, credit and prepaid cards. Their fees are slightly lower than PayPal and they have a Virtual Terminal option. No matter where you are, you can take orders by phone, fax, email and more, right from your computer. You do not need an SSL certificate with this option either.
Amazon Payments is basically another PayPal type option. Their pricing and services are pretty much the same as PayPal. They also have a mobile app which will allow you to use a card reader from your mobile device. The difference is that you will need an SSL Certificate.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents via the Internet. If you are going to sell on the internet you should get an SSL certificate. It isn’t required for every payment gateway, but it makes everyone, including Google, feel more comfortable about the transaction.
When you do not have an SSL certificate you have to send your customer outside your site to process the transaction. With an SSL Certificate they can stay on your site which allows you a better chance to interact with your new customer.
Shipping and delivery of your product is another area of concern. Most eCommerce solutions come with an option for flat rate and free shipping, but if you want to charge for shipping and your products are varying sizes you will want to purchase an extension that will tap into your preferred shipper.
If you want to include a shipping calculator on your website you should keep in mind that you will have to enter the weight and dimensions of your product (including the container) in order for the shipping calculator to work properly. This can slow down the process of entering your product if you intend to provide accurate shipping costs to your customers.
Virtual products are also easily delivered by the right eCommerce solution. Our favorite is WooCommerce by WooThemes. With a virtual product you need to consider how many downloads someone will be allowed, etc. WooCommerce has a great solution that delivers a unique URL to every purchaser so that the customer cannot pass the URL on to their friends.
Subscription service is also a tricky component. The right eCommerce solution should include an option for the purchaser to cancel their subscription as well as rules surrounding pro-rated fees, etc. WooCommerce by WooThemes also has extensions available for this capability as well as many other payment gateways and special functionality, like social sharing, online bookings, tax collection, the list goes on and on.
There are so many options it can be intimidating. If you need help with your eCommerce solution we can help you.