Ecommerce for Internet Only or Land Based Businesses
Shopping cart software can be used to turn your site into a money
maker instead of a money taker. If you are currently using a point-of-sale
instrument at your land based business, you have some decisions
to make on top of choosing software you will use. If you are only
interested an internet only business, the task is a little easier.
First we will outline the options for businesses with land based
hardware and or software in place, and secondly the options for
internet only businesses.
The goal is to incorporate your point-of-sale tools that you currently
have in place, in order to save money on unecessary duplicate machinery
or software. Your first and least expensive route to take is to
simply set up formail on your site with a secure certificate on
your website. Formail will let your customers fill out a form, including
product quantities, product identifiers, credit card number and
everything else needed for a successful transaction. When they click
the submit button the form will send you a copy, and if setup your
customer will also receive a receipt in their mail box. This is
the simplest and cheapest route to offering products for sale on
your site. The next thing you might do is set up a paypal account.
The rates are comparable to what a credit card processor costs,
and paypal does accept credit cards, even if the customer doesn't
have an account. The next and most costly solution, is to find softare
and set up a merchant account with one of the popular credit card
processors. The software solution is described below in the internet
only business section. The merchant account can be set up with a
number of companies, including but not limited to worldpay, verisign
or authorize. You may find that one fits your needs better, but
for the most part they offer similar services. If you are planning
to go all out and spend the dollars on all three things including
a secure certificate, software and a merchant account then make
sure you do plenty of research on who you will do business with.
Most offer some sort of trial service, and this is a good way to
find what suits your company best.
Inernet Only Business
The goal is to create an efficient ecommerce solution that runs
itself and at the lowest cost. You have a plethera of choices when
it comes down to the architecture of your ecommerce site. Lets clear
up a few things first. Yes, it is possible to run free software
effectively. No, it is not possible to accept credit cards free.
Yes, you will spend little time on transactions. No, you will spend
a lot of time initially setting up your ecommerce solution. That
said, if you still want to do everything yourself, you will need
a few things. One is a secure certificate on your website. With
the growing problems with credit card fraud, the last thing your
customer wants is to worry about whether his/her information is
secure. You will need to find a secure certificate that fits your
needs. Most are 128 bit encrypted, meaning there is very little
chance of someone hijacking the information. The next thing you
will need is ecommerce software for your shopping cart. When customers
find that a site navigation or shopping cart is hard to use, they
simply leave the site and find one that is easier. You want to find
a reputible software company that fits your needs. Now, you may
find that the best fit is a freeware solution that brand x offers.
But beware, that brand x does not support their software and or
update it. Brand y might offer everything brand x does but they
have a support center, and they update their software frequently.
The extra dollars to spend on something that a company supports
goes a long way. Find what is best for you though. If you have to
try two or even three companies out before purchasing one, then
do so. The extra preparation and patience always pays off in the
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