Basics Needed To get Started Selling Online.
Understanding how it all Works
To Set up your ECommerce business on the web you will need the following:
1. A Website, preferably your own domain name, ie: www.mycompany.com
2. Your domain needs to be hosted on server.
(Our company offers great hosting packages if you need one.
3. You now need a way for customers to actually place orders. This is
where shopping cart software like Store Creator comes in. Remember you
can put the store you created with Store Creator on the same server as
your website, no programming or CGI needed.
Setting Up to Accept Credit Cards
SSL Secure Server - You will need a secure server so the credit card
information that a customer gives you is secure. This is security between
the customers browser and the server using the latest technology, SSL
Sockets Layer), 128 bit encryption, Secure Digital Certificate. When your
on a secure server - You will see a solid key or locked padlock in the
lower left corner of the screen. The lock appears on a page that requests
sensitive information, such as credit card, name etc.
Merchant Account - This is where you apply with a company (usually a
bank) to actually process the credit cards. This company processes the
card for payment and deposits it into your regular business banking account.
Now once you have a merchant account you have to have a way to send your
customers credit card information to them and have them process it for
payment for you. This is done electronically. You have two main options.
1. Purchase equipment to connect with the bank.
A) Electronic Terminal - A terminal that connects with your Merchant
Account, and authorizes the card (lets you know if the credit card is
good). You either swipe a customers credit card or key in the information
manually. A good example of this is when you are at a restaurant the cashier
takes your credit cards and swipes it through a little credit card terminal,
the same terminal then gives them an authorization code that tells them
your credit card is good.
B) PC Credit Card Processing Software - There are software programs that
do credit authorization and electronic deposit just like the Electronic
terminal, but with the computer you can imagine just how many more features
you would have. Additional Reports etc. But remember you will still have
to key in each sale.
At the end of the day both the terminal and the software would total
up your sales and electronically send it to the merchant account so they
can process the payment and deposit it into your bank account.
2. Real Time Credit Card Processing with companies like Cybercash
or Authorize Net.
Here is where most of the confusion comes in. Companies like Cybercash
are really an online service that processes credit cards. Think of them
as an electronic terminal. Instead of you having to purchase your own
Electronic Terminal or the PC Processing Software, they will actually
do it for you for a monthly fee. All these companies do is take the credit
card information then approve or decline the credit card and then make
daily deposits into your merchant bank account. Some companies need this,
others may already have their own equipment and do
You can set up shoppingcart to interface with Real Time Credit
Card Processing, Authorize.Net and Verisign are the two most common.
Most shoppingcarts can instantly install the scripts
and uploaded them to the server, these scripts then interface with
the bank. After the scripts are installed, the orders
that are submitted through your
store are sent directly to you and the credit card information has been
sent to your merchant account.
The reason this is so appealing to many companies is the fact it is the
most secure way to process, and as a store owner you do not have to take
the time to fill out charge card receipts, key in for authorizations etc.
Need to build your business before investing in a Merchant Account
You can still put up an online store and accept checks and money orders.
Some companies are smaller in start up and do not have the cashflow to
invest into setting up a merchant account. You can always set up a merchant
account and the extras later. I have heard of many companies that started
out this way.
Companies that do not need or have a Merchant Account
Many companies set up a wholesale store that services other businesses.
You can set up online ordering to make it more convenient for your customers.
Pay Pal - Now you
can set up your stores to work with your Pay Pal Account