3 Major Requirements for Setting Up an e-Commerce Website

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This overview is intended to help you understand what the word "E-Commerce" means and what you need to to know in order to turn your web site into an online store.

There are three major requirements for setting up a fully functional e-commerce website:

  • 1. Shopping Cart

  • 2. Payment gateway

  • 3. Merchant account.

Differentiating between these three items can be somewhat confusing, so Leesburg FL Web Design can walk you through this process. It’s easier for both experienced customers using custom developed applications, or novices using wizard-based applications such as WordPress WooCommerce.

When building your web site you need to ask the following questions:

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Before you start your ecommerce endeavor, you will want to choose whether you are going to use a vendor built shopping cart system or a custom developed application. Using Shopify, a vendor built tool, gives you many advantages:

  • Low development time for your website, quicker to the market
  • Support for MANY different processing companies which are fully integrated into the software and require no development
  • The ability to customize your shopping cart to fit your website.
  • Support from Orlando WEB Development and Miva Corporation.
  • Upgrades and new functionality available periodically without the need for new development work.

However, a custom-developed shopping cart system has benefits of its own:

  • Fully customizable and built exactly to your requirements that may offer special discounting.
  • The store can be developed towards the different Payment Gateways available.
  • Built using the scripting environment (PHP, JAVA, ​MEAN, etc.) of your choice.
  • Complete knowledge of your store in case of problems.

When setting up a website you need to know if you want to process credit cards online via a “payment gateway” or off-line at a Point-of-Sale (POS) terminal. Both systems work basically the same: they verify the credit card number, check the expiration date, confirm the card has available credit, send the information to your merchant account, and send an approved or declined message to you or your shopping cart.

Our Webmaster is familiar with many of the payment gateways that are included within modern shopping cart solutions, and most can be accessed outside of your store as remote terminal. Payment Gateway companies are services you must subscribe to, so there are fees involved with setting gateways up. These fees vary and may include a setup fee, a monthly fee, and per transaction fees (or any combination of all three).

Gateways interact with your merchant account to charge a credit card (authorization) and collect the money to deposit into your bank account (settlement).

Leesburg FL Web Design tries to simplify pricing by giving you a Quote on a Complete package!

Shopify, for example  supports over 40 different gateways available in North America, alone. A go-to payment gateway is Authorize.Net in the United States and Worldpay in the United Kingdom. As there are so many other Payment Gateways available, we are unable to know whether we have the tools already available for them to work.

So you have a shopping cart, and a payment gateway. Now you need a way to accept payments made for the products you sell. A “merchant account” is a type of relationship you have with a bank or other financial institution to accept and deposit credit card payments.

Generally, your local bank will have a process or service in place that allows for online transactions. If not, or if they want to charge fees that are unacceptable to you, there are a myriad of other companies who specialize in merchant accounts. As with payment gateways, a merchant account is a service, and there are fees associated with this service. Fees can range from application and/or setup fees, licensing fees, discount rates (a fee that goes to the band and the processor to cover the costs of the transaction), monthly service fees, per transaction fees.

Merchant accounts may have two other types of fees: a reserve fund, which may be required to cover charge backs, and charge back fees, which are similar to NSF fees a bank charges for returned checks. Try doing a search for “merchant account” in your search engine of choice and the possibilities are endless.

payment processing flow diagram

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.