Common questions (and answers) about selling products and services online.
- What is E-Commerce?
- What steps should I take to utilize E-Commerce?
- What is Online Payment Processing?
- What is a Merchant Account?
- What are the benefits of E-Commerce?
What is E-commerce
Electronic Commerce is a convenient and affordable way to sell products or services online.
E-Commerce software and service such as PayPal, MalseCom, and others enables individuals to maintain an online business while performing transactions right from the Web.
What steps should I take to utilize E-commerce?
- First, determine your immediate and long term needs.
- How many items will you be selling?
- Will purchased items need to be shipped or can they be downloaded from a secure area of your site.
- If your product needs to be shipped, will you want shipping included with your service or will your business handle it separately?
- How often does your inventory change?
- Will you need the ability to update products and pricing from you own computers?
What is Online Payment Processing?
When a customer purchases products from your site with a credit card, you or your site software will request approval that the card is valid and that sufficient funds are available in the customers account for the purchase. On approval, the bank will reply with an authorization number and the order will be officially “captured”.
In the next step, the merchandise or service is sent to the customer and the Merchant informs the bank where the Merchant Account is held. The bank then deposits funds into the Merchant Account as the customers account is debited the cost of the products. The bank of your Merchant Account will remove the necessary service fees and complete the transaction.
Offline processing entails some labor on the part of the Merchant, but is easiest to adapt an existing business. In this case, a businesses current credit card processor will suffice.
Real-time processing requires little or no intervention by the Merchant, and is ideal for businesses in need of processing hundreds of orders per month. Credit Card numbers are received through the Internet and cleared by CyberCash online processing.
What is a Merchant Account?
All merchants of all sizes and types of business must open a Merchant Account in order to receive credit card orders and clear the transactions. The Merchant Account acts as the deposit location for the customers money. The bank that you choose to house your Merchant Account will take a small percentage of the sale as a service fee. This fee is extracted at the point of each sale.
What are the benefits of Commerce?
- Overhead cost of an Ecommerce web site is generally much less than the cost of a physical storefront
- You have the ability to reach customers all over the world rather than being limited to a certain geographical location.
- Order your products without leaving their home
- Security knowing every transaction is secure.
- Purchases will be delivered directly to their door.
- Search and find what they are looking for instantly.
- Viewing any or all of your product specifications and photographs
- Choosing from a variety of options such as size and color
- Checking how much they have “spent” before committing to a purchase
- Contact you for customer service