FAQ - eCommerce


What is eCommerce?

eCommerce stands for electronic commerce; we will use the term eCommerce to refer to Internet sales of services and products. In particular we will use it to refer to doing the whole process online: from selecting what is being ordered to accepting payment.

What is real-time credit card processing?

Real-time credit card processing is when a user enters their personal information along with their credit card information into the order form, and they get a response as to if their credit card was accepted or rejected right away. Most merchant account and software combinations allow for this but some do not, so make sure if you want to do this that yours has the ability.

The other option instead of real-time credit card processing is manual credit card processing. What this means is if a user enters an order at midnight then it would go into a queue, which you would then have to check in the morning. If the order looked legitimate you would then process the credit card. Doing the credit card processing manually just adds another step in the process and the more steps there are the more chances there are that a mistake will be made.

Should I accept credit cards?

Yes is the short and simple answer. Ask yourself how many items a week you buy that you really do not need. Then figure out how many of those items you bought using a credit card. In retail stores it is pretty well known that accepting credit cards increases impulse purchases between 50% to 80%, and that is why any retail store you walk into accepts credit cards. When a customer walks into a retail store, the customer can pay with cash, check, or credit card. In the online world cash is not possible, and no one ever sends in a check to buy an item from an online merchant. Accepting credit cards online is the only way to have a viable business.

Do I need SSL (https://)?

Yes, you need SSL because it secures the information being sent between the users computer and your web server. If this transaction is not secured, then personal information along with credit card information could fall into the wrong hands.

How do I accept credit cards?

There are two different ways to accept credit cards. One is to sign up for a service like PayPal where they actually accept the credit card, and then they send you the money. This might be okay for a smaller site, but if you are serious about doing eCommerce then you should get a merchant account. A merchant account is very similar to a bank account but it is only used to accept payments from credit cards and online checks. The money is then transferred into your normal business account. The time it takes to go from the merchant account to your business account depends on a few variables, which will need to be discussed with the company you setup your merchant account with.

How do I know if I need an eCommerce Host?

If you want to sell products or services online, then you are going to need an eCommerce host. Unless you want to take a chance that people will send you a check to order a product from a site. Gonzo Systems can customize an eCommerce solution for your website and business.

How can I accept credit card orders on my web site?

These basic elements are the foundation of accepting online orders via credit card:
• A credit card merchant account with a bank
• A method by which to collect orders and credit card information (order forms or shopping cart system)
• Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Encryption - to provide your customers a secure method to transmit their credit card and ordering information to you

What is a credit card merchant account?

A credit card merchant account allows your business to accept credit cards for payment of goods and services. A customer provides his or her credit card number when you make a sale. You submit the credit card number, expiration date and amount of the sale to your merchant account provider (typically a bank). Within 3-5 days the funds are electronically deposited into your business bank account.

How do I obtain a credit card merchant account?

Most banks and financial institutions offer merchant account services. Check with your current bank and ask for an application. There are also companies that specialize in providing merchant account services in addition to the lease and sale of credit card terminals, processing software, etc. These companies are listed in abundance in the phone book or via a search on the web for "merchant account providers". One such provider is Card Services International at http://www.cardservice.com. Fees can vary greatly amongst merchant account providers, so you will want to do some comparison shopping before choosing a merchant account provider.

When should I use a simple stand alone online order form?

- If you have a small number of items available to purchase (less than one or two dozen unique products or services)
- If are looking for an inexpensive solution or have a limited Internet budget
- If you are a novice or immediate web designer and want to start with a simple, easy to build order system

When should I use a shopping cart system on my web site?

- If you have a larger number of items available for sale (more than a dozen)
- If you wish to automatically total a customer's order including shipping, tax