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E Commerce Processing - E Commerce Processing Options for New Online Retailers

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Most large and established online retailers would not dream of doing business online without a real merchant account that can accept all major credit cards integrated into their websites. However, this option presents some problems for small retailers and those who are just getting their businesses started. First of all, without a physical retail location, it can be difficult to get a merchant account approved. In addition, most merchant accounts have a monthly fee and small retailers may not make enough sales to justify the cost. The biggest obstacle, however, is that retailers are usually required to purchase an expense piece of software known as a payment gateway to integrate their websites with the merchant account. It is because of this high start-up cost that many new online retailers look for alternative e commerce processing options. Here are a few services that can be used to process orders until the company reaches the point where they are ready for a regular merchant account.

Paypal

Paypal is probably the most popular of all e commerce processing options for new merchants. One reason for this is that there are millions of shoppers who already have Paypal accounts and are used to using Paypal to make online purchases. Another reason is that it is easy for retailers to set up their websites to accept Paypal payments. Paypal has button creation tools that allow the retailers to create “Buy Now,” “Add to Cart” and “View Cart” buttons to place on their websites. All the retailers have to do is copy the code and paste it into the website where they want it to appear. When someone purchases a product, the vendor receives an e-mail notification and the money is deposited into the seller’s Paypal account.

Google Checkout

Another option for e commerce processing is Google Checkout. Merchants located in either the U.S. or the U.K. can sign up to use this service. For U.S. sellers, either a Federal Tax ID/Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number must be provided. If using a Social Security Number, a valid credit card is also required. The main drawback to using Google Checkout to process sales is that the buyer must have a Google account in order to complete the transaction.

Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments offers a program called Checkout by Amazon to enable online retailers to accept payments from their customers. Customers use their Amazon.com account to login and the payments are processed through Amazon.com and deposited into your Amazon Payments account. The customer does not leave your website during the checkout process.

ProPay

Unlike the payment solutions listed above, ProPay allows you to accept credit card payments directly through your website. To do this, you’ll need a secure shopping cart so that your customers will feel safe giving you their credit card details. The free version of Mal’s Ecommerce Shopping Cart (mals-e.com) is a powerful shopping cart solution that will allow you to set up your own options for taxes, shipping costs, coupon codes and more. When using ProPay and Mal’s Ecommerce together, you will receive an e-mail from the shopping cart when you get a sale. After that, you must log in to Mal’s Ecommerce to get the customer’s credit card number and then manually enter the credit card and sale information at Propay.com.

The biggest drawbacks to this system are the extra time that it takes to process payments and the potential for errors in entering the credit card information and purchase amount at ProPay. The advantage is that the retailer’s website looks more like a legitimate store because the customer can enter their credit card information directly into the shopping cart rather than being redirected to a third-party e commerce processing service. ProPay has an annual fee of $49.95 for a basic subscription.

ClickBank

If you are selling a digital product and want to have an affiliate program, ClickBank might be the right choice for you. There is a one-time activation fee of $49.95 to set up an account and the vendor is paid every two weeks, either by check or direct deposit, as long as the account balance meets the payment threshold, which is a minimum of $10 but can be set to a higher amount. There is a $2.50 payment fee for each payment in addition to the per-sale fee. For merchants who want to sell more than one digital product, it is usually necessary to set up a different account for each product in order to ensure that affiliate links are directed to the correct product.

It is often a good idea for merchants to offer multiple e commerce processing options, especially if using a third-party payment processing service. By giving customers more choices, the seller can reduce the chances of losing a sale because the customer does not have an account with the third-party service.

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