How do I create a website store?
A website store can be fairly simple, with only a few items offered, or it can be quite complex, with hundreds and thousands of items. ECS will work with you to determine how to integrate a storefront into your website, and to determine which order processing and online payment systems will work best for you.
Implementing a website store
A low-cost way for an organization to sell a few items is to list the items on their website, along with a request to send in a check for payment. A more robust low-volume online store can be implemented with shopping cart software and a payment services account. Another approach for low-volume online sales is for the shopping cart to send credit card information to you so that you can manually complete the transaction "offline" via a merchant account and point-of-sale credit card terminal. This will avoid the complexity and cost of using a payment gateway provider to fully process credit card transactions online. The most complete solution suitable for high-volume stores incorporates shopping cart software along with a merchant account and payment gateway.
Most website stores include database-driven shopping cart software and are designed to accept credit cards for payment. An additional level of cost and complexity is introduced when you fully process credit card payments online.
There are a number of store (or storefront) packages that your webmaster can install on your website in order to present products for sale, allow you to manage the product database, and to facilitate checkout and payment. OS Commerce is a free, "open source" package that is widely used. However, as with most free packages, support is limited. Other commercial products offer full support and more flexible storefronts starting at a cost of a few hundred dollars US.
There are also various levels of payment mechanisms:
In order to set up a merchant account and accept payment on your website, you will need to include the following items:
Questions to ask of merchant account providers
Different merchant account providers provide varying levels of service. In many cases, the level of service will not be apparent until you actually establish and start using an account. Here are some questions to ask of merchant account providers:
Questions to ask of payment gateway providers
Similarly, different payment gateway providers provide varying levels of service. In many cases, the level of service will not be apparent until your webmaster begins programming the API and testing the gateway. Here are some questions to ask of merchant account providers:
You should be aware that decision to implement a full-scale online store with merchant account and payment gateway requires a greater initial financial commitment as well as greater technical knowledge and skill on the part of your webmaster.
ECS is experienced at implementing online stores, and writing the complicated scripts and programs that typically are required to support internet storefront installations. Contact Elbel Consulting Services to learn more about adding an online store to your website.