Many businesses use their Web sites to sell their products and services directly to customers. By creating an online store, you can not only educate your customers about your business but also give them the opportunity to make a purchase while they are doing their research. Whether you have a local business or a national enterprise, being able to sell your products and services directly on your Web site increases your business’s visibility, scope and revenue potential.
To set up an ecommerce site, you need several different components, including:
- Web Hosting
- Shopping Cart
- Merchant Account
- Payment Gateway
First, you need a Web hosting plan that includes an online store creation and management tool, which is also known as a shopping cart. Shopping carts make it possible for you to display your products to potential customers and allow them to purchase items directly from your site. Most Web hosts offers hosting plans that include ecommerce. Some common shopping carts include Miva Merchant, Cart 32 and Hostway’s Merchant Manager.
A merchant account allows you to accept credit card payments online. It handles fraud checks on each transaction, as well as the transfer of funds from customers’ credit cards to your bank account.
A payment gateway is needed to transmit information from a Web site and a processing back, quickly and securely.
Some common payment gateways are:
- Network Merchants
Payment gateways are often included with the merchant account.