ECommerce. Getting paid, and choosing the right eCommerce Provider.
Affiliate, Reseller OR Merchant?
If you're basically working with other sites' affiliate or
reseller programs your choice of Ecommerce provider is
completely outside of your control. The site you're working
with has already made their decision about an Ecommerce
HOWEVER... if you intend to sell your own products or services
online your decision about which Ecommerce provider to use
can have a radical affect on your online business.
One size does not fit all.
These are some of the crucial Ecommerce system features to
consider BEFORE you sign on the dotted line.
- Set-Up Costs
- Reserve Policy
- Refund (Charge-back) Policy
- Payment Policy And Percentages
- System Security
- System Transparency
- System Usability
- Customer Service
Tangible/ Intangible Products
Shopping Carts/ B2B
- Backup sales systems
As much as Ecommerce transactions are becoming the "norm" people are still
cautious about buying online.
Although Ecommerce transactions are actually more secure
than offline credit card transactions people are still
cautious about buying online.
You have to factor this thinking into your choice of
Reputation matters !!
So, choose an Ecommerce provider who's been online for
some time. This demonstrates that they're ...
- Likely to be more acceptable to potential
customers, because people have been exposed to the
Ecommerce provider more often online.
Set-up Costs and Conditions
Different Ecommerce providers have different set-up costs.
Closely examine ALL the fine print
with any provider BEFORE you sign-up with them.
You'll find that Ecommerce providers that have a low entry
set-up cost usually have backend fees hidden somewhere in
Ecommerce system technology costs a lot of money to
establish and maintain and Ecommerce providers are in
business to make money. So, basically take a buyer beware
EVERY Ecommerce provider has a reserve policy.
This means that they keep a certain percentage of YOUR
sales in reserve for a certain period of time to cover
Yes, you need a percentage of money to be held in reserve to
cover charge backs, but you don't want to have to much of
your money tied up this way.
Usually (just like offline banks) Ecommerce providers play
the money market with your money. The amount of this
"Reserve" figure needs to be a fair and reasonable amount
AND time. You decide.
Refund - Charge-back Policy
Reserve and charge-back policies may be one and the same OR
an Ecommerce provider may have both policies.
Usually the Refund Policy is affected by the Reserve Policy.
REMEMBER... that all those sites that promise a 30 day money
back guarantee actually have to do this. It's the law.
Again, examine the percentage of sales that the Ecommerce
provider keeps of YOUR sales to cover potential charge-backs
Payment Policies And Percentages
When does the Ecommerce provider PAY you your money? Again,
this is determined by their Reserve and Charge-back
Examine all of these policies in DETAIL. Look at the
percentage and the time that YOUR money is held before it
paid to you.
How secure is the Ecommerce system?
Does the Ecommerce system keep credit card transaction
How secure is its system from prying eyes?
ASK the Ecommerce providers clients.
ASK the Ecommerce provider.
Remember that TRUST is the main issue here. You simply must
use an Ecommerce provider who has a very secure system.
Have you ever been in the process of buying something online
and you got lost in the process?
System Transparency means that the buyer is NEVER lost in
the process. They know exactly where they are all the
time.... what happens next and what happens if there's a
- Immediate confirmation of the transaction both
online and through email.
- The buyer is easily able to cancel the purchase
- Clear directions to Customer Service.
- Good response times to customer service requests
Is the Ecommerce system user FRIENDLY?
If a potential customer has to jump through too many hoops
they'll exit the system and go elsewhere.
The process of buying has to be simple, completely
transparent and secure.
Customer service is critical.
If your Ecommerce provider is slow in responding to buyers'
problems then people will (naturally) come to you to solve
their problem. They won't necessarily know that the
Ecommerce provider is NOT you (especially if they're
inexperienced with buying online.)
TEST an Ecommerce providers customer service BEFORE you sign
up, and remember that when they're trying to get your
business their customer service will usually be very good.
The web promises the opportunity to do business across the
Although most online purchases are transacted in USD there
are some business situations that may need to be transacted
in multiple or local currencies.
If this matters to your business make sure that the
Ecommerce provider can handle these transactions across your
However, irrespective of this (above) need does your
Ecommerce provider have an International attitude?
This is a specialist world.
Ecommerce providers may cater for businesses that deliver
both tangible or intangible products. They can also be shopping cart system specialists, or deal exclusively with B2B payments.
However, those that specialize in one area are usually better in that field, and their systems are developed for
It is wiser to choose a specialist provider with a system that fits the nature of your online business.
AND... depending on the nature and volume of your business it may
also make sense to offer TWO providers choices for your customers.
One provider to handle intangible (digital) goods and
another to handle tangible (real world) goods.
Backup Sales Systems
Different providers offer different payment systems.. one
time or cyclical payments.
Different providers use different payment processing
Different providers reach different world markets.
So, it may also make sense for you to actually have TWO
Ecommerce providers for your online business transactions.
Use one Ecommerce provider as your main processor and have
another, backup provider to handle transactions that are
rejected by your main provider for differing reasons (not
necessarily related to a lack of funds.)
There are many Ecommerce providers available on the net. Choosing the right one for you and your business is ultimately a matter of personal choice.
As always it is VERY wise to do some sound research before parting with your hard-earned cash.
Authorizenet ... Cambist ... CyberCash ... CyberSource ...
ITransact ... IBill ... MasterMerchant ... WorldPay ...
ClickBank ... Commission Junction ... PayPal
To wrap this up...
There are numerous ecommerce providers on the web. Choose wisely.
If you're interested in running a business on the web, then subscribe to The e*Analyst ezine, where this topic is discussed in greater detail.
If you haven't worked this out yet, you soon will. There's a LOT of NONsense zapping around in cyber space about doing business on the web.
Get the FACTS here, FIRST...
SUBSCRIBE to The e*Analyst ezine.
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-------->> T E S T I M O N
I A L <<--------
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