For some reason many people think everything is different when they start an online shopping site as a business. This is wrong. The Internet is just an additional sales channel — albeit a very powerful one.
So accepting money from customers via a shopping cart is not all that different from accepting money from a customer on the telephone. In fact it can be much easier and safer, if you know what to do.
Good eCommerce software such as ShopFactory makes it easy to accept payments in many different ways in your online store.
You can ask people to send you a check, money order or to transfer money into your account. Or you can offer 'Cash on Delivery', 'Pick up and Pay' or any other manual payment method you can think of.
Of course credit cards and other automatic payment methods are also supported.
In fact the more of the widely used payment methods you can offer, the better. Research has shown that you can increase sales simply by offering the most used payment methods, including 'Pick up and Pay', credit cards, 'bank transfers' and PayPal.
However keep in mind that in different countries the popularity of payment methods differs. Germans for example prefer bank transfers and in the Netherlands the payment method iDeal has become big for paying automatically online.
When you select an eCommerce solution you should therefore make sure it supports as many payment methods as possible and allows you to combine them. ShopFactory makes this easy when you set up the payment methods.
Unfortunately most eCommerce solutions limit you to using a specific payment service provider and limit you to the options provided by that company. This usually means, that you can not offer many of the popular manual payment methods.
Accepting credit cards can be more complex, although it doesn’t have to be.
There are two issues to take into consideration:
Both issues can easily be resolved.
If you want to accept credit cards directly you must have a special bank account which allows you to do this. This bank account is called a merchant account and is a prerequisite to accepting credit cards payments directly into your bank account.
If you run an existing business, you may already accept credit cards. Ask your bank, if this account may be used to do business over the Internet. If they don’t allow you to do this, just talk to another bank.
However if you can not get a merchant account, there are still ways to accept credit cards.
Many payment service providers will help you get merchant accounts through their relationships. So even if you have failed with your own bank, you may still be able to get a merchant account.
The drawback is that any money you receive will initially end up in their account. Any access to your funds will be delayed and can even be stopped by them, potentially affecting your cash-flow.
Complying with the Payment Card Industry Standards for Data Security (PCI, CISP) is a requirement if you or your shopping cart software store, transmit or process credit card numbers.
Fortunately ShopFactory helps making it easy to comply with these regulations. We have written an article on PCI / CISP compliance to help you comply.
As you can see, accepting payments online does not have to be difficult, if you make the right choices.
It can even help you against fraud.
As you receive any payments before sending out goods, you can verify any suspect orders and decide against sending out goods if you are not sure. This is much safer than in a normal store, where thieves can just walk out the door with your products.
ShopFactory Total Care even provides a fraud screen to help alert you to possible fraud attempts.