Category: Web Hosting Tutorials
Until recently, setting up an ecommerce site or online store was an expensive and complicated process for store owners. In the past, creating an online store was a task left to highly paid professionals. For the rest of us, ecommerce was a nightmare complete with hours of phone time with hosting customer support, setting up secure sockets layers (SSL), merchant accounts, payment gateways, databases and other technicalities that normal web users and store owners don't really understand. So hopefully we can provide a little clarity on these essential eCommerce tools.
Shopping Cart Software
Shopping cart software is an essential part of any successful eCommerce website. Shopping carts help your customers easily select and pay for the items you are offering for sale on your website. Most shopping cart software comes with many tools and resources to help you better organize and manage your online store. Many web hosts offer shopping carts as part of their eCommerce web hosting plans, but keep in mind that you will need to identify shopping cart software that you will integrate best with your accounting and inventory management systems, which may not always be the software offered by your web host.
Go Daddy has revolutionized the hosting world (again) with its new "Quick Shopping Cart." Go Daddy has simplified what previously took hundreds of headaches and dollars into the easiest, most efficient, and cheapest solution we've seen yet. Period. So you may be wondering, what's so great about it?
For only $9.95 per month ($7.95 if you sign up for a full year) you can have your own online store. Comparable services cost $25 to $50 at least for less.
Go Daddy has broken the online store building process up into 5 easy steps (an amazing feat!) with their store building wizard. You simply pick the template you want to use, add your products, set up shipping/tax options, upload your site, and then manage your business and your customers with real-time management tools. Easy.
The Quick Shopping Cart has pretty much everything you could need to show, sell, and manage your online store. A few of the advanced features include: Built-in hosting, Easy-to-use Wizard to build your store, Instant site preview, Accept credit cards, PayPal integration, and much more.
SSL Certificates are another necessary tool for all eCommerce websites. When an online transaction occurs over the internet, sensitive information, such as bank account numbers, social security numbers or credit card numbers are transmitted over the unsecure airwaves of the internet. SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, provides you and your customers with the security protection necessary to ensure that sensitive data does not end up in the hands of unscrupulous individuals attempting to steal this type of information.
SSL is a software installed on the server where your website is hosted that encrypts information sent over the internet. This verification and encryption software does have a cost, which can range between $10 and $1,500 per year. The price you pay for SSL Certificates will depend on a number of factors including who you purchase the SSL Certificate from, whether you are sharing the certificate with another user, and the level of security you choose.
Merchant accounts are a necessary step in setting up any eCommerce website. A merchant account gives you the ability to accept credit card payments through your website. Your merchant account is integrated into your shopping cart software to easily process the credit card transaction when you make a sale through your online store. For more information on accepting credit cards, please visit our article on selecting the best merchant account for you.
Payment gateways are the final essential eCommerce tool that we will cover in this tutorial. A payment gateway is the software required to process online electronic transactions, and essentially acts as a middleman between your eCommerce website and your merchant account provider. Because online payment transactions are handled differently than transactions through traditional credit card processing terminals, the only way to deliver the transaction data to your merchant service provider is through a payment gateway, which receives the transaction data from your shopping cart software and then forwards the data on to your merchant service provider. Many merchant account providers offer their own proprietary payment gateway system, which may be adequate for your situation. However, you should look for a payment gateway that has all of the features your eCommerce will need including an affordable cost, reliability, fraud detection tools, and other resources provided by many commercial payment gateway solutions.
Related Article: SSL Secure Server >>