Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Secrets to Selling Online

Want to sell online, but not sure how it works or where to start? Our goal is to take some of the mystery out of ecommerce — particularly regarding how online transactions work.

Be sure to also check out the ecommerce section of our new user guide for additional information.

Why Sell Online?
Online Article"Retailers are discovering," writes Kerri Shannon in the NuWire Investor, "[that] it pays to be web savvy, as consumers are increasingly heading online instead of out the door to spend." With the holiday sales season almost upon us, can you afford to keep your store exclusively offline?

How an Online Transaction Works
Have you ever wondered what happens after you click that "Add to Cart" button? Below are the basic steps of an online transaction:
  1. The buyer completes an order via the shopping cart of the merchant's online store.

    Shopping CartAn online shopping cart is the software that assists buyers in choosing and purchasing products. At IPOWER, we provide you with shopping cart options, such as ShopSite and osCommerce, at no additional cost.

  2. The shopping cart submits the order to a payment gateway, which then forwards a request to the buyer's credit card company.

    Payment GatewayA payment gateway securely transfers encrypted data, authorizing buyers' credit cards and processing the transactions.

  3. Credit Card The credit card company validates the card and account, clears the card for purchase, then sends an acknowledgment back to the payment gateway that the amount can be transferred.

  4. The payment gateway informs the shopping cart that the transaction was successful so that the buyer and the merchant can proceed accordingly.

  5. The payment gateway initiates the transfer of funds from the buyer's credit card company to the seller's merchant account so that the payment can be deposited and finalized.

    Merchant Account A merchant account is a bank account designed to accept electronic payments for your business. When customers purchase your product online, the money they pay for that product is deposited into this account.
How You Can Accept Online Payments
We partner with iPayment to create a one-stop solution for you to accept credit card payments directly online. iPayment facilitates the entire online transaction process, setting you up with both a payment gateway and a merchant account.

We've selected iPayment because they can provide you with special low rates, only accessible through your IPOWER hosting account. Learn more about iPayment today >>

Accepting Payments via PayPal
PayPalPayPal is an additional option for accepting payments online. In this case, the shopping cart submits the order directly to PayPal, who then processes the transaction for you.

Many potential buyers already have PayPal accounts set up, with their credit card information saved. Upon checkout, they just log into their PayPal account to complete the transaction. You, as the seller, would have your own account with PayPal, where payments get deposited. Learn more about integrating PayPal >>

Holiday SeasonThe holiday sales push will be here before you know it. If you want to be ready in time, set up your store now.