Credit Card Transactions and E-Commerce: What do I need to get started?

Many websites created by small business owners are their first steps into the world of e-commerce. Back40 Design provides an easy and relatively quick way to create an online store for the purposes of establishing a retail presence on the web. This is a great thing for many of our Oklahoma City web design clients as it provides the ability to compete outside the regional market on a national and even international level, but accepting credit cards online does require some preparatory work.

You may have just a few products, or you may want to offer an entire product line. You may be trying to gather the attention of the world for a new and exciting concept product. Your store should be focused on creating an easy way for your customers to pay online for your products with a credit card. No matter what type of products your business sells, Back40 Design has the experience to help guide you through the process.

Secure your Server with a Security Certificate

The most important, yet basic item you need for a e-commerce site is a security or Secure Socket Layer certificate (SSL, for short). Purchasing and maintaining a security certificate for any site where sensitive financial information is exchanged is imperative. You may have noticed on e-commerce websites a small padlock icon and the letters “https” in the address bar. This is one of the key indicators you are using a secure connection. First of all, it signals to prospective purchasers you are a legitimate business. Most importantly, an SSL certificate’s primary purpose is to protect the communication between two computers on the Internet.

When you establish a secure connection, a customer is sent a special “key” which is only valid between the customer and the e-commerce website. Messages sent between a customer and a secure website are encrypted, which means they are only able to be deciphered with the “key”, so if a message was intercepted (man-in-the-middle attack) it would be unintelligible information. Encryption protects your customers’ sensitive information like credit cards, email addresses, and phone numbers while in transit over the Internet.

Set Up Payment Processing

You also need to set up payment processing with a third party. A merchant account is needed to process credit cards, and is usually needed to set up point-of-sale (POS) terminals in your physical store location. On the other hand, a payment gateway account is needed to process credit card transactions online and will also make sure that you receive the funds in your account in a timely manner. Back40 Design is also able to set up a payment processing account for your online transactions. There are several different payment gateways you can use. PayPal Pro/Website Payments Pro., and YourPay are the main providers we work with, but we are able to investigate integration of other payment processors, if you have one you would prefer to use. Each provider has different levels of monthly costs and per-transaction fees so check into their websites to determine which one meets your business’s needs.

Handling Shipping

When completing your planning for your e-commerce site, keep in mind the importance of shipping and handling costs. If you’re going to ship items, look at what types of packages you are going to send in addition to the individual weights of each. Consider these options while looking at each carriers total pricing for each of the various shipping methods they offer. This will help you more effectively consider the best option for which shipping carrier you decide to choose. We can provide integration with many different shipping carriers and can discuss those options with you when discussing the setup of your e-commerce site.

Fortunately for new online businesses, the experienced team at Back40 Design can help you open the doors on your online storefront easily. Call us today for a detailed walk-through of our e-commerce solutions so we can help you get started.

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