Four Key Points of a Successful E-commerce Site

Merchant Basics

In order to operate a successful e-commerce website, you need to pay attention to four key areas: your website, your merchant account, your shopping cart and your secure payment gateway.

Your Website

Your website design plays a key role in the success of your online business. The website must be professional, attractive and easy for your visitors to navigate. First impressions count, and your website is the first experience that customers have with your business.

Your primary goal with an e-commerce website is to provoke your customers to buy. Every single aspect of your website should be focused on one goal — getting your visitors to buy your products and/or services. In order to do this, you’re going to need to clearly list your products with concise descriptions and clear pricing. List the benefits of each product, not just the features. Features may tell, but benefits sell. The more information you put on your site, the better. Too little information may cost you sales, and that’s the last thing you want.

Testimonials are another key aspect of your business. Listing testimonials and comments from your previous customers will provide your potential customers with the confidence they need to trust in your products and/or services. Offering a money-back guarantee will also boost your customers’ confidence in making a purchase and may lead to increased sales. Profits from increased sales should offset and outweigh any money lost by honoring that guarantee.

Also, make sure your website offers your visitors several options to choose from when placing an order — such as purchasing by phone or placing the order online. If allowing online payments, make sure your site is easy to navigate and your shopping cart and checkout options are easy to use.

Your Merchant Account

A merchant account will allow you to accept major credit cards. A merchant account is a business and financial arrangement with a credit card processor, such as TransFirst®, that allows a merchant to accept payment cards — in this case, on the Internet. An Internet merchant account enables you to run web-initiated transactions online in real time.

Your Shopping Cart and Secure Server

There’s nothing more symbolic of the retail shopping experience than a shopping cart. Now, with the rapid expansion of e-commerce, the virtual equivalent of the shopping cart is recognized for its integral role in online retail. TransFirst® has products and services to support your shopping cart functionality and your e-commerce website.

An online shopping cart allows customers to select from the merchandise you are offering and place the items they want into their “basket” just as if they were shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. The shopping cart totals the entire order for the customer, allowing them to see tax and shipping rates.  The cart then connects them to a secure virtual terminal where they enter their credit card and personal information. The shopping cart then collects the billing, shipping and payment information and processes the order through the payment gateway.

Your Payment Gateway

Transaction Express® is TransFirst’s state-of-the-art, proprietary payment gateway. This web-based payment processing platform serves businesses of all sizes and industries, enabling merchants to accept multiple payment types in real time. It processes retail card-present transactions through its virtual terminal or through a custom integration using its web services, helping to reduce costs associated with maintaining traditional POS hardware or software.

Transaction Express also offers sophisticated transaction reporting capabilities that provide multiple standard and customizable reports for its users containing all the information and detail you need for quick and efficient reconciliation or research.

Be certain to pay equal attention to all four areas: website design, merchant account, shopping cart, and payment gateway selection because the sum of these is even greater than its parts. Keep these tips in mind to help you have a successful e-commerce website.

We invite you to consult with a TransFirst representative to learn more about our first rate merchant services and answer any questions you may have regarding for online credit card processing, payment gateways and virtual shopping carts.  We have the products and services you need to help your e-commerce business succeed.


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