Many businesses have doubled or tripled their sales by offering their products or services online. As well, the cost per sale online is usually much less than in-store or mail-order catalog purchases.
The benefits of e-commerce are clear, but choosing from the hundreds of different e-commerce packages, configurations and companies can be very confusing. We continually research, compare and test e-commerce solutions so that we may provide your business with the best, most cost-effective solution possible.
Many development companies can only deliver half of an e-commerce solution. They build the online storefront, but cannot integrate online sales into back-end inventory and accounting systems. Browser Software has the skills and experience required to deliver fully integrated, complete e-commerce solutions.
The Parts and Pieces
E-commerce systems consist of an online catalog, shopping cart, payment gateway, and a merchant account.
The online catalog allows users to search, view photos, read descriptions, choose options and check the availability of products or services. The shopping cart holds the items the user has selected for purchase and calculates the total cost including tax, shipping and any discounts.
The payment gateway provides a secure, encrypted connection to transmit payment information between the Web site and any banks involved in the transaction. When a purchase is made, funds are transferred from the purchaser's credit card account to a merchant bank account. Finally, after the transaction has cleared, funds are transferred from the merchant account to the seller's checking or savings account.
The Cost
Most merchant account and payment gateway providers have partnered to offer lower priced packages. On average, the set-up fee is $150, the monthly fees are $35, the discount rate is 2.37%, and the per-transaction fee is $0.30.
The best pricing structure depends on the price of your products and the volume of sales. If you sell only a few very expensive items, a low discount rate will be more important than a low per-transaction fee. As well, if you sell a high volume of low price products, a low per-transaction fee will be more cost-effective.
Third Party Solutions
Third party solutions, such as PayPal, allow you to use their merchant account. They also provide the payment gateway and shopping cart. They offer a discount rate as low as 2.2%, and a per-transaction fee of $0.30. There is no set-up fee or monthly charges.
The price is unbeatable, but there are drawbacks. Customers must first become members of the third party service before they can buy your products. This extra hurdle can turn away many shoppers. The accounts that your revenue is held in might not be FDIC insured. These services can 'lock' your account and hold your money without recourse if they suspect your business of fraud.
Despite their drawbacks, third party solutions offer a quick, cheap and easy way for businesses to try e-commerce.
Have more questions? Contact us today to discuss which e-commerce solution is right for your business.

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