What is E-Commerce?
E-Commerce is short for "Electronic Commerce" and is, in a nutshell, the process of buying or selling products or services online. Any time you enter your credit card details into a website to pay for something you're performing an ecommerce transaction.
These days there are countless businesses selling things online from retailers to supermarkets and pizza chains, some well known examples of large ecommerce websites include amazon, ebay and alibaba, but you don't have to be a large company to sell products or services online, ecommerce can be extremely useful for any size business.
What do I need to accept credit card payments online?
There are three main pieces to the online payment puzzle:
- An internet merchant account (with your bank)
- A payment gateway
- Your website
Internet Merchant Account
An internet merchant account is a special type of bank account that allows you to accept credit card payments online.
A payment gateway is used for communicating between your website and the bank, when a customer enters their credit card details into your website and hits submit, the payment gateway encrypts this payment data and securely sends it to your internet merchant account. The bank then processes the payment and sends the result (e.g. approved / declined) securely back through the payment gateway to your website for the customer to see.
Your website is responsible for getting credit card and payment details to the payment gateway, there are a couple of ways this can be done:
- Offsite Payments / Hosted Payments Page
This is the simplest way to setup and involves redirecting the user to a secure page hosted by the payment gateway to enter their credit card details, once payment is made the user is sent back to your website. It's the simplest method because your website doesn't need to have a form for collecting payment data and doesn't need secure encryption to be configured with SSL.
- Onsite Payments
This option involves collecting and processing all payment details directly on your website and never redirecting to the payment gateway, it takes a bit longer to setup because it requires a bit more code and SSL security but provides a much better user experience as it's seamless and the user never leaves your site.
We'd recommend using onsite payments in most cases as the user experience with offsite payments may put some customers off and lead to reduced sales, the only scenario where either solution works fine is when you're accepting payments for services already rendered or sales already made and the customer is simply paying an outstanding invoice.
Online Payments at Point Blank Web Development Sydney
Our team has over 15 years experience developing ecommerce websites and implementing online payment functionality, in that time we've created a range of successful solutions from simple invoice payment pages to complex event booking systems and custom online shopping carts, we can integrate with any payment gateway for either onsite and offsite payments.
We work closely with our clients to find out exactly what they need and develop tailor made ecommerce solutions to fit their business requirements. Contact us to see how we can help you achieve your ecommerce website goals.