As the depth and breadth of products and services being sold on the internet continues to increase, more business leaders than ever before are searching for a partnership with a superior, affordable e-commerce credit card processor that can help them accelerate sales and grow market share.
The statistics are staggering. The number of online shoppers is expected to hit 2.05 billion this year, or about 26% of the world’s population, according to Oberlo. In the U.S., consumers spent an estimated record-breaking $587 billion making online purchases last year, or about 10% of total retail spending, according to eMarketer.
So whether you are the owner of a single-store retail location searching for new revenue streams or a hard-charging entrepreneur ready to take on Amazon, your business must have an e-commerce merchant account to capture the growing share of digital sales. Here’s what you need to do to succeed:
1. Launch a hosted payments page
When launching or building an e-commerce company, one of the most important decisions to be made is, “How will the business accept payments from customers?” The two primary options are a hosted payments page or a self-hosted, application program interface (API) solution.
A hosted payments page has several advantages. It can be quickly set up by an e-commerce credit card processor and designed to match the look of your website. It also eliminates clerical errors from taking orders and entering payments the old-fashioned way – by mail-order or telephone order (or MOTO as it’s commonly known). Most importantly, with a hosted payments page, you can ensure your customer data is fully protected because the credit card processor is handling it. With a self-hosted solution, the merchant is on the hook – financially and legally – to meet federal and state compliance standards to protect customer data.
2. Simplify your e-commerce checkout system
The most successful e-commerce companies make it easy for customers to pay. Consumers will halt purchases if the online checkout process isn’t simple and the prices – including shipping and any applicable discounts – are not clearly stated. On average, around 70% of planned purchases do not go through (card abandonment in e-commerce parlance), according to research by Baymard Institute.
To maximize sales, do not require first-time buyers or visitors to register or sign up with your website. It’s a conversion killer. Ask them to sign up after the sale is complete. When working with an e-commerce credit card processor, make sure checkout pages are easy to navigate. Also, ensure the design is pleasing to the eye and consistent with your website’s look and feel. Allow customers to effortlessly change an order and correct a mistake during the process. If a potential customer is leaving the checkout area before completing a purchase, add popup boxes or pages with product info – or maybe even a discount. That may keep them on the page and improve the chances of closing the sale.
3. Ensure acceptance of all major types of payments
In addition to making the checkout process uncomplicated, merchants need to provide customers with plenty of ways to pay. You don’t want potential buyers to abandon a purchase because they couldn’t select a preferred method of payment.
When partnering with an e-commerce merchant services provider, make sure the company accepts all major credit and debit cards and alternative payments (e-checks, mobile payments, ACHs, gift cards, etc.). Lack of payment options is often cited as a primary reason customers will abandon a purchase.
4. Work only with top-line gateway providers
While e-commerce sales continue to grow, so do the security threats that merchants face every day. Whether it’s malware or ransomware, cyber criminals have more methods than ever before to steal payment information that will bring your thriving business to a crashing halt.
Only work with an e-commerce credit card processor that guarantees Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, the industry standard when it comes to protecting customer data and reducing credit card fraud. That’s a critical factor because if your business does suffer a security breach, the credit card processor will be liable, not your company. Also look for processors who are working with leading gateway providers, such as Authorize.net and Elavon, so you know your payment processing technology is supported by the latest cyber security technology.
Building a quality, online shopping page requires keen attention to detail to improve the odds that customers will complete a purchase on your website. The right e-commerce credit card processor can help you navigate the many decisions you need to make that will allow you to increase sales and beat the competition.