If you are considering selling products or services online then you will more than likely be thinking about how are able to accept credit/debit card payments on your website, and whether or not it will be beneficial to you to be able to do this.
There are two main benefits to accepting online payments via your website:
First, you are able to reach out to IMPULSE BUYERS that stumble across your website and are ready and willing to buy. If you only accept cash and cheque payments then this makes the buying process harder for your visitor, who is likely to click away and find another site that does accept cards.
Second, you open your business sales up to INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS who wouldn’t usually be able to buy from you but who are still willing to buy. Selling Internationally via the web can be a quick, easy and extremely profitable way of growing your turnover.
There are two ways that you can accept payments via your website.
1. Using your own merchant account:
You will need to get in touch with your bank to arrange this. Requirements vary between banks and depending on the country your trade in, so checking directly with your bank is the best way forward.
2. Using a third party merchant:
There are lots of companies that provide this service, probably the most notable being PayPal. You may find that the transaction fee is slightly more expensive than using your own merchant account, but usually a third party merchant will not require any kind of monthly admin fee, working out cheaper overall.
Once you have chosen a method you will need to decide how you are going to implement the actual selling side of things on your website.
You can set up an e-commerce website that is designed specifically for selling online, and most shopping carts now allow you to sell digital goods such as ebook downloads as well as physical goods.
If you have a WordPress based website you can download a simple shopping cart plugin that will convert your chosen posts and pages into active products that can be sold, and you can choose whether to use your own or a third party merchant account.
If you have a static website then you can use the “Buy Now” buttons that 3rd party merchant such as PayPal provide free of charge. These buttons are simply inserted next to the details of the product or service you are selling and are pre-programmed within your PayPal account with the product details and price.
Setting up online payments via your website is relatively simple and in most cases can be done yourself.
There are however some other things you need to think about such as ensuring that you have a Terms and Conditions/Privacy and Security Page, will you process payment transactions using a secure server (SSL), and are your sales pages legal with all the correct details easily accessible?
The prices you display must be the prices you charge. You should not try to trick visitors into buying a product or service, and all of your policies and terms should reflect the legal buying rights of the consumer, which now includes distance-selling legislation here in the UK.
Selling online can be an extremely profitable way to do business when done right. A little focused research prior to implementation will keep you on the right side of the law, and choosing the right approach for implementation of accepting online payments is key to your success.