Continued from page 1
Problems can arise when you bring a shopping cart AND real-time processing into picture. A shopping cart alone won't cause problems but cart you choose to use must be compatible with your web host. Some carts are designed to run on certain types of servers, so when choosing one be cautious to make absolutely sure you can use it with your current host. Otherwise you had better be prepared to find a new one.
If you want a shopping cart AND real-time processing three (cart, processing, and host) must work together well. Your shopping cart must be compatible with your host and cart must be compatible with your payment processor. With all different shopping carts, hosts and payment facilities out there, putting together right team can be a real challenge. This is especially true for newbie who doesn't understand how it all works and how it all has to work together, or understands imperfectly but thinks he or she has it all under control when decisions are finally made.
One Stop Shops -
The easiest way to find a compatible solution is to choose a provider who offers all you need under one roof. This is what I have done by partnering with Virtualis Systems. I am able to offer a great hosting solution along with a compatible shopping cart that works with almost any real time processor. I have even taken this a step further by partnering with a rock-solid merchant account provider, E-Commerce Exchange. Now I don't want to force MY "solution of choice" on you in this article so I have set up an autoresponder with details on Ecommerce solution I recommend to all my clients. Please email our autoresponder at email@example.com for details.
Your Website Designer:
Asking your website designer to recommend a compatible solution is also a good idea. Most likely, he or she has successfully set up shopping carts and payment systems that have worked together for other clients and with that experience can confidently recommend one that will be right for your specific needs. There is also added benefit that your designer is comfortable and familiar with cart and payment processing configuration. This will result in less time spent setting up your site, thus saving you money in design costs.
Who to Choose?
Choosing right person for this task is perhaps most important decision you can make (in Ecommerce, that is. Choosing a dentist, a pet, and which TV show to watch also rank high in importance). Nobody is an expert in all areas of Ecommerce because there are so many variables, depending on which configurations of hosts, carts, and merchants you choose. Find someone with whom you can talk to and who will listen to YOUR needs with understanding. A web designer who has created sites selling one product through mail order is NOT best person to go to for Ecommerce advice. Just like a web designer trying to create a site that will sell and not just look good, with no marketing experience, a designer who doesn't know Ecommerce is going to be hard-pressed to juggle all components that must fit together seamlessly and attractively to construct a truly effective Ecommerce site.
The Most Common Mistakes?
I've had clients come to me who have been provided a shopping cart by their web host but who then have purchased another cart, not realizing they already have one. They've set themselves up with real time processing and then purchased a terminal even though they will never swipe one card. They've had SSL enabled on their web host server even though it's provided at their payment gateway. I have been on sympathetic end of many, many more sad tales from earnest folks who have told me their own personal accounts of throwing hard-earned money away on these kinds of mistakes.
Why? Cutting through all technical jargon, it's all because they simply didn't understand how each component can, should, and must work in conjunction with one another.
Ecommerce can appear simple (well, almost) once you understand how all components work together. A merchant account allows you to accept credit cards, your web host shows your website to world, your shopping cart helps your customers order easily and real-time processing processes orders in real-time and approved transactions are credited to your merchant account. All are independent components but they all function together to make Ecommerce work. Find a designer or webmaster who can bring all these elements together on your site & watch Ecommerce work for you.
Lisa Schmeckpeper of LRS Marketing and published in their free newsletter, Website Success Monthly. To receive a free copy of this informative e-zine just send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.lrsmarketing.com. Copyright © 2000 [LRS Marketing].