Electronic Commerce (e-commerce)

What is e-commerce?

Most e-commerce is the selling of goods, services, and online memberships over the Internet. There are three critical technical aspects to setting up a successful e-commerce website or application:

1. The actual transfer of information between the customer and the payment provider is conducted through a secure connection as provided by the server hosting the “shopping cart”.
2. The transactions involve an online “payment gateway”, which acts to transfer the money from the customer to the seller (generally from a credit card company to an acquiring bank account).
3. Finally, e-commerce is regulated by the government, especially in terms of truth in advertising and the storage and usage of customer personal information.

We can help you through every step involved in setting up a successful e-commerce website or application!

Secure Connections

Secure connections encrypt communications between two computers to provide security for the contained information. They require the purchasing and installation of an SSL Certificate on the server containing the shopping cart, which is then accessed by customers using the HTTPS protocol. Many payment gateways require the use of an SSL Certificate, and there are different “strengths” of certificates available with different levels of encryption.

Generally speaking, it’s always best to provide the security of an HTTPS connection whenever customers or clients are communicating with you, both for their individual peace of mind and to ensure your public reputation as a secure place of business.

We can provide you with hosting that makes use of a secure certificate or help you purchase and install a secure certificate on your existing hosting provider!

Shopping Carts

A shopping cart solution is online software that assists customers making purchases, generally by providing purchase options such as different products, shipping methods, and payment methods. Most shopping cart solutions allow the customers to build a list of items for purchase, and then to purchase all items at once. In order to provide the list of products and so forth, most shopping carts have a “front-end” (the actual online storefront that customers access) and an “administration” (used by the store owner to control the products and so forth).

In terms of installed shopping carts, there are commercial solutions, open-source (free to use) solutions, and custom solutions. We can install such licensed solutions for you, customize them (if possible, as some prefabricated shopping cart solutions are “compiled” and so are not editable), or alternatively build you a custom solution from the ground up. Of course, budget constraints also play into consideration; many online store owners change shopping carts multiple times in the life of their business.

We can help you determine which shopping cart option is most appropriate and least costly for you!

Payment Gateway Integration

When it comes to payment gateways, we almost always recommend Authorize.net. However, we’ve integrated with a wide variety of payment gateways over the years! Generally speaking, the best payment gateways are those that offer the best rates while helping you fulfill your regulatory compliance obligations.

Depending on your area and particular service or product, you may not be able to charge the credit card until you ship the product. You may want to offer refunds or take alternative payment methods. Most importantly, you may want to require address and other verification before taking payment in order to prevent your storefront being used for fraud!

We can help you determine the best payment gateway and payment transactions you need to handle!

Regulatory Compliance

You need to be aware of spam laws, truth in advertising, and PCI compliance when it comes to your online business. It’s important that both your customers and business are safe! We do not offer or provide legal advice, but we can help you get your questions answered.

Once it’s clear the regulatory environment your specific business is in, we can then implement the solutions that are most appropriate for your business, your clients, your products, and your area!