Tips for Online Merchants

Posted: March 11, 2019 | Updated: March 11, 2019

While selling online has become easier over the last decade with fewer technical barriers and a greater number of options in terms of payment processing and hosting, there is no doubt that running an e-commerce business is still challenging. You must invest in building a user-friendly storefront, promoting your website, and combating issues like shopping cart abandonment and chargebacks. These tips can help you make your e-commerce venture more successful by addressing some of the challenges you may be facing.

Don’t require account registration to checkout
If customers are required to sign in or create an account to checkout, you can be sure your shopping cart abandonment rate will go up. Many people won’t want to go through the trouble, especially if your products can be found somewhere else. It’s never a good idea to add another barrier between a customer’s decision to buy something and their ability to make the purchase.

There are a few ways to overcome this issue. You may offer Masterpass by Mastercard which allows enrolled customers to checkout quickly without entering credit card information. You may also use cookies to allow return customers to automatically log in and make a purchase. One of the best options is offering a “guest checkout” option that allows customers to place an order without having an account.

Offer several payment options
Your customers likely have a preferred method of payment. You should always offer multiple payment options and choose a shopping cart that’s integrated with common payment gateways like Paypal, American Express, and credit/debit cards. Depending on your target demographics, you may want to add other options, even Bitcoin. While supporting every possible payment method isn’t a practical solution, the ability to use their preferred method of payment may be a deciding factor for some customers.

Guard Against Fraud and Data Theft
One of the greatest risks to an e-commerce store is fraud which can result in costly chargebacks. Always use Address Verification Service (AVS), an automated fraud prevention tool that makes sure the billing address the customer provides matches the address the issuing bank provides. You will also need to safeguard customers’ personal information and comply with PCI standards. The good news is many payment processors build PCI compliance into their merchant solutions.

Choose the right merchant account
To receive payments, you will need merchant services. A merchant account is a special type of account that doesn’t give you direct access to your funds but serves as a connection between your company’s account and the customers’ bank or credit card company. There are many merchant account providers but not all are equal. When shopping for merchant services, choose a company that offers dedicated e-commerce solutions and understands the nature of your business. You should also pay careful attention to the fees associated with your merchant account. Choose a payment processor that uses the Interchange Plus pricing model over tiered or flat rate pricing and beware of hidden fees like setup fees, application fees, and contract termination fees.

Shopping for the right merchant account for your e-commerce business? Host Merchant Services offers customizable e-commerce solutions to fit the needs of your business.

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