What do I need to run a ecommerce store?
To setup ecommerce on your website, we need a few things from you. You will need a Merchant Account and a Payment Gateway. Why? So you can get customers pay and the funds get routed to your bank account. Here's a list of things you need to figure out as a new ecommerce merchant.
1. What merchant/payment gateway will I use?
What is a Merchant? Merchant is a company like Wells Fargo or e-OnlineData. A payment gateway is a company like Authorize.net which routes the funds to your merchant account. A company like Paypal is a all-in-one company that is both a merchant and payment gateway. You should expect to pay $20/month for a payment gateway and $20/month for a merchant account.
What should I chose? The easiest and cheapest way to get started is Paypal Standard since their is no Merchant monthly fee, but Paypal will take a higher cut on each item. There is no easy answer, but it all depends on the type of volume you expect to sell. If it's merchandise you are selling in addition to your service, we recommend PayPal standard.
- PrivateSSL/Shared SSL
- Credit Card Logos
- Basic Return Policy (Example)
- Basic Privacy (Example)
- Basic Order Information (Example)
- Basic Security (Example)
Items that 3plains will need so we can help:
- Merchant Account - Username
- Merchant Account - Password
- Merchant Account - Paypal API/Authorize.net API Codes
2. What content do I need?
Your merchant will require things like SSL, credit card logos, return policy, privacy statement, order information and security information for your customers. Here is a quick list and a few questions:
- Complete description of the goods or services offered
- Amount of Inventory (1 or 100,000)
- Custom options (do you need a custom solution)
- Categories or Collections of inventory (How is your inventory going to be divided up?)
- Competitive Advantage (Why do people want to buy from you?)
- Amazon - Why are people going to buy from you over Amazon? Or do you have a Amazon store in addition to your website.
- Refund Policy
- The Terms & Conditions of the purchase.
- Customer Service Contact, including e-Mail Address &/or telephone #
- Transaction Currency (e.g., U.S. Dollars, Canadian Dollars)
- Export or Legal Restrictions (if known)
- Type of Inventory (Guns, Size, Restrictions)
- Shipping Options (Custom Fullfilment, Dropship, Domestic, International, etc)
- Shipping Vendor (UPS, USPS, etc)
- Shipping Delivery Policy
- Disclosure of the Merchant Outlet Country
- Security method for the transmission of Payment Data| SSL Certificate
- "About Us" or "Our Company" information to ensure consistency with application information
- Merchant publishes paragraph stating that they adhere to all State and Federal laws regarding the sale of their products to people in those states if restrictions apply
- Website Address|URL: (required)
Ecommerce stores can take 40 to 120 plus hours to build. It all depends on how much work you want to put into it. If you want to keep the costs down, be prepared to do the majority of the legwork. As ecommerce and website developers, we have enough headaches to deal with when building a website. It's often overlooked that the website developers "do everything". Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet solution to selling online. You may be selling 1-20 custom products, have a catalog of 5000 products, might be shipping bulk hunting stands that require custom logistics or shipping zones or even may want to drop shop products with your wholesaler. Drop shipping can be incredibly complex even though it sounds simple from the 360 degree overview. The reality is, the developers need to work with the wholesaler to set it up. Then once you set it up, how do you drive traffic and sell your product? Through search engines? Pay Per Click? Facebook and Instagram? ecommerce can be simple or incredibly complex. You need to think about what is realistic, what your goals are and then mesh that in talking with a competent company or consultant.
3. Do I need to collect tax?
Each state is different. You will need to check with your state to figure out the rate. Here in Minnesota, for clothing, there is not tax. For other goods and services, Minnesota does require tax. Please let us know if you charge tax and at what rate.
4. What do I charge for shipping?
There is no perfect method for shipping but you do need to decide what you are going to do before we setup your store. How do you want to charge shipping? What shipping type will you use? US Postal, UPS or Fed Ex? It's your call.
- Option 1 - Built Into Item Cost
- Option 2 - Per Item Cost
- Option 3 - Shipping Grid
- Option 4 - Off a UPS/FedEx API Feed
- Option 5 - % of the Total Amount
- Option 6 - Any other option
5. What email address do I want to be notified?
What email address do you want the order emails to go to?
6. How will I deal with returns, exchanges, cancellations?
How are you going to deal with returns? Do you allow them? Is there a restocking fee? What address do returns go to? Here's a example: http://www.ultimateoutdoornetwork.com/shipping/
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