The e-commerce industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, particularly due to the change in purchasing behavior caused by the Covid pandemic. The US Census Bureau said total e-commerce sales for 2021 were estimated at $870.8 billion. This is an increase of 14.2% over the previous year. Tapping into the market is incredibly lucrative and requires far less upfront investment than attempting to break into the retail space. This makes it a very attractive market for entrepreneurs. There are a wide variety of tools available to help entrepreneurs enter the e-commerce industry. The latest hot tools in this space are payment processors, shopping carts, and website builders.
Payment Processors Payment processing is the process by which an online store accepts electronic payment for its goods or services. A payment processor is the company that handles the transaction. They transfer customers’ money to your company’s bank account. They perform an intermediary function between your online store and your bank account. The payment processor performs three main functions: transferring payment data from the customer’s bank account to the e-commerce store’s bank account, giving merchants the physical equipment needed to perform card transactions, and assisting in the payment process. create a merchant account for your business.
A payment processor differs from a payment gateway. A payment gateway is the most common type of interface between a company’s website and a payment processor. Payment gateways provide two main functions: send payment data from your website customers to the payment processor and accept payment information directly from the payment processor without involving your website.
The e-commerce payment process works as follows. An e-commerce transaction begins when a customer enters their payment information at checkout. The payment gateway sends the encrypted customer information to the payment processor. The payment processor alerts the customer’s bank, and then the bank either accepts the payment or rejects it for insufficient funds. If the payment is rejected, the customer and the payment processor will be notified. If the payment is successful, the payment processor will notify the payment gateway. The gateway will then send a notification to the merchant’s website. The funds are then deducted from the customer’s account and credited to the merchant’s account.
A shopping cart in the e-commerce sense is the software that facilitates the customer’s ability to purchase goods and services. It accepts the payment made by the customer and then communicates this information to the merchant and the payment processor. It may seem trivial but it is the bridge that connects shopping and buying. It is an extremely important factor in the online shopping experience and is essential for any e-commerce business to have.
A shopping cart in the e-commerce sense has three main functions: storing product information, managing an order, customer and store catalog and rendering store information such as product data to display to the customer. .
There are two basic types of shopping cart services: hosted shopping carts and licensed shopping carts. A hosted shopping cart is a shopping cart that is hosted by a third party that takes care of server capacity and maintenance. This is beneficial for businesses that are just starting out or don’t have the resources for a licensed shopping cart. The main disadvantage of hosted shopping carts is that the customer will be redirected to another website for payment processing. A licensed shopping cart is a shopping cart that can be customized to meet the needs of the business using it. This allows for greater flexibility and functionality. However, it also requires higher initial outlay in terms of cost and labor. This is rewarded with superior service which also requires more maintenance and technical know-how.
Website builders are websites that make it easy to create a website for your business or e-commerce store. These services vary greatly in complexity and scope, but there are many general themes that they all embrace. They allow their customers to build a website without any technical expertise in the matter and also facilitate the hosting of this website. These services usually come with some sort of subscription fee, especially for registering and hosting a unique domain name.
The main strength of these services is that you are able to create and host a professional e-commerce website without any large outlay for server infrastructure or web design. This can allow you to focus on other aspects of building your e-commerce business, such as marketing and product development. A potential downside of these services is that they don’t allow for the highest degree of customization and flexibility in your website building process. This is of course mitigated by the huge convenience factor and customization options they offer. Website builders also put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to design, allowing you greater freedom of creative expression and vision for your website. This is something you won’t receive in the same way when using a web design agency.
If you want to use a website builder and aren’t sure which option to try, consider this Shopify review for more information.
The e-commerce industry is growing fantastically and will continue to do so in the future. It is a space for innovation and entrepreneurship and the barriers to entry are significantly lower than the retail space. Payment processors, shopping carts, and website builders are three trends anyone looking to break into this market should be aware of. Each performing a vital function for the success of your e-commerce business.
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