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Four Key Elements of a Successful E-Commerce Site

Four Key Elements of a Successful E-Commerce Site

In order to develop a successful e-commerce website, you need to pay attention to four key areas: web design, your merchant account, your shopping cart and your secure payment gateway.

Website Design

Web design plays a key role in the success of your online business. Your website should look professional and attractive and be easy to navigate. First impressions count, and your website is often the first experience customers have with your business.

Your primary goal with an e-commerce website is to encourage customers to buy. Clearly and concisely describe your products. Highlight the benefits of each product, not just the features. Features may tell, but benefits sell.

Testimonials are another important element. Displaying testimonials and positive customer provide potential buyers with the confidence they need to trust in your products and/or services. Offering a money-back guarantee will also boost your customers’ confidence in making a purchase and is likely to lead to increased sales. Also, make sure your website offers visitors several options for placing orders (such as purchasing by phone or mail, for example). If you offer customers the option of purchasing online, make sure your shopping cart and checkout options are intuitive and easy to use.

Your Merchant Account

Opening a merchant account — a business and financial arrangement with a credit card processor like TSYS® — will allow you to accept credit and debit cards. An internet merchant account enables you to complete web-initiated transactions online in real time.

Your Shopping Cart and Secure Server

An online shopping cart allows your customers to select from the merchandise you are offering and place the items they want into their “basket,” much like they would if they were shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. The shopping cart totals the order for your customer (including tax and shipping) and then connects them to a secure virtual terminal where they enter their credit card and personal information. The cart then collects the billing, shipping and payment information and processes the order through the payment gateway.

Your Payment Gateway

A payment gateway enables you to accept multiple payment types in real time. You can process retail card-present transactions through a virtual terminal or process card-not-present transactions online, allowing you to eliminate the costs associated with maintaining traditional point of sale hardware. A payment gateway also offers sophisticated transaction reporting capabilities; reports contain all the information you need for quick and efficient reconciliation.

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