How an online merchant account factors into the success of your eCommerce business
The reality is that more people are shopping online than ever before. It's easier for people to get the things that they want by shopping on the internet, and often more convenient too. According to research, 60% of adult Americans are happy if they don’t have to shop in a crowded store or mall. And, U.S. Census Bureau estimates for American eCommerce sales in the fourth quarter of 2015 suggest nearly $90 billion in spending. To get in on eCommerce, you need, of course, a website and an online merchant account to accept and settle online payments.
When you choose an online merchant account, there are various details that matter. Your online merchant account, as well as the online merchant processing services provided, could determine how successful your eCommerce business is. Here's what to look for to start:
It can be difficult to guess how customers are going to pay for their purchases online with so many options today. You're online merchant account should provide versatility, accepting debit cards, prepaid cards, as well as credit acceptance for Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. In addition, many of today's so-called "alternative payments", e.g. PayPal, began life as online payment solutions as eCommerce was first taking off. You should know that these alternatives are available to you even if you don't choose to accept them initially. And, consider whether solutions that will allow you to accept in-app mobile wallet payments, e.g. Android Pay, Apple Pay, are something that might be in demand among your customers.
Perhaps nowhere is security more important than in the so-called card-not-present world. When you run an online shop or eCommerce site, you're accepting payments where no physical credit card is being presented. It's imperative that security needs are addressed and integrated within the merchant account. If there is no security, it could easily affect the success of your business. Consumers want to know that when they enter their credit card information into your website, they aren’t going to be the victim of credit fraud or have their identities stolen.
Today, security goes well beyond the basic fundamentals of encryption and firewalls to protect your site and the like. You need to consider and know if advanced solutions such as tokenization are available to you through your online merchant account. Tokenization essentially scrambles real card data by replacing it with representative data that is then used in the approval process. The tokenization process effectively renders the data as useless to anyone who intercepts it during transmission. Related services that provide host checkout pages and card data/token storage vaults also can go along way in removing card data from your systems and website. This can also favorably influence the scope of your compliance needs under PCI-DSS standards—the set of data handling, protection and security standards that all businesses accepting cards are subject too.
Keep customers pushing carts
Cart abandonment is a real issue for online merchants. A customer can start filling an online shopping cart and then abandon it and your site with little warning. Checkout processes, payments acceptance, incentives, and shipping costs, these are all things that influence a customer's decision to complete the sale. Make sure you're on top of how customers are using your site and the points at which they abandon the experience. The intelligence can go along way in helping you refine the shopper's experience through to checkout. Don't offer the payment method they want to use? It's one reason for cart abandonment.
The world is more global than ever and so is commerce. International payments acceptance could be an additional path to success for your business. International payments are also much more complex than standard acceptance and settlement in U.S. dollars. A good online merchant account will either include, or connect you to, acceptance and settlement options that are right you. For the most part, smaller online retailers will want to accept a range of currencies while still settling in U.S. dollars. This is different for online retailers and sellers who maintain more complex business and financial operations, including those outside of the U.S.
Ready to become an online merchant? It's important to look at the various online merchant account details and how they can help your eCommerce business succeed.