There are many things that I used to buy in person that I now buy online. I wouldn’t call myself lazy, but it’s a lot easier to carry a box of paper towels from my front door to my apartment than it is to carry it down the street from my local grocery store. And I am not alone. Whether it’s a wider selection, better prices, convenience, or something else, many more people today buy things online rather than in person. Despite the growing number of online shoppers, people are still wary of the setbacks of paying for things online. In particular, people are still nervous about giving their personal and credit card information to online retailers. If you are a ecommerce businessA big part of attracting and delighting your customers will be providing them with a stable, reliable, secure, and smooth online shopping experience. That starts with creating your payment gateway.
How to create a payment gateway
A payment gateway is an early technology component of payment processing that bridges the gap between your company’s finances and the customer’s finances during a transaction. To understand what I mean, it helps to know how payment processing works. On the one hand, the client’s financial institution must approve or reject the purchase. On the other hand, your payment service provider (PSP) and your business account need this data to process the transaction and receive payment. Coordinating these moving parts is your payment gateway. Here’s how to set it up.
1. Open a merchant account.
A merchant account is a type of business account that accepts payments of various types, including credit cards. Funds from online purchases arrive in your merchant account after they have been processed, and you can then transfer them to your business bank account. To create a payment gateway, it is useful to have a merchant account already set up, as it will be the final destination for funds from successful transactions.
2. Choose a payment service provider (PSP).
While the gateway acts as the front-end of the payment processing for a transaction (that is, the interface that customers interact with directly), the payment service provider facilitates the transaction on the back-end, passing financial data to all moving parts. To create a payment gateway for your customers to interact with, you must first configure a PSP to connect it.
3. Decide if you want to build or buy your payment gateway.
You have the option of creating a payment gateway yourself (custom) or partnering with a provider for a “ready to use” one. Custom builds can accommodate a wider range of your unique needs and save on transaction fees. However, it can be expensive to develop and maintain. A “out of the box” payment gateway is quicker to set up, but you’ll want to make sure it comes with all the features you need. Some may even come with PSP functionality, saving you time during setup. The industry’s top gateway providers include Authorize.Net, Stripeand PayPal. If you plan to accept payments on your website, be sure to check all the items in the list below.
Essential features for accepting payments on your website
1. Multiple login options
While it is more convenient for your marketing to require buyers to create an account before placing an order, it doesn’t always benefit your customers. You can lose people along the way if you don’t give them the option to pay as a guest. Remember: you can always ask them to create an account once they have bought from you and feel a little closer to your brand. Image Credit: VWO
You should also think about offering buyers the option to log in with one of your social media profiles, such as Facebook or Twitter. This can reduce registry friction because it makes the sign-in process much faster. Make sure to add that you will never post without customer permission, if applicable. The warning to allow a social login? It is the only connection that buyers will have to log in to, and if something changes about that connection (the terms of service for the social network change or your account is removed from the network), their ability to log into your site will change as well. . So if you allow people to authenticate with social logins, find out other ways to request more contact information.
2. Authentication / Login Layers
Customers who have an account with you want to know that their information is safe, even if they forget their login information. To give you peace of mind, be sure to require multiple layers of verification before restoring your login information. For example, if a customer forgets their password, your site might require several security questions before sending an email to a predetermined email address.
3. PCI compliance
The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) defines a series of specific data security standards (DSS) that are relevant to all merchants, regardless of revenue and credit card transaction volumes. If you host and manage your own e-commerce platform, it is your responsibility to ensure PCI compliance at the required level of compliance, which is based on the volume of credit or debit card transactions over a 12-month period. Most SaaS shopping carts will have PCI compliance built in.
4. Integrated payment processor
While you can get away with payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, Google paymentand Amazon Pay If you have a very small website and few transactions, it is much better to integrate a checkout process directly on your website. With some processors, online shoppers are redirected off your website to a payment site that doesn’t look like yours, disrupting their experience, visually disconnecting them from your brand, and can be confusing or stressful and cause them to abandon your car. An integrated payment solution that processes your customer information on your own server allows for greater flexibility and customization. Plus, it’s a much smoother experience for your customers. An integrated checkout page will require an SSL certificate to ensure a secure connection. Which brings me to my next point …
5. SSL certificate
Every e-commerce website needs an SSL certificate to protect customers’ personal and credit card information. SSL is the standard security technology that ensures that all data that is transmitted between a web server and a browser remains private. Without it, hackers can steal your customers’ information, and online shoppers won’t feel safe submitting their information on your website. Online shoppers will know that your website is secure when they see an “https: //” at the beginning of your URL, instead of just “http: //”. Read our article to find out how to get an SSL certificate on your website.
6. Credit card logos and security seals
Speaking of keeping online shoppers at ease, you may want to add credit card logos and security seals to your website to assure shoppers that your site is a safe and reliable place to do business. Make them visible at least in the shopping cart and in the checkout phases of your site, or even try to integrate them into the footer of your website.
7. Payment buttons
The less time customers have to search for an option to pay, the sooner they will act and buy. We recommend placing payment calls to action, in a color that really stands out, at the top and bottom of your web pages. Take a look at this ModCloth checkout button example (no pun intended): Want a little help designing a button? Click here for free call-to-action templates.
8. Visual payment process
If you need to spread the checkout process over multiple pages, give shoppers a visual indicator of how much progress they have made and how much time they have to go. Again, ModCloth does this particularly well:
9. Return and refund policy
Shoppers cannot physically see or feel a product before purchasing it online, which can make some people nervous and discourage them from buying. To help mitigate this, make your return and refund policy available. Consider making it part of the checkout process and even including it in the footer of your website. Make sure your policy is concise, informative, engaging, and easy to understand. Say whether the customer will receive a refund or store credit, stipulate a time frame for returns, define the condition you expect the product to be in, and disclose fees in advance, such as who will cover the cost of shipping.
10. Clear path to your contact information
Online shoppers want to know that they can easily contact your business for assistance, especially if they are new customers. If you don’t give them a clear path to your contact information, they may be hesitant to buy from you or not get the support they need to complete a transaction. Include contact information such as a phone number (with hours of availability), email address, postal address, and social media accounts. Preferably include this information as text (not as an image) for search engines to pick up on local searches. Some retailers also like to offer live chat options; just make sure you’ve integrated it with your customer records so you can create smarter marketing campaigns in the future.
11. Detailed confirmation page before payment
Before allowing online shoppers to pay, you’ll want to take them to a detailed confirmation page before finalizing the transaction. This page should allow them to review their cart, give them the option to change the quantity or remove items, include a final price (including tax and shipping), and indicate when the items will be shipped.
12. Optimized payment page layout
The best payment pages are functional, secure, attractive, and easy to use and navigate. The last thing you need is for someone with purchasing intent to cool down at the last minute simply because they can’t use your system or have no faith in it.
13. Mobile payments
Shoppers don’t just shop at the desk. They also shop on mobile devices, so your payment gateway needs to be responsible and easy to navigate for mobile device users as well. If you have a mobile app, you may also need additional functionality to process payments on iOS and Android.
14. Confirmation email
Finally, you’ll want to create a confirmation email that includes your order number, product, payment and shipping information, and your return and refund policy, just in case. If possible, use a real “from” email address (instead of [email protected]) that can be answered by a member of your customer service staff. You’ll also want the order confirmation page to be easy to print. This is the time when you can offer invited customers the option to sign up for an account as well. Setting up your ecommerce business is exciting, even if all the details can be a bit overwhelming. With a little planning, you are well on your way to processing e-commerce transactions from left to right. Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been updated for completeness.