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Accept Orders on My Pages

People have become familiar with online ordering. They expect it too. Ecommerce can be added to your site in many ways. You can

  • read about different ways to accept orders online,
  • identify the way you want to accept orders and
  • send that information to me for a FREE estimate for adding ecommerce to your site.

This section explains:

Types of Online Ordering

There are many ways to process orders. People can print a form and fax or mail it to you. You may want this as an option in addition to other methods. There are some people that do not trust anyone's online ordering system.

The next step up is to use a third party, such as PayPal, to accept customers credit cards. This is a good option for people with low volume.

If you already have a merchant account then the orders can be collected and saved - all done on a secure server. You are notified by email when an order is placed. You look up the order on a password protected and secure area on your web site. You process the credit card transaction on your physical Point-of-Sales (POS) terminal. This method is not quite real-time, but can be fast if you check you email frequently.

A real-time transaction can be set up with an online merchant account. You can ask your present merchant account if they have this option. Be sure to ask about setup charges and recurring costs. Once you have this available, the credit card transaction can happen in real time.

New online merchant accounts can be set up that have all the tools for processing credit card transactions in real time.

Online Catalog and Shopping Cart

Your products are displayed on your web site in a catalog. As people browse or search through the site they want to be able to select an item to purchase. This is the familiar shopping cart.

Buyers' Habits

You are familiar with your customers and their buying habits. Their actions influence how your catalog's Add to Cart button works.

If your customers only buy one product at a time then the Add to Cart button should them move them to the check out.

This would not be good for another business, such as a grocery store, where people buy many products at a time.

Inventory Control

If you have a large array of products then you probaly have an existing accounting and inventory system. It is possible to link your online catalog to this data directly or indirectly. Smaller businesses offering only a few items may not need to link to their accounting and inventory data.

The advantage of linking the data is that you save yourself work. Price changes, availability and product descriptions that you enter into the inventory program are automatically used to update web pages.

Catalog Updates

Catalog updates are expected as product line changes. There are several ways to do the updates that also depend on who does the work.

Small catalogs can be updated reasonably well using off the self packages.

Large catalogs with many sections, sub-sections and even sub-sub sections require automation. This is done via a web interface that allows you to assign a product to sections and sub-sections. The web interface allows you to assign many products to each sections and prioritize the order that they appear on the page.

The description of each item can be customized too - even by someone that has basic HTML knowledge.

Other data, such as shipping weight, that may not be extracted or available from the accounting data is added to products for the online catalog. This data may or may not be displayed in the online catalog, but it is needed to process the order.

Catalog pages are produced automatically when a product item is changed. The pages use templates to ensure consistent corporate identity and navigation on all pages.

Customer Data

Some online catalogs make customer data, provided during a previous purchase, available when a customer logs in.

The advantage is that the customer does not have to re-enter all the information again.

The disadvantage is that customers will forget their login name and password. Your site will have to provide these to people requesting them - once you make sure the requester is legitimate.

Security and Privacy

Security and Privacy are two different issues, but most people think of them as the same thing.

Security is how well the information you collect is protected from unauthorized access. You have to explain what happens to information collected on your site as well as any third party site that may process credit card transactions.

Privacy is how confidential you keep the information. If you promise not to sell or rent information then you should say that. If you plan to rent an email list to a third party you should get permission to do that. A litte checkbox asking a person if it is okay for third parties to send you email is what most web sites do.

Other Features

There are other features that can be in an online catalog.

You can display other products similar to the one being purchased or viewed.

You can list products that where also bought by someone else buying the product being viewed.

You can list best sellers or set up an affilate program.


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Jan Meyer
P. O. Box 2581
Hemet, CA USA 92546
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