Online Purchasing Explained

If you want to maximize your conversion rates it’s vitally important that you make it as easy as possible for customers to buy from you. One of the ways to do that is to offer customers the facility to purchase online. The beauty of the internet is that virtually anybody can start making sales of their products or services online, within a few minutes. Best of all, you don’t even need merchant facilities.

Another benefit of offering online purchasing facilities is that you suddenly move from a local to a global marketplace which enables you to sell to many more people over a much larger geographic area.

Who Can Benefit?

Virtually all product-based businesses can benefit by getting online ordering facilities. Many service-based organisations can too. Having online payment facilities doesn’t only help improve your sales conversion rates, it also helps you generate more leads to your business, and attract more customers from a much wider geographic area.

The Different Elements You Need To Start Accepting Online Payment


Some companies have complete eCommerce shopping carts on their sites where people can click an item from an online catalogue and add it to their shopping cart. When customers finish shopping they can check out and pay for all their purchases at once, online. Shopping carts are online software applications that are usually hooked in to a business’ website.

An SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate enables you to secure certain pages or directories of you website so people can enter their credit card details on an order form on your site, in a secure way… without having to worry about hackers or identity thieves stealing your information. An SSL certificate can be purchased from a variety of companies. Just Google “security certificate” to find them. One of the most respected names in the industry is “VeriSign” which is at

Ecommerce Payment Gateway

This service acts as a go-between your shopping cart or payment button on your website and the credit card merchant provider. Once you have an internet merchant account you’ll need a facility to process those credit cards in “real time” over the internet… in a secure environment.

Here are the steps:

  1. Customer goes to secure order form and enters credit card details
  2. Credit card details get transmitted to a third party payment processing gateway
  3. Third party payment processing gateway approves/disapproves credit card transaction and interacts with your merchant facility via your credit card merchant company
  4. Payment processing company deposits funds directly into your company bank account daily

Most institutions DO offer an internet payment gateway at an additional and sometimes quite significant set-up charge. What’s more, sometimes there are also restrictive terms and conditions with their payment gateway service.

SO – If you have a merchant account that enables you to take order on the internet, either:

  • Go through your credit card merchant provider (maybe your bank or direct to the credit card company) and arrange for them to set up an online payment gateway. OR…
  • Go to a third party provider. These companies act as independent go-betweens between your customer and your credit card merchant provider. You do need merchant facilities to be able to use this kind of credit card payment processing gateway though. There are dozens of third party processing companies but is one to check out as a starting point.

Other Online Payment Solutions Providers When You Don’t Have Your Own Merchant Facility

There are a variety of other credit card processing companies that will process your transactions through their credit card merchant facilities. In exchange for this, they’ll take out their fee and then ship the balance to you on specific days. With this facility you don’t need your own credit card merchant account and you can start accepting credit cards on your site virtually immediately. These include sites like Paypal (, 2Checkout (, WorldPay ( and Clickbank (www.clickbankcom) (if you sell digital products).

7 Factors To Increase Your Online Orders

  1. Accept ALL Credit Cards – some people prefer Amex to Mastercard or Visa.
  2. Accept online cheques and payments from bank accounts – There is a facility via some third party companies including Paypal for people to pay directly from their bank account.
  3. Offer real-time credit card processing – so people can access parts of their order or bonuses immediately. Offering instant download bonuses on your website is a great way to increase your conversion rates.
  4. Offer a “Secure” environment to process their credit card transaction and show people that the environment is secure.
  5. Logos that sell – build your credibility by gaining memberships to various industry-based or “better-business” style organisations and feature their logo near the payment area of your site, e.g. Veri-sign or other “security certificate” organisations.
  6. If you have a merchant account also offer Paypal – Remember, the more options you offer, the more sales you’ll get.
  7. Discounts or special offers when people purchase online – Obviously, online purchases save you time and money. You don’t need a salesperson to take the order. You can take orders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With that, for fixed price products, it makes sense to offer a discount for online orders.

Where To From Here?

If you don’t already have an internet merchant facility, start out just using a third party online payment solutions company such as PayPal. There are also many other reliable providers out there but the ones listed are the most popular.