e-commerce question

  Griffon 11:53 13 Sep 2003

Can anyone recommend a credit card processor that simply takes a fee per transaction rather than upfront set-up charges and monthly fees for shopping carts, third party cc processor, merchant accounts etc?

I want to put my toe in the e-commerce water and am shocked at the set up and monthly costs
(often payable a year in advance)associated with doing this with companies like oneandone.com for example. I want customers to be able to order real goods (not intangibles) by credit card at my web site. The goods are aimed primarily at the UK market so ordering in pounds would be an advantage.

  Forum Editor 13:24 13 Sep 2003

and the type of transaction, but if you're just starting out you might consider using PayPal. This company is one of the biggest third-party card processors in the business, and they've won many awards for their service. PayPal processes millions of online card transactions a week, and they have a good reputation for security.

You'll need to set up a PayPal account, but that's very easy. Additionally, you'll need a bank account in the name of the business that's trading - PayPal will not transfer funds to an account that's in a different name to that which is registered with them.

On the PayPal site you can generate 'Pay now' buttons - separate ones for each product line - and the whole process is quick and painless. You specify the currency that is to be the 'prime' account currency, and PayPal will auto-convert all other currency payments for you.

click here to visit PayPal's UK site.

  Griffon 14:02 13 Sep 2003

Thanks editor and tbh72. I'm just taking a look at PayPal's site now. Looks interesting. Do you have any experience of using PayPal as a shopper? Is the experience like any other cc purchase? I notice customers have to register - is this a simple process?

.. and tbh72 We're selling small watercolour paintings. The site's old and cronky now and needs an update (which I'm about to do). We sell pictures off the site but have also had lots of positive response from people saying they'd buy if we had cc payments click here

  Forum Editor 14:27 13 Sep 2003

for customers to register with PayPal, and it's necessary for security reasons.

I've designed several sites for clients using the PayPal system, and it's worked very well. One of the sites actually sells pictures, although for data protection reasons I'm not posting a link. Disclosing any information that might identify my clients would not be acceptable, and for that reason I can't post links to sites I design.

You should find that the pictures sell well - although I can see a potential problem. If they are all originals you'll run into the problem of two people selecting (and paying for) the same picture won't you? PayPal will take their money - after all, they won't know that there's only one of each item. On the PayPal site you create a 'Buy now' button for each item, and PayPal will continue to take money each time the button's clicked.

  Griffon 14:43 13 Sep 2003

Thanks for the PayPal info.

I accept your point about the uniqueness of each item and the problems this may cause. Two possible solutions present themselves 1. I simply apologise, reimburse the 2nd purchaser and take the loss on the transaction or 2. Find some way of putting up an "Item Sold" against a sold painting. Though how I'd do the latter I'm not certain.

  Forum Editor 14:54 13 Sep 2003

PayPal from accepting multiple payments for a single item - just remove the Pay now button that corresponds to it. Each button has code behind it, so PayPal's servers know what it's for, how much money to charge to the credit card, and which account to credit with the money.
It would mean that you would have to check your PayPal account page very regularly (they'll list all payments there), so you could whip the button off as soon as possible.

Then you could put a 'sold' sticker next to the picture.

  Griffon 22:25 13 Sep 2003

Thanks for the complement T. Yours is an interesting suggestion. I've seen some very clever presentation methods employed on some sites but am inclined to think simple is best. However, allowing the surfer to choose a picture at random for presentation may be good in parallel with the more conventional "gallery" type arrangement. As for buying an item I think the customer expects exactly what they ordered rather than a randomly selected example ... if this is what you meant but sorry if I misunderstood your point. And w.r.t. selling pictures it's a funny old business. Sometimes people ring up and say they like the picture but have you any showing somewhere around Aylesbury or wherever. Well, maybe we haven't but now there is an opportunity to create a painting to commission. So e-commerce isn't all about cc processing after all :-)

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