Ecommerce Introduction

One aspect of Ecommerce is the activity of selling things on the Internet. Retail e-sales have been growing by an average of 26.4 percent every year since 2000 (http://www.census.gov/eos/www/papers/2004/2004reportfinal.pdf). Ecommerce allows merchants to reach millions of qualified buyers 24/7.

An on-line store can serve as a logical extension of a brick and mortar store, or starting a business on the Internet can be a profitable standalone business. on-line stores do not require cashiers or expansive buildings to display merchandise, therefore, making on-line business very cost effective compared to brick and mortar stores. Buyers can easily search your web site for the items they want.

Typically, buyers browse your website and put items they want into a virtual shopping cart. When finished, they can checkout by providing their credit card information which is authorized real-time (within seconds).

Why should you start an on-line business?

Merchants can reach millions of buyers worldwide. You can also gain buyers more cost effectively than by using traditional advertising. Buyers can come to you searching for products, instead of you trying to entice them.

Necessary items for an Ecommerce store

  • Shopping cart software that resides on an Internet server
  • An Internet Merchant Account
  • A secure certificate

ArCart software has everything you need to set up your on-line store, including adding products, images, and setting shipping and tax charges. Click here for more information on getting started. Arquan will also help you to get an Internet Merchant Account and a secure certificate, needed to complete your on-line store.

An Internet Merchant Account (IMA) is needed in order to accept credit cards on the Internet, and serves as a temorary holding tank for funds until they are transferred into the merchant’s business checking account. A payment gateway connects the shopping cart software with the merchant account and the card issuer’s bank. It authorizes/declines the credit transactions and communicates the results to the shopping cart software. For more information about Internet Merchant Accounts and how to obtain an account, visit our merchant accounts page.

Identity fraud and theft is a fear among some would-be on-line buyers. A secure certificate encrypts sensitive data between the client’s computer and the web server and also helps to quell buyer hesitation about a web site’s security. Every on-line store using ArCart software is required to have its own secure certificate. Secure certificates can be obtained from companies such as Thawte, Comodo, or Verisign. Arquan will manage the entire certificate issuance process for you making it is easy as possible.

How it works

  1. It all starts with the User (or customer) and their computer. They want to do some shopping on-line.

  2. The user will connect to the Internet using their computer. They will reach your site by typing in its web address (URL), clicking on a link they find, or by finding you using a search engine or directory such as Google or Yahoo.

  3. A connection request will then be sent to the Web Server where your web site and on-line store is hosted. Once the web server receives the connection request, it will send the web site content to the user’s computer. The web site will utilize the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol and the secure certificate to encrypt sensitive data.

  4. Once the user decides to purchase items from your on-line store, the transaction information is sent to a Payment Gateway.

  5. The gateway communicates with the Card Issuer’s Bank to request the credit card authorization. The gateway then communicates the results to the shopping cart software and indicates if the transaction is authorized or declined. The result of the transaction is displayed to the user.

  6. Assuming that the transaction is authorized, the customer’s payment is transferred to your Internet Merchant Account.

  7. Finally, the money in your Internet Merchant Account is transferred to your Checking Account.

Advertising

Unless you are located at the most prominent intersection in town, for potential customers to find your business, some marketing is necessary. The same is true for an on-line store.

Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Organic SEO entails many elements. ArCart shopping cart software has built-in tools which automatically make your shopping cart pages search engine friendly. The first and foremost element in organic SEO is writing relevant, compelling content on your web site. Content should be highly targeted and provide useful, high quality information to users. While organic SEO is free, it takes time and effort to attain high ranking results in search engines.

Another SEO aspect involves writing meta tags, which describe specific information about the contents of your web site. Writing meta tags gives you a chance to tell the search engines what the page is all about. You will want to include keywords and descriptions in your meta tags that will provide relevant results to users. ArCart shopping cart software makes this easy by providing space for you to enter meta tags while entering your products in the administration area. ArCart also automatically sets the browser title bar to be the product title name, or you can enter your own browser title. Browser titles also help lead to Search Engine Friendly indexing.

Pay per Click Advertising

Some popular web sites offer pay per click advertising programs. You purchase pay per click advertising from companies like Google, Yahoo, Mama, and Kanoodle. You pay each time a potential customer clicks on your ad, which takes them from the search engine web site to your web site. Pay per click advertising allows you flexibility in creating your own ad and sending users to whatever page on your web site you want them to land on. You bid on relevant keywords or phrases, so that when people are searching the web site you purchased your advertising from by using those keywords, your ad will be displayed.

It is best to have highly targeted ads directing users to relevant pages with an action goal rather than generic ads. In essence, place ads about flea and tick medication for dogs if that is what you are selling. Do not place ads about dogs. For the best results, your ads should be as positive and targeted as possible offering your potential visitors valuable information with an easy path to complete the desired action.

Google Adwords and Yahoo Search Marketing are popular sellers of pay per click advertising.