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When it comes to ecommerce, you have plenty of options – sometimes too many. From security to shipping to payment processing, there’s a lot to think about! You probably already know that a complicated or poorly designed checkout process will frustrate your customers and cause them to abandon their carts – not good news for you. As you’re designing your perfect ecommerce site, you’ll need to decide how you want to collect and process payments. Virtual shopping carts are the most common, but are they the right choice for you and your customers? We break down four options to help you decide.



Virtual Shopping Carts: A Great Place to Start



We’ll talk about shopping carts first – and with good reason. They’re the most popular option for ecommerce websites, and because of this most consumers are familiar with how they work and will not balk at being asked to use them. Virtual shopping carts function by allowing customers to add items they’d like to purchase to a “cart” that saves them until they are ready to check out, which could be minutes or weeks later. When that happens, the cart software (which is installed on your website) takes the customer’s payment information and processes the transaction.



While shopping carts are common, they are not perfect. The checkout process usually involves the customer entering their payment data, which can take some time and be frustrating. Today’s world is built on convenience and speed, so make sure you’re doing everything possible to keep the process moving. Only ask for the information you really need, and implement shortcuts and safeguards such as allowing the site to retain a customer’s information if they make a mistake or need to go back to a different page.



We would be remiss if we didn’t spend a few minutes talking about the benefits of payment integration here as well. Due to security and other restrictions, many shopping carts actually take the customer off of your website and onto theirs when it comes time to enter payment details. While you can usually customize and brand these pages (for an extra fee), you’re still sending your customers away from your page – and out of your control. Payment integrations like Velox work directly with your website and absorb the security risks while allowing your customers to stay right where they’re comfortable. This seems like a minor detail, but it’s anything but. In fact, it could be the difference between losing a sale and closing your biggest deal yet.



Digital Wallets: A New Way Forward



Many consumers are beginning to embrace the convenience of digital wallets like Google Wallet or Apple Pay. Payment details are stored digitally, eliminating the need for a physical wallet, and the consumer can pay for transactions by holding their smartphone near a POS system in-store or by authenticating themselves online. This type of payment option saves time because customers can check out and pay with just one or two clicks – plus you’ll likely see fewer abandoned carts as customers have less time to change their minds.



Of course, not all of your customers will have this technology enabled, so make sure this isn’t the only payment option available on your site. Also, pay attention to the security and technology requirements on your end. Integrating this payment option effectively requires an advanced level of skill to implement the API. Consider getting your site set up first with a high-quality shopping cart, then adding this functionality down the line.



Buy it Now: The Ultimate in Impulse Purchases



Want to cut out as many clicks and decision points as possible? A “Buy Now” button might be for you. Usually used for social media shops or stores offering a single product or service, a buy button can be integrated into your blog or other page to allow immediate purchasing. If you’re already using a shopping cart, ask the company you work with if they offer a buy button option as well.



While buy buttons are certainly not new, they haven’t taken off quite like their creators might have hoped. Despite seeming like they would cut out a lot of waffling and frustration over complicated checkout processes, they can actually backfire. Customers may balk at the idea that they need to make an immediate decision and may close out of your site to think about it. If that happens, they most likely won’t be back.



Peer-to-Peer Transactions: Payments Get Social



Today’s world is social, and payments are no exception. You many have heard of Venmo, Square Cash, or other services that allow consumers to quickly and easily send cash to their friends to cover rent, pick up part of a cab fare, or split a restaurant bill without the dreaded “separate checks.” What you may not know, however, is that you can add these services to your website as well, allowing customers to check out using their peer-to-peer accounts. The process isn’t usually very complicated, and generally amounts to adding a few lines of code.



Adding these services to your page comes at a cost, however. Most peer-to-peer payment providers charge a per-transaction fee to process payments, so you’ll need to research those thoroughly and weigh customer needs and wants against your business’s bottom line. As with digital wallets, you will most likely want to consider adding this option down the road once you’ve assessed how your customers like to pay rather than spending a bundle on it right from the get-go.



So Many Options, So Little Time



With so many choices for accepting ecommerce payments, and so many pros and cons for each, it can be hard to figure out which ones are right for your business. That’s where we come in. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website and we’ll help you navigate the decision-making process. With over 40 years of combined experience in the payment industry, we’re ready to help you with your payments so you can go back to focusing on what really matters – running your business.



PS – Want to see some of the shopping cart and gateway options we work with? Check them out.



PPS – Learn more about taking your online payments to the next level here.