It often comes up in the development phase of an ecommerce website… How do you want people to pay you? The majority of customers have no idea what the pro’s and con’s of using Paypal vs. a Merchant Account and Gateway are so here it is:
- Easy to setup
- Cheaper for a startup business with low volume sales
- Some people trust Paypal more (owned by EBAY)
- No SSL needed (paypal handles payments)
- May cost more depending on the rate you negotiate with a MA
- Takes customer off of your site
- Some people trust Paypal less (to each his own)
Merchant Account (MA)
- Often appears more professional
- Keeps users on your site during the payment process
- Can be cheaper if you are doing a lot of volume
- Better customer retention and success rate
- More programming overhead to setup
- Have to pay a % + a transaction fee
- Often a monthly fee to keep the MA open
- Need an SSL certificate (for scrambling of CC numbers during transmission to the payment gateway)
It’s a mixed bag really, in my experience few people want to pay the overhead of setting up a merchant account with the fees and trouble. However, customers seem to prefer that method and your success rates (from surfer to purchaser) are usually higher. I usually recommend starting with Paypal, then when you are getting a lot of sales, switch to a MA.
Modules available for your website, these are usually customized specifically for your site.
» Used For - Keeping in contact with, and marketing to your customers.
» How it Works - Visitors to your site can sign up to receive newsletters on your homepage. You log into your website administration panel and type in what you want the newsletter to say. The newsletter system sends out both a plain-text and newsletter so no matter what your recipients have installed for a mail client, they get the message. Our newsletter system allows people to signup for multiple newsletters on your website, and for you to keep track of those lists. Although our newsletter system allows you to import mailing lists, but we have a strict no-spam policy in place for using it.
» Example – M5Media.net Web Tips – Allows us to send out tips on using the internet to people who have subscribed to receive them. Members can opt-out of receiving tips at any time via a link in the email.
» Used For – Getting in touch with your customers and site visitors (market research).
» How it Works – You can create a question and up to 8 answers for that question. Surfers see the question on your homepage, then answer according to the multiple choice answers you have created. The system logs the results, you can replace the question as often as you want, and you have an unlimited amount of questions. To keep it honest, the system only let’s people vote once.
» Example – Integra Financial Services – Allows Integra to conduct market research on what are the most popular loan programs and what features people like about them.
» Used For – Google powered searching of your site, a convenience for all surfers.
» How it Works – We harness the power of Google to search only your site, results are “packaged” and displayed on your site.
» Used For – Displaying special events or date specific information for your site.
» How it Works – Your admin allows you to put in events for any day of the year and any time of the day. people can sign up to be reminded of the event via a text message or can sign up for a time slot via the web (for example – booking a function room at a restaurant).
» Used For – Only allowing people with certain credentials to access parts of your site. For example, a members-only section or a different page meant for certain clients.
» How it Works – You control who has access to what by assigning them a username and password to get access to certain parts of your site.
» Example – Splashbeachclub.com (splash profiles) – only people who have signed up for Splash profiles have access to email other members and access the members only photo gallery.
» Used For – Selling Online! Whatever your business sells.
» How it Works – The database tracks your products and facilitates the sale of goods online!
» Example – www.eddievegas.com – Allows the store owner to upload and manage vintage guitar sales and keep track of orders, inventory, and other data.