eCommerce is booming, with that global digital online commerce will exceed 20% CAGR to reach $5.8 trillion by 2022. That’s great news if you’re a business owner looking to reach new and existing customers.
That growth is driven in part by the fact businesses have more options than ever to get paid online. If you’re new to accepting online payments, you’re not alone. Sorting out the landscape of online payment solutions can be challenging, especially at first.
So what’s the best online payment solution for your business? Every business is different, so there’s no single answer that makes sense for everyone, especially since those needs change as businesses grow. We’ll look at four online payment options available for businesses today: hosted shopping carts, eCommerce gateways, eCommerce platforms, virtual terminals and integrated payments.
Are hosted shopping carts right for you?
Many businesses started with brochure websites long before eCommerce came into the mainstream. But making the jump from brochure website to accepting online payments introduces complexity. Online payments are often the dividing line where DIY no longer makes sense.
The shopping cart and checkout is where it all happens—and it has to be perfect. Hosted shopping carts—also known as hosted payment pages—are perfect for new businesses or those expanding into online sales from an existing “brick-and-mortar” business. There’s a vibrant marketplace of eCommerce vendors and payment processors that provide affordable shopping cart functionality to small (and even not so small) businesses.
Hosted payment pages offer an affordable semi-integrated solution to outsource this mission critical function to experts in creating secure, reliable online payment acceptance. Hosted shopping carts help businesses keep sensitive payment information off of their own systems, reducing the scope of compliance regulations like the .
Laying the foundations: eCommerce gateways
Many eCommerce journeys are best supported by a gateway provider. A payment gateway is simply a connection point for payments. A gateway connects shopping carts, point of sale systems, or virtual terminal to the next point within the processing journey of authorizing a payment.
Payment gateways are perfect for existing businesses that want to expand into eCommerce and accept online payments. Payment gateways can make accepting payments online easy for businesses already accepting payments in-store. A payment gateway typically allows you to stay with your current payment processor regardless of the eCommerce solution you choose.
Payment gateways allow businesses to consolidate their payments with one provider. That’s an important consideration for many businesses that view their payment providers as true business partners.
The rise of hosted eCommerce platforms
If you want or need more of a helping hand, eCommerce platform providers take on more of the load than ever. eCommerce platform solutions aim to extend the concept of the hosted shopping cart to include everything you need to get build and maintain your eCommerce website.
Today’s eCommerce platforms offer almost everything to make your online store a reality:
- Website hosting
- Customizable design templates
- Shopping cart functionality
- Payment processing integrations
- Built-in security and fraud detection tools
- Integrations with third-party platforms
eCommerce platforms are becoming more flexible every day. These platforms provide more opportunities than ever to customize your store exactly how you want by offering a variety of templates. Many platforms facilitate plugins that allow for virtually unlimited extension and customization, including serving as a platform for you to write your own custom code.
Virtual terminals help fill important gaps in payment acceptance
Virtual terminals are payment applications that perform all the same functions as a traditional point of sale system, all via common web browsers. Instead of swiping or dipping a physical card, a virtual terminal uses a web-based form to securely process payments.
Virtual terminals can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection. Virtual terminals are great for accepting mail and telephone orders, processing monthly payments or setting up subscriptions, and for processing payments on-the-go using a tablet or smartphone.
Easy recurring and installment payments make virtual terminals a perfect supplement for almost any business. Virtual terminals offer fast setup, they’re easy to operate and work with equipment you already have.
How integrated payments satisfy demanding businesses
A wave of payments innovation continues to transform online commerce. The ability to integrating payments capabilities directly into custom eCommerce websites and apps via application programming interfaces (APIs) offers businesses tremendous power, flexibility and control over their payments.
Integrated eCommerce solutions are built into your software, routing payments transactions through a payment gateway or direct to a . Integrated solutions ease pain points such as payments reconciliation, slow transaction times and handling manual errors.
Fully-integrated solutions aren’t for everyone—they often require skilled developers and resources to support custom programming. Realizing the enormous potential of fully integrated payment solutions is the reality for a growing number of businesses.
Fully integrated payment solutions allow for maximum customization and control with programming interfaces that put you in the driver’s seat. Payment toolkits allow businesses free range of motion to develop brilliant user experiences and compete at the highest level.
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