I apologize and thank everyone in advance who replies or is sick of this type of thread but I had to since everyones Merchant questions are a bit different in variance.
For my eCommerce site, I have contracted a Webdesigner who is working on my website. I have no experience in eCommerce other than eBay selling which is really simple. I have recently been suspended from eBay for no good reason, they didnt even give me a reason. So I have started to work on getting an eCommerce site.
First of all I applaud whoever made this forums. This forum has helped me out SO MUCH! I learned the basics of eCommerce.
-I already have a domain name which i registered with GoDaddy.
-I have webhosting with thirdsphere (which I hope is decent)
I think cdgcommerce is really good but I guess they all have plus and minuses. I am experienced in wholesaling, importing/exporting and in general, the physical aspect of business.
Once again, I thank everyone in advance for any help or criticism.
With respect to shopping cart systems, there are a lot of options and you may want to start there with your decision-making.
If you are looking for an open source solution with a lot of 3rd party/community support, osCommerce or ZenCart are good options to consider. However, you have to have some programming knowledge to really get the most of them or a Web designer who is familiar with them.
The other option is to use a merchant provider who provides a free shopping cart or offers a payment gateway with a built-in shopping cart. This can sometimes be a quick and inexpensive way to get things setup but you'd want to make sure that your Web designer is comfortable using it and/or that the merchant provider can provide him/her with the specs for integration.
After you know how you want to setup your store, then it is a matter of making sure that any prospective merchant provider offers one or more payment gateways that are compatible with the store. Authorize.Net is the most universal gateway but most popular shopping cart systems often are integrated with many other gateways.
On the merchant account side... you'll want to look into reviews of any prospective merchant provider to see what other folks think. In addition, it is always good to ask detailed questions on how they handle their customer service, tech support - i.e. do they provide it directly or outsource it, whether they are agents or actual direct ISO/MSP's, how chargeback & risk issues are handled and get a complete listing of every fee and a description of it.
You'll also want to ideally find a merchant provider that does NOT charge any kind of an early termination fee. This is a common fee hidden in most merchant processing agreements that can create quite a headache if you ever decide to close your account or switch services in the future --- so avoid this if you can and always get this in writing.
Lastly, while you are getting started - you may want to try to get a merchant account without any monthly minimum cost. Otherwise, this will add another layer of expense early on that can equate to $300/year in unnecessary cost. Once your processing volume grows, you can always talk to your merchant processor to see if another plan might fit you better if they are open to that kind of thing.
Hope that info is helpful... with the right shopping cart selected, the rest of the items can fall in place very quickly. The merchant account/gateway setup portion can be done in as little as 1-2 business days with most providers.
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