Having made the decision to open an online store, and realise the profit potential of an ecommerce business, you’ll need to choose your online platform with one eye on your payment gateway options. The last thing you want to do is spend large sums of money on a cool website only to find your payment gateway integration options are limited. While the look and feel of your ecommerce website might attract millions of customers, without the right payment gateway you won’t make a bean.
Your ecommerce platform options
You have three basic choices of ecommerce platforms:
Open Source (OS) software is cheap (sometimes free) provided you understand how to install and administer the platform. But changes and updates to such platforms are regular, so you’ll need to be able to commit time and resource to its maintenance. There may also be some additional charges, such as hosting and security certificates: and while we’re talking about security, an OS provider won’t give you any guarantees or software support.
You could install a dedicated ecommerce platform. Your platform will be customised by a software house, based upon your needs and technical specifications. You’ll get exactly what you want, but at a cost of cash and time. This ecommerce platform option also relies on you knowing exactly what you want right now, and any decisions taken at the front end of such a project could have negative consequences down the line.
Finally, a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution allows you a fats and cost effective way to set up your ecommerce business. You don’t have to worry about hosting, and with monthly fees your initial cost is near zero. Of course, there may be transaction charges, but these can be factored in as an ongoing cost of doing business: in other words, much of the financial risk is taken along the way rather than ahead of time. SaaS solutions also provide easy to use functionality for you to design your ecommerce online pages. And you can change your online features and look whenever you want. The SaaS provider administers all the upgrades, though if you want a non-standard feature then it can be costly to develop.
Why you need to consider your payment gateway before setting up your ecommerce website
Whatever ecommerce platform you select, you’ll need to integrate payment processing with it in order to be able to sell your goods and services. You could choose a standard plugin to do this, such as those offered by WordPress. These will enable authorisation of automated payments online, allowing your customers to shop with you.
However, payment options might be limited, which could reduce your reach and cut out customers. People expect to be able to pay how they want to, in a variety of ways and with a variety of cards and other methods (the most recent addition to ecommerce payment options is bitcoin capability).
Integrating your ecommerce platform with a dedicated payment gateway provider at an early stage will give you the customisation your business needs now, as well as the flexibility you’ll want going forward. Bringing a payment processing provider on board at the outset will ensure your ecommerce business can process the payments of all prospective customers, and not just those with a Paypal account.