An ecommerce website contains many mechanisms that allow store owners to display and sell products, managing every aspect of the sale including payment, invoicing, shipping and account maintenance.

Selecting the proper content management system and a web designer that is familiar with all facets of ecommerce web design are the two most important decisions. It is equally important that you as a business owner, understand the basic mechanics of ecommerce ! Let us start with the basics, definitions:

Ecommerce Shopping Cart Component:  A component used to track sales, orders and inventory.  Your Ecommerce mechanism will include a shopping cart: a process that collects the products /services, totals the order and provides a means for the user to enter their credit card information. If you sell more than one product a shopping cart is essential. It is highly recommended to utilize a complete ecommerce solution that offers all of these required features.  It is important that you are easily able to manage your store using a component that works well with a Content Management System for your website.

SSL Security (Secure Sockets Layer):  If you plan to accept payment by credit card then security is an important consideration.  99% of the time you will need an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) unless you are offering payment by PayPal only (where users leave your site to process payment). An SSL is a “standard security technology “used to establish an encrypted link between a server and a client—typically a web server (website) and a browser; or a mail server and a mail client.

Merchant Account: A merchant account is a type of bank account that allows businesses to accept payments by payment cards.

Merchant Service Provider (MSP): A company or sales organization that provides transaction processing solutions. It is typical that Merchant Service Providers often offer both Merchant Accounts and Payment Gateways.

Payment gateway:  A payment gateway is interface between your ecommerce shopping cart and the credit card company that processes the credit card payment.  A payment gateway is the equivalent of a physical point of sale terminal located in most retail outlets.

Below are various popular Merchant Service Providers and Payment Gateway Options:

Provider Merchant Service Provider Payment Gateway SSL Required Processing on site! Monthly Fee Start-Up Fee Transaction Fee Corporate Location
Paypal  green-check  green-check No Users Redirected   FREE  $0.00  2.9%+$0.30

California USA

Paypal Pro  green-check  green-check No Optional  $30.00 / month $0.00  2.9%+$0.30

California USA green-check green-check green-check green-check $20.00 / month  $99.00


California USA 

Inuit Quickbooks green-check green-check No green-check  $19.95 / month  $99.00  2.5%+$.029  California USA
2checkout green-check green-check green-check green-check 0,00€ 0,00€ 5.5% London, UK
Payzen Go green-check green-check green-check green-check 14,90€  0,00€   not published  France
Skrill Moneybookers green-check green-check green-check green-check FREE   0,00€ 2.9%+€0.29  London, UK