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Bay Area E-Commerce Websites, Hosting & Shopping Carts at Affordable Rates

We offer e-commerce web design solutions, including hosting, shopping carts, and e-commerce merchant accounts for San Francisco Bay Area companies. To sell products or services directly on the Internet you will likely need a "shopping cart" as part of your e-commerce website to allow customers to make purchases directly from your site with credit cards, PayPal, or other forms of payment.

Most people are very familiar with buying over the Internet these days, but if you are new to the "seller side" of e-commerce, we can help to explain the many different options and what is involved with each. Also, please see our related articles - Getting Started In E-Commerce - Part One and Part Two.

Shopping Cart Basics

We have been creating e-commerce web sites for many years, and we are happy to explain their various features, capabilities, and requirements. There are major differences among the many offerings, and it's important that you start with a system that fits your needs well. Otherwise you may find yourself making an expensive change much sooner than you would like. E-commerce websites run the gamut from simple sites with just a few products or services to full database shopping cart software with features to rival Amazon.com. At a basic level, however, shopping carts generally perform the following functions:

  • List and total the costs for items being purchased
  • Calculate Sales Tax
  • Calculate Shipping and Handling costs (many options here!)
  • Collect Shipping and Billing information and instructions
  • Allow for multiple forms of payment, including secure credit card transactions
  • Electronically process the transaction
  • Notify the site owner of the sale

While shopping carts can sometimes include many more involved functions, all shopping cart software or services should provide these features as a minimum.

Examples of other optional capabilities (see shopping cart features) include:

  • Secure password protected administration section so you can make changes
  • Ability to create and maintain product and/or category pages
  • Template-driven designs for easy customization and changes
  • Unlimited number of products and categories
  • Wide variety of options for shipping charges
  • Real-time shipping rates for UPS, Fedex, USPS
  • Support for downloadable products
  • Most Popular products display area
  • Support for discount coupons and gift certificates
  • Specials listings area
  • Moderated product reviews and ratings
  • Related products, accessories, and cross-selling
  • Support for wide variety of payment types and gateways
  • Online orders tracking
  • Customizable printable packing slips and invoices
  • Product stock accounting / inventory
  • Comprehensive orders statistics and reporting
  • Many more...

Different companies, products, and services have widely different requirements for e-commerce websites. Because we've developed e-commerce sites for over 12 years, we're familiar with and can recommend a variety of solid e-commerce/shopping cart software, online e-commerce services, or custom solutions depending on the needs of our clients. Because we are familiar with a wide variety of options, we can recommend the solution that best fits your needs.

Security Issues

Credit cards represent the most common way of paying for items in the Internet, and they are the reason why serious security precautions must be taken by any website that is set up for e-commerce. Our customers typically do not want to take any chances with credit card security, and we very much agree with that position. Consequently, we normally set up shopping carts for our clients to use a "payment gateway" which allows you to have a fully-functional e-commerce website without ever having to receive or store credit card information. This protects you from hackers, which threaten all websites, particularly e-commerce sites.

Merchant Accounts

If you want to allow your customers to use a credit card, you will need a merchant account specifically for that purpose. If you take credit cards directly now, you already have a merchant account. Unfortunately, the major credit card companies require that you have a separate merchant account for use with online transactions.

Many businesses set up merchant accounts through their bank, and that can be a good option. However, particularly for lower volume businesses, independent credit cart processing companies can often provide very good service at more competitive rates. We can help with recommendations.

Whatever solution you choose, your credit card processor can arrange a "payment gateway" to work directly with your shopping cart software or service. This is the service that allows your online store to process credit cards "realtime". The alternative is for order and credit card information to be stored for secure retrieval, but this type of system is not used as frequently as it once was.

Also, it's important to coordinate the choice of your "payment gateway" company, because your specific payment gateway must be compatible with both your credit card processing company as well as your shopping cart software.

Contact Us to Discuss Your Needs

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your ecommerce needs further, please contact us for a free initial consultation. We can help to explain the various options and considerations, and we can suggest the most appropriate solutions for your business.

 

We guarantee the lowest prices in the Bay Area for quality web design, ecommerce, and search engine optimization services.

Call or email us today for a free quote or just to ask us any questions you have on your mind. We're happy to help in any way we can, whether you ever become a customer or not.

Give us a call today and let us show you how friendly and helpful a web design company can be!  (888) 283-8829

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