Depending on who you are, building an eCommerce website usually involves different priorities. If you’re a shopkeeper, you will probably think about the big picture stuff. You’ll want your products to look perfect and your content to drive sales.
For web designers, the priorities are more likely to be buried in the details. Sure, our client wants feature x, y, and z – but how do we make it happen? It’s about finding the tools and customizations to get the job done.
Either way, one of the keys to putting a successful eCommerce website together is the payment gateway. Pick the wrong one, and it could be costly or even outright disastrous.
This is among the most important decisions to be made during a project. Yet, it doesn’t always get the level of attention it deserves. Let’s change that!
Here are some tips for helping your clients choose the right eCommerce payment gateway.
Determine Project Requirements First
The payment gateway should not be the first component chosen in an eCommerce project. Even if your client already has a preference, there’s no guarantee it will be compatible with everything on their wish list.
Before seriously considering gateway providers, you’ll want an outline of project requirements. Discuss the features and functionality the website will need to satisfy your client’s goals.
For example, knowing which shopping cart software will be used is vital. The preferred gateway may not simply plug and play with the cart. In those cases, custom code may need to be written or add-on software purchased.
The same goes for recurring subscription payments, like those on membership websites. Some providers are built to handle this out-of-the-box, while others may require more effort.
And it’s not just a matter of basic compatibility. All of the little details need to be figured out ahead of time. Otherwise, you run the risk of having to go back to the drawing board when something doesn’t work as expected.
It’s better to gain an understanding of a project’s needs before committing to a payment gateway.
Consider the Money Management Workflow
Not only do your clients want to make money from their website, but they’ll also want to manage that cash in an efficient way. When it comes to payment gateways, one size does not fit all.
Some of this does have an impact on the website itself. The ability to provide customer refunds is an area that could see a lot of use. Therefore, a gateway that simplifies the process is worth its weight in gold. You may even find one that allows refunds to be created directly within the shopping cart’s back end.
Other aspects are more about interacting directly with the gateway provider. Among the bigger issues here is how funds are transferred to your client’s bank account. There are some gateways that famously require the account holder to make transfers manually. However, others have a more automated approach.
It’s also worth looking into how quickly funds become available. If sales don’t show up within the account for several days, that may not fit your client’s needs.
Dig Deep into Transaction Fees and Future Growth
Every payment gateway has an associated cost. Most take a percentage of each sale and put it in their pocket. This can sometimes be combined with a flat per-sale fee as well.
Shopping around will give your client a good idea of cost-effective providers. However, there’s often more to the story.
In some cases, those per-sale transaction fees can scale. The bigger your revenue, the more money the provider keeps for themselves. Thus, it’s important to look at projections and determine the potential costs if sales take off.
Is your client selling to a global audience? Fees for international transactions and currency conversion could be applicable.
Beyond sales, there are other fees to watch out for. Some providers will charge a fee for “priority” transfers to a bank account. These can become significant if your client is moving a lot of money around.
Monthly or yearly subscription fees might also apply. Providers that offer tiered accounts may require these fees in order to unlock advanced features.
So, while a gateway provider may advertise attractive rates – be careful. The real costs are often spelled out in the fine print.
Help Your Clients Help Themselves
Choosing the right eCommerce payment gateway isn’t easy. It’s much more than just signing on with the biggest name or the shiniest transaction rate. A lot goes into ensuring that it’s the right option for your project.
That said, it’s not necessarily a web designer’s job to make the final decision. That’s up to our clients. All we can do is guide them along and show them what to look for.
On the technical side, we do need to know whether a specific provider will meet the project’s functionality needs. But when it comes to rates and managing cashflow, clients really need to take the lead. They’re the ones who’ll have to live with the choice. Thus, they should know the subject inside and out.
Hopefully, this guide will help you fill them in on the details. Good luck!
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