Ecommerce comes in many varieties. Whatever system you pick to use, it is important to pick a secure one to take credit card payments. You do not want to have ecommerce transactions going through your own site. This means that you should use a third-party site that is set up with the right security and gives you the peace of mind of not carrying the liability.
Paypal is one of the most popular ecommerce third-party sites for small to medium sites. You can use more complicated third-party ecommerce providers that may give you more options when interfacing with your site. Usually, the more you get in this area, the higher the costs.
With Paypal, the cost to the site owner may be as low a percentage as (2.9%) with a transaction fee ($.30/transaction). If you do a large volume of sales, these fees can be even less.
Ecommerce is not just for selling products, it is also used for selling services and taking donations for non profits.
Some companies have a brick and mortar store where they have the ability to take credit cards. However, this set up is not used for online sales but could be added to their account in many cases. This type of system comes with a monthly cost along with the percentage charged.
With any system, after the initial set up with the ecommerce provider and on your site, the funds are deposited into your account. You generally gets reports and/or have the ability to view the transaction history online. Most systems take any credit card. Some credit cards take out a little more percentage than others.
You can host the initial ecommerce page on your own site but once the customers click the buy button, it takes them to the third-party site where the transaction is completed.
You can set up responses where the customers receive their paid invoice via email along with the site owner receiving an email of the transaction.
The fancier ecommerce sites are sometimes more streamlined where the customers don’t know they are on another site. This is immaterial since you can also have the third-party site return the customer to your site once the payment is completed.
Ecommerce sites also have a shopping cart for the customers to add their choices to their order. I can make what looks like a shopping cart on your site that can communicate with the ecommerce site.
At the start of your project, the following needs to be discussed:
What you are selling
How many types of “widgets” you have
How many options you want within each unit
Once the above is clear, then the right ecommerce platform can be chosen.
One note: if you are selling physical goods, this system does not fulfill the orders. There are fulfillment centers if you want to pay and stock a third-party to ship the items.