Making a transactional website

There are two considerations to take into account when looking at making a site transactional: how are clients going to place orders and how are you going to receive payments?

The most basic way for customers to order is to send an email to you with the details of what they’d like to buy. Although this works, it complicates the ordering process for internet users, so I would suggest simply using one of the many services that are available from Internet Service Providers and Web companies. These allow you to build transactional capabilities into your site for as little as £25 per month. They allow you to set up an online catalogue, as well as collect the information you need from customers, but are easy to use and don’t require high levels of IT skills.

Related: What’s the best website builder for my small business?

On the payment front, the easiest option is to use an online payment service like Worldpay or PayPal, which will collect and process online card payments on your behalf. The major drawbacks of using a payment service are higher commission rates or fee per transaction, and some may hold your cash for 30 days or more. However, they generally have low setup costs and it would give you a first step onto the ladder.

Many Internet Service Providers also offer payment processing as an option on Web site services, such as BT’s Internet Trader Pack, for a small monthly charge.

If you already have offline card processing facilities, it is worth asking you provider for further information about taking payments online.

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

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