Taking Orders Online – Are You Portraying the Right Image?

By: L A Parmley

Be sure to make it easy to order. Make sure you SAY exactly how you want prospects to place their order. Don’t just simply put an “Add to cart” button on your site. Spell it out. Say, click on “Add to cart” below to order or call our toll-free number anytime.

If you want people to order online, make sure you have an easy, secure online ordering system in place. PayPal is an excellent option. Many consumers prefer to use PayPal – it is a safe, convenient way to pay for purchases online. In fact, PayPal boasts they are the number 1 choice for making payments online.

Opening a PayPal account won’t cost you a dime. It’s also a snap for your prospects to open their own account if they choose to pay through PayPal. I’m not sure why a business wouldn’t include PayPal as one of their payment options. There is a benefit to having more than one choice for a payment. People buy with different methods. Some people absolutely love charging on their credit card. So be sure to give these types a convenient method for doing so…

You may accept credit cards on your site by investing in a merchant account with Authorize Net or another reputable provider. A merchant account will enable you to accept credit cards online and to type in a credit card number from a customer given to you by mail. It will cost to set-up a merchant account, but the cost will most certainly pay-off in the long run.

You can also set-up an account to allow people to pay via electronic check through a company like ElectraCash. In addition, I’d suggest allowing people to pay by mail (checks or credit card). This is especially important if you offer a high-priced item or service. What reason would you ever have to refuse a bona-fide payment method? Heck, let them come give you cash if they want. Money is money.

Now let’s move on to fulfilling your orders.

You can set-up a simple system where digital products are sent out immediately. It’s quite simple to do using an autoresponder or shopping cart system. For tangible purchases, you can use a fulfillment company or do it yourself. I usually ship purchases made by credit card the next day, regardless of whether the money has been deposited, unless there is reason to be suspect of the order.

Here are a few reasons to be suspect of an order…

The shipping and billing address are different. In these cases, you may want to give the customer a ring. Simply call them to confirm the order. They will greatly appreciate this.

The order is a high volume order. In these instances you may also want to call the customer to confirm that they really meant “10” and not just “1” (of course you don’t want to say it quite like that).

Your customers will value all of this effort.

Here’s another important point. Be careful of orders placed from certain countries.

It might not seem fair, but after I personally had a $2,000 fraudulent order placed from Nigeria, I watch out. A chargeback like that can cost you your merchant account, so just be careful. Remember, always make sure the address matches the card holder’s address before shipping anything out or call to verify it if it doesn’t.

Put your interests in the equation
Also remember to watch out for your interests by making sure you have a Fraud prevention system in place if you plan to accept credit cards. Merchant accounts through Authorize Net will automatically reject cards when the address, name and number do not match. If you use Authorize Net, you can customize your account to provide you with the level of security you want (I’d suggest setting it to high).

If ever a customer is having problems placing their order online because their card is rejected, you will naturally want to help them. After all, you want to help them purchase from you. But chances are good that there may be a valid reason why the credit card was declined. It is also possible that the customer may simply need to update their address with the credit card company. Offer PayPal as an option in these instances.

Secure and professional
If you offer online ordering make sure the webpage you expect customers to enter their credit card number into is secure. People recognize the yellow lock symbol at the bottom of secure pages and trust VeriSign or other security enabled pages. Many people simply refuse to type their credit card info into a page without these features.

A simple, easy way to get this type of security is to use 1ShoppingCart.com. They will provide you with a very professional order form that you simply link your web pages to. Customers may pay via PayPal, your merchant account (if you have one), or by check online (again, if you have an account) if you have a 1ShoppingCart account. It’s easy and reliable. They have a variety of plans to choose from.

Copyright © 2005 by L A Parmley. All rights reserved.

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