Merchant Account Services

The Ecommerce Website Preparedness Checklist

Ensure Your New Ecommerce Website Is Ready To Accept Credit Cards Online


Author: Emerson Law

Rating: 10.0

Pages: 1|2

Building and running an online store entails much more then getting a shopping cart, throwing in some products, and telling your friends and family to come by and make a purchase. Any entrepeneur who does some research will quickly determine the core ingredients required to launch an online store: shopping cart, merchant account, and payment gateway. But there is so much more involved and it is these finer details that can make or break an online store before it even launches.

This checklist serves to guide a web designer in their efforts to build a secure and customer-friendly ecommerce web site. This is essential to providing your future customers with an informative, easy-to-shop, and safe online web store which is vital to securing an internet-based merchant account. Having a website that complies with this checklist will substantially reduce its exposure to chargebacks and increase your chance of getting approved for an Internet merchant account.

You can download a free copy of the Ecommerce Website Checklist in the Checklists, Worksheets & Questionaires page from the Resources section of our website.

Merchant's DBA Name Appears Prominently On The Web Site

On every web page the name of the business that you are operating under should be prominent and obvious. Typically this means the header of each page. The text should be clear and easy to read. The name of the business should correlate to the products being sold. For example, a website called, "Mary's Flowers" should not be selling tires. A better name would be, "Bob's Discount Tires".

This one sounds so simple that it seems pretty silly to actually include it on our checklist. But it is here for a reason. When your customers get their monthly credit card statement they will be reviewing it to verify the recognize each purchase. If they are unable to recognize the purchase as listed on their statement they may initiate a chargeback. A large portion of chargebacks that an online merchant experiences is due to their customer not recognizing their name on their statement. So, the more your DBA name matches your product and the more obvious and visible it is on your website, the greater your chances are that your customers will recognize your name on their credit card statements.

Customer Service Phone Number Is Clearly Posted

An established online store will tell you that having a toll-free telephone number on your website will increase your sales substancially. Customers love to discuss the products before they buy to be sure it is exactly what they want. But this is not the reason why the checklist recommends you have one on your website.

From a merchant account point of view, especially an Internet merchant account, the biggest concern is always risk. Chargebacks to be even more specific. If a customer has a question about an order they have placed, whether they have received it or not, they will want to follow up and have their questions answered. Some customers are more patient then others. Some will happily contact your business through email if a telephone number is not available. Others will instantly assume your business is trying to be elusive and therefore a scam and file a chargeback.

Return/Refund Policy Is Clearly Posted

To aleviate some of the uncertaintity online shoppers have, every online store should have a return/refund policy posted. Topics covered in it should include:

  • How long a consumer has to request a refund after their purchase
  • What the process is for requesting a refund
  • Will they get a refund? Or a store credit?

The refund policy should appear throughout the shopping experience including the checkout process. Ideally a well designed checkout process will include a checkbox that requires the customer to acknowledge that they have read the return/refund policy and agree to it its terms.

A word of advice: make your return/refund customer-centric. In the world of online shopping the customer is virtually always right. Unless special steps have been taken (see 3-D Secure Payer Authentication) a customer who made a purchase online will virtually always win a chargeback dispute. The best defense an online merchant has against chargebacks is to prevent a situation from arising where they may face a chargeback. Having a return/refund policy that is restrictive will only cause customers to file more chargebacks as opposed to forcing them to keep the product.

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