If you already have merchant facilities to enable you to accept credit cards, check with the company whether this includes online sales, as usually this requires a separate agreement. Once cleared, there are several options available to you, to operate your own online shop, depending on your budget.
If you are looking for the cheapest options, there are a few sites that will set up a limited e-shop for a few dollars a month.
A free option is Mal’s e-commerce at http://www.ait2000.com where you add “buy me” buttons to your existing site which link to a shopping cart.
Alternatively, you can use e-commerce software to create your own shop.
• Many hosting companies will include e-commerce software as part of the package. My top recommendation is Websitesource.com who include Miva software (as used by eBay) in some of their e-commerce hosting packages, which start at an incredible $6.85 per month, and that includes unlimited sub-domains whch can be used to host an unlimited number of separate websites.
Accept Credit Cards Online
Whilst there is little problem for US companies to obtain merchant facilities, the options outside the US are more limited. There are however a few international card processing companies who offer limited services for non-US residents without prior merchant status.
Founded in 1998, PayPal is already used by thousands of businesses to collect online payments from their own websites quickly, easily, and securely and provides an all-in-one solution suited to both large and small merchants selling from their own website:
• Merchants can sign up quickly and easily. They can start accepting payments today – no approval or shopping cart required!
• Customers shop on the merchant’s website and pay using PayPal, without needing a PayPal account.
• No annual commitment required.
• No monthly, startup, or cancellation fees for our Website Payments Standard solution.
• Merchant can even accept credit cards via phone, fax, mail, or in person (monthly fees apply) with PayPal.
PayPal offers two types of accounts for receiving credit card payments – a Business Account or Premier Account. The Business Account is the right choice for online businesses. It enables merchants to accept credit card, debit card, bank account payments, PayPal balance, and PayPal Buyer Credit payments for low fees. Plus, PayPal is easy for merchants to add to their website. The Premier Account is for individuals looking to buy and sell online either on eBay or on their own website.
For web businesses that deliver unique products and services over the Internet itself (via web pages, files, or email), ClickBank has a one-time $49.95 activation fee, and a $1 + 7.5% fee per sale. No monthly fees.
Or take a look at the following:
• Netbanx Ltd
If you’d like others to do your marketing for you, consider setting up an affiliate program where you pay commission on sales of your products and services. You don’t need to spend thousands getting a programmer to set it all up for you as you can now buy a software package that makes it easy. Visit Affiliatezone for more information and to try it out or Affiliatetracking if you’d prefer to pay a small monthly fee rather than buying your software outright.
For downloadable products eg ebooks, software etc. several payment processors will provide affiliate services as part of the package. Long established and recommended is Clickbank.
ClickBank sells thousands of the web’s most popular products every day. Becoming a publisher allows you to list your products for sale in their high-traffic marketplace, and take advantage of their reputation and over 100,000 affiliates who know how to promote digital products.
ClickBank offers customers a safe, efficient shopping experience. Their simple checkout offers customers a wide variety of payment options; a welcome convenience that increases sales. And their friendly customer service guarantees satisfaction even after the sale. The no strings guarantee ofered on all products means your customers can always buy with confidence.
As a ClickBank publisher, you decide how much commission you are willing to offer affiliates who actively market and promote your product. Acting as a trusted partner, ClickBank’s sophisticated affiliate tracking systems will accurately award commissions and pay affiliates on your behalf. And the best part is, after the initial set-up fee of under $50, you only pay if there is a sale. Find out more from Clickbank.
AffiliateAnnouncement offers a comprehensive range of services for both new and established affiliate programs.
•Press Release services
• Affiliate Directory Submissions (to one of the largest range of directories available)
• Exclusive entry to our own affiliate directories
• Affiliate Advertising and program announcements
• Exclusive rates to AffiliateFuture (for qualifying sites)
Full details available from AffiliateAnnouncement
Alternatively, if you have a larger budget, consider a management package from Commission Junction. Not only will they set up your program for you, but they’ll manage it, administer it and even promote it for you. For payout purposes, all Commission Junction programs are administered together so anyone who signs up as an affiliate with you doesn’t need to reach a minimum payout with you before getting paid, they need only reach that figure from all the programs they operate combined.
Whilst Commission Junction is probably the biggest Affiliate Network in the world, their fees do reflect this, so you may like to look at some of the alternatives available. Whilst many have a US bias, they are generally open to merchants worldwide. The following are suited to smaller companies:
If your products or services appeal exclusively to the UK there are now several UK affiliate agencies, operating in a similar way. Take a look at the following:
Trade Doubler – In addition to a UK agency, Tradedoubler have country specific packages for 14 other European countries. Useful for multilingual sites.
Clixgalore – UK, US and Australian agencies. 5 levels of service, with no set up fees – and no monthly management fees on basic packages.
To keep up to date on all the latest news on affiliate programs, visit wilsonweb.com
For the ultimate blueprint of a successful affiliate program, take a look at http://www.sitesell.com/websuccessstory.html and download details of their 5 Pillar Program.
If you’ve tried affiliate programs and find that too many of your affiliates simply aren’t producing any results take a look at “Internet Success Spider” which shows you how to find the “super affiliates” who generate thousands of sales for others, ask them for a promotion (using the rules in the “Irresistible Formula”), create an individual webpage for them to link to, and wait for the sales to roll in! You’ll find more details, including their no-strings money back guarantee at Internet Success Spider.