28 March 2010

2 Viable Alternatives to Efficiently Connect Your Website to Authorize.Net Gateway

A shopping cart is an integrated system in your website that connects your site to your payment gateway in order to process credit card payments.  A shopping cart can be incorporated to your website in two ways.  You can use the services of a web developer to integrate your shopping cart to your website or avail a pre-integrated shopping cart.

To allow your customers to shop and pay through your website, you need to have a shopping cart integrated in your system to connect your website to your payment gateway like Authorize.net.  The question now is how do you do it?  Here are two possible alternatives of incorporating a shopping cart to your website:

Use a web developer to integrate your shopping cart to your website

Web developers are responsible for designing and formatting your website according to your specifications.  They also offer e-commerce development, including the shopping cart that you need to connect to Authorize.net.  The benefits and drawbacks of utilizing the services of a web developer include the following:

  • Customized layout.  With the help of a web developer, you can customize the layout of your shopping cart, allowing it to match with the rest of your website.  You can customize every detail you have from font size to layout background and category links.
  • Customized catalog.  A shopping cart is an online catalog of your products and services.  With a web developer, you can customize the way your product details are displayed, including images, according to your theme and style.
  • Personalized Databases.  Product and customer databases are custom-built to include all the data you need to keep.
  • Customized search engine.  Search engine is very important to help your customers find what they exactly need to shop or want to see.  With a customized search engine, you can make product searching faster, easier, and more convenient  for your customers.
  • Customized reports.  With a web developer, you can generate any report you want and have it formatted the way you find efficient.
  • Flexible system.  A custom-built shopping cart allows you to add or update features that you find important.  This is especially advantageous for our ever-changing e-commerce environment.
  • Costly.  This is the one word that makes businesses hesitant about availing the services of web developer.  The benefits are great but the costs are great, too.

Avail a pre-integrated shopping cart

Also known as a third-party shopping cart, a pre-integrated shopping cart is one you can easily purchase.  Just make sure you buy authorize.net compatible shopping  cart, since not all shopping carts are compatible with just any payment gateway.   Here are the pros and cons of integrating a third-party shopping cart:

  • Inexpensive.   Pre-integrated shopping carts are cheaper than custom-made ones the main reason being pre-formatted.
  • Practical.  Even though you cannot add features and do other customization, pre-integrated shopping carts play well enough as they provide the basic features of a shopping cart such as encryption and protection from fraud.
  • Limited or no flexibility at all.  Since they are already formatted, you cannot customize your web layout as well as the other details in your shopping cart.

Each alternative offers both advantages and disadvantages.  What is important in choosing shopping cart integration method is that you consider your business goals, needs, most importantly, your budget.

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