Frequently Asked Questions

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1 What is "Ecommerce"? Frequently Asked Questions Ecommerce is the term used to describe the selling of goods and services over the Internet. In the most general sense, simply creating a Web site that advertises and promotes your products can be considered ecommerce. In recent years, however, ecommerce has become much more sophisticated. Ecommerce businesses now offer elaborate online stores where customers can browse thousands of products, place an order, select the desired shipping method and pay for their purchases using their credit cards. Should I open an online store? If you are reading this, you are probably already half-sold on the idea of extending your business online. Online sales in the coming year are expected to total at least 7 billion, and that's a conservative estimate; as more people world-wide gain access to the Internet, ecommerce and online shopping will become second nature to consumers and businesses alike. Can you afford to open an online store? With our Ecommerce plans, you can launch your online store and take your business into the information age all for less than the cost of digital TV. What software do I need to set up an online store? With Hostway's Ecommerce plans, all you need to set up your online store is the browser you are using to view this page. If you know how to point and click, you're ready to start. Do I need to know HTML to set up an online store? No, you don't. The bundled shopping carts are also store building tools. You don't need to know any HTML or Web programming. We provide you with a StoreBuilder that helps you format a store without any prior HTML knowledge. However, integrating the store with your Web site will require some HTML or Web editing knowledge.

2 How many products can I sell in my online store? You can sell any number of products on your site, from just a few items to thousands. Once you decide how many products you want to sell, you can pick the hosting plan that best meets your needs. For detailed information on the different plans, visit hostwayuk.com or contact When you chose a plan, be sure to consider how your site and your product offerings may grow in the future, as well as what advanced features and functionalities you want to offer your customers. For example, you may want to provide a search feature that lets your customers search for a specific product. You want to be sure that the plan you choose will be able to accommodate your growth and your changing needs as your customer base expands and your traffic increases. Can I sell products that can be downloaded, such as music or software? Hostway's shared Web hosting accounts are not configured for the purposes of distributing software and/or multimedia products. If you wish to distribute software and/or multimedia files, please contact to make special arrangements. How much does it cost to set up an online store? Is there a minimum time commitment? Ecommerce plans may range anywhere from a month to a month, depending upon the number of products you want to sell, the traffic you anticipate and the features and functionalities you want to provide to your customers. If you are on a monthly billing schedule, you can move your site at any time with no transfer/disconnection fee. There may be other costs associated with an online store. For example, if you want to be able to accept credit cards and process those transactions online, you will need a merchant account and a payment gateway service. Typically, there are initial setup fees as well as on-going costs for these services that will be in addition to your hosting costs.

3 How long will it take for my store to go online? Once you place your order online with a credit card, you can start building your store within 24 to 72 hours. This is the time needed to activate your domain name (if it is new) and to spread information around the world about the physical location of your site on the Internet. If you have a new domain name, this process takes 24 to 48 hours; if you are transferring your domain from another hosting provider, it takes 48 to 72 hours. Once you start building the site, it doesn't take long. Sites with just a few products can be set up in less than an hour. For most stores, however, it takes from a few hours to several days. One day is about average for our customers. I already have a Web site. Can I integrate an online store into it? Yes. Hostway makes it easy for you to add ecommerce to your site. You can order a plan that includes ecommerce or, if you are already a Hostway customer, you can add ecommerce directly from SiteControl. For more information, contact Hostway support at Once you have built your online store, you can easily integrate it into your existing site by either providing a link to your new store front or incorporating your products into your existing site s pages. What is Hostway Merchant Manager? Merchant Manager is Hostway's Web-based online store creation and management tool. With Merchant Manager, you can quickly and easily create an online catalogue and get your store up and running. Merchant Manager is available for both Windows and Linux hosting plans and supports a number of the most popular payment gateways. When you order an ecommerce plan from Hostway, you get Merchant Manager automatically. We will handle the initial installation and configuration of the shopping cart software. You can then use the Web-based interfaces to design and maintain your store.

4 What are third-party online credit card processors? If you want to be able to accept credit cards but do not want to handle these yourself, you can use a third-party online credit card processor. When your customers want to purchase a product, they click a link that takes them to the third-party s Web site. There, they will submit their order and credit card information, which is then processed by the third-party processor. Essentially, these processors act as resellers. They may charge you a variety of fees for this service, including an initial set up fee, monthly fees and/or per-transaction fees. While outsourcing your online transactions may seem appealing, you should consider the fact that it will be obvious to your customers that their transactions are being handled not by your company but by a third-party. What do I need to handle "real time" online credit card transactions myself? If you want to handle online credit card transactions yourself, you will need an Internet-ready merchant account, a payment gateway service and an SSL certificate. What is a merchant account? How do I get one? A merchant account enables you to accept credit cards as payment for the purchase of goods and services. There are different types of merchant accounts. For example, if you have a traditional brick and mortar store, you can get a retail merchant account. If you want to accept credit cards on your Web site, however, you need a specialise type of merchant account known as an Internet-ready merchant account. Internet-ready merchant accounts enable you to handle Internet transactions in "real time" without any human intervention.

5 Because the risk of credit card fraud is greater when you are accepting credit cards over the Internet, these specialized merchant accounts also provide additional checks that can significantly reduce the chance of credit card fraud. Once the transactions are processed, the merchant account provider transfers the funds received from the credit card transactions from your merchant account to your bank account. A number of companies offer Internet-ready merchant accounts. You are free to choose any merchant account provider, as long as they support one of the following payment methods: Cyber Source Authorize.Net LinkPoint/Cardservice VeriSign (PaymentNet)

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