PayU Guide: How Small Businesses and Startups Can Easily Enable Online Shopping

Expanding your business to the online space can seem like a daunting task for a small business or entrepreneur. When figuring out how to create an online store, numerous questions can be raised about the process. What exactly must be put in place to make it happen? How will an online store change the landscape of my business? How is a merchant account set up? How will the security and legality of an eCommerce website be ensured? While it may be daunting to begin with, the online space for businesses isn’t as complicated as it may look from the outside. Online shopping is becoming more and more popular by the day due its convenience and ease of access, making more companies question whether or not to move their business into the online space?

As more and more South African’s research goods and services online, this trend has the potential to take a company far beyond its projected reach. The online space can massively increase your customer base, drive profitability upwards, and decrease the amount of time required to receive payments. A study by IPSOS in 2015, revealed that the amount of online shoppers is expected to increase dramatically in South Africa from 22% to 48% in the near future, with 70% of internet users classified as potential online shoppers.

One of the biggest challenges to date, has been setting up access to online payments. A merchant account must be set up, which requires an application through your bank which will perform a credit check before approval. This application process can be lengthy as you have to provide detailed financial records, the goods/services your business offers, personal details about yourself as the owner, and references. As a start-up, this may prove difficult due to the lack of a business credit history. So before you begin the process, we’ve put together this guide to help answer all the uncertainties you may have about setting up your business for the online space, and to reassure you it won’t take as long as you think.

1. Create an online shopping cart

The first and key requirement for an efficient online store is a shopping cart, where users can place all their items they’d like to purchase into a virtual bag. Shopping carts have a lot more features than you may think, and can dramatically enhance user-experience. Below are the key features you need to look out for when choosing one. PayU supports various shopping carts including, Magento, Opencart, osCommerce, VirtueMart, WooCommerce and Prestashop.

  • The shopping cart you choose must be able to feature product reviews. Research proves that reviews help greatly in selling a product. Even if it is a bad review, it is better than no review at all.

  • The shopping cart should also include site search. If a customer is unable to find a specific product, the most common way to get around their predicament is to use the search function which often leads them to the product within one or two clicks. If your site has this function, you are going to be far more successful in retaining the customer.

  • Ensure the shopping cart you choose has product filters, this allows the customer to narrow their search down in terms of colour or size and ultimately enhance their experience navigating your site.

  • Product thumbnails and zoom function are key. A high resolution image of your products, which allows consumers various angles and close ups of the item they’re interested in will ensure a far better experience for the user. The better your products look, the more likely it’ll be bought.

  • Ensure your cart is able to present stock availability. The last thing a consumer wants to find out, is that the product they were hoping to buy is unavailable, at the very last minute. If a consumer is aware the product isn’t available, but they’d still like to buy it, chances are they’ll add it to their cart anyway for when the item becomes available again.

  • Ensure the checkout process is quick and simple. A shopping cart that contains all relevant information in as few pages as possible, and requires minimal clicks from the consumer will ensure the process is as fast and easy as possible.

2. Organise online payments

Ensuring cash-flow in the early days of your online business is key to the continued success of it, and accepting payments online is the best eCommerce solution to making this happen. Offering consumers a variety of payment options can only enhance your business as it increases cash flow by allowing money to go into your account immediately, and opens up your business to more consumers who use credit cards. There are two ways to do this:

Make use of an online payment service:

  • In order to accept credit cards online. This can be done yourself, or through gateway merchant services such as PayU. When a consumer is at checkout, they are directed to a payment page where they need to choose their payment method. If you decide to use a payment gateway such as PayU, your customer will be given the option to speed through checkout using their PayU Wallet.

  • PayU allows your customers to pay using multiple payment methods, giving your customers the convenience and security of shopping online. At PayU, our robust double firewall, SSL encryption, 3D Secure and fraud detection allows your payments to safe and secure.

  • 3D secure ensures the correct person is using the card to make the transaction. The buyer is asked to enter a pin or password to ensure they are the cardholder and enables them to complete the transaction. There is no cost to the cardholder or merchant for this service. An added feature is SSL encryption, which safely transports a user’s personal information until it ends up at its destination. Transactions are therefore made safely and conveniently for both the buyer and the merchant.

Set up a merchant account:

  • Another way to set up online payments is through a merchant account, which is applied for through a bank. As noted before, this can be a lengthy process. Aside from the lengthy application process, most merchant accounts charge set up, monthly and per-transaction fees. For start-ups, who aren’t ever guaranteed access to this type of account due to being considered a high-risk investment, this can be a painful situation.

  • Luckily, this can be set up through a Payu Merchant Account. This account is designed to offer small and large businesses a simple-to-use and secure form of accepting online payments. The account offers both a shopping cart and a safe, secure and simple channel through which you can accept credit card payments, that includes all of the above security features. This is an account that offers everything you need in one place, to setup your online payments.

3. Develop a Privacy Policy

  • While the above security features ensure the safety of your consumer’s card and personal details, it is always a good idea to communicate this to them on your website. This assures customers you have taken all steps necessary to protect their sensitive information. Publish your privacy policy online and explain how a customer’s information is collected, and used. There should also be an option for customers to opt out of receiving promotional emails or newsletters, and from having their information sold or distributed.

Starting an online business may seem daunting initially, but in reality it’s never been easier. With all of the processes of setting it up available to you in one place, and through one channel, you can be all setup and ready to go in a very short space of time. PayU offers everything you need through simple processes, all while ensuring the safety and security of your business and consumers’ needs. With more and more South Africans shopping online, it would seem a missed opportunity not to embrace the online space for your business.