The Importance of PCI Compliance

Accepting credit card payment online carries great responsibility. Merchants must take every step to protect the integrity of ALL the data collected from their customers. Why? You can lose your shirt if you don’t.

The credit card companies have banded together and created a standard for the use and storage of credit card data for ecommerce companies. This standard is called the Payment Cart Industry Data Security standard (or PCI for short). It applies to ALL ecommerce merchants both big and small. If you sell something online and accept credit card payment, you HAVE to be aware of the PCI standard. Why? If your store is found to be non-complaint, you can lose the ability to collect credit card payments, be targeted by a class action suit and face HEAVY fines. Believe me, it’s a whole lot easier being complaint.

Zoovy: Multiple Stores. One Database.

Zoovy offers multiple sales channels all feeding off one product database.

I’m always on the lookout for cool new features that shopping cart solutions offer. I found one really cool one today. Check this out:

Zoovy's Multiple Sales Channel Feature

If you’re a niche merchant that sell your items via multiple channels, this solution is worth a look. You can sell your products on eBay, multiple online storefronts, Amazon, Yahoo Shopping and Pricegrabber. Pretty cool.

Cruising Zoovy's site, I didn’t find any pricing information or many details about their solution. Is it a hosted solution? What’s the pricing structure? It’s a classic ambiguous web technology site. You know, great looking site but it doesn’t provide information on what the company does or the products they offer. Maybe this is by design to get potential customers to call their 800 number? If so, it worked. That’s what I’m doing right now…

Volusion V5 Feature of the Day: Full Featured Reporting

With Volusion V5 (how’s that for a redundant name for a release?), merchants will have full control over their store’s reporting tools. Gone are the days of being stuck with “one-size fits all” canned reports. If you don’t the what’s offered out of the box, just create your own. How’s that for functionality? Robust indeed.

This feature is a ground breaker. To my knowledge, no other hosted cart offers fully customizable reporting tools from within the admin panel. I tip my hat to Volusion for continuing to define the phrase “robust shopping cart solution.” With every new feature released, Volusion adds more and distance between themselves and their closest rival. Hey MonsterCommerce. See that cloud of dust in front of you? That’s Volusion.

Volusion V5 Feature Of the Day: USPS Label Printing

So far the members of the eCartReviews forum are batting 1000 in guessing what will be included in V5. This could only mean one of two things; the merchants have psychic powers or Volusion really listens to their client’s requests. The latest feature to be announced is USPS label printing. This will allow a merchant to create USPS shipping labels right from the admin panel. This will tighten up Volusion’s shipping interface and make life easier for their clients. Great feature!

It will make my life easier. Currently, I export the data from my three Volusion stores in Endicia and Dazzle to create pre-paid USPS shipping labels. Perhaps this feature will cut out that extra step and USPS shipping solution? Who knows? I’m sure more details will follow.

Volusion V5 Feature of the Day: Abandoned Cart Tracking

Hot off the presses from Volusion!

They are releasing details of V5 (version 5) slowly - one new feature a day. The first feature announced was abandoned cart tracking - with live cart records.

This is great news for all the former MonsterCommerce clients now with Volusion (there are many and ranks grow everyday). Many of these merchants grew to love this functionality while with MonsterCommerce.

It helps stave of issues with conversion. For instance, you can see if people bail out of the cart after the shipping charges are presented (price too high? Bye bye). Knowing how customers act at each step of a check out process is VERY handy. While you might not think this is handy with Volusion's one-step checkout, believe me - it WILL come in great for sales conversion tracking. Volusion merchants will be able to track and tweak and boast conversion.

Volusion Poised To Release Version 5

Volusion is about to release version 5 of their award winning shopping cart solution. This is according to Volusion's customer forum, where the following was posted by a Volusion representative:

We are still testing V5 and it will still take more time to ensure everything is ready since we have added a lot. We appreciate your patience during this process. We are going to start sharing some of the new features coming in V5 tomorrow. We will only answer questions about each feature in the forums as we announce them. We will not be able to answer questions about new features over the phone, via live chat or via email. We are doing this because the forum moderators will be checking with the developers directly to ensure the answers are as accurate as possible. Thanks for your understanding.

SEO Tip for Merchants – Domain Age

The Importantace of Domain Age

SEO (search engine optimization) is the most important area of concern for most merchants. Succeeding in SEO campaigns makes product sourcing, customer service and order fulfillment look like mere child’s play. However, if you focus on SEO and maintain a consistent (and constant) marketing campaign, the payoff can be huge.

SEO efforts need to start before you even open your store. This brings me to the first SEO tip for merchants: domain name.

New merchants tend to focus heavily on having a domain name that is crock full of keywords, describes what the store sells and is easy for customers to remember. All of these are good ideas but one key component is missing, domain age.

Selecting a Gateway and Merchant Account Provider

Selecting a Gateway and Merchant Account Provider.

Every online store that wants to accept credit card payment needs both a payment gateway and a merchant account. The tricky part is selecting which company (or companies) to go with. You can use one company for a gateway and another for your merchant account but that might over complicate things. I suggest taking the one-stop shopping approach. Most merchant account providers also offer merchants a payment gateway. I use both Paymentech and and I’m happy with both.

If you’re in the market for a merchant account, you be best serve to contact these two companies:

Get your products in Google Base! "Google Product Search" to replace Froogle

Have you taken the time to upload your products into Google Base? If not, what are you waiting for? While currently still points to Froogle, CNET reports that Google Product Search will soon replace Froogle.

Still not convinced? In a recent WebProNews video interview, Vanessa Fox of Google Webmaster Tools and Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, briefly discuss Google Base (and much more):

Corezon: The Cart Solution Spammers of the Year

I like to kept up to date with new shopping cart solutions and the same can be said of improvements of existing carts. What I don’t like is spam and cart solutions that spam my mailbox.

The worst offender is a solution called Corezon. They spam online stores hoping that the merchant will jump ship and switch to their cart solution. Heck, they took the time to spam you so you should at least look at them right? Wrong. This company and their shady marketing practices can go ef themselves. Why such strong language? I’ve been spammed by these aholes for over a year now. With every example of spam I receive, I try to “unsubscribe” from their mailing list. I follow the instructions in the footer of their spam message. Alas, the response I get every time can be found below: