Web Marketing: How to Create a Transaction Page

The transaction page on your business’s website is where the goal of all your marketing efforts occurs; it is where buyers enter their contact information and credit card number. For the transaction page, you use a formal shopping cart or a custom form:

  • Shopping cart: The most popular way to sell products and services is through an Internet-based ordering system known as a shopping cart.

    You’re probably familiar with the system through your own online shopping: Just as you use a cart to shop in a grocery store — picking certain items off the shelf, adding them to your shopping cart, and then proceeding through the checkout lane — a website visitor clicks an Add to Cart button for purchasing items online.

    The difference is that an online shopping cart system allows you to set up your entire store on the Internet, complete with products, services, categories, sale discounts, and of course, a transaction page where visitors see credit card payment types accepted, fields to enter their billing information, shipping, and tax.

  • Custom form: Not all transaction models can fit into the mold of a prepackaged shopping cart; some require a custom form instead. A custom form allows you to have any combination of product purchases on the same page. The downside is that custom forms take a lot more work to create and integrate with the payment gateway.

    See the Thunder Ridge Ski Area website for a good example where a season-pass purchaser might also buy a pass for his wife and two children, along with a locker. The form allows the transactions to take place all on the same customized, secure page.

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Whether you choose to use a third-party shopping cart like Premium web Cart versus a custom order system will largely be based on cost and turnaround time.

When you use a commercial shopping cart, you can be selling your product within just a few hours, provided that you already have an Internet-capable merchant account and gateway. Custom secure ordering systems require more planning and programming. You may even experience time delays waiting for secure server–related items to be ordered like an SSL (Secured Socket Layer) certificate, static IP address, or setup of a dedicated server.

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