If you’ve decided to open an online store, your next step will be to consider your eCommerce integration options. There are three different ways to integrate online payment technology into your business: eCommerce plugins, a payment form/checkout page, or full API integration. The integration method you choose will depend on the degree of functionality you need, as well as the developer resources you have available. This post will look at the pros and cons of each type of eCommerce integration. All three options provide your customers with a smooth, safe, and secure checkout process.
1. eCommerce Plugins
The first option is to install an eCommerce plugin to integrate with your payment processor. These plugins, like WooCommerce, help enable transactions through your website. Ensure that the plugin that you’ve chosen is supported by the payment gateway or processor that you’ve partnered with. Plugins can either be designed by the payment processor in-house or a separate, third-party vendor. Custom plugins to shopping carts and eCommerce platforms make selling online easy by connecting your website to an online payment gateway.
Installing an eCommerce plugin is the easiest method of integration. This is ideal for online businesses who don’t have a developer or are just looking for a quick integration with minimal customization.
- Don’t have to worry about PCI compliance.
- Quick and easy integration.
- No technical knowledge or developer support needed.
- Limited customization to checkout experience.
- Limited functionalities.
Payment form/checkout page
The second option is to embed a payment form into your website. These forms or checkout pages are hosted by the payment processor and directs your customers from your checkout page to a secure payment page for checkout. Your customer securely fills out their payment information and is redirected back to your website after to finish checking out.
You can either use a template or design your own form. Many payment processors offer white-labelling of their checkout page so your customers experience an invisible transition and seamless transaction. You can choose to have a standalone page that your customers are redirected to or embed the form right onto your checkout page. In the latter case, your payment processor creates a form (iFrame) that you then put on your website to embed the payment form directly on your checkout page. Your customers’ payment information is securely sent to your payment processor via the iFrame.
While it’s not as simple as the plugin option, using a hosted checkout page is also quick, efficient, and secure. This is ideal for smaller businesses who have limited developer resources.
- Don’t have to worry about PCI compliance.
- Cardholder information is captured, encrypted, and protected.
- Minimal developer resources needed.
- Less integration flexibility and customization.
- Some technology knowledge is required.
3. Full API integration
The last option is to fully integrate and build online payments into your website via an API (Application Programming Interface). This option is perfect for merchants who want complete control over the flow and design of their checkout experience. Unlike with the previous option where your processor hosted the payment page, a full integration means that everything is hosted on your website. Your customers enter their credit card information directly on your website, and you control of the customer experience throughout the checkout process.
- A higher level of integration flexibility and customization for your specific needs.
- Can implement product catalogs, subscription billing, one-click purchasing, native mobile checkout, and more.
- Technical knowledge needed.
- PCI compliance necessary on your part to accept credit and debit card payments.
While choosing your eCommerce integration method is crucial to building your online business, you need to also ensure that the payment processor you choose is the right fit for your unique business. Some questions to think about are:
- Do they provide 24/7 support?
- Do you get a dedicated merchant account?
- What other payment channels do they offer?
For a more in-depth resource on the questions to ask any prospective payment processor, check out our Top 10 Questions to Ask a Payment Processor to help you find the payment partner that best suits your business needs.