by Marketing Department September 29, 2013

Last Updated: October 28, 2020

Overview of the term “Virtual Merchant”

The world of credit card processing is filled with terms that aren’t always very clear, so this post should serve to define a good one: virtual merchant. The term virtual merchant isn’t so hard to understand–it’s just another name for a website that sells goods or services and also gives customers a way to pay for their order, usually by credit card, and usually by utilizing an online shopping cart.

You might use a virtual merchant storefront in order to speed up your sales process, as the customer ends up doing most of the heavy lifting for you (providing the name of the good or service, shipping address, payment information, etc.) so you or your staff can focus solely on getting product out the door. It bears mentioning that a virtual merchant can function as the online face of an already established brick-and-mortar store, or as the sole means of communication between a customer and a business.

What happens behind the scenes?

For a virtual merchant to function at all, you need to apply for a merchant account, which allows a third party–like Century Business Solutions, for example–to process credit card payments in exchange for a monthly fee.

Virtual merchants improve businesses because they’re EASY for customers to use.

To ensure your customers come back to your site, you’ll want to make sure your virtual merchant keeps the ordering process simple, whether that means tinkering with the online shopping cart yourself or hiring a web developer. It’s worth mentioning too that not all shopping carts are created equally, and some might have reporting features you prefer over others, so do some research before settling on one.

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