#3 Configuring E-commerce Checkout

Once your customers have filled their 'shopping carts' with your finest farm products, they will need to Check Out in some way so that they may pay you. you must also decide how your customers will be getting the goods that they have purchased. This article will cover the following payment related topics:

  Checkout Options
  Pickup & Shipping
  Terms & Conditions

To configure your Checkout options, log in to the Control Panel an navigate to:

   Sell > Configure > Checkout

This will take you to the "Checkout Settings" page. See below:

   Figure 1. Ecommerce Checkout Settings Page

Checkout Options

There are a number of ways to offer your customers a safe and secure checkout to complete their membership sign-up. Each option is briefly described below:

With this option no money changes hands online. After customers check out, an email invoice is sent to them requesting payment. You can then collect payments through whatever means you currently accept, such as by check or money order. If you select 'Invoice Only' as a payment option, make sure to click the 'Edit Invoice-only settings' link to configure this option.

PayPal is a widely used credit card and payment processing company. Your customers can use PayPal's payment services at checkout to use credit card, pay directly from a bank account, or sign up with PayPal and transfer funds from their account. To offer this option, you must create a PayPal account and integrate PayPal into your site. There are fees associated with this service.
(Note: Your customers will not be required to sign up with PayPal or set up a PayPal account for them to use their credit card processing services on your website.)

  Extra Help:
  • If you would like to choose PayPal as a checkout option for your customers, you must visit www.paypal.com to set up an account. You can read the article "Integrating PayPal into E-commerce" in the E-commerce Tools section of the Knowledge Base to help you through the process of setting up a PayPal account and integrating PayPal into your website. If you would like some help getting set up, Paypal has provided us with a representative who is familiar with Small Farm Central and will work with you over the phone:

Curtis Keierleber
Office 402.935.2131
Fax 877.605.6881
Hours 9-6 CST (M-F)

Another option for online payment are the services of Authorize.Net. Authorize.Net is the most widely-used payment gateway provider on the Internet. Like PayPal, your customers will be able use credit card through the Authorize.Net system or pay directly from a bank account with the eCheck system. However, unlike PayPal, Authorize.Net is only a payment gateway. You will need another company, a Merchant Account provider, to process the transactions that go through the system and transfer money from your customers' credit card banks to yours. This could be your bank if you already have credit card processing capability for your farm or Small Farm Central can help you set up a Merchant Account.

  Extra Help:
  • Read the "Authorize.Net vs. Paypal" article in the Member Assembler section of the Knowledge Base to help you decide which online payment service is right for you.

  • To set up your Merchant Account, call the Small Farm Central customer support line at 412-567-3864. Small Farm Central uses Total Merchant Services to set up Merchant Accounts. The Merchant Account application process takes less than an hour and Small Farm Central's support staff will help you through this setup over the phone. Read more about Merchant Accounts in this WebGeek.com article and the article "Credit Card Options with Total Merchant Services" article in the Member Assembler section of the Knowledge Base.

Choose your checkout payment option on the Checkout Settings page. You can select one option or a combination of options by using the pull down menu under to 'Checkout Options'.

Checkout settings are set 'per department' so you may have different checkout settings for
different departments. For example, you may want your wholesale customers to pay by 'Invoice Only'
while you want to allow your retail customers to pay through 'PayPal'.

This is fine to do, but keep in mind that once a user has started a 'shopping cart' from a department with a particular checkout setting, they cannot add an item from another department if it has a different checkout
setting. In other words, different checkout settings cannot be mixed in a single shopping cart. The shopping cart total must be paid using one checkout setting for everything. Be careful to set-up your E-commerce Store and Departments in a sensible way that does not lead a user to choosing options with mixed checkout settings.

Pickup & Shipping

With E-commerce, you can sell your products locally, requiring your customers to pickup their items, or across the country by shipping them. To configure pick-up options, navigate to:

   Sell> Configure > Pickup

Click the link in the yellow box to 'enable pickups'. Then click the 'create new pickup' link to go to the 'Create New Pickup' page. Here is where you name and describe your pickup location and choose the day of the week and time period where customers can come to pick up their purchased goods. For example, you could set your pickup location as the weekly Farmers Market you attend from 12pm -7pm. Customers that purchase goods from your site will meet you there to pick up their order. If you would like to add a pickup handling fee for this service, navigate to: Sell> Configure > Shipping and select 'Pickup Handling Fee' from the 'Shipping Options' drop-down menu.

If you would like to be able to ship your products to your customers directly, navigate to:

   Sell> Configure > Shipping

Select your shipping method from one of the following options:

Flat Rate Shipping This is a single dollar amount for all orders. If you are just dealing with items that are similar in type and weight, this could work for you. With flat rate shipping, you don't need to enter in the shipping weights of your items.

UPS/FedEx/USPS Shipping Calculator This option actually connects live to UPS, FedEx, and the US Postal Service to calculate retail rate shipping to a specified zip code. Currently, this only functions with US addresses. Choose
which company(s) and method(s) you would like to offer to your customers. Remember that it will take a little bit longer when retrieving shipping rates, the more providers that are requested. You must specify shipping weights of your items to use this method and also provide the location of where the deliveries will originate from (usually your farm).

If you want to add an additional "handling" fee to every order in order to cover packing materials or other costs, click on the "Add additional handling?" box at the bottom of the page. This will allow you to add a base handling fee and an incremental fee based on weight. On the invoice, the handling fee will be added into the shipping costs as a single line item.

Shipping Rate Multiplier
This is a simply calculated ship rate, taking the weight of the entire order and multiplying byan amount like 2.5 or 0.75 to get a dollar amount. You must specify shipping weights of your items to use this method.

Flat Rate Plus
This option works as a combination of Flat Rate and Weight Multiplier. You could think of it
as a shipping (based on shipment size) plus handling (flat amount) fee. As before, you must
specify shipping weights of your items to use this method.

Remember: You will need to add a shipping weight to your items for the shipping feature to be enabled during checkout.

Terms & Conditions

You can choose to include Terms & Conditions for your customers to agree to during the Checkout process. This is a good opportunity to inform or remind your customers of important information that they must agree to in order to make a purchase from your store. Here are some examples of things you might include in your Terms & Conditions:

  -Commitment to pay amount owed
  -Details/fees associated with payment failure
  -Disclaimer about general farming risks (weather, pests, natural disasters)
  -Reminder about inclusion in your email/mailing list

To write your Terms & Conditions, navigate to:

   Sell> Configure > Terms & Conditions

Click the checkbox to add a Terms & Conditions to your Checkout process. Don't forget to fill out your Terms & Conditions in the text editor and click Submit Changes when you are done.


Coupons are not necessary to set up your E-commerce store, but you will likely find them useful at some point in the future. Create coupon codes that users can enter to receive discounts on your goods. This may be useful to offer deals on certain items, discounts during an advertising campaign, or any other time when you need special pricing for specific circumstances. For example, you may form a partnership with a local business that gives their employees a 5% discount in your store. To create Coupons, read the "Making Coupons" article in the E-commerce Tools section of the Knowledge Base.

Congratulations You are well on your way to getting your E-commerce store up and ready to take orders from eager shoppers. While it may take some time for you and your customers to get a handle on all the new tools, there is a lot of time to be saved and sales to be made by using the E-commerce system.

Ready to move on? Click on another article below: