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Answers to Common Questions

Here are answers to questions you may
have, listed by subject matter.

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Subject Matter:

Testing, Building and Opening an Online Store

Merchant and Customer Security

Traffic Building and Third-Party Advertising

Customer Orders, Cash Settlement and Package Fulfillment

Store Setup and Operations
Testing, Building and Opening an Online Store
Can I try StoresOnTheWeb at no charge?   Whether you want to experiment with a demo store or stage a store you intend to activate, the process of building a store begins in the same place.  Only when you are ready to open your store for business will you need to agree with a month-to-month commerce hosting agreement.  CLICK HERE to begin building a store now.
What kind of  agreement is needed to open a StoresOnTheWeb commerce host account?  To open a store to do business online, you will need to review and consent to the terms of the Commerce Hosting Agreement.  When you activate your store, you will be asked to enter your name and check a box if you agree to the terms.  By acceptance, this acts as our confirmation that your authorized representative intends to operate an online store hosted by StoresOnTheWeb.
Can I cancel my Store Account?  The Commerce Hosting Agreement is based on a month-to-month term that you can cancel at any time without cause.
If I open a store using StoresOnTheWeb services, when will I be billed?  Your accounting period begins on the day of the month you activate your store.  Your credit card will be charged on the first day of your accounting period for host fees.  The transaction fee per order from the prior month is also included on the same credit card charge.
Merchant and Customer Security
What kind of network infrastructure is StoresOnTheWeb using at its' Data Center?  All our commerce servers are Pentium-class machines running Windows NT sharing a common Raid Array.  All orders are backed-up at the conclusion of the transaction and all servers are backed-up continuously.  Our servers are connected to the Internet on a DS3 pipeline which is equivalent to 24 T1 lines.
Is our merchant account and information private?  All information pertaining to your account is accessed through the Store Manager off StoresOnTheWeb's homepage.  The Store Manager account is secured using SSL protocol.
Tell me about shopping and data security?   There are three principal areas where security is critical.  Anytime a credit card is entered or viewed in a browser, that browser page is secured using SSL protocol.   This occurs in two places, the customer order form and the Store Manager Orders and Reports section.  Also, as soon as the shopper submits the credit card for online authorization, the data is encrypted and transported to a private, highly secured financial network where acquiring banks and processors share the necessary information to verify and hold funds at the customer's credit card issuing bank.  Because email is not secure, credit card data is never emailed.
Traffic building and third-party advertising
How do I drive traffic to my store?  We provide two service options to build visibility and traffic to your store.  The first registers you with the Big 8 and and over 220 secondary Search Engines.   The second is creating a lively promotion and registering it daily with over 1,350 Free4All sites.
How do I track traffic statistics through my store?  Under your Store Manager account in the Orders and Reports section is a report that tracks traffic in, through and from your store.  These statistics will help you sharpen your marketing message across online and real world promotions.
Will any advertisements appear in my store?  StoresOnTheWeb is an advertisement-free zone. No ads appear in your store's main directory, department sub-directories or catalog pages
Customer Orders, Payment and Fulfillment
How is the store organized from a shoppers point of view?  The shopper will first see a Store Directory that lists all departments under which products are categorized.   Clicking on any department heading displays a Department Page which consists of product thumbnails that are links to the individual product Catalog Page.   A catalog page has a specific URL entry that can be used as a link from any HTML page.   You can exchange this catalog page URL with allied websites, create special promotion pages that link to the product "on special" or any number of other application. 
How do customers pay for products purchased online?  The Merchant will decide when Activating a store what Order Settlement method they want to use.  A customer always completes an order by filling-out an Order Form.  At the conclusion of the order, an email alerts the merchant and customer of the confirmed order.  At the same time, the customer's invoice is placed in a secured StoresOnTheWeb server that the merchant may access through their password-protected Store Manager account, in order to fulfill the order.  At no time is the customer's credit card placed or transmitted in an unsecured network environment.
How are credit cards processed online? You need a Merchant ID account with a Card Processor to deposit Sales Orders directly into your bank account.  Once the products have shipped you will go into your Store Manager account and batch capture the sales proceeds for just those orders released to the carrier.
Do we have to process credit cards online?   There is no reason you have to accept credit cards online.  However, you must have a Merchant ID for MOTO operators (Mail Order - Telephone Orders)The customer will have an identical shopping experience concluding with a request to complete an Order Form.   The form will include a space for typing in credit card information.  When the customer submits the order, email confirmations go to the customer and merchant.   The merchant goes to their Store Manager account.  Under the Orders and Reports section, unfilled Sales Orders are individually accessible and will include the complete credit card number, expiration date and cardholder name.  This information is in a secured area that may only be accessed with a password.  The merchant may print each order and use the credit card information to manually enter into a card terminal in their physical store to pre-authorize or authorize and capture products that have been released to the shipping carrier.
How do I know when a customer order has been successfully completed?  You receive a confirming email that an order has been transacted.  The order detail is located under your Store Manager account in the Orders and Reports section.  When the order has been shipped, the merchant will check a box next to the order number to indicate its release to the shipping carrier.
What is the procedure for filling an order?  When an order is completed, a confirmation email is sent to the merchant.  The Sales Order is then viewable in entirety within the password- protected Store Manager.   Each unfilled order may be printed and used as a pick list, customer invoice or as an order form for inputting into an existing order entry system.  Upon shipping the order, the merchant receives payment according to their settlement plan.
Store Setup and Operations
Can we use our domain name as the store address?  Your domain is easily made the entry point into the hosted web store area. 
How many products can we stock online?  Our commerce system is designed to meet the needs of a large grocery or department store.  Products are organized by department and have a unique URL address which may be used as a link from allied websites or internal promotion pages. 
How is product inventory entered into the store?  Under the Store Manager in the Inventory section is a series of menus that allow Departments to be created as well as products to be entered.  All products are input and may be later modified in the Product Group Editor.
How are images uploaded to the store?  There are two ways to upload images for use in your online store and both methods are accessed within the Store Manager.  The first method is under the Inventory Manager section.  After selecting a product to edit you come to the Product Group Editor.  At the bottom of the editor is a pull-down menu where you may browse your local hard drive or network drive system and submit any image file for uploading.   The picture will then appear adjacent to the Selling Copy and Order Console.  The second method is under the Decorate section.  The image file is placed in your private image directory in Store Manager and is viewable in a pull-down menu.  These image files then are available for selection to appear in apropos locations within the catalog.
Do I need to know how to create HTML pages or software programming to work with the StoresOnTheWeb system?  No special skills are required.  However, if you are adept at creating HTML pages, you can edit Theme & Layout templates.
How do I customize the look of my store or add unique links to existing pages? You or we can modify existing Catalog Pages or Store Directories.  Custom links that are unique to a single product may be included in a Catalog Page.  A choice of what object (text or image) to link from and the URL that the link points to are all that are required.  Contact us to learn more.
If new features become available, will our store be able to take advantage of them?  You will be able to immediately take advantage of any new feature we release. Because the software used to create and operate your store is located on our computer system and not your computer, there is nothing to download or install...ever!
Can I open an international store?   We are now working with a few U.S. stores to provide access to foreign markets.   When these stores are successfully working, worldwide commerce features will be added to StoresOnTheWeb services.  Contact us if you have an immediate need for foreign sales.

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