Check Out That AucCom Checkout, Part 2

Be your own first customer to verify every aspect of your payment process.

by staff writer
- May 27, 2009

In Part 1 of this article, we walked through the buying process; now it's time to get paid. Let's get started.

Capture that cash

When a customer places an order, you have to go through a process known as payment capture in order to actually receive the funds. To do this, go back into your admin site, then go into your Order Manager by clicking Orders in the upper right corner. Locate the order you just placed and click the details link on the right. This will take you to the order's Summary tab. Here you'll see all the details of your order.

Become familiar with this page. It tells you how much customers owe, their shipping and mailing addresses as well as the contents of their shipments and their preferred shipping methods.

Next you'll want to click the Payments tab and choose capture from the Tasks drop-down box and hit the blue "Pay" button to the right. Auctiva Commerce will let you know within seconds if you successfully captured the payment by giving you either a "Success" or "Failed" notice. If you get a "Success," you're all set; your form of payment is set up properly and you can move on to the next step: shipping. If not, it's time to revisit your payment setup. For more information on capturing funds, see Auctiva Commerce's tutorial.

Deliver the goods

Shipping items is essential to good business. Keeping order shipment information current will help you stay organized and your customers informed about the status of their orders. Again, automated e-mails will prove useful here. If you set them up, you can let customers know when their items are on their way simply by clicking the Ship Items button in your Shipments tab. Remember that an e-mail like this will keep your buyers at ease, because it will keep them up to date on the status of their order.

Get your money back

Now that you've gone through and made sure payments work properly, you'll want to give yourself a refund. Not just because you bought your own items—but because you may have to issue a refund to one of your customers at some point. It's recommended that you go through the process of getting your money back so you'll know how to handle refunds when they inevitably pop up later.

It's never too early to develop that professional, friendly tone in your e-mails

However, if you paid with a credit card, you want to wait a couple of days to do this. Transactions have to be settled between banks before storeowners can issue refunds. If you go back into your admin site before the payment has gone through, you'll get a "Failed" notice from Auctiva Commerce when you try to issue a refund.

But once transactions have settled, you're ready to go back to your Payments tab to issue your refund. Choose the "Issue Refund" option from the Tasks drop-down box and hit the blue play button to the right. This will take you to a refund page where you'll have to decide if you want to issue a complete or partial refund. You'll do this by entering the amount you want to refund in the Refund Amount box. The field will default to the total purchase amount, so if you only want to issue a partial refund make sure to adjust that amount.

Next, enter the last four digits of the credit card used to pay for the order. In this instance, you'll be able to get that information quickly since you presumably used your own credit card. But when you issue a refund to a customer, you'll need to contact them for that information, since Auctiva Commerce does not save credit card numbers. You'll also need the card's month and date of expiration.

Remember to add a note to your refund. Write the message as if it were actually going out to a customer, since you will interact with buyers on a regular basis. It's never too early to develop that professional, friendly tone in your e-mails. Once you're satisfied with the message, click the "Refund" button. Again, Auctiva Commerce will give you either a "Success" or "Failed" notice.

Check your bank statement in the next couple of days to make sure your refund went through. And go back to your store later and make another purchase using a different payment method. This will also help you in the next task: canceling an order.

It's important for security purposes when you have a cancellation to go the extra step to void the transaction

Cancel, void or refund?

Before we get started with this, let's go over the difference between refunding, voiding and canceling orders. A refund is pretty straightforward: It's simply the act of returning part or all of your buyer's money after a transaction has been completed.

Cancelling, on the other hand, marks an order as having been called off. However, it doesn't prevent payment from being captured on that order. So it's important for security purposes when you have a cancellation to go the extra step to void the transaction. You wouldn't want to mistakenly capture payment later on an order that's been cancelled.

When you void a transaction, you stop funds from being captured. A transaction must either be in an "unprocessed" or "authorized" state if you want to use this option to stop a payment. So if a customer changes their mind about buying an item before you receive payment, you can cancel and void that order to prevent the customer from being charged for the item.

If the payment has gone through, issue a refund. Trying to void a payment that's already been processed will result in a "Failed" message in your Payments tab.

Cancel that

Now that you understand the terminology, we can go through the steps to cancel that order you just placed. This process actually takes less time than refunding an order, since you don't have to enter a refund amount or request additional information from your buyer. All it takes is choosing the "Cancel Order" command from the Tasks drop-down box in the appropriate order's Summary tab. For more about how to cancel an order, see Auctiva Commerce's tutorial on cancelling orders. Once you're familiar with this, processing orders will become second nature.

Now that you've checked and rechecked your store's checkout process, you're ready for the sales to start pouring in. You may have run into a few minor problems as you tested out your store, but the good news is, you encountered them before your customers did.

Having good functionality behind your quality products will help to create a positive customer experience, and will be more likely to result in higher sales.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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