Today, online payment gateways are much more than just another mandatory element for an ecommerce site; they are the roots that carry the vital flow needed for your business to thrive.
A modern ecommerce website is a complex ecosystem where numerous technologies and practices coexist and merge: User interface, API calls, database queries, but also SEO positioning, product management, technical infrastructure and marketing strategies... But let's be real, all of this is in service of one goal: to get users to buy your products. For this reason, payments, while not as "glamorous" as the other components, are a fundamental step to consider in your eCommerce ecosystem.
Payments present a lot of critical points: they must be secure, fast and easy to authorize (or cancel) for your users, and they must allow different options according to those available in the countries you are considering. Fortunately, the current technological landscape offers a solution that takes these aspects (and many more) into account: online payment gateways.
But what are online payment gateways?
Online payment gateways are ecommerce services that handle payment information processing for websites. They offer two main benefits to ecommerce businesses:
1. Streamline the checkout process for faster and easier transactions.
With the average shopping cart abandonment rate at approximately 70% (data from the independent Baymard Institute), a reliable online payment gateway simplifies and intuitively guides customers through the process, helping to retain the majority of these potential sales.
2. Ensure secure encryption of customer information.
With the threat of identity theft, customer trust is essential for any online transaction. Online payment gateways specialize in processing financial data and incorporate proper encryption and security features to protect your customers' information.
3. Include a variety of payment options
While it is possible to manage with a single secure and easy-to-use online payment method, customers increasingly expect the convenience of using their preferred payment methods across multiple websites. Services such as PayPal, Square, and Apple Pay have gained popularity, allowing customers to make purchases across platforms without having to re-enter their payment and address information.
Too many tools, too little insight
All of these services are certainly convenient, but they have a built-in problem: each payment provider only reports information for the payments it processes, which makes sense, but creates a new set of problems for ecommerce management. You don't have proper visibility into your site's order flow; each check and verification must be done manually, looking for the individual order number and the payment system that processed it.
This is not only time-consuming, but also prone to errors and bottlenecks: the information may be inconsistent, contradictory, or incomplete. It also requires knowledge of different languages, codes and policies. All this effort may be worthwhile to investigate an order that is rejected multiple times or behaves in an "unusual" way, but every single case is different and requires a different approach.
However there might be a way to check all your ecommerce order flow at once: to have a properly integrated and complete observability of your ecommerce payment flow.
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Entering Payment Gateway APIs
Transactions are verified by the specific API for each payment gateway, and while there are several ways to integrate them, they all have one thing in common: they leave a transaction log on your eCommerce system.
Log type (the format and what you print) and verbosity (how much information you print) can themselves be configured in different ways, but even the least verbose way will leave you with two critical pieces of information: Order Number and Payment Gateway Response. With the right tools, you can capture and structure this data to create a dashboard that shows you real-time payment validation on your eCommerce site.
We at Orienteed have already developed such tools, using our knowledge in eCommerce and data analysis we have deployed an integrated solution that monitors all the payment transaction flow happening between the commerce website and the payment gateways.
Some of our payment monitoring dashboards:
This is a typical log from a payment gateway API, in this case from Cybersource: the payment solution from Visa. While its structure is quite simple, it is divided into several events, each with its own timestamp and response. Tracking the entire stack for each payment verification in your site can be quite a headache, so let's introduce our payment dashboards:
Payment gateway API verification in Elasticsearch
This is a sample dashboard built with the popular open-source data search software Elasticsearch: it collects and indexes the payment logs and then visualizes them in a clear and immediate way. This is the first step to build a low cost real time observability of the payment flow.
Payment gateway API verification in Splunk
This is a more advanced observability dashboard built with Splunk, the leading log observability solution: after collecting and indexing logs from multiple payment gateway APIs, it creates multiple visualizations segmented by brand, status, and error type. Each order is tracked in real-time to provide a comprehensive view of your site's payment flow.
Why does your Ecommerce need this solution?
In the fast-paced and complex landscape of modern e-commerce, payment visibility is a critical pillar of success. With real-time observability, you can quickly identify and resolve issues and proactively identify bottlenecks. In a world where downtime and errors can result in significant revenue loss and reputational damage, payment observability allows you to navigate complexity with agility and precision. Among the many advantages of a real time payment dashboard there are:
- To know if the payments have been resolved correctly or if they have been blocked by some problem (incorrect code, connection failure, etc..)
- Detect erroneous or unusual orders
- To monitor the correct pricing of items in your store
- To detect any other unusual situation that may be happening on your site (spike in cancellations, refund requests, etc.)
As the old adage says: “Follow the money” but to do in a modern ecommerce you need know-how, tools and expertise. Thanks to our extensive technical knowledge in eCommerce we at Orienteed are able to design and deploy a payment flow solution tailored to the specific needs of your commerce platform.
L1 Service Manager at Orienteed.