Payment Processing SuggestionAuthor: Garry Faegenburg
It is my sincere hope that the developers and folks who control the budget for your product will listen to my suggestions for product improvement in regatrds to Payment Processing options for Website X5 Pro.
Let me state first that I am trying to word my suggestion from several different perspectives. I say this because most importantly I truly LOVE this product. I was a Systems Programmer for 34 years on IBM Midrange and Mainframe computers and got my start in 1981 just a couple of years before the advent of the Personal Computer. I believe my roots in hardware/software give me an in-depth viewpoint of what makes a product good and what makes a product not so good (see, I am trying to be diplomatic ).
I was never a website developer, but when my knowledge base expanded during the last decade of my career, my interest in the Internet and how the infrastructure of it all works, combined with my desire to learn how to make my own personal website, started a quest on my part to finally put all my years of experience together to learn how to do it all.
I spent a LOT of time and wasted effort trying to find the web development platform that would meet my needs. I went from Microsoft Front Page, To Adobe Dreamweaver, To Dot-Net-Nuke, to WordPress and a couple of others, and ALL left me wondering why no one has come up with a better solution. And to be honest, the most powerful lesson I learned from all of this was that Microsoft Front Page, the original web development tool created in the early 1990's was so easy to use right out of the box, that simplicity was the key to success in development tools.
Unfortunately, simplicity can sometimes lead to a product that is lacking in functionality because the complexities of what it takes to make great functionality are many times not exposed in the efforts to keep the product simple and easy to use.
OK, now we get to the meat and potatoes here. Those last two paragraphs I wrote, are the key to the point I would like to make to the Website X5 team.
Your product from an ease of use standpoint is the BEST I have ever seen. And the functionality you provide in the product, especially from a cost standpoint is top notch! I have spent ten times the price of X5 Pro over the years on products and add-ins and training, etc. that were light years away from what you guys have brought to the table. An amazing feat for sure!
My reasons for purchasing your product came about from a personal standpoint. I wanted a website development tool to make my own personal statement, a non-business site. And I was blown away with the results I was able to achieve. You can check out my site at: http://www.thefaegenburgs.com
It was shortly after I got that project to it's current state, that I began a journey to start my own small business, and I wanted to manage everything myself. And so I now have my own company, I developed the website, I run it myself on my own equipment here in my home, and the only recurring fees I have to pay relate to Licensing, Security, and Payment Processing and Invoicing.
And now you will forgive me for having to get into the reason for this suggestion post.
My business, being of a sensitive product line (Firearms), has brought to light the difficulties in securing Payment Processing for this type of business. I can't use PayPal, AmazonPay, ApplePay or any of the vast majority of free services out there. If I could, there would be no need for this suggestion post.
Businesses such as mine, need the capabilites of Authorize.Net (the biggest player out there) or other similar gateway solutions.
I don't pretend to know how easy or difficult it is to provide this capability to your product, but I do know it costs money for sure.
But I think, if you guys (pardon me for saying guys all the time, I don't mean to exclude the ladies as I am sure you have many on the team! ) want to make this product a huge e-commerce hit, you need to expand in the area of Payment Processing.
When I discovered how easy it was to set up the shopping cart and how the products couldbe so easily displayed on a page, I was REALLY wow'ed!!
But when I finally figured out what I was up against for Payment options because of the nature of my products, I quickly became dismayed.
However, I credit the foresight of the development team to provide the Custom Code feature on the Payment Option setup. Clearly you were thinking ahead here.
But I think, now that the Payment Processing standards appear to have settled into a somehwat organized structure (most gateways work in a similar fashion), I think you could extend your capabilities to a much wider offering of built in Payment Processing options.
I know the world is a bit different across the pond. I think much of your community resides in European communities. The PayPal option works well for a large base of businesses over here in the USA, but we have a lot of business types such as mine, that simply can't use the inexpensive or freebie Payment options. We need access to gateway's like Authorize.Net.
So I am asking you to please consider this in future versions of your product.
Here is one thing I can tell you about that I know most of the Payment Processors over here provide with their product. They offer a tool to provide Web Forms for generating Payment Processing web pages.
I have been able to use this to create the HTML code necessay to plug into the Custom Code field you provide on creating a Payment Processing option in your shopping cart.
However what it lacks, is not being able to pass the information from the Shopping cart pages, over to the final Payment Processing pages necessary to complete a transaction within a website.
But I know it can be done. The question is, what would be the most expediant and cost effective way for you to provide that to your customers who buy Website X5.
I see two ways to approach this. One is through better documentation, because I know as a programmer, your product already has the code base to do this last little step (pass the info from the shopping cart over to the Payment Processing page). It must be there because you already do that for the built in Payment Options you currently have.
So from a documentation standpoint, provide us with the variable names and HTML code examples of how we can modify our Custom Code, to get the few values we need to present on the Payment Processing page?
The other way, is to just add more Payment Processing Types to the list. However, I think with the large number of providers out there, each with unique interfaces, it would cause you to have to duplicate a lot of static code in the product. It makes it prettier and easier for your customer to choose a Payment Processing type to present to their customers on the website no doubt, but I think the real way to do it is through a simple API and some good documentation.
The API would simply provide a common frontend for us to take the values we need from Shopping Cart summary, add pass them through to our Custom Code for the Payment Processing page.
Then all we would have to do, is plug this standardized API section of HTML code into the Custom Code field on the Payment Processing setup.
I know I am oversimplifying the process, but I know you can do that without a ton of effort.
In about 6 months I have to make the decision as to whether or not I want to pay for continued maintenance of the product. The product as it stands, provides me about 90 percent of the capabilities I need for both personal website goals and business website goals.
But that last 10 percent is what would make keep paying maintenance if I thought I would continue to get improvements that would get me to 100 percent.
I urge you to make a further investment to make what already is a GREAT product, into a best of breed solution.
Keep up the fine work, and thanks very much for your consideration of this suggestion.
Regards, Garry Faegenburg
P.S. (You can visit my website at: https://fsasfirearms.com to see how close your product is to providing that last little bit of functionality to open the doors to what I am asking for in this suggestion. I need to be able to pass the Total number of items ordered, and the total cost of those items, along with the shipping costs, to the Payment Prcessing page. With that capability, I would have my 100 percent solution. Would also be nice to be able to populate my customers Billing and Shipping info on the Payment page as well! )