Webhosting & eCommerce

Merchant Services FAQ

The Merchant Services is a user friendly set of web based tools designed to get you trading on the internet in no time at all. Through the web based interface you can manage your products, process orders, customize your sites appearance and much more. This FAQ has been compiled from various customer questions/feedback and design concepts.




Product Options



Site Customization

Shipping and Taxes

Dynamic Catalogue Generation

Order Processing

   How do I integrate ecommerce into my existing web site ?
   Merchant Services is designed to be easily integrated into an existing website. No programming skills are required and all of the server-side setup and configuration has already been done for you.

  • Step 1: Your Store Setup

  • Setting up your store is done through the "store details" option and allows you to configure store options, such as store name, currency, contact email etc.

  • Step 2: Add Products

  • Select "Add a New Product" to add a product to your catalog. Batch uploads allow you to add multiple products through a CSV file.

  • Step 3: Download HTML code

  • After each product is added, you will be shown the necessary HTML code you will need to copy and paste into your website. If you are using FrontPageTM, the product HTML code can be inserted into your FrontPageTM Website using the "insert code" function. This code is also available anytime by selecting "Product Management" and clicking on the "View" button.

    You can also download a search box to enable product searches on your website. You will find this option under "Product Code Generator" along with other product code options, such as generating code for all your products.

  • Step 4: Customize Your Store

  • Adding a header and footer to your store allows the Basket and secure Checkout to be used, maintaining your websites' "look and feel". Add your HTML in "Customize Trimmings".

    You can also change the colors of the forms used in the search and Basket and Checkout pages. Select your colors from "Customize Color Settings".

    Other options include :
    Product Options
    Shipping and Taxes
    Order processing

       My website is not hosted with you. Can I still use the merchant services ?
       Yes. Your website does not need to be hosted with us to use the Merchant Services. However, for full integration it is recommended that you transfer your site to one of our hosting plans.

       How do I use FrontPagetm 98 2000 with the integrated ecommerce ?
       Refer to our inserting HTML snippets section in our Support Section for further information.

       Where can I find the online help ?
       Online help can be found anywhere in the Merchant Services by clicking on the question mark on the top of any main header.

       I do not know how to use PHP can I still use the Merchant Services ?
       It is not necessary that you know PHP. No programming is required on your behalf.

       Is the Merchant Services secure?
       Yes. Your settings can only be accessed through your merchant login. The Checkout that your customers will use is secure. It uses SSL encryption, which is an Internet standard and encrypts all of their details.

       What was the Merchant Services written in ?
       PHP, Perl, some CSS and Javascript.

       Can I use my own database ?
       It is possible through the use of the CSV Import/Export function which allows you to enter your product base via uploading of a CSV file which can be exported from many common database applications and spread-sheet software.

       How do you validate credit cards ?
       Online Credit Card processing requires an online credit card payment gateway and a merchant account with your bank. We provide access to several gateway products, but you will have to speak with your bank about setting up an account to use with them.

       Do I need a SSL Certificate ?
       No. The Checkout process uses our SSL Certificate so there is no need to acquire any additional accreditations.

       How do I ensure that the padlock is displayed for secure pages?
       To comply with the HTTPS standard, every source on the page needs to be referenced securely. To do this, any images or CSS files in your header and footer should be referenced by:


    This will make sure your pages are loaded securely and correctly when your shopper hits the secure checkout area.

       What can I use multiple stores for ?
       Multiple stores are available for users wanting to create sectioned ecommerce sites or "mini-malls". These multiple stores are available on the Platinum and Enterprise Plans.

       How do I backup my product catalog ?
       You can use the download your products using the "Download Products" function available under Batch Options.

       How do I import products from a previous ecommerce site ?
       It is possible as long as your previous software will allow you to download or view your product base in an exportable format such as CSV. You can then use the Import function available under the Batch Options menu. This will save your products for your own catalog.

    Full instructions can be found by using the help located on the Batch Options page.

       What happens when I go over my product limit ?
       You have an option to remove products, upgrade to a higher account or purchase additional product allocations in lots of 50 at a time.

       Can I de-activate a product without deleting it ?
       Yes. You will see this option when you edit a product.

    If you are using the batch system and a CSV file, you can set the "stock_qty" field to "-1" and the product will be disabled.

    You can also edit the error message that is displayed when a product is de-activated. It is under the "Inventory/Product unavailable" template in the "Dynamic Page Layout / Templates" section of Merchant Services.

       How can I upload my images into the drop down catalog in the add/edit product page ?
       You will find all of your images and merchant material under the .merchant directory in your home directory. You can upload into this directory.

       What is a CSV file ?
       A CSV file stands for Comma Separated Values. As the name suggests, each field or value is separated by a comma. This enables you to import an existing product catalog from either a spread-sheet program or existing database. Simply use the 'Save As' function in spread-sheets and choose CSV as the file type. To export a database, you will need to consult the database's manual. For example, in a MYSQL database, you use the "SELECT INTO OUTFILE ..." statement.

    When you have a CSV file, you can simply import into your store through the Batch Option in Merchant Services.

       How can I add a Currency Converter to my site?
       If you are using the Dynamic method for displaying your product catalog, you can simple add an additional link to your site templates to have a dynamic currency converter link, that does not need to be updated.

    Usually, you will add the converter link to the search results, basket and product detail templates. In this example, we are using the link to convert AUD$15.00 to USD :
    <a href=# onClick="window.open('http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi?Amount=15.00&
    (Note this link is broken up to multiple lines for readability, but should all be on one line with no spaces)

    You can use this for any currencies, simply by replacing the "From" and "To" values in the URL.

    In the templates, you would replace the dollar value to one of the variables so that the link is dynamic for each product. In the search results and product detail templates you would use : {PRICE}
    In the basket template, you would use : {TOTAL}

       What are product options ?
       Product options are used for calculating variations between your products. eg. small add $5.00, medium add $10.00, large add $20.00. Product options are created through the "Product Option Management" section.

       How do I assign options to my products ?
       Once you have created your product options you can assign them by pressing the "Assign options to products" button on the product options page. You then select which option you want to apply from the list on the far right. Then for each product, click "add" to apply this option.

       Is there a limit on product options ?

       Can I assign multiple product options to one product ?
       Yes. Further information can be found about this process in the "Assign categories to products" section by clicking on the question mark icon on the header.

       Can I assign multiple categories to one product ?
       Yes. When editing or creating a new product, hold down the "CTRL" key in order to select or de-select multiple categories. A product will then be returned for all categories selected.

       How can I display a product listing of a single category on my site ?
       You can use dynamic linking to display a category on your page. This allows any changes in your prduct catalog to be seen immediately on your site.

    The easiest way to obtain this link is to use the search box for your store and copy the link displayed for your search. You can see your search box through the Merchant Services section, using the "Search Your Store" link.

    After selecting your category and submitting the search, you will see all your products for your category displayed. You can then copy the link that appears in your browser and use it for the category link on your website.

    You can also add to the link "&limit=x" (without the quotes) to the end of the link to display all products for your category on one page.

    You can also display your Products by using the "Product Code Generator". You can select which details you want to display for each product e.g. description,category weight etc. This section also allows you to generate the code for an entire catalog. You then copy and paste the generated code into your website.

       Do I need to categorize my products ?
       No. Categorizing your products is not absolutely necessary. However, users will not be able to search through your product base via categorical searches.

       Does the Merchant Services support Inventory Management ?
       Yes. You are able to set inventories for your products and maintain accurate stock levels for your store.

    The inventory system can also remove products from your catalogue when there is no available inventory. See the range of available options for the Inventory system below.

       How do I enable/disable Inventory for my store ?
       Through the Merchant Services section, you can see the Inventory Management link. You can enable, disable and choose how you want the Inventory system to work for you.

    Once activated, you will see additional fields available when you edit your products. These are :
    - Stock Quantity : amount of stock for your product
    - In Stock Message : text message to display when products is in stock
        (e.g. "ships in 7 days")
    - Out of Stock Message : text message to display when product is out of stock
        (e.g. "new stock arriving in 7 days")

    To use these values in your templates, the variables used are :
    {STOCK_QTY} and {PRODUCT_MESSAGE}. The system will load {PRODUCT_MESSAGE} with either the In Stock Message or Out Stock Message depending on current Inventory levels.

    If you are using strict Inventory control, you can customise the error page this is displayed if an out of stock product is attempted to be purchased. You wil find this under the "Dynamic Page Layout / Templates" section of Merchant Services.

       Do I have to use Inventory in my store ?
       No, the Inventory system is optional and can be enabled or disabled at any time.

       What Inventory control options can I use ?
       The Inventory system has been designed so you can control how you would like the Inventory management to work for your store. For example, you can enforce strict inventory control so that only products with available inventory can be purchased - alternatively, you can also allow products that are "out of stock" to be bought anyway - the choice is yours.

    Here are the options you can choose from :
  • Enforce Quantity Check(Y/N) - Whether products with stock quantity of zero can still be purchased or not.
  • Update Quantity on Purchase(Y/N) - Do you want the "buy" process to update your stock levels
  • Search Results Format - How the Search Results and dynamic page creation pages handle your inventory system. You can choose from :
         - Only show products with available inventory
         - Show all products even if inventory is zero
         - Show all products, but items with zero quantity have "buy" button removed

       Why isn't my color scheme displaying properly in my website ?
       It is recommended that one of the first things you do before integrating ecommerce into your site is to select a color scheme. If you have previously downloaded HTML code into your website, the code will need to be updated in order to show the changes.

       I want a menubar down the side of my pages. How do I do it ?
       The simplest way to achieve this is to create a table with two cells in the customize trimmings sections. The first cell should enclose the menubar. The second cell should be left open at the end of the header. In the footer both the table and cell has to be closed off to encase the product/s. The sample code below will give you a starting point.

    <-- header -->
    <TD WIDTH="30%" VALIGN="top">
    -- insert your menubar here --
    <TD WIDTH="70%" VALIGN="top">
    <-- end header -->

    Body of page goes here

    <-- footer -->
    <-- end footer -->

       Can I edit the product boxes that I have pasted into my website ?
       Yes, as long as all of the form, select, option and input tags remain intact and unchanged.

       How do I add a View Basket Button ?
       The following link must be placed within your <A HREF=" "></A> tag.

    or if you have a domain

    This path can be used for form/javascript buttons, image maps, etc.

       How do I add a "Checkout" button ?
       The following link must be placed within your <A HREF=" "></A> tag.

    or if you have a domain

       How do I show Order Total and # Ordered Items ?
       You can provide a order summary in your header or footer template, which will display the current order total and number of items ordered.

    The two variables are :

    When viewing either the basket or checkout pages, these values will not be shown as this information is already shown on the page.

       How do I customize my e-commerce website?
    All the customize options are viewable in the Custom Settings section.

    You can select from the following customizable sections :
  • Header and Footer -
  • design the HTML code that surrounds the content of your pages.
  • Colour Settings -
  • jazz up the look of your site by choosing colours from the colour palette to apply to your tables.
  • Dynamic Page Layout covers these areas -
  • Search Results -
  • detail the layout of search results when a product search is done on your store.
  • Product Detail -
  • this page is used to display in-depth information about a product. It is usually viewed when you click on a thumbnail image.
  • Basket Template -
  • design your shopping basket layout.

    We use our own, in-house designed, "Funky Template System"(FTS). FTS allows dynamic templates through the use of variable parsing and interpolation.

    For example, you can display a product name, anywhere on your page by using {PRODUCT_NAME}. When the page is viewed, the FTS engine replaces {PRODUCT_NAME} with the actual product name, such as "Sports Shoes". Detailed instructions can be found in the help section for each custom template.

      How do I display my product catalog?
      To have each category on a page, you have two options:

    The easiest to maintain would be to have your category pages displayed dynamically. Dynamically means that a change in your product database will also alter the information displayed in your pages(so when you update your prices for example, the change will be reflected in your category pages aswell). You can do this by linking straight into the search facility for each category.

    For example, you have setup your own categories, so to display that page your link would be: "/commerce/search/?merchant_id=your_id&custom_store_category=Cat_id&by_category=1"

    or you could provide a search box such as "/commerce/search/search_options.php?merchant_id=your_id"

    In this case you will need to add your header and footer so that the pages look the same in the search results pages. You do this under the "Customize Components" option.

    Dynamic pages are definitely they way to go as it will save you lots of time when it comes time to update or refresh your catalog.

    The second option is to use the "Product Code Generator", which can generate all the HTML for you - choose the "Select a category" option. You will then copy and paste the result into your product pages.

       How do I use multiple forms on one page?
       As long as you are closing each <FORM> section correctly, there is nothing stopping you having multiple forms on one page - which allows you to display several products for purchase on one page.

    Some editors, however, have a function that will make each form element unique on the page. For example, when you view your code you may see something like :
    <input type="hidden" name="merchant_id" value="1234">
    Then your next FORM looks like :
    <input type="hidden" name="merchant_id2" value="1234">

    This will stop your "Add to Cart" buttons from working, as the form element names are no longer correct (it should always be name="merchant_id").

    If you are seeing this behaviour, you will need to check the help section for your editor to see if you can disable "form checking" or "variable checking" to prevent it changing your FORM.

    In FrontPage, the setting to be changed is under "PAGE OPTIONS", "GENERAL", then remove the flag from "MAKE ID UNIQUE ON PASTE".

       How do I set my Shipping and Taxes?
       Shipping and Taxes is divided into three sections, local, national and international. For each region you will need to specify what shipping and tax charges apply. Depending on what address your customer specifies, shipping and tax charges will be calculated accordingly.

    Detailed help is available on the shipping and tax pages under the help icon.

       How is shipping calculated ?
       Shipping costs are detailed under the help icon in the shipping section.

       How are taxes calculated ?
       Taxes are calculated depending on the percentages you specify for each region.

       Using the search functionality to generate product pages
       The easiest way to use the Merchant Services, is to implement your online store so that it is generated "on-the-fly". This means, you can make changes to a product (update pricing etc) and your product pages will also reflect this change.

    Common usage is to have links on the main page of your site that display a category (see our Category section for more info). The easiest way to generate the correct link, is to use the Search Box for your store. You simply perform a search on the category or keyword that you would like displayed - the results will be generated and the required link will be in your browser.

    Copy this link into your main site and now any changes made to your product catalogue will be instantly reflected in these pages.

    You can set the default behaviour for search results by using the "Search Results Control" option under the "Customization" Menu.

    You can also add options to your links directly for controlling how results are displayed :
    (Note: options set in a link have priority over "Search Results Control")
  • limit=x :
  • show all products for a search (default is show only 10 products)
  • display_num=n :
  • where n is the number of products to display on one page
  • orderby=product_name :
  • order results by product name (default is order by product ID)
  • orderby=price :
  • order results by product price (default is order by product ID)
  • mode=DESC :
  • method to display results. DESC is Descending (default is Ascending)
  • notemplate=1 :
  • store header and footer will not be displayed (often used for framed sites)

    An example link that displays a category called "Bananas", would look like :
    <a href="/commerce/search/?merchant_id=MERCHANT_ID &search_type=ANY&custom_store_category=Bananas&by_category=1">

    Adding one of the display options above is done appending the option to the URL, e.g. :
    <a href="/commerce/search/?merchant_id=MERCHANT_ID &search_type=ANY&custom_store_category=Bananas&by_category=1&display_num=5">

       How do I process an order ?
       The merchant receives an email as a notification that a transaction has occurred. From there the merchant logs on to the merchant services section to retrieve the order details.

    Payment processing can be completed in two ways :
  • Use an existing payment processing facility, such as a Merchant Terminal for processing credit card information(some banks also have virtual terminals through a website).
  • Real time online payment processing. This option is available for gateways that we have integrated into the ecommerce system. When you use a payment gateway, the transaction is processed in real-time, when the order is actually placed. Your orders section will contain information as to whether the transaction was approved or declined by the gateway.
    See available Payment Gateways

       How do I know someone has ordered a product from my site ?
       As a Merchant you will receive an email alerting you that an order has been placed and that it is available for retrieval through the merchant services section. You will find the order management interface at the bottom of the merchant section menu or in the top bar.

       How do you validate credit cards ?
       Online/Realtime Credit Card processing requires an online credit card payment gateway and a merchant account with your bank. We provide access to several gateway companies, which you can see below. You can contact any of them through their respective website links to create a Payment Gateway account.

       Which online banking gateways do you have available ?
       To date we can provide access to the following gateways:
  • WorldPay - can handle businesses from most countries
  • Authorize.net - US registered businesses only
  • PlanetPayment
  • Moneris - US and Canadian businesses only
  • LinkPoint
  • WebPay also known as GlobalPoint - Australian businesses with an ABN number
  • Verisign - Australian businesses with an ABN number
  • eWay - Australian businesses with an ABN number

       How do I use PayPal ?
       You can specify your PayPal username(email address) and PayPal currency for your store, through the "Change Store Details" link in the Merchant Services. Once saved, you will also need to specify PayPal as an approved payment type for your store, through the "Store Payment Settings" link.

    Now that you have specified your PayPal details, when your shopper chooses PayPal as their payment method, they will be shown a "Pay with PayPal" button on the order confirmation page.

    When the shopper clicks this button, they will then be directed to PayPal's Payment page to complete the order. At PayPal, the product name and product ID will both contain the OrderID from the checkout order confirmation page. This order status is then set to "pending".

    You, the merchant, can now view the order in the Merchant Services area and confirm payment at PayPal before shipping the item. The OrderID is used to track orders between the Merchant Services and PayPal.