E-Commerce sites in Trinidad & Tobago
With a booming online population, Trinis recognize the e-commerce opportunities online
WeWe get calls everyday from people wanting to know how to start an e-commerce site in Trinidad & Tobago. In fact, people find us when searching for e-commerce answers online as we’re on the first page of Google for the keyword “e-commerce in trinidad and tobago”. See Screenshot.
We’ve already written 4 articles on this (see sidebar links) but will also explain your options again here. Generally you have the following two options:
A Shopping Cart service This is a turnkey solution that takes all of the guesswork out of the equation. It’s a subscription based service (in US Dollars starting from around $25 US per month for 100 products) where the shopping cart service provides everything you need to have a fully functional online store. Choose a design for your store and configure your site from their admin panel at the back end. It’s a simple case of adding your product images and details by following their tutorials depending on your level of expertise. Some people savvy enough can figure it out on their own while others will prefer their web designer start them off and get them going. The advantages and features of such a service are:
- Relatively easy to use visual interface
- Domain name can be bought with the package and the subscription includes hosting.
- The sites are built for e-commerce and therefore optimized for search engines
- The site’s design and features are all focused on generating sales with special deals, featured items, related items, coupon integration, wishlists, newsletters etc.
- You usually pay on a monthly basis, $25 US is around $160 TT per month, not bad if you have 100 products or less
- You can use a shared security certificate to protect your customers’ information
- It’s pretty much plug and play
An E-Commerce website theme For this option you need a website designer. It’s basically setting up a website using a theme (template) that’s designed for e-commerce. There are many themes designed for different industries, like fashion, jewelry, real estate so it’s simply a matter of finding one that has the look and feel that suits you. The advantages and features of this option are:
- The theme (template) are a one time cost or your web designer may include it in his price, so no monthly subscription
- You have to buy your domain and hosting
- It’s also managed via an admin panel using a CMS- Content Management System like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or Magento
- It’s designed for e-commerce but may not have as many features as the shopping cart service site
- It mainly supports PayPal, Google Checkout. Other payment processors may not be built-in
Payment Processing with First Atlantic Commerce
As of March 2013 we now have a payment solution specifically marketed to Trinidad & Tobago. FORWARD MULTIMEDIA is now an official Strategic Partner with First Atlantic Commerce, the company that provides the payment gateway. They work with Scotiabank in T&T as the local contact to set up individual merchant accounts for online sellers. This partnership is a big deal as it solves the long standing headache in trying to make the other options work and FORWARD MULTIMEDIA is offering this as the only solution from here on.
Bear in mind that there are no payment processors in the country even though legislation was enacted to govern online financial transactions in 2011 when the Electronic Transaction Bill 2011 was passed in the Trinidad & Tobago Senate. Though the Bill was passed it has not yet been ‘proclaimed’ to complete the process.