The marketplace forces and influences directing the emerging E-Commerce models are volatile and complex.

Merchants who decide to e-commerce enable their web sites often have an existing web site and relationship with an existing web hosting provider and wish to maintain this relationship. An important aspect in any proposed model is that is must be sufficiently flexible and expandable to allow a variety of hosting environments to connect to a payment acquirer. Important variables in this regard include the architecture, operating system, or development language or the merchant’s host system environment.

Merchants implementing an e-commerce system may not want to manage the entire order-completion process, preferring not to SSL enable their own web site. For these reasons, any e-commerce model must enforce the encryption of sensitive cardholder and order fulfillment information whether that transmission occurs between the cardholder and the merchant, or the cardholder and the acquirer.

Security is always a concern of Internet applications. The transmission of sensitive cardholder information is even more of a security risk. At the same time, the marketplace will drive merchants to the acquirer who provides the most convenient system and the fastest and most economical time to market. These two goals--security and convenience—stand in paradox. The successful model will be one that puts the priority on security while providing a reasonable level of convenience for merchants and consumers.

Merchants are sensitive to costs. An effective e-commerce model will provide a lower cost to merchants. These costs include the development costs and licensing and setup fees to payment enable their site as well as the ongoing costs of maintaining their site and any per-month or per-transaction fees. For these reasons, off-the-shelf e-commerce software, which often involves large initial software costs and ongoing licensing fees, are difficult to justify.