As a gun merchant, you can’t always rely on the world’s leading ecommerce platforms to sell firearms, ammunition and other products. There are other challenges when selling guns online. Many banks and credit card processing companies aren’t “gun-friendly.” That means you’ll need to look for a high-risk merchant account and payment processing solution that lets you accept payments from customers online. Thankfully, Zenti provides a wide range of services to help your business become a success. Using Zenti’s solutions with a gun store e-commerce website will let you sell your products and services on the internet and generate profits.
Learn more about gun-friendly e-commerce websites below. Also, discover how to overcome the challenges associated with selling firearms and accessories on the internet.
Why Do Gun Dealers Struggle To Find an E-commerce Platform?
Most retailers can rely on the following e-commerce platforms to sell products and services online:
- Square Online
- Salesforce Commerce Cloud
The problem is that many of these e-commerce companies don’t allow gun businesses like yours to sell firearms and ammunition on their platforms. That’s because gun control remains controversial in many parts of the world, including the United States. Other platforms might let you sell some gun-related products, but you will need to follow strict guidelines that can restrict your business operations.
Take Shopify, for example. It lets merchants like you offer customers some firearms and firearm accessories. However:
- You can’t sell high-capacity magazines, assault weapons and other products.
- If you provide these products to customers in your brick-and-mortar store, you will only be allowed to sell a portion of your inventory on this platform. That can impact sales and revenue.
- You must ship all products to a licensed manufacturer or dealer.
As you can see, selling guns on platforms like Shopify can be more trouble than it is worth.
It’s not just e-commerce websites that make life difficult for gun merchants. Even creating a website for your e-commerce store can be challenging when you sell firearms. WordPress, for example, prohibits users from promoting “firearms or other weaponry, including parts, accessories and ammunition.”
As previously mentioned, credit card processing can also be an uphill struggle for a store specializing in gun products. As a result, retailers almost always have to invest in a merchant account solution. Zenti is an expert at credit card processing for gun stores.
Why Can’t You Sell Guns on Major E-commerce Platforms?
E-commerce websites that forbid or restrict the sale of firearms and ammunition are something that gun retailers need to accept. Many companies don’t want you to sell your products on their platforms, even though firearms sales are legal in the U.S. because of the Second Amendment. They will often consider you “high-risk” because gun control is a controversial issue.
But why are gun sales considered “high risk” when they are perfectly legal?
Different states have different laws for selling guns. California, for example, requires merchants to only sell guns to customers with a legal permit called a Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC). Other states don’t have any restrictions, making selling guns online even more confusing.
America’s patchwork quilt of legislation means most e-commerce companies “play it safe” and avoid gun sales altogether, even if you have a Federal Firearms License (FFL). The whole gun ecommerce process might seem unfair, especially when you have the legal right to sell your products online and accept customer payments. However, most companies don’t want to take the risk and prohibit all gun sellers from using their services.
Because U.S. states restrict gun sales, criminals might purchase firearms online for people not allowed to own them. Sometimes, criminals use stolen credit cards to facilitate these sales. While these types of crimes are rare, e-commerce companies often consider gun merchants high risk. Even though you have done nothing wrong and don’t support these crimes, e-commerce companies don’t want to tarnish their reputation by working with businesses like yours.
Many e-commerce websites don’t have any way to verify the age of someone buying firearms and accessories via their platforms. Merchants can integrate age verification apps and add-ons to their store (depending on the e-commerce platform). However, many e-commerce companies would rather not jeopardize their reputation, so they implement a blanket ban on gun sales.
It’s important to note that it’s not just gun retailers that experience difficulties selling products in e-commerce stores. Merchants specializing in “high-risk” products like tobacco/vapes, pharmaceuticals, prepaid calling cards and drug paraphernalia will also struggle to find an e-commerce store platform.
How To Choose a Gun-Friendly E-commerce Platform
A good gun store e-commerce platform should come with the following features:
- The ability to choose a custom domain name
- Support for multiple payment gateways
- Integration with an order management system or customer relationship management (CRM) system
- Reliable cloud-based hosting solutions
- Supply chain support
- Integration with social media tools
- In-built customer engagement tools that let you communicate with people interested in your products and services
Another consideration when looking for gun-friendly e-commerce platforms is security. In June 2022, two gun dealers experienced major data breaches on their e-commerce websites, putting customer data at risk. Look for a pro-gun platform that takes security seriously with features such as data encryption, 3DS protocols and SSL certificates.
Gun-Friendly E-commerce Platforms
While major e-commerce platforms like Shopify might forbid or restrict sales of guns and accessories, several websites will let you grow your business online:
Sell Gun Online (SGO) is a gun store e-commerce platform that allows you to sell firearms over the Internet. It focuses exclusively on gun sales and offers various features that improve the online shopping experience for customers. For example, customers can quickly filter products by features such as gun speed and piston load, helping you generate more sales.
AmmoReady also specializes in gun sales and provides merchants with features like dropshipping, abandoned cart reminders and back-in-stock alerts. That helps you manage your inventory and connect with customers on the Internet. AmmoReady also has a pay-as-you-go billing model with no contracts.
The problem with these two gun-friendly e-commerce platforms is that they don’t let you choose your payment processing gateway to facilitate gun sales. As a gun merchant, you might be restricted by the types of payments these platforms offer and could end up paying more processing fees.
As of fall 2022, BigCommerce is one of the few major e-commerce platforms that allow gun sales, making it a good choice for businesses like yours. Features of BigCommerce include:
- The ability to choose your own credit card processing solution.
- Email marketing automation tools that let you communicate with customers.
- Thousands of add-ons and plug-ins that enhance the features and functionality of your online store.
- Product filtering features that help customers find the right gun products and accessories based on their pricing requirements.
- Uses Amazon Web Services to host your online gun store in the cloud.
Wix doesn’t explicitly mention that you can’t sell guns on its platform. However, it warns that your payment provider might restrict or forbid the sale of firearms and weapons, resulting in blocked funds or automatic refunds to customers. That’s why you should choose a pro-gun payment processor like Zenti when using an e-commerce platform like this one. Features of Wix include:
- E-commerce templates that let you customize the look of your online store
- Email marketing automation tools help you connect with customers
- Blogging features that improve your content marketing strategy
- Mobile website optimization, allowing customers to view your online store on smart devices
- The ability to personalize domains
Woocommerce is another e-commerce platform that allows gun sales. However, the website doesn’t have in-built functionality for this merchant service, so you will need to install a third-party add-on or plug-in. Features of Woocommerce include:
- Add bestsellers, new products, discounted products and other product types to your online store
- Customize branding on your online store
- Use templates to change the appearance of your store
- Allow customers to purchase firearms and accessories on their mobile devices
Alternatives to Firearms E-commerce Platforms
Other places on the internet let you sell gun products to the public, including auction websites. While most of these sites will take a commission out of any sales made, you could generate a steady source of income. Here are some auction websites for gun sales:
Gunbroker specializes in firearms sales and allows U.S.-based retailers to list guns and accessories with few restrictions as long as sellers follow all FFL rules. The website has more than 5 million registered users and handles transactions between buyers and sellers.
Guns.com is another auction site that lets customers bid on your firearms products. The website also follows FFL protocols and improves the shopping experience for customers with product search filters and featured listings.
Guns International brings gun buyers and sellers together with its online marketplace. You can sell pistols, rifles, handguns, revolvers, ammo and other products over the internet.
The good thing about these websites is that they take care of payment processing for you. That means you won’t have to find a pro-gun service that handles customer payments. However, you might need a merchant account when selling your inventory on these sites because traditional bank account providers usually prohibit gun sales. Zenti can provide you with a merchant account based on your firearms business requirements.
Integrate a Payment Processing Solution with Your Gun-Friendly E-commerce Platform
Once you have chosen a gun store e-commerce platform, you need to think about how you will process customer payments. Merchants selling non-“high-risk” products can choose from processing companies like PayPal, Square or Stripe to facilitate payments. As a gun retailer, you won’t be able to use these services. (Websites like PayPal used to offer processing solutions for gun stores but canceled their accounts after pressure from activists.)
That leaves gun retailers like you in a difficult predicament. You have found an e-commerce website that lets you sell your products. However, you can’t accept payments from customers using the services that most online merchants take for granted.
This is where a gun-friendly payment processing company can save the day. These companies provide all the services you need to accept payments and grow your business.
Features of a Good Gun-Friendly Payment Processing Platform
Some of the features to look for in a gun-friendly payment processor include:
- Fast payment processing for the firearms industry
- Standardized fees and low credit card processing fees
- Support for point-of-sale transactions
- Guest checkouts that allow customers to purchase your products without signing up for an account
- Mobile payment features that let you sell products in your brick-and-mortar store or at a gun show
Zenti provides all of the above features for gun retailers and more. Its gun-friendly payment processor charges fair market rates and automates many tasks associated with collecting payments from customers over the Internet.
Choosing a High-Risk Merchant Account
After you have chosen a gun-friendly e-commerce website and payment processing solution, you will almost be able to sell gun products online. However, there is one final hurdle that retailers like you face. You will need a high-risk merchant account to accept payments from customers. That’s because most bank account providers won’t work with payment processors that facilitate sales in specific industries like yours.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing one of these accounts:
- Low setup fees
- Customer support
- Data security
- Payment processing times
- Contract lengths
Zenti can provide your business with a merchant account, allowing you to accept payments online, reduce chargebacks and fight fraud.
Finding an e-commerce platform that lets you sell firearms and accessories online can be challenging. Many of the world’s most-used websites won’t allow you to sell your products over the Internet or will restrict the types of services you offer. Once you have found a gun-friendly e-commerce platform, you need a pro-gun credit card processing solution and merchant account to grow your business.
Zenti specializes in gun-friendly e-commerce with a range of services for companies specializing in firearms and accessories. Contact Zenti to get the payment processing services you deserve.