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Running a business

What Is a Callback URL and Why Does Your Small Business Need It?

If your small business generates revenue through online sales, or if you are interested in creating a dynamic website through which customers can buy your goods, you should definitely learn about (and probably implement) a callback URL sometimes referred to as a postback URL.

On a practical level, a callback URL directs your customer’s page to its proper destination. However, from a broader perspective, it helps drive value and trust between your online customer and your business.

Brief Overview of a Callback URL

Basically, a callback URL is the home destination after a script of executable code links two different functions or programs. Suppose you sell books, and your customer purchases a book from your online inventory. The customer opts to pay through a third-party payment processor an option you provide at the “checkout” screen which is a merchant designed to handle transactions, such as debit and credit cards.

Once they finish, the processor redirects the customer back to your website, which usually confirms the success of their order. The page they land on is the callback URL.

From the customers perspective, a properly functioning callback URL directs the web page to perform a dynamic action it triggered and sent them back to your website automatically. They can receive some peace of mind knowing the transaction was successful, and can continue browsing or shopping on your website.

How Sellers Set Up Callback URLs

Remember, the callback/postback URL only points your servers to where data should be sent it does not process payments. In other words, adding a callback URL is a complementary feature to an existing third-party processing platform.

Third-party processors allow partnered sellers to designate different operations after a buyer makes a purchase. Often, you can modify the look of processor’s page where the customer is sent to, pick a callback URL after payment is confirmed, and even pick which URL the processor redirects the buyer to if they cancel.

The title of your callback URL button may be personalized as you see fit. The same is true of the website design on the landing screen. It is probably a good idea to customize the landing page to encourage your customers to spend more time on your website or purchase more products.

For example, you may have seen some of these common messages on callback URLs from various online suppliers:

  • “Here are some related products you may enjoy”
  • “Thank you! Enter your email below to receive special offers related to…”
  • “All done! Please take a moment to rate your experience below:”
  • “Purchase complete. Make sure to follow us on (social media channel)”

You may also want to set up some version of instant payment notification, which automatically directs customer information back to your website about credit card authorizations (which have yet to be collected), eCheck status updates, chargebacks, disputes, refunds, and other associated events.

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