How to Start an eCommerce Site

Are you thinking about taking your business online? Maybe you already have a physical store, and you’d like to expand your customer base. Or maybe you resell items, or mainly deal with digital items, making a physical store redundant. With eCommerce, you can:

  • Offer faster delivery.
  • Access customers in distant locations.
  • Save time and money.
  • Increase your sales base.
  • Enhance the shopping process for customers.

Put security first

The first thing you need for eCommerce is an online platform. It could be a website or a mobile app. These are fairly simple to build. You can get a working website by hiring a developer to build it from scratch, or you can use free templates from sites like Wix and WordPress. You can also build your own site using Squarespace and similar services.

These web services often include mobile compatibility, since most sites are now accessed on tablets and phones. Mobile apps are a little more challenging, but professional app developers are available to fit every budget. One thing that may not come standard with your web presence is online security, so follow this up separately.

Talk to your web team about safety features like encryption and SSL certification. If you have any other needs, be sure to mention them. If this is your first foray into eCommerce, tell your web provider so that they can begin with the basics, like securing the right domain. It may seem obvious, but it can easily get overlooked by seasoned veterans.

Secure a payment portal

The second thing you need is a way to get paid. For online transactions, cash isn’t an option. After all, you can’t feed notes and coins into a computer. The main option for eCommerce payment is the credit card or debit card. You can also accept checks. To facilitate these payments, you need a payment processor. This is a third party service that processes cards or eChecks.

As an eCommerce merchant, you would open a merchant account with a payment processor. Your account will link your bank to your customers’ banks, facilitating customer payments and delivering them to your account. There are hundreds of processors available.

When you’re shopping for a merchant account, check their security measures. They should be PCI QR compliant, and have high levels of encryption. Some processors will offer SSL certification for your website, in case you don’t have it. Look at their past and current customers. Finally and most importantly, check their pricing.

Now it’s time to populate your online store. When you’re putting your site together, tell your web designers what you plan to sell. This will help them pick the right theme for product display. Your site should be attractive, quick loading, and easy to navigate. These translate into more sales and a better customer experience.

For more information on what you need to start an eCommerce site, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to

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