Marketing Guides

An Introduction to Ecommerce

The world of ecommerce is an exciting one, and it’s constantly changing and evolving to meet the needs of consumers. While this is great for customers shopping online, it can present a challenge for business owners who don’t often have the time or resources to keep up with the latest payment options or check their sites for platform or software updates.

If you want to start an ecommerce website, there are a few important things you should be aware of before you open your store.

1. You will need to follow the same guidelines and meet the same requirements as a physical (brick and mortar) business when operating online. This includes:

  • Registering your company
  • Trademarking any intellectual property, i.e. your business name
  • Filing for a resale certificate and collecting sales tax (where applicable)
  • Reporting and paying taxes on your income

2. You will need to acquire both a payment gateway (software that allows you to accept payments on your website) and a merchant account (bank account that allows online payments to be deposited) to operate an ecommerce store. Both of these accounts must be secured and operational before your store opens.

3. Ecommerce websites are required by law to provide a privacy policy. This policy details how a website uses any personal data provided by customers, including names, addresses, contact information, and so on. You must write and prominently link to a privacy policy on your store.

4. Ecommerce websites must also collect and store financial information in a way that is PCI DSS compliant. This PDF provides information on meeting the six milestones of PCI compliance.

Much like a physical business, an ecommerce website must be responsible in its actions, and in the way it handles customer data. Just as a store might arm a security system and lock its doors at night, an ecommerce website must have the proper security measures in place to prevent data theft, fraudulent transactions, and so on.

Shopping Cart Image on a Keyboard
photo by infocux Technologies

If you are new to ecommerce, you may want to spend some time on the PCI Security Standards Council website. This will help you learn about PCI compliance, website security, and additional topics that you should be aware of before setting up an online store. Although these topics may seem complicated, having a full knowledge of them can prevent future issues.

Now that we have all these important details out of the way—and you’ve hopefully made plans to register your new business!—let’s learn about the strategy that you should create for your ecommerce store before selling even a single product online.

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