What is e-commerce? (How to Start?)

E-Commerce is just another word for selling products or services online.

From traditional brick and mortar businesses to internet start-ups, e-commerce can help you to break the geographical boundaries and reach more customers. That means e-commerce can simply help you to increase your sales.

Global e-commerce sales
Retail e-commerce will keep growing! (Forever?)

In this article, we will discuss what is e-commerce, how you can use e-commerce to go online with your business, and different options for you to start an e-commerce business.

Cool right! 🙂


So, what is e-commerce?

Yes, we know that it is about selling things online. But, what is the technical interpretation of e-commerce?

E-Commerce can be interpreted on many different levels.

With e-commerce, you can create a platform, where your customers can send online payments for your business, or even book and make online appointments with your services.

Or, if you want, with e-commerce, you can even provide your customers with a store-like-experience, allowing them to see and search your products – Think of an online store like Amazon.

Sometimes, you may need a solution to let your customers create accounts with your business, and send them personalized services, and charge for these services – Like a personal online tutor or something.

So, anywhere you accept online payments in exchange for products and services, you can use the term e-commerce.

Hmm… I think it is better to choose an example to explain the later sections.

Let us assume that you have a bakery. So far, your customers had to actually visit your bakery and pay to your cashier to buy or pre-order one of your delicious cheesecakes.

Now, after reading this “what is e-commerce” article, you are thinking of going online with your business. Great! 😉

Now you have several options to explore.

You can create product listings on a website so your customers can see your delicious baked goods on your website.

And, by adding an online payment feature to your website, you can let your customers pay online, and you can deliver their orders via a local food delivery services.

So, how can you do this exactly? First, let us explore different e-commerce tools and solutions.


e-commerce tools and solutions

To be honest with you, now a day, there are so many off-the-shelf tools, and solutions that have made starting an e-commerce business is like eating chicken nuggets. Everyone can do that. 🙂

Now you don’t need to hire a web developer to start a small-scale e-commerce website.

With basic computer and internet skills, you can even do that by yourself. But, of course, if you can afford, by all means, hire a web developer to build your e-commerce store. So, you can focus on your business. 😐

Please note that we are not affiliated to any of the brands we name below. These are only popular solutions at the time of writing this article and feel free to explore more options.

If you are just starting, and just wanted to dip your toes in e-commerce, you can try using popular e-commerce platforms like eBay and Amazon.

When using such e-commerce platforms, you can piggyback their site authority to reach a better audience for your products.

Also, their store templates are well-optimized, and the costs are comparatively lesser than starting your own e-commerce store.

But, on the other hand, if you like to build your own e-commerce website that can carry your brand message, there are many e-commerce solutions that let you create a fully functional e-commerce website.

If you like to have more freedom with your store design and if you are capable of going a bit technical, you can use WordPress + Woocommerce to build your online store.

Otherwise, you can use e-commerce solutions like Shopify or Magento to build your e-commerce website.

All these e-commerce solutions provide a well-optimized back-end for your e-commerce website.

These e-commerce solutions can help you to create product portfolios, product pages or blogs on your website. Also, they provide simple integration methods for popular online payment gateways like PayPal.

Find out how a blog can help you to boost sales in e-commerce


With such e-commerce solutions, you can let customers create personal accounts and let them add their billing and shipping details. Also, you can create coupons and reward your loyal customers.

Also, these e-commerce solutions provide easy to use order management systems. With such systems, you can track your orders, shipping and fulfilment details.

Whatever the e-commerce solution you use to build your online business, make sure to use the tools to measure your performance. Such audience data is essential to create a better digital marketing strategy.

This brings us to the second point of this article explaining to you what is e-commerce; the online payments.

How to handle online payments in e-commerce?

Accepting online payments is one of basic features of e-commerce. Adding an online checkout process for your e-commerce website to accept payments is easier than you think.

If you build your e-commerce business on platforms like eBay or Amazon, actually you don’t have to worry much about integrating different payment gateways. There, you might only need to link your PayPal or bank account with their services to receive payments.

But, if you choose to build your own e-commerce website using services like Shopify, Magento, or Woocommerce, then you have the freedom to add different payment gateways for your store.

Depending on the country of your residence, there can be different payments gateways available for you.

If possible, always try to use PayPal with your e-commerce store. Choosing a popular and trusted checkout process will always help you to build trust for your e-commerce store.

Depending on the payment gateway you chose, your customers may be directed for the onsite or offsite checkout process. For offsite checkout processes, the customer will be redirected to another payment website, to complete the transaction.

Once the transaction is completed you can bring your customer back to a thank you page or related product pages to boost your cross-selling opportunities.

Once you receive an online payment, you will receive a notification with all the relevant information, which is required for you to fulfil and complete the order.

Hmm… we don’t have to go long in this article. Here I just wanted to tell you “what is e-commerce” by giving a brief introduction.

If you are interested in starting your own online business, or start an online version of your current version, we have a great set of articles lined-up for you to have better guidance.

Why don’t you start with How to start an online business?

Let’s wrap up “what is e-commerce”

e-commerce means selling things online.

From any traditional product or service businesses to internet start-ups, e-commerce can help you to break the geographical boundaries and reach more customers.

In this article, we have discussed your possibilities of starting an e-commerce business, and we have discussed different tools and solutions, which can help your process.

If you like this article, please don’t forget to add a comment below, and like us on Facebook to learn more!

Cheers! 🙂