E-commerce has hit the world like a speeding freight train. With over 1.6 billion on the internet today (1 in 4 people) and with over 240,000,000 million sites almost anyone on earth could conceivably use a computer and go into business.
With new web tools that are free and with eCommerce solutions that only charge when a sale is made, almost anyone can be an online merchant. With the entry bar set so low, anyone with an idea can and probably should, if they are interested, set up an eCommerce site.
Have a Web Site to Start
Assuming that most people have access to an online source, a web site or a hosting company can take care of the details in minutes. It can be done over the phone or with a keyboard. A person only needs a credit or debit card to reserve a site name, purchase the hosting, and set up an e-commerce account.
The Ease of E-Commerce
The hallmark of e-commerce is the fact that it is so easy to buy, notwithstanding potential security concerns. However, most e-commerce hosting companies will provide security. PayPal has not only made it relatively easy to set up, but all of the computer code is free. All one has to do is have something to sell, (obviously pictures must be provided), pricing, a bank account and, of course, a Paypal account. Paypal will provide the handling of almost all credit cards and payments via check. If the ultimate customer has an account with Paypal, then so much the better for the website merchant.
Accepting Credit Card or Debit Card Payments
Most credit card processing companies normally will process a transaction and depending upon the bank account, funds will be available to the operator of the web site. Paypal and possibly some of the credit card processing companies, also offer their own credit or debit cards. The advantage is that the funds are available instantly after a credit card transaction has been authorized and accepted.
Credit Card Security Concerns
As mentioned briefly above, the credit card information is certainly a cause for concern. While Paypal charges a little extra in its processing fees, they hold the credit or debit card information, absolving the web site merchant of risk. This is one extra worry that needn’t be carried by a web merchant.
Accounting for an Online Business
Depending upon what type of accounting records are kept and the type of business structure the web site owner has elected to use, it is always advisable to process them and store them electronically.
There are a host of excellent software packages: QuickBooks, Peachtree, etc. Most of the packages such as Peachtree, offer several different versions, scaled up to the size of the enterprise with varying degrees of capabilities. Some of the packages allow a user to download transactions from the web into the accounting database. This is an excellent feature.
However, if the transaction volume is relatively small (3-4 transactions per day), having that functionality, may not be required. PayPal and other processing systems can download them into an Excel format or other format, as well.
ECommerce is Mechanical
The basics of setting up an e-Commerce site and processing transactions are simple, straightforward forward and mechanical. Obviously, the big issue is making sure that customers can find the website. There are numerous articles and methods for marketing on the internet. One can pay another company to do it or work on it oneself. And always make sure that all manner of online media are explored: YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook