Small Business Ecommerce Websites

small business ecommerce websites


 This article is part of the WWW 101 Series which provides an introduction to small business websites.


How to sell products or accept payments on your small business website

There are many different ways that you can sell products or accept payment for services online. This article provides an overview of the typical items you will need to create your own small business ecommerce website.

Get Started: what you need to accept payments on your website


If you have a website, you may be able to add ecommerce functionality depending on your platform. If you don’t yet have a website, you can select a platform that allows you to create a website, ecommerce, and even a blog at the same time (I recommend WordPress).

Shopping Cart

The shopping cart provides a way for people to put products in a cart and then pay online.

Merchant Account

A merchant account allows you to accept credit cards in person, by phone, and on your website. Some also allow you to accept checks online.

Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is the technology that allows your website’s shopping cart to talk to your merchant account to process the payment. Some merchant account providers have their own payment gateway; others don’t, so it is necessary to get a separate payment gateway.

SSL Certificate

A SSL certificate encrypts customer data to protect it against cyber theft. Depending on the payment gateway you use, you may need a SSL certificate.

Set up: information you will need to set up your online store

Product Information

When you set up the products on your website, you will typically need to enter the following information: sku, product name, description, price, and at least one photo.

Sales Tax

Do some research to determine if your products and services are taxable. If so, find out the tax rate for your area.


If you sell shippable products, select a shipping provider like US Post Office, Fed Ex, UPS, etc. Then determine how you will charge for shipping, e.g., flat rate, by weight, etc.

Order Confirmation Email Content

Your website can automatically send an order confirmation email to customers. You should be able to customize the content of this email.

Legal Stuff

Depending on your state, you may be required to have certain privacy practices in place. Even if none are required, it is a good idea to have a privacy policy page and terms and conditions page.

Customer Service

Plan to have at least one page for customers to find information related to the order process, get help, and contact you. You could call the page ‘Help’ or ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ or ‘Contact.’

Are you ready to build your small business ecommerce website?

As you see, there are a lot of tasks involved with setting up a small business ecommerce website. Hopefully this article provided a helpful starting point. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.


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