How Does eCommerce Work? No Worries. Even You Can Start an eCommerce Business.

Are you thinking about starting an eCommerce business? How does eCommerce work anyway? Let's go over the basics and get you going in the right direction.

So you’re thinking about doing business online. Maybe it’s time to sell those scarves you’ve been knitting during COVID. What’s involved in an eCommerce business? What is eCommerce and how does it work? 

Breathe, we got you. As Scott Christopher says(1), “eCommerce is making a sale online from your own domain.” Sounds simple, right? With all of the right pieces in place for your eCommerce business, you’ll be glad you came here. You got this.

How Do You Sell Online?

To sell online, you’ll need an eCommerce setup. Many experts have said that we need to drop the “e” from eCommerce since online commerce is still commerce, but we digress.

Essentially, to sell online, you need a website with a shopping cart, products, and a way to pay. Now, there are quite a few best practices, including image optimization or marketing automation but let’s stay with the basics — for this article. 

So, eCommerce works by allowing a company or person to sell items from their website over the internet to an end-user who pays online. And it’s easier than you might think. The e in eCommerce actually stands for “easy.”

Ecommerce Requires a Website

Now, you could sell online through an online marketplace, but for the sake of this article, let’s stick with a website you own. We are big advocates of WordPress and since it’s used by about 34% of websites online (2). And it’s growing with almost 500 WordPress websites being built every day (3). 

Ecommerce Requires a Product

It may seem obvious that you need a product to have an eCommerce store, but many people Google “making money online” and then fall down the rabbit hole of what could be sold. You need to focus on one thing — as they say, “the riches are in the niches.”

Will your product be digital as in a PDF download? Then maybe the best solution is Easy Digital Downloads. It’s perfect for your eBooks and digital products. If you need to sell and ship, then you need a powerful eCommerce solution. When it comes to a physical product, you’ll need shipping options, a robust tax calculation, and more! This is why we recommend WooCommerce.

With that said, an eCommerce business needs a product or product line. It should be a focused effort; not a garage sale. What’s your gift or hobby? If it’s silversmithing, then make jewelry and sell that online. If your gift is graphic design, maybe you want to sell merch for a band. The most important part of starting an eCommerce business is to start. Every business started somewhere — remember that.

Ecommerce Requires a Shopping Cart

In eCommerce, a shopping cart allows your customer to add one or many items, continue to shop, and return to the cart for the checkout experience.

A shopping cart seems to be an obvious feature for your eCommerce business. And yet, many website builders do not allow for this experience. This is why it’s important to choose a reputable eCommerce solution instead of trying to make your website work. 

When it comes to online transactions, trust is imperative. So, stick with what works for savvy shoppers.  

The checkout experience should be as straightforward as possible so that the transaction is completed. Reduce the number of fields the customer has to enter during this process. During checkout, you’ll need shipping and billing information as well as payment info. Whoosh! It’s a lot. As if that wasn’t enough, it needs to work on mobile, too! 

“According to stats from the SaleCycle 2021 Ecommerce Stats & Trends Report, smartphone traffic worldwide in 2020 is 68% for mobile and 32% for desktop… Mobile sales is at 56% which is over half of all sales, however the mobile conversion rate growth isn’t as significant traffic growth.” SaleCycle (4)  

eCommerce Requires a Payment Gateway

So, you have a website, a product, a shopping cart, and now your eCommerce business needs a way for people to pay. This is called a payment gateway. Now, PayPal and Stripe are two of the most popular payment gateways, and — just your luck — we integrate with both. 

A payment gateway is a PCI-compliant (5) way for a customer to submit their credit card information, be charged for the product, and send the shop owner payment. PCI compliance is complicated but comes down to this: you are required to protect personal information. Why not allow payment gateways to do it for you? Do not collect credit card numbers over the phone. It’s no bueno.

How Does eCommerce Work Well?

If you want to know how eCommerce works well, then we need to talk about business plans, acquiring customers, shopping cart abandonment (6), image optimization (7), product bundling, conversion rate optimization (8), and gosh, the list goes on. 

Let’s stick with the basics of an eCommerce business. Create your eCommerce business with WordPress, WooCommerce, and a Perfect Checkout experience. Offer rock-solid functionality using the most proven selling tools. It just works — perfectly.

Article Footnotes


Get Started with Perfect for Free

Upgrade your store’s checkout experience with our cutting edge UX/UI in about two minutes to instantly increase your conversion rate. Discover a whole suite of additional benefits without touching a single line of code.

*Free Beta may end at any time.