Small Business Boot Camp has listed 10 tips for ecommerce success.
1. Taxes - Every state and country has a set of different expectations and standards when it comes to taxes which means you have to conduct some research and understand your target market. Vertex Inc. has a proven, accurate, and simple sales and use tax solution. Learn the basics, and let our automated sales and use tax solution do the rest.
2. Payment Gateways - Don’t feel limited by the fact that many payment gateways will have restrictions on specific products or services you may want to sell. All you need to know is that when you’re vetting payment gateways, be sure to ask if they have any limitations around the products or services you intend to sell in addition to whether or not they are hosted or non-hosted, have transaction fees, termination fees, anti-fraud features, monthly fees, and setup fees.
3. Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights - Be sure to check your product or service idea has not already been made official, as this can have major legal ramifications. Research and find your area’s copyright, patent and trademark organization.
4. Shipping - Do your research and figure out whether you can find a shipping provider that will take on your product. Typically there are shipping restrictions around items like aerosols, air bags, alcoholic beverages, ammunition, animals, cigarettes, dry ice, explosives, fresh fruits and vegetables, hazardous materials, nail polish, perfumes, perishable matter, and poison. If you’re thinking of selling something, always check to see if you can find a shipping provider that will do it for a fair cost but will also actually ship the item.
5. Inventory - If you will be holding substantial inventory, you will also want to check your lease, deed, or zoning codes to see if there are any prohibitions on running a business like the one you’re contemplating out of your home. Certain locations have restrictions.
6. Age Restrictions - As far as age verification for ecommerce store owners selling items that have age restrictions, it is highly suggested you look into your country’s specific codes.
7. Business Insurance - There are multiple types of insurance for small businesses, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration including general liability, product liability, professional liability, commercial liability, and home-based insurance. Depending upon your business as well as where you are located be sure to reach out to your local provider to find out which type would be wise for your specific business needs.
8. License and Permits - Not only do you want to figure out how you want to source your product or service, but depending on your product you may also need a license to sell it.
9. PCI Compliance - Small merchants tend to become prime targets, according to the PCI Security Standards Council, which is why ecommerce platforms take this aspect of running an online business so seriously. However, do make sure to educate yourself. Being PCI compliant means you will not only provide a secure, encrypted checkout experience, but you’ll also need avoid storing any purchasing information on paper or via recording (i.e. if someone were to give you their card number over the phone).
10. Kooky Things - These are random, individual platform requirements. For instance, the iTunes terms of service contains a “you are forbidden from using this software to make WMDs” clause. Be sure to read up on the terms of service agreements on all platform you choose to use.