What is E-commerce? How to Start Selling Online

Shopping has changed. Where once it meant physically visiting a store, queuing up and buying a product, now it can all be done anytime, anywhere on mobile, tablet or PC. If you have a shop and are looking to get as many customers as possible, you need to start thinking outside of the shop floor. The future of shopping is about far more than having customers physically stepping through your front door, it’s about that door being open 24/7.

That’s where e-commerce comes in.

e-commerce integrations

So what actually is E-commerce?

Ever shopped online? That’s e-commerce. Any sort of sale made via the internet, whether buying from a small seller hosted on Etsy or paying for the latest album on iTunes, counts as electronic commerce. Online stores are open 24/7, seven days a week and let customers buy whenever they want. If you haven’t opened an online store for your brand then you are missing out on every potential sale an e-commerce channel could make in the hours when your physical location is closed. The best e-commerce sites are those that make shopping with you easier for your customers, and more profitable for you.

E-commerce in the UK

If you’re not yet cashing in on the e-commerce way then you’re in danger of falling behind when it comes to the shopping trends of the nation. Britain’s online spending habit reached a whopping £133 billion in 2016 with mobile becoming the device of choice for shopping online.

But the choice isn’t simply ‘online or offline?’ – with the rise of online shopping, brands have found new ways to combine the two and make the most of all their shopping channels. We call this omnichannel, that is, having a physical location and an online presence that let you extend your customer reach pretty much without limit – an online shop lets any one of 36 million daily internet-surfing Brits find your brand, and a physical location still gives you an all-important presence on the high street. With these two powerful assets in hand, you’ll be able to offer key omnichannel services such as ‘click and collect’ and deliver a seamless shopping experience.

What is the Best E-commerce Software?

This may all sound overwhelming, especially if you have no experience of managing a website, let alone an online store, but Square is making it easy for small businesses to join in on the e-commerce revolution.

Our partners all offer you the opportunity to start an online shop for your brand, so no matter what your level of digital skills, we have the best match for you:

For beginners
  • Weebly’s beautiful themes can be easily customised to your brand and make it a great choice for opening your first online store. Square integrates seamlessly so your store will be tied to your Square POS, saving you time and making you money.

  • BigCommerce integrates flawlessly with your Square POS  and lets you open an online store in no time at all using pre-made templates in a range of styles to best suit your brand. Build your site, make product listings that shine and watch the online orders roll in.

  • Wix and Square integrate together for one of the best-hosted e-commerce solutions available that is both easy for customers to use and for you to manage. Wix boasts a huge library of stunning website and e-commerce templates that will give you a professional-looking online shop ready for business in no time at all.

  • Ecwid lets you get online in no time, create an online store with a few clicks, connect to Square and your POS will synchronize automatically, all you have to do is be ready for the influx of orders.

For Intermediates
  • WooCommerce is an open source plugin that can turn your WordPress site into an online store in no time. Working seamlessly with Square, your orders and inventory are synchronised automatically.

  • Magento is a leading e-commerce platform which lets you make the most of your customer experiences both online and offline, so you can fully benefit from being omnichannel.

For Developers
  • Square Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) If developing sites for users is nothing new to you, then Square still has the perfect solution for your e-commerce needs. Squares E-commerce API and Square Checkout let developers accept Square payments from their own websites, while still enjoying the same convenience (fast deposits, reporting) and security (PCI compliance) as the above integrations.

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