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E-commerce, commonly known as e-commerce or eCommerce, is a type of industry where the buying and selling of products or services is conducted over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. Electronic commerce is generally considered to be the sales aspect of e-business.

Payment service

To collect payment for your goods/services you could ask people to send you a check or money order. But that is not what most people look for in consumer transactions. They want to pay by credit card, either directly or through a service like PayPal.

Privacy policy

A privacy policy is a statement or a legal document (privacy law) that discloses some or all of the ways a party gathers, uses, discloses and manages a customer or client's data. Personal information can be anything that can be used to identify an individual, not limited to but including; name, address, date of birth, marital status, contact information, ID issue and expiry date, financial records, credit information, medical history, where you travel, and intentions to acquire goods and services. In the case of a business it is often a statement that declares a party's policy on how it collects, stores, and releases personal information it collects. It informs the client what specific information is collected, and whether it is kept confidential, shared with partners, or sold to other firms or enterprises.


The United States Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) affects websites that knowingly collect information about or target at children under the age of 13. Any such websites must post a privacy policy and adhere to enumerated information-sharing restrictions. Unless you wish to sell to children, it is a good idea to state in your policies that those under 13 are prohibited from submitting information and/or purchasing goods from your site.

Sales tax

Sales taxes in the United States are taxes placed on the sale or lease of goods and services in the United States. While no national general sales tax exists, the federal government levies several national selective sales taxes on the sale or lease of particular goods and services. Furthermore, forty-five states, the District of Columbia, and Guam impose general sales taxes that apply to the sale or lease of most goods and some services, and states also may levy selective sales taxes on the sale or lease of particular goods or services. States may also delegate to local governments the authority to impose additional general or selective sales taxes.


Calculating shipping costs may be important. In addition, determining whether or not you have to charge tax on shipping; or shipping and handling, is necessary.

SSL certificate

An SSL certificate enables encryption between the client (customer) and your server. The address bar changes from http:// to https:// indicating the connection is secure. Any connection involving e-commerce should be done with a secure connection.

An SSL certificate should be considered mandatory for e-commerce.

Storefront / Shopping cart

Whether you call it a storefront or just a shopping cart, you need some way to display your goods/services and permit people to order them. Then they need to go through the checkout process.

Stand alone

Open source


If you are using WordPress, you might want to use a WordPress plugin for your storefront. This would tightly integrate your WordPress with your store. There are a number of WordPress storefront plugins. Here are some of them (not reviewed):