Simply from the point of view of mechanics, an eCommerce store is nothing more than a glorified cash register and order taker.  Visitors log onto your site, find the product they want, pay you, and leave. After 6 – 8 weeks, they receive their product in the mail and, with any luck at all, they don’t return it.  

This section discusses only a few things you, the store owner, need to take into account when building an eCommerce store.  Here are some steps to help you understand your web designer in a language you both understand.

Ecommerce Platforms

Today, you can purchase a number of off-the-shelf E-Commerce solutions.  It is usually possible to customize them to match your brand as closely as you like once you buy them. Adding extra functions, like dynamic shipping calculation, to free options like WooCommerce is only costly if you want to use it.   With options like Shopify, you can gain access to tiers of services for a fixed monthly fee.

How to get your products into stores with data entry

Your store has been set up, but there are no products on the shelves.  We need some products there, so let’s roll up our sleeves. As a natural reaction, you might approach your suppliers to request that they provide the available products as a neat database file.  A web designer could then take care of this. You are very optimistic, and I admire you for it.

Companies are often unwilling to give you information about their products electronically.  The same applies to photo albums. Data will probably need to be copied and pasted painstakingly from your supplier’s site.   

Data Scraping

We have arranged to have supplier website information scraped for our clients.  In this case, a robot script is designed to crawl the site and recursively store product data and images in a database.  For sites with thousands of SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit Codes), this saves countless hours of labor. Your prices may need to be modified before your site goes live if your pricing differs from the supplier’s “suggested retail price”.  After importing the products, you will also want to spend some time ensuring the data integrity is intact. Ensure that the data you scrape is complete with product weights and dimensions to be able to determine shipping costs dynamically if you contract scraping work.

Digital Products

Using a commercial solution, you can also sell digital courses and website memberships online.   

Types of Shipping

Shipping is calculated in a variety of different ways on E-Commerce sites.  As you are planning your site, you will need to consider which option is going to give you the best balance of profitability and simplicity.  Here are some of the most common shipping calculation options:

(a)  Flat Rate Shipping

To cover shipping costs, each order is charged a set amount.

(b)  Based on the number of items purchased

The shipping cost is calculated by multiplying the number of items in your cart by a fixed amount. You can do this if all your items are about the same weight and size, for example, DVDs.

(c)  Based on a total of weight and or dimensions

In order to integrate an e-commerce site with a shipper’s website, that shipper must have a website of their own.  Furthermore, you will need to enter all the dimensions and weights of the products in your store into your e-commerce database.   When you check out, the store will calculate the shipping costs from the shipper you’ve selected by automatically calculating the weight and dimensions of your order.

(d)  Local Pick Up

Customers who live in the area can use most store platforms with local pick-up.  


You may need to set up custom tax rules in your E-Commerce store so that the appropriate taxes will be imposed based on where your customers are ordering from and where the goods will be shipped from. If the item crosses the border, duty may not be applied, so shipping out of the country may not require taxes.  Check with your accountant about interprovincial and international tax rules once you decide where you will ship goods.

Payment Gateways

Payday has arrived!  In the world, Paypal is the most popular payment gateway.  Paypal accounts are easy to open. PayPal logins are usually automatically incorporated into your store’s configuration when the store’s email address is included. Discover the different gateways that you can use.  Since your bank already does business with you, you may find that they will give you the best discount rate (percentage taken on a transaction). PayPal, Stripe,, Beanstream (TD Canada Trust), and Moneris (Bank of Montreal) are among the most popular payment gateways available in the market today.

You shouldn’t worry about handling credit card numbers on your website when you use a payment gateway.  With bank-level security, transaction information is sent to the gateway provider.


Customer dissatisfaction sometimes leads to customers contacting their credit card companies and arranging for the transaction to be canceled.   Chargeback protection is not provided simply by the fact that a bank has authorized the payment.