Tag Archives: steps to start an online business

Starting Your Web Store – How to Receive Payments Online

A very important step when starting your web store is to ensure that you can receive payments online. You’ve created your web store because the online retail channel means that your customers can buy 24/7 from anywhere. However, your web store is not the only one online. So, if you customers have problems to pay for your products, they will leave your site and try elsewhere.

Let’s have a look how you can receive payments online.

How to receive payments online

The way we buy and pay for our products has evolved with the internet. As a result, there a number of ways your customers can choose to pay for your product online.

  1. Credit cards

For online shoppers, the preferred method of payment is still a credit card. Accordingly 42% of people are making online payments using credit cards. Also are Visa and MasterCard the two most popular card scheme brands. The use of credit cards for online payments is popular because of the following:

  • Credit cards have already been in use for decades in offline trading.
  • Credit cards are available and accepted worldwide.
  • To pay with a credit card is simple – it involves entering the credit card number along with the name of the card owner into a form.
  • Credit cards are generally convenient for the buyer.

There are however some disadvantages when receiving payments online via credit cards:

  • Credit cards do not possess a good security mechanism. If an attacker steals a credit card number, it is sufficient to buy products online.
  • Credit cards are not anonymous. When a product is purchased, the owner of the credit card and its number become known to both the seller and the banks involved in the transaction.
  • It is expensive for web store owners to receive online payments via a credit card. Credit card institutions and banks require the seller to pay relatively high basic charges as well as a percentage of sales to them.
  • Credit cards are not suitable for payments between private individuals.
  1. PayPal

PayPal is a credit card-oriented payment system. In contrast with credit cards, makes PayPal payments between two private individuals possible. In order to be able to use PayPal, it is necessary to register with it. The receiver of a transaction pays PayPal a fee which depends on the turnover. This is deducted directly from the amount received. However, web store owners need to monitor their PayPal accounts closely.

“While making payments via PayPal is fairly simple, receiving payments is where things get a bit more complex. This has to do with South Africa’s exchange control regulations, which state that you cannot hold money paid to you in foreign currency for more than 30 days. You also cannot use foreign currency that is sitting in your PayPal account to pay to another PayPal user” according to Maya Fisher-French of “Maya on Money”.

  1. Electronic funds transfer (EFT)

EFT is the electronic transfer of money from one bank account to another. It is also one of the oldest electronic payment systems. EFT is considered to be a safe, reliable, and convenient way to conduct business. The advantages of EFT include the following:

  • Reduced administrative costs
  • Increased efficiency
  • Simplified bookkeeping
  • Enhanced security

One concern with the use of the EFT payment system is that criminals may fax or email you a fraudulent proof of payment certificate. So, when you complete that transaction, you may discover that the funds are not showing in your bank account. The best way to prevent this fraud is to wait for the funds to show in your bank account before delivering the goods.


Although there are many innovative digital payment methods and systems known, credit cards, PayPal and EFT are the most important one to have when you start doing business with your web shop. Remember that there are costs and risks involved to receive online payments. However, without it – well…?

Read also: 7 Steps to Start an Online Business


Meier, A. and Stormer. H. 2009. eBusiness & eCommerce: Managing the Digital Value Chain, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.




7 Steps to Start an Online Business

Having your own online business is a dream that many of the readers of this blog may have. There are however important steps to start an online business that needed to be followed.

Starting an online business, although it operates in a different channel, is not that different from starting a Brick and Mortar business. In both cases you need no do certain things in order to get your business up and running.

The 7 steps to start an online business

Starting a business may be for most people a chaotic and emotional episode. However, if you have a guide to do the right at the right time, the process may be smoother that you think. So, here are the steps:

Step 1: Planning

A Business Plan is a detailed action plan or road map outlining every conceivable aspect of the proposed venture. The plan describes what, how, when, where and why with regard to the new venture. It is thus a structured guideline for achieving your business goals.

Therefore, if you want to start an online shop, you should at least ask the following questions:

  • What kind of products do I want to sell?
  • Are there any competitors that will be selling the same products as me?
  • What should my website look like?

Read more: Planning Your Online Business 

By this time you should already have an idea what your business is about. Also about a name for your business…

Step 2: Register a domain name and choose a hosting company

If you already have the name of your shop, it is time to start setting it up. The first thing to do is to register for a domain name. However, good luck! According to Tek Eye (2017), there were 330 million domains registered for over 1.8 billion websites last year… So I think all the obvious domain names is already taken.

In spite of all the best domain names already been taken, you should try to get a name that can best represent your products or services. Registering a domain name should not cost you more than $10 (R120) for a .com extension. Visit SA Domains to see if a domain name is available.

After getting the domain name, you need to find a good hosting company. Look for a hosting company that has good servers and that will be able to run your online store e.g. Texo Webhosting.

Read more: Choose a Domain Name and Hosting Company for your Online Business 

Step 3: Choose your E-commerce package

You can build your online store through hosted solutions or self-hosted solutions

Hosted solutions:

Many hosted solutions provide a good experience to users with you doing very little on your end. However, when you use a hosted solution, you should be prepared to lose a lot of opportunity for customization.

The following three are among the top solutions:

It’s easy for anyone to set up an e-commerce site with Shopify. Some of the features you will enjoy by setting up a store with them include a custom mobile template, unlimited server bandwidth, SSL security, and a personal app store. You can try it for free for 14 days or choose a package that will suit you. Pricing starts from $14 to $179 (R180 – R2300) per month depending on the features and functionalities you are looking for.

Yahoo! Merchant Solution. The layout of Y!MS is fairly straightforward and can be easily customized. Y!MS ecommerce plans start from $19.98 to $224.96 (R260 – R2925) per month depending on the package and features you need.

BigCommerce is similar to Shopify but has limited features. The website has a clean interface, making it easy for users to sign up. You can easily add users, products, features and take payments online in just a few minutes. BigCommerce pricing ranges from R325 to R3900 a month depending on the features your need.

Self-Hosted Solutions:

If you do not want a hosted solution, you can make your own e-commerce scripts or use other open source or commercial shopping cart scripts.

Zen Cart is a popular open source script that will work in most web hosts. The script is free to download. The only downside of using the script is that your website will feature a “Powered by Zen Cart” message at the bottom.

Magento is another good script you can use for your e-commerce website. The script is written in PHP and is frequently updated. As is the case with Zen Cart, you will feel more comfortable using Magento if you are well-versed with HTML and CSS.

If you are comfortable using WordPress, you can easily set up an ecommerce store using various free and paid plugins. Examples of popular plugins that will enable your WordPress site and have ecommerce capabilities include WooCommerce, WP e-Commerce, Cart66, and others.

Read more: Choosing an eCommerce Platform for your Web Store

Step 4: Taking Payments Online

Credit cards provide customers with an easy way to make payments at your store. Apart from credit cards, customers may also wish to pay through other methods such as PayPal. You will want to accept payments through the methods that your customers trust and use. To accept credit cards online, you will need a merchant account.

Read more: Starting Your Web Store – How to Receive Payments Online

Step 5: Add Content and Products

After you have set up your domain name, hosting and shopping script, you are ready to start selling online. You now need to add your content and products. From this point onwards, you will also need to do some maintenance and tune your website design to match the needs of your customers.

Indeed, “The quality and relevance of the content of a retailers’ webpages can mean the difference between a sale and a bounce” writes Douw G Steyn recently in Bricks2Clicks.

The next important step is to get the product that your customer has paid for, to its destination.

Step 6: Shipping and Fulfillment

Like a physical retail store, you need to maximize the visitors at your store. However, you cannot simply hand over products over the counter. Also, shoppers expect a seamless shopping experience — no matter where they are, what device they are using, or how they choose to shop. Order Fulfillment – taking the right product, putting it in the right box, shipping it, and gaining the customer’s approval – is a demanding task (Bricks2Clicks).

Step 7: Marketing your online shop

One of the biggest challenges you may face as an e-commerce store owner is generating traffic that converts on your store. There are a number of digital marketing channels that retailers can use in the online channel:

  1. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) consists of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Paid Advertising (e.g. PPC – Pay Per Click advertising).
  2. Content Marketing includes Blogging, e-Mail marketing, e-Books and video marketing.
  3. Social Media Marketing is marketing on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

So these are the seven steps to start an online business…


Just as with Brick and Mortar shops, there’s no easy way to just star and make money. If you follow these steps to start an online business, you may soon identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats that exist in the marketplace.

Good luck with you new venture!