E as e-commerce

Just a few days ago we talked in an Instagram post (if you didn’t see it run immediately on our profile, here) about some statistics on online purchases. An online shop can bring higher earnings than a traditional store, overcoming some barriers such as location and especially the times because it can be reached at any time and from any place.

If you don’t know which way to start… Don’t worry, be #Happy! Here are a few tips and guidelines that answer the question: what should I do to sell online?

First of all it is good to start with a business plan to better define all the intentions, objectives and activities to be included in this project. So try to define what you want to sell (physical products, digital goods or services). A fundamental point is also to identify if your brand is recognizable or if you are looking at the business world for the first time. If you are not famous on the net, you will surely have to provide a certain budget for the promotion!

Time for the paperwork!

We summarize here all the bureaucratic aspects to be respected to open your e-commerce.
First you have to open a position at the Register of Companies via Single Communication. It’s a matter of initiating a practice with the competent authorities to inform about the beginning of the activity and communicate the data of the applicant and all the necessary elements to identify who, where, when and why!

In order to send the Single Communication you must have 3 prerequisites:

  • join the service Telemaco – Consultation and Sending Practices available free of charge on the website of the Register of Companies,
  • have a Digital Signature,
  • have a Certified E-mail address (PEC) for sending and receiving all official communications with the Entities.

E-commerce is regulated by Directive 2000/31/EC, which provides two options for starting up an online store; the first allows you to open an e-store without major bureaucratic procedures if and only if the revenue doesn’t exceed 5000 € per year and if the activity is carried out one-time. If you want to start a more continuous and substantial business, you will have to comply with other requirements, such as:

  • activation of the VAT number
  • INPS registration of employees or self-employed workers
  • opening of the insurance position at the INAIL
  • communication of the beginning of the activity

Focus on the market

Carry out a market research, identify your target audience, that is, understand who you want to address, define the style of communication and analyze the needs.
Try to bring short and long-term goals, they could be, for example, for the first month cash from online sales half of the physical store, up to double the gain.
Having specific objectives will be useful to develop an action plan that leads to their achievement and then move on to the next.
It’s also essential to understand who is running the same marathon as you. Investigate how the market moves around you, who direct and indirect competitors are, and what strategies they use to attract customers to themselves.

What platform are you?

Tell us who you are and we will tell you the perfect platform for you! It’s good to know that online stores are divided into two categories:

  • Direct e-commerce: sites where sales and delivery take place electronically. These are therefore online intangible goods stores (e.g. ebooks, music, digital games, etc.) where there is no traditional delivery channel.
  • Indirect e-commerce: sale of tangible goods electronically. In this case, the user finalizes the purchase from an online catalog and then receives the products through the traditional delivery channels.

There are many good alternatives to create your digital shop, different platforms on which to base your business. Most of these not only allow you to create your online store, but also customize the design, add your domain, manage inventory and orders, receive payments and more. On the market there are many valid solutions, here are the most famous and used with their characteristics:

It’s the most well-known and popular e-commerce software on the web, it’s one of the world leaders, it offers an all-inclusive and user-friendly solution with a variety of add-ons. Choose from more than 100 templates and even if you have no particular experience in web design, you will be able to create a beautiful online store! It’s usually used for startup or minor websites because a percentage of sales is required and therefore with the increase in purchases can turn into a rather high fixed cost. A small drawback is definitely that it doesn’t have an optimized management of extra languages. You can buy a Shopify subscription in one of four plans, starting with Shopify Lite for $9 a month, but keep in mind that many of the extensions are paid, so there may be additional monthly fees for certain additional features.

If your site was built in WordPress or you are familiar with the platform, you can use WooCommerce. This plug-in is open source, can be downloaded for free, includes the full range of e-commerce features and is one of the platforms that allows the best indexing. You can also rely on a very large community, so almost everything you need probably already exists or can be included with a plugin. If your catalog has many products available and therefore exceeds 10,000 units, better think of a custom solution or other platforms because the site may slow down or require optimizations. Compared to Shopify it’s more suitable for entrepreneurs who have some technical knowledge to exploit its open source nature. The free version can be enriched with over 330 extensions.

If you want to be able to customize every aspect of your online store, you could choose to use the open source version of Magento. With this platform you can customize your site, but it’s quite advanced software and it will be almost impossible to use it if you do not have previous web development experience or if you are a beginner. One of the main advantages of Magento is that it is a perfectly scalable system, so you can switch from 10 products to 100,000 without problems. It offers two options: the first is free and the second is paid. Due to its complexity it is necessary to use a dedicated server and this means a significant additional initial expense, as well as a monthly cost for technical support.

Finally, here is another open source platform: a complete and innovative solution, which in the last period is emerging in this market. Also in this case it is easy to use even for the less experienced, it also has a remarkable interface at a graphic level and is customizable in some aspects. There are numerous plugins and customizable themes that can be purchased separately, for which you require a minimum of extra skill for use. If you have a small startup business this can be the right trade-off between Magento and Shopify.


It’s not possible to make a precise estimate of the total costs for the opening of an ecommerce store, but it’s possible to understand instead what are the expenses to consider in order to have a more approximate idea. To be very close to the real cost and to know how much you can spend, you will need to consider the costs of the following activities:

  • hosting: includes the purchase of the domain, the hosting space and the online placing of dedicated email boxes, essential tools to start your online business;
  • electronic payment systems: they are generally free of charge, but services such as PayPal, Stripe, Klarna or Scalapay generally retain a percentage of the transaction, costs to be taken into account anyway;
    creation of the website: from design to sitemap, to have an effective website you need to study every part and create a personalized space, but at the same time effective and functional;
  • marketing and advertising: now that you have landed in the digital world you must make yourself known through advertising and marketing activities aimed at engaging the target audience;
  • content and visual identity: creation of logos, images, videos, texts and translations for the site, copy for social media posts and everything that will make your brand recognizable;
  • services for the management of cookies: to ensure that you are in compliance with current legislation in Europe (if you need support, look here our service on the GDPS, or alternatively, use Iubenda!)

The future has already arrived

The new trends coming in the future, such as the metaverse, will make the purchase a true all-round experience for the user who can interact and participate actively.
For example, thanks to augmented reality, you can virtually test products in digital e-commerce, through a 3D mapping.
Already there are websites where you can try a pair of glasses to see the real effect on the face, or place a piece of furniture in your own home to be sure of the size and style of the furniture.

We will be more and more immersed in the purchase, eliminating the gap between the online shopping experience and real contact with the product, possible in the past only with the visit to the store.