Using e-commerce

Buying and selling online is known as e-commerce (electronic commerce), online trading or online shopping. Sometimes e-commerce can also involve a good or service being traded for another good or service. As a business, you could offer e-commerce on websites, social media and mobile apps (often known as 'in-app' purchasing).

Benefits of e-commerce

Having an online presence can provide a range of new opportunities and benefits for your business.

E-commerce can:

  • allow your business to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • allow your customers to be able access your products or services anywhere, anytime
  • help you market your products and services
  • increase customer engagement.

It’s important that businesses do their research before creating an online presence to ensure they choose an option that is useful and targeted to their business product.

Little Treads - Digital case study


Little Treads is a baby and children’s shoe store. Government assistance helped Little Treads improve their existing website and implement digital sales channels, resulting in 20% monthly sales growth and a decreased marketing spend. By introducing an adaptive e-commerce system and virtual fittings, Little Treads reduced their marketing spend and achieved a 20% increase in their monthly sales.

Options for taking your business online

Some of the options for going online are:

  • creating a website for your business
  • opening up an online shop or store, or trading in an online marketplace
  • blogging
  • using social media to reach and communicate with your customers
  • using digital media channels, such as video hosting sites.

It’s important you do your research before creating your online presence to ensure you choose an option that is useful and targeted to your product or service. Each online option has pros and cons. Consider the goals of your business, your business model and what you sell, before you decide which approach is best for you.


E-commerce platforms provide a way for you to sell your products online and can have a range of features like inventory management and analytics.

If your goal is to sell products online, joining an online marketplace may meet that requirement without the need to create your own ecommerce website.


A website can be a useful way your business can be discovered. Websites come in different types, each serving different functions. If you want to sell products or services online, an e-commerce platform may work for you. If you want a website to inform your customers where you’re located and what products or services you supply then a brochure website might be the right fit.

Northside Flower Market - Digital case study


Northside Flower Market is a Brisbane-based retail florist. With the help of government assistance, they integrated their accounting, point of sale, website and delivery systems. Using these digital tools increased confidence and made life easier. Government assistance helped Northside Flower Market increase business efficiency by integrating their digital accounting, point of sale, website and delivery systems.

Checklist for business e-commerce

If your business offers products or services online, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do consumers need specialised software or hardware to trade with you?
  • Are contract terms for purchases clear, accurate and easily accessible by consumers?
  • Have you taken appropriate steps to protect consumers' privacy?
  • Have you provided consumers with payment mechanisms that are easy to use and offer appropriate security?
  • Are consumers informed about any specific laws or jurisdiction applicable to transactions with your business?

Marketing your products

Marketing strategies are a common part of many business plans. However, marketing your product or service over the web can be quite different. Even if you're experienced in business, it's important to do further research into successful online marketing techniques.

To help you promote your business online, you may want to visit our information on:

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