People today have more access to information and a broader range of products and services online. By having a web presence means your business won’t be left behind. It can help you increase your engagement, grow your customer base, and provide you with a competitive edge.

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.

Find out the basics of setting up a business website.

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.


Online directories may suit your business if you just want to list your business’s contact details online. It also allows you to promote your business in an online space where your potential customers already are.

Social Networking Sites

Social media can be an important part of your online presence if one of your key requirements is to promote your brand and business. The different channels can help you engage with your customers, generate conversation and may improve your chances of building customer loyalty.

Learn more about social media for your business.


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?

Read the Advertising and selling guide to better understand how consumer law applies to 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:

Read next

Read more about selling goods and services.

Make sure you're aware of online scams targeting small business.

Learn about shipping services and rates available to your business.

Watch our digital case studies to find out how small businesses adopted digital technologies and strategies into their business.