This post is particularly written from the perspective to help my local community in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but I believe much of what I recommend will work for other regions.

This article is for a business owner that currently does not offer any form of e-commerce, but now due to COVID-19 would like to start.

What are your options?

There are a few factors to consider when choosing your e-commerce solution, but the first consideration is if you already have a website up and running or not (facebook pages do not count as websites I’m afraid).

Have a site

If you already have a website you’re using, check out the details of the platform that is powering your site to see if they can add on a e-commerce solution. For example, if you’re using WordPress, installing the WooCommerce plugin will allow you to start selling products.

There are other options that allow you to embed a payment form that you can choose from as well:

  • Snipcart - allows embedding of payment forms
  • Jotform - super powerful form/survey tool that can show products and take payments
  • PayPal - a simple PayPal checkout button may suffice for your needs
  • Gumroad - Online store
  • Square - If you’re using Square (different from Squarespace) as your in store POS, then you should definitely look into Squares e-commerce options to keep everything managed in the same place

Need a site

If you need a new website, it’s best to sign up with a service that has e-commerce solutions built right in. My current recommendation would be to check out Squarespace.

They make it easy to set up your own site and have a built-in e-commerce solution. You can drag and drop and generally just figure your way through without risk, and they have lots of great documentation as well. On top of that, they have a 247 help support line that can be invaluable to a small business that needs support asap.

If you need something more advanced than Squarespace can handle, a WordPress/WooCommerce site or custom Stripe integration would be my next recommendation to investigate.

Lots to consider

That’s a lot of options and links to throw at you, but hopefully takes you from an overwhelming place of not knowing where to start, to having a few avenues to consider.

If you are a Nova Scotia business, please feel free to reach out at my business page here (https://www.swarms.ca/) if you have any questions or could use a recommendation. I’m not the kind of guy that bills for a quick email question, and would be happy if I could advise local businesses and get them back up and running.

Lastly, I hope you are all staying safe, and know that the work you’re doing to provide services to your community is greatly appreciated.