Things to Keep in Mind When Starting an Online Store

There are a few things to keep in mind as you get started with WP e-Commerce. We’ve made this comprehensive list based on our own experiences with advise for setting up the best WordPress e-Commerce store as well as industry rules and best practices.

This document is best printed out and each question answered in detail, once completed this will outline exactly what you need to do and make setting up your store a breeze!


Whether you’re setting up a new e-Commerce store with WP e-Commerce or extending your existing online store WP e-Commerce supports a library of shipping methods, with live feedback from popular shipping services (e.g. UPS, USPS, Fedex, etc.) as well as shipping rules and options you can tailor to your needs. Answer the following questions.

  1. Does your product require shipping?
    1. If not, are you planning to sell electronic items (e.g. software, e-books, licenses, etc)? WP e-Commerce supports electronic delivery of files through secure file downloads.
    2. If so, which shipping provider are you going to use? Out of the box WP e-Commerce supports live feedback from UPS, USPS, Australia Post and Shipwire. ‘Live feedback’ means accurate shipping charges are always passed onto the customer by requesting delivery address and ZIP Code (postcode) during the Checkout process.
  2. How do you want to calculate your shipping? WP e-Commerce lets you choose between flat rate, table rate and weight rate shipping calculation.
    1. If you are planning to use the weight rate method, ensure you’ve weighed your products ahead of time so you can enter them while setting up your Products.
  3. Are you going to be shipping abroad?


  1. If you are in the US, what is your state’s sales tax? Technically if your customers are in the same state as the physical location of your business, they owe sales tax on items they purchase from you. However, if you are shipping merchandise to a state where your business does not have a location, you do not need to collect tax. Click here to see a list of sales tax by state. You should also check out this article for a simple explanation about e-commerce and sales tax.
  2. Are you in a country that requires tax inclusive pricing?  Click here to see tax rates around the world.
  3. Do you want to tax shipping? Some states and countries actually require businesses to tax their shipping. If you are in the US, you can check your states sales tax laws. If you are somewhere else, check your location to find out their particular tax laws. Currently, WP e-Commerce does not support shipping taxes. To see some of our brilliant forum members work-arounds, click here. Disclaimer: We have no idea if the work-around actually works.

Payment Gateway

  1. How are you going to process payments? Check out this article for a simple explanation of how payments work on an e-commerce site.
  2. Do you already have a merchant account with a specific bank you want to keep using? If so, you will need to see what payment gateway your bank prefers, and check whether or not it’s compatible with WP e-Commerce.
  3. If you don’t already have a merchant account (or don’t need to use your current one), there are plenty of non-bank-related companies who will process your payments and deposit them in your bank account. Some of the most popular (and easiest to use) are PayPal and Google Checkout.
  4. While some payment gateways are free to use (such as PayPal Payments Standard and Google Checkout), others require a monthly fee.
  5. However, all payment gateways (even the free ones), charge some sort of transaction fee. Check out our list of accepted payment gateways, and then do some comparison shopping.
  6. Also, check with your payment gateway for their specific e-commerce requirements. Most payment gateways require that you display your return policy, sales policy and shipping policy somewhere on you site.

Looking for more? Jump over to the Official WPeC Checklist.