How to set up an online store - basic information
Over time, people increasingly appreciate the convenience of modern solutions replacing traditional activities. After a whole day of work, you simply don't want to leave the house. For this reason, online shopping is becoming more and more popular. Why go to the stores looking for the necessary thing, when instead you can choose an online store, i.e. quick e-shopping?
Online store - characteristics
An online store can exist thanks to the use of technology offered by the Internet.
An inherent element of online stores is the website with the offer, i.e. subpage containing product offers. In many cases, online stores also offer a virtual basket function that replaces the shopping cart available in a brick-and-mortar store. In the operation of the online store, it is also necessary to provide a form in which the customer can provide his data allowing the transaction to be carried out. The online store may contain many additional options, such as chat, subscription or an online forum, thanks to which customers can exchange opinions about the store and its offer.
The undeniable advantage of online stores is the fact that they usually have a much wider range of products offered than traditional stores. Online stores are becoming more and more popular due to their convenience and reduced selling costs - which often result in lower prices of goods.
The operation of the online store is generally not regulated by law. However, restrictions may appear due to the type of products offered.
What are the requirements for running an online store?
Business in the form of an online store, as a rule, does not require meeting additional conditions. It is known, however, that in the case of this type of activity, it will not be possible without the purchase of a domain and a server. It is also worth employing a good IT specialist who will carefully create the store's website and a graphic designer, who in turn will take care of the visual part. Another solution is to rent or purchase ready-made software with hosting.
It is worth noting that in relation to some products there may be additional requirements and limitations resulting from legal provisions. This group includes the sale of: medicines, alcohol, weapons, ammunition and explosives, seeds (excluding suppliers and producers of propagating seed for vegetable and ornamental plants and nursery material produced and sold in the same poviat, if it is intended for non-profit needs) own recipients), fuels, addictive substances, plant protection products or currencies.
What are the acceptable forms of running an online store?
Running an online store is possible in any form, except for a partner company. The online store can therefore prosper as a sole proprietorship, civil partnership, general partnership, limited partnership, limited joint-stock partnership, limited liability company. or in the form of a joint stock company.
How to set up an online store?
In the case of running an online store in the form of a sole proprietorship or a civil partnership, the company must be registered in CEIDG, while in the case of choosing one of the other forms of activity, the company must be registered in the National Court Register.
The provisions of the Entrepreneurs' Law, in force since April 30, 2018, allow for the establishment of the so-called undeclared activity, which saves the entrepreneur a lot of formalities. The possibility of conducting it arises until half of the minimum wage is exceeded, which in 2020 is PLN 1,300, and an additional condition is that the taxpayer does not perform economic activity during the last 60 months.
As a rule, a person running a business who intends to sell goods or services subject to VAT, must submit a VAT-R form no later than on the day preceding the commencement of the sale. The form is used to register the entrepreneur as an active or exempt taxpayer of value added tax. The completed form should be delivered to the tax office competent for the place of business.
Determination of PKD for an online store
The basic PKD for an online store is 47.91.Z - retail sale via mail order houses or the Internet.
What is the best form of taxation for an online store?
When running an online store as a natural person or a partnership, the taxpayer has the right to choose the form of taxation between: lump sum, general principles according to the tax scale and flat tax.
Trade service activities are subject to a flat rate of 3%. Taxing an online store with a flat rate of 3% can be very profitable because the tax is low and formalities are kept to a minimum. However, when using the lump sum, it is not possible to settle the costs. It should also be remembered that by choosing this form of taxation, you cannot obtain revenues, e.g. from financial and insurance services (a detailed list of activities excluding the possibility of using the lump sum is included in the annex to the act). Even a single obtaining of income excluding the lump sum requires immediate transition to general principles and keeping the KPiR.
If the taxpayer is not entitled to a lump-sum income tax, the general rules may turn out to be profitable (if the entrepreneur does not expect to exceed the first threshold of the scale - PLN 85,528 of income). In the case of taxation according to the scale, the taxpayer has the opportunity to take advantage of many reliefs, which cannot be used by the taxpayer of the flat tax (e.g. pro-family relief or joint settlement with the spouse).
However, if the online store is run in the form of a legal partnership (sp. Z o. O., Joint-stock partnership) or in the form of a limited joint-stock partnership, the enterprise automatically becomes a CIT taxpayer.
Online shop with or without VAT?
At the outset, it is worth noting that the sale of some products obliges the entrepreneur to register as an active VAT payer (e.g. goods subject to excise duty, precious metal products). However, if the type of products sold does not deprive the entrepreneur of the right to the exemption, as in the case of running an online store, in some cases, it is worth using it. Being a non-visitor pays off, especially if:
operating costs are low or zero,
products of own production are traded - if their production does not require the purchase of expensive materials (e.g. handicrafts),
the offer is aimed at private persons who cannot deduct VAT on purchases or entities exempt from VAT.
If, on the other hand, running an online store with a given profile generates high costs, goods come from external suppliers, a large part of sales will be made to other companies and the expected expenditure on the development of the store is high - it is worth considering the option of being an active VAT taxpayer.
ZUS contributions to the online store - how much are they?
If the online store is run in the form of a sole proprietorship, a sole proprietorship limited liability company. or a civil law partnership, general partnership or limited partnership, the entrepreneur is obliged to register himself with the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) for insurance. Each partner from the above-mentioned of companies is a premium payer for its own insurance. The sum of contributions without voluntary sickness insurance (including the contribution to the Labor Fund) is currently PLN 1,354.64.
If the taxpayer decides to take out voluntary sickness insurance, the amount of his monthly ZUS contributions will be PLN 1,431.48 (including the contribution to the Labor Fund). ZUS DRA form).
Persons starting a sole proprietorship on the basis of the Act on the social insurance system may take advantage of the so-called preferential ZUS rates for a period of 24 months. Thanks to the reduced rates of ZUS, new entrepreneurs will pay less for social insurance and are not obliged to pay the Labor Fund. In addition, an entrepreneur starting a business may also benefit from the so-called start-up allowance, which consists in exemption from the obligation to pay social security contributions for 6 calendar months from the date of starting a business.
On the other hand, running an online store in the form of a multi-person limited liability company, limited joint-stock partnership or joint-stock partnership does not constitute a title to any insurance in ZUS. These companies, by themselves, are not subject to social and health insurance. However, they are contribution payers in the case of employing employees.
How to effectively manage an online store?
The development of online stores, as well as other beginner businesses, takes place in stages. At the beginning of the activity, the owners of the company manage and organize the service of the store on their own. However, over time, when there are more and more customers, and thus the number of orders and work related to it, there are challenges that are difficult to deal with without introducing modifications to the current management system of the company.
These challenges are typical of the entire dynamically developing e-commerce industry. Among them can be mentioned:
an efficiently functioning warehouse,
integration in the marketplace,
speed and ease of payment.
Document flow management
In the multitude of daily duties related to order handling, the person running the e-shop lacks time to consider alternative or helpful management methods. Online research programs that will improve the functioning of the business and allow for greater involvement in the development of the company are helpful in this case. One of such tools available on the market is the wFirma.pl system.
For those owners of online stores who value convenience, and at the same time want to have control over their company, and especially over its financial situation, e-accounting may be an ideal solution.
Thanks to this function available as part of wFirmy.pl, the entrepreneur has at his disposal a number of facilities for bookkeeping and settlements:
simple and intuitive cost input, including the OCR function, i.e. automatic reading of data from the invoice,
e-declarations and JPK_VAT,
integration with e-ZUS.
The current customers of online stores are quite a demanding group of recipients. The goods ordered in the store are to be delivered to them as soon as possible, and delivery errors are rather unacceptable (a mess in the warehouse is unacceptable). Of course, the solution in this situation is to employ a number of experienced warehouse workers who will watch over the course of orders, replenish stock shortages and the speed of delivery.
But what if there is a shortage of key employees? The solution is to have an effective warehouse management system, such as an online warehouse program, available as part of the wFirmy.pl system. Thanks to the functions of the program, it is possible, among others:
automatic handling of reservations from customers, consisting in the reservation of goods in the warehouse so that they are not released to another customer, which will avoid mistakes in delivery
warehouse analysis - observation of purchasing trends, allowing for the adaptation of the company's policy to changing purchasing trends
verification of inventory levels through the system alert when specific product groups are exhausted
A company account for an online store
The regulations do not explicitly require the entrepreneur to have a separate company account. Payments can also be made via a personal account - it is important, however, that its owner is only an entrepreneur (it is impossible to use a joint account for spouses). However, taking into account the fact that in the case of an online store, the vast majority of payments are made by transfers - even for purely organizational purposes, it is worth setting up a separate company account.
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Online store and cash register
The sale of some products also in the online store to natural persons who do not conduct business activity or flat-rate farmers may be subject to an absolute obligation to record the sale at the cash register.
If the type of products sold does not oblige to register the sale at the cash register, the criterion for using the cash register is generally based on the turnover amount in the tax year. The obligation to use a cash register arises when the turnover from sales to natural persons who do not conduct business activity and flat-rate farmers in the previous tax year exceeded PLN 20,000 net - in the case of active VAT payers.
The owners of online stores can additionally take advantage of the exemption from recording at the cash register on the basis of accepting payments only through the bank. In this case, however, any inflow of cash to the account should be properly described. The payment made should indicate which goods were sold (in the case of online stores, the order number may be sufficient) and for whom the goods were made. The transfer should therefore contain the customer's data (in the case of mail order sale of goods, also his address).
The above exemption from having a cash register cannot be applied in the case of an online store that allows collection in person and payment in cash.
Online store and GDPR
Online stores are obliged to apply the provisions of the GDPR Regulation. These provisions oblige e-shops primarily to ensure proper protection of personal data of customers. Persons whose data is processed are entitled in particular to:
- the right to access their personal data,
- the right to delete data
- the right to data portability.
The GDPR includes among the principles of the proper protection of personal data: the principle of integrity and confidentiality - according to it, personal data must be processed in a manner ensuring their appropriate security, and the principle of accountability - according to which the controller is obliged to comply with the rules of data processing and demonstrate compliance with them.
In practice, adapting the e-store to GDPR consists in:
- checking and adjusting the checkboxes used on the store's website so that they are compliant with the GDPR,
- providing other information, if any, if providing it is necessary in accordance with the GDPR.
Marketing in the online store
When setting up an online store, it is worth considering the issue of appropriate marketing.
First of all, it is worth taking care of the best Internet domain possible. A good internet domain should be unique - short, easy to remember and pronounce. It is worth remembering that the domain is the showcase of the online store.
In order for customers to be able to make purchases via the online store, they first need to find out about it. Therefore, it is worth placing advertisements on dedicated websites. One of the popular portals of this type is Taelo.pl, where you can promote your offer for free. For a newly opened store, it is a perfect place for additional advertising and acquiring its first customers. Creating a company showcase helps build branding among potential customers, and enabling the company to be assessed by its customers helps other recipients decide to cooperate with this entrepreneur.
Thanks to the function of running a corporate blog as part of the Taelo.pl platform, the company's owner, by publishing articles and guides, can also build an image of an expert in a given industry in the eyes of the recipients, which in turn translates into increased trust and an influx of customers.
Positioning and promotion in social media
What's more, a good solution to increase the number of visits to the store's website is to invest in its positioning. An advertisement on Facebook or other social networks can also be a very good advertisement. On this type of portals, you can also create a fanpage of the store, which will gain fans - potential customers. However, in order for the profile of our store on social networks to be willingly visited, it is necessary to regularly share interesting entries on it.
Style and form selection
The appropriate design of our store is also an important issue in gaining the favor of customers. The website should be clear and easy to use. It is also worth making sure that the descriptions of the offered products encourage you to buy - it is also worth attaching high-quality photos of the products to the offers.
There are plenty of ways to promote your online store. At the beginning of your business, it is worth using as many advertising routes as possible to create brand awareness among potential consumers.