When you start to setup an E-Commerce website there are a few things you will need to investigate before you launch into that search for the perfect development platform using which you will setup your store. This is to avoid any issues in the future that will delay your project or end up as a hurdle. You must understand that once you are dealing with e-commerce, you are intending to either sell a service or product to your visitors and this involves money transaction, security and privacy of the user's data, order fulfillment and updating of your accounts.
So now that you have the above aspects to consider, you can now start making your decision as to how to start selling your product online through your own e-commerce store. In simple terms, you will need to have the below items in place:
1. A catchy and quirky domain name for your e-commerce store which users will access
2. A reliable, secure and robust web-hosting service which will host your webstore
3. A reliable Secure Server Layer (SSL) Certificate subscription to encrypt communication data
4. Subscription to a suitable Payment Gateway to process payments
5. Your online shop with an easy and intuitive shopping cart
6. A well structured in-house order processing system that gets activated when an order is placed online through your website
Now that you have an idea of the requirements to setup an e-commerce store, you can explore the various options that will help you achieve the above. Obviously, if you are a layman with development of websites and coding, you will need to outsource the program to a reliable developer or firm that deals with such projects who could also advise you and assist you in selection of suitable tools, technology and services to make your project a success. If you do so, you need to ensure that you have control on the content and management of the system and at the same time get optimum updates, maintenance and trouble shooting of the system in case of need.
If your friend already has some experience with building website is planning to go the do-it-yourself way and ensure transparency and have full control at the same time, the easiest option would be to go the WordPress way and use the WooCommerce plugin. There are various Payment processors or gateways that will integrate easily with WordPress CMS to help collect payments and transfer them to your bank, but all of them have certain criteria that you will need to meet. They usually have rigorous documentation and some processing fees you will need to pay upfront and they take some time to process your document and let you know whether you qualify for their service. It's a bit intimidating at times but they need to make sure that you are doing a legitimate and registered business and are committed to delivering to your customer what they pay for and also addressing their support requests. Once you cross this barrier and get a thumb up from the payment gateway you are on your way to launching your online store and collecting payments from your customers.
Don't fret if you don't have access to the payment gateway subscription. You can still run an online store and sell your products or services online for which you are free to collect offline payments through various modes such as cheques, bank transfers or cash on delivery (COD). This is an option most e-commerce store plugins and applications provide and are quite easy to setup. Hope this is information is of use. All the best for your e-commerce project.