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What is an Ecommerce Website? Types & Must-Have Features

Ecommerce involves the sale and purchase of products or services online. An ecommerce website is where these transactions take place. Today, people can purchase nearly anything they can think of on the internet, enjoying more convenience and choices than ever before.

Types of ecommerce websites

Ecommerce websites are referred to differently, depending on the types of transactions occurring on the site.

  • Business to consumer (B2C): the sale of products or services between companies and individuals, e.g., an online store selling candles to consumers.
  • Business to business (B2B): the sale of products or services between companies, e.g., a manufacturing company selling wholesale goods to retailers, who will in turn resell them to consumers.
  • Consumer to consumer (C2C): the sale of products or services between individuals, generally through a third-party marketplace, e.g., a consumer selling their old furniture to another consumer on Craigslist.
  • Consumer to business (C2B): the sale of products or services between individuals and companies, e.g., an individual offering their graphic design services to businesses on a platform like Upwork.

Important features of ecommerce websites

There are several must-have features you’ll want to be sure to include in your ecommerce website, regardless of what you sell.

A professional, attractive design

Your ecommerce website will be the first encounter that many shoppers will have with your business. It’s therefore crucial that it has a professional, attractive design to provide the best user experience possible.

When building your online store, choose an uncluttered design that won’t overwhelm your visitors and that’s easy to navigate. Add a simple menu with clear product categories that allow for stress-free browsing. In addition, ensure that important types of information, such as your contact details, FAQs, and store policies, aren’t difficult to find.

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Informative product pages

While consumers can see and touch a product in person when shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, they don’t have this option when shopping online. To better assist them with their purchase decisions, be sure to create complete, detailed product pages for every item in your catalog.

Each product page should feature a description with all the essential product details, such as use, color, size, weight, dimensions, care instructions, etc. Don’t forget to also include high-quality photos of the item and the product’s price and availability.

Multiple payment options

Today’s consumers are used to having choices when it comes to online shopping, including how they pay for their purchases. The people in your target market are unlikely to all share the same preferences for payment methods, so aim to give them several different options to help encourage conversions.

The right methods for your site will depend on your location and your specific customers’ needs. In general, though, many shoppers like to pay by credit card; debit card; or digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal.

An optimized checkout process

If your visitors find that checking out on your online store is complicated or confusing, they won’t hesitate to exit your site and head to a competitor’s. To help prevent abandoned carts and boost sales, aim to make your checkout process simple and enjoyable.

Here are a few easy things you can do to optimize the user experience for shoppers checking out on your website:

  • Create a single-page checkout.
  • Allow customers to check out as guests.
  • Use auto-fill fields in the checkout form.
  • Avail of upselling and/or cross-selling to increase average cart value.

Optimizations for SEO

Prioritizing SEO will help boost your store’s visibility on search engines (and therefore your traffic), but it will also improve the user experience you offer on your site.

You can start by performing keyword research and integrating those keywords that are most searched by your target audience into the various types of content on your site: homepage, product descriptions, blog posts, etc. Optimize your images by compressing them and adding alt attributes.

Keep an eye on your page loading speed, work on your internal links, ensure that you structure your pages correctly with heading tags, and apply good practices when creating your title and meta description tags.

For more information and tips on ecommerce websites and selling online, be sure to check out the WiziShop blog!

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