Anatomy of an Effective E-Commerce Website


Anatomy of an Effective E-Commerce Website

Setting up and managing an e-commerce website to sell your company’s products involves a lot of work and knowledge of what might boost or bust your bottom line. While specific features and functionality requirements may vary depending on your type of business, some considerations are universally important.

A few of the must-have characteristics of an e-commerce website include: 

  • Mobile friendly

According to data from Custora’s E-commerce Pulse, the share of mobile orders (phone and tablet) out of all e-commerce increased to 31 percent in 2016 (up from 29 percent in 2015). With more potential customers using mobile devices to buy products, it’s increasingly important to ensure your e-commerce site will deliver ease of use to desktop and mobile users alike.

  • Easy to navigate

The easier you can make it for your website visitors to find and buy the products they’re looking for, the more likely you’ll convert those product searches into sales. Structure your e-commerce website so potential buyers can easily find what they want in as few clicks as possible, and make sure the checkout process is simple and straightforward. Also make it easy for visitors to find your refunds and exchange policy. 

  • Transparency about shipping charges

Studies have shown that approximately 56% percent of shoppers abandon shopping carts because they discover unexpected costs at checkout. Consider disclosing shipping options and costs earlier rather than waiting until near the end of the checkout process. You might also think about finding a way to provide free shipping. With an increasing number of e-commerce sites offering to ship products for free, you may be at a disadvantage if you don’t extend this courtesy to buyers.

  • Search engine-optimized product descriptions that are also reader friendly

Brief, clear, well-written content with relevant key words will help visitors find your products quickly and learn what’s most important about them. Keep in mind content that consists of more than a few sentences may seem to go on forever on a smartphone screen. Make sure you’ve included product descriptions that give enough detail without becoming redundant and boring. 

  • Professional images

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” How often have you heard that? 

For an e-commerce website, a picture can mean thousands of dollars. 

An image can make or break the sale online. Shoppers want to have a visual sense of what they’re buying online. 

You’ll want to share images that bring out the best of your products. Consider contracting the help of a professional photographer who has experience in taking photographs for e-commerce websites. 

If you’re looking to create an e-commerce website for your business, you can benefit from consultation with a website development and design professional who has experience with all that they entail. Also consider talking with a mentor at your local SCORE chapter. SCORE mentors have experience in all aspects of starting, managing, and marketing small businesses. 

Yusef Muhammad
Southwest Regional Vice President, SCORE

Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in over 320 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at