Understanding the anatomy of an ecommerce website is imperative to the successful development and launch of an online store in 2024. Especially, when you’re evaluating enterprise e-commerce platforms to start your e-commerce website, this anatomy knowledge could be really helpful. This is because the ecommerce website components are different from a regular internet website. Read this blog, to gain a lucid but clear understanding of the quintessential components of an eCommerce website.
Here is a quick glimpse of what’s covered here-
- Common eCommerce elements (on all pages)
- Navigation Menu
- Search bar
- Legal Pages
- Business Information
- Login/SignUp Buttons
- Products listing pages
- Category pages
- Buyer accounts
- Seller accounts (if it is a marketplace)
- Brand administrators and executive accounts with different access rights to handle the overall ecommerce operations
- Cart management systems
- Billing, invoicing, finance & taxation
- Logistics integrations
- Order management system
- Order tracking system
- Customer redressal
- Reviews & ratings management
- Influencer content management systems
- Affiliate sales integration
- Marketing, sales, and promotion management system
- Analytics dashboards
- Software systems for product recommendations, and
- Security features
Let’s explore in detail and understand each of the key eCommerce components with a short description. If you’re already acquainted with these parts of the eCommerce website, feel free to skip this blog, and jump to why your niche must guide all your decisions around eCommerce stack and eCommerce website development. Or if you’ve not already decided what eCommerce business are you going to start, we recommend you to read GrowthRomeo’s blog on eCommerce business ideas.
eCommerce website Homepage
If the visitor to your website is not discovering your products from the search engine, most probably, the visitor would type in your URL and directly visit your eCommerce website’s homepage. This page is more important than any page when it comes to creating first impressions. The various parts of an e-commerce homepage include-
- Landing banner component
A section where you show the latest arrivals or ads that you might be running or announcements about upcoming sales.
- Featured products component
This could be a section on your eCommerce website homepage that showcases the top products you would want to promote. These are either the latest arrivals or products with huge sale offers. It could be a mix too.
- Special offers or discounts component
Based on what products or sale brings you good revenue, you can run special discounts on some items and display them under a section Special Offers or discounts.
- Featured Categories section
If you’re selling under a lot of product categories, you can display the primary ones under one section to make it more accessible for visitors.
Products listing pages
Let’s say a user performs a search on your eCommerce website for a product s/he wants to buy. Now, your search algorithm could be of two types-
- One, that matches the exact phrase while it is being typed and the user can click on any of the suggested links.
- Two, the user can type the keyword that defines the product the best and you try to show them a catalog of products that matches the description.
In the first case, the user is directly taken to the product landing page of your ecommerce website.
In the second case, the user is presented with a product listing page with a lot of products. Each product component on the listing page will have an image, title, brand, and price. Color options and sizes can be optional. But it helps if these eCommerce components are available right here.
Another key eCommerce component of product listing pages is “the filters”.
Filters are the tools users use to further refine the products that your algorithm showed them.
Maybe, users want products from a specific brand, of a unique color, and a particular size, which is made of using exclusive materials, and within a defined price range. Lastly, they want to sort the results either based on relevance, reviews, or budget. All this is made possible by providing a search filter component on your eCommerce website.
eCommerce Category pages
These are a hybrid of the home page and the product listing pages of an eCommerce website.
- Like the home page, they too need to have landing banner components where you can showcase the latest sales & promotional campaigns that buyers can make use of. This too would have featured product components, the latest arrival section, and sub-category pages. Additionally, this digital real estate can be used to flaunt celebrity endorsements and a lot more.
- Like the product listing page, you can have a list of products that can be filtered and sorted. Ideally, the pagination component is not provided on category pages, as you do not want competitors to get all the data about your business without doing any hard work.
eCommerce website Buyer accounts
Of course, you need to have a login dashboard component for all your eCommerce customers. The buyers could see their transaction history, track their orders, raise return requests, add items to their wishlist, invite their friends with a personalized code, and customize their preferences as well. For you, the biggest perk is you can hyperpersonalize product recommendations and the home page for the customers if you have all the user activity data consolidated/connected.
Seller & administrator accounts
Like buyer login accounts, the seller accounts are for vendors & brands who are selling on your marketplace platform. The seller too is your customer when you’re running a marketplace, where multiple sellers are selling. For seller accounts, you will need a unique functionality in place to let each of them add & update their catalogs. You’ll need a content management system (CMS).
On top of that, you would also want to have systems in place to track seller activities. For instance, to gauge if they are engaging in any sort of malpractice.
In a single brand website where only you are selling, the ticketing system, product uploading, review management, and all other related eCommerce components could be tightly coupled and remain accessible to relevant executives who are handling the ecommerce operations. You can smoothly manage the operations by only controlling the access rights of different executives. For this, you only need to have an administrator account panel.
Cart management systems
eCommerce cart component is equivalent to your shopping carts in a physical marketplace. Here, you can add features to allow them to add products, remove products, specify the quantity of each product, look at the total pricing, apply coupons & discounts, and do everything that’s required to prepare the user to checkout successfully.
The entire eCommerce order processing system is handled by this component of your eCommerce platform. There are solutions to integrate this into your ecommerce website, but it is recommended that you have this in-house to ensure data privacy. Your order management system will manage the inventory levels, and sync with sales, marketing, and product pages to dynamically update availability and alert respective teams.
For example, if inventory levels are low, you do not need to launch campaigns with a desire to generate demand. Instead, you can just trigger campaigns for those who already share an interest in the product. Just capture that demand. Also, with depleting inventory levels you need to trigger an alert to the sourcing team and the vendors to check if they could supply more.
You will need a separate eCommerce analytics dashboard for seller engagement and also for buyer activities. Your eCommerce platform can make use of dashboard components at multiple places. For example, users can be provided with eCommerce dashboard components that help them visualize how much they saved with coupons and discounts. Sellers can see how fast their stock is depleting, and you can see the buyer/seller churn. That’s just a simple example. There could be a multitude of actionable data visualization dashboards for eCommerce stakeholders.
The aforementioned eCommerce components are the core constituents of any eCommerce website. There are a few integrations as well that you need to do. Integrations are the features or components of eCommerce that you do not need to build from scratch into your eCommerce website. There are already existing solutions that you can utilize and get things done. The cost of developing such solutions could be too exorbitant for an eCommerce business.
Invoicing & Taxation
You can integrate third-party billing and taxation software into your eCommerce stack and automate the process of billing and invoicing based on the items in your cart. The taxation and other compliances could also be automated using invoicing software.
Every country, every region in large countries have different tools popular among the masses to make payment. For example, the Indian urban population in tier 1 metro cities prefers UPI payments, in tier 2 & 3 cities they prefer debit cards & cash. In rural areas, they still bank on cash. Knowing this trend and then customizing payment gateways accordingly is a key factor in maximizing cart checkout.
You don’t need to handle your logistics by yourself. Esp in the initial days. You can just sign up with a third-party logistics provider and boom! You’re done with your logistic needs. Delhivery in India could be a good example.
Order tracking GIS solutions
This can be provided by the logistics provider too but it is better if you have this as a separate one. Your GIS solution needs to integrate with warehouse management software, invoicing, cart management, and other dependent components that help in tracking individual customer data.
Customer redressal systems
For handling tickets and customer complaints, you need software that allows users to raise complaints related to specific orders. The customer success representatives can then address the tickets on a case-to-case basis. For a robust customer redressal system, you need it well interfaced with the order management system and sometimes you need to map it to the customers and sellers too.
Reviews & rating systems
A key component of every eCommerce system that helps you drive more sales. People buy when they see others are buying too. They believe in the quality and brand when others believe in it too. For that reason, every single product on your marketplace must allow buyers to drop reviews and ratings.
Affiliate sales & influencer management
To drive higher traffic, you need advocates at times. Advocates, not legal advocates, but those who can promote your products. They do so in return for a small commission. This is called affiliate marketing. There are platforms out there that help you with affiliate sales. These too, you can simply integrate into your eCommerce stack and start raking in higher sales.
AI is in all rage, no matter what is the industry. You need to give customers personalized recommendations to drive higher upsells and cross-selling. This is not that complex and need not necessarily be the third-party solution. If you have the budget it is recommended that you build it in-house. But if you have a low budget, you can use a pre-built solution by top providers.
You need to promote the products within the platform and off the platform via digital ads, emails, and push notifications. There are third-party plug-and-play solutions for attribution marketing too. And you’ll find solutions for probably everything you need to run a successful marketing campaign.
Wrapping it up!
We highlighted the most important eCommerce components in this blog. These are all high-level components. The more deep you go the more components you will discover. But we hope this blog will be your north star in discovering and understanding the key aspects of any eCommerce website. If you’re starting your own eCommerce website, you will find a lot of insights reading GrowthRomeo’s blog. Just saying. Shameless promotion. And why not? We produce in-depth content 😉 Anyway, enough with the promotion. But if you seek help with eCommerce business ideas, or seek guidance with selecting the right eCommerce platform, we shall be glad to help. Let us know in the comments, what we missed, or if this was helpful for you.