November 1, 2023

From Shopping Carts to Shipping Options: Navigating 4 Key Features of E-Commerce Websites

If you’re interested in building a marketing career in the world of e-commerce, you may have already picked up on what sets these websites apart from the rest.

Today, we’ll talk about why e-commerce websites exist and discuss four key features that most of them have in common. We’ll also share some information on how you can jumpstart your future e-commerce career!

Why do businesses have e-commerce websites?

Gone are the days of brick-and-mortar stores being the only way for people to find what they need. The internet has made it possible for people to shop from anywhere—and e-commerce websites are where those purchases actually happen.

Setting up shop on the web allows companies to reach a way bigger audience than they would otherwise, thus increasing their profits. The online store is open 24/7 and—through chatbots or FAQ resources—can even provide round-the-clock customer service.

Another key benefit of having an e-commerce site is that you can feature related products or other suggested items on each product page. This helps companies cross-sell across their product line and increase awareness of various offerings.

For example, if you’re looking for a stand-up desk and you click on an item, you might see several other offerings, including a different type of stand-up desk or perhaps a mat to use to make standing all day more comfortable.

Now that we understand why these sites are important, let’s talk about the features you’re likely to see on most e-commerce websites!

Feature #1: Product catalog

We’ll start with the most obvious and essential component of an e-commerce site: the product catalog. After all, without knowing what products are available, customers wouldn’t know what they can shop for!

Businesses generally aim for a visually interesting, well-organized product catalog. Ideally, you want people to be able to quickly browse through an array of products, add items to their shopping carts (more on that next!), and find what they need with no issue.

The larger category pages often allow you to search by criteria like size, color, and price. Each individual product page typically has detailed information about each item, including sizing, materials, description, color options, pricing, reviews, and a carousel of photos.

Feature #2: Shopping cart

Once you’ve selected your items from the product catalog, what’s next? It’s time to check out!

The shopping cart function is critical; it allows people to add items they want to purchase from the catalog and review their total cost before checking out. Most shopping carts allow you to quickly and easily edit order quantities, remove items, or read more details about a product before you check out.

Feature #3: Shipping options
  • Available carriers (for example, USPS, Fed Ex, DHL)
  • Shipping time
  • Price of each shipping option
  • If a company offers an expedited delivery service, that will probably be more expensive than your standard shipping. Certain businesses also tie shipping benefits to rewards; if you’re a Priority Member with a company that does this, you might receive free expedited shipping instead of standard shipping.

    Customers usually want to see detailed information about how returns are handled—is there a fee associated with processing returns, or are they free? Is there a time frame that returns are accepted within? Are there items that can’t be returned, no matter the circumstances?

    E-commerce websites should be as clear as possible with shipping and returns rules and policies. This can avoid confusion and additional questions down the line.

    Feature #4: Secure payment processing

    Being able to accept payments securely is a must. People should feel comfortable providing their personal payment information while shopping and rest assured that it’s safe from potential security breaches.

    The most common payment methods e-commerce sites use are debit cards, credit cards, and PayPal, though there are many options out there. Offering several payment methods will boost a company’s business and accommodate a larger audience.

    Site owners must research appropriate security measures, such as encryption technology and secure sockets layer (SSL) certificates, to protect customer data. Companies should also keep up with changes in payment processing technology to be sure they’re offering the most up-to-date, secure way to pay.

    Start your career with our E-Commerce track

    Want to learn more about the exciting world of e-commerce?

    Website features like the ones we just discussed are just one part of what we cover in our Digital Marketing and E-Commerce Track. Our courses are designed to give you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in the industry while helping you build a strong professional network.

    E-commerce is here to stay. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to take your career to the next level.

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