Ecommerce website architecture: Guide and Best Practices

Ecommerce website architecture is a framework that allows businesses to grow and stay visible on the web, and it affects the way in which search engines can index a website and how users can navigate it.
Best practices for ecommerce website architecture

It is composed of various layers and functions that work together to bring a company’s online store to life [1]. Modular ecommerce website architecture is based on the idea that it is better to break monolith modules down into actual modules that are loosely connected [2]. Two-tier e-commerce website architecture involves the separation of information placement into two different spaces: the presentation (or front-end) layer and the logic (or back-end) layer [3]. A good ecommerce website architecture serves both humans and machines, making it easy to use and search engine-friendly [3].

[1] Ecommerce Architecture for Website — Full Guide | Elogic
[2] eCommerce Website Architecture: Microservices, Monoliths, Modules …
[3] E-commerce Website Architecture Tutorial – Dinarys

An eCommerce website architecture should prioritize the following elements for a seamless user experience:

1. Navigation: A clear, intuitive navigation menu to help users find products and information easily.

Navigating a website is an important part of creating a good user experience. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when designing a website navigation:

  1. Keep navigation simple and organized. Design a logical navigation structure that makes sense, and ensure that all important pages are easy to find.
  2. Use clear labels. Your navigation labels should be concise, descriptive, and easy to understand.
  3. Utilize drop-down menus. Drop-down menus help to keep the navigation uncluttered by only showing the main categories.
  4. Use breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs allow the user to easily see where they are in the site structure and provide an easy way to jump back to a previous page.
  5. Allow search. A search bar can be helpful in allowing users to quickly find the page or content they are looking for.
  6. Create consistent navigation. Ensure that navigation labels, styles, locations, and general appearance are consistent throughout the site.
  7. Make navigation responsive. Make sure that the navigation is responsive and works well on different devices and screen sizes.
  8. Pay attention to accessibility. Make sure that the navigation is accessible to those with disabilities and that the keyboard tab order follows the logical structure of the navigation.

2. Search functionality: A powerful search bar to help users quickly find what they are looking for.

Optimizing product search functionality can be an invaluable way to improve user experience and increase conversion rates. There are a few key best practices to keep in mind when it comes to product search:

  • Ensure the search bar is visible and easy to locate.
  • Use autocomplete to provide quick results and reduce typing time.
  • Provide alternative results when the query doesn’t match existing products.
  • Allow for filtering and sorting within the search results.
  • Allow for multiple terms to be used in a search query.
  • Ensure search results are relevant, accurate, and up to date.
  • Allow for fuzzy matches to capture misspellings, abbreviations, etc.
  • Utilize product tagging and attributes to narrow down search results.
  • Enable partial and advanced search options, if applicable.
  • Make sure the search function is mobile-friendly.

3. Product pages: Detailed product pages with clear images, descriptions, and options for customization.

The guidelines for product pages are designed to help website owners create pages that are enticing, informative, and easy to navigate. They should focus on delivering a smooth user experience, while still providing the essential information needed to make a purchasing decision.

The following is a list of best practices for product pages:

  1. Place the product title and image as the first visual element on the page.
  2. Add product reviews, customer testimonials, and other social proof to increase trust.
  3. Provide detailed product information, including size and color options, product specifications, and pricing.
  4. Include customer-generated content such as photos, videos, and text reviews.
  5. Display an “Add to Cart” button prominently on the page.
  6. Integrate a search bar and navigation menu at the top of the page.
  7. Allow customers to easily contact customer service for help.
  8. Optimize the page for search engine optimization (SEO).
  9. Use high-quality images to show off the product in different angles.
  10. Provide a “Compare” feature for customers to easily compare products.

4. Shopping cart: A clear and accessible shopping cart to help users manage their purchases.

Here are some of the most important best practices to follow:

  • Keep the checkout process straightforward and easy to understand.
  • Give customers the option to save items in their cart for later.
  • Make sure the shopping cart is stable and secure.
  • Provide clear payment options and make sure to inform customers when their payment has been successful.
  • Include in-cart notifications for any promotions or discounts that apply to their purchase.
  • Offer customers the ability to contact customer service right within the cart.
  • Make sure the checkout page is device-responsive.
  • Include an order review page before the payment page.
  • Offer the option to create an account during the checkout process.
  • Ensure the checkout process is clear of any unnecessary steps.
  • Test the checkout process regularly.
  • Prompt customers to review their purchase before finalizing it.
  • Offer a guest checkout option to reduce the number of steps required to complete the purchase.

5. Checkout process: A streamlined checkout process with clear instructions and options for payment and shipping.

To streamline the user experience, the checkout process should be simple, intuitive, and efficient. This can be achieved by making sure the page follows a logical flow, offers helpful advice and information, and is consistent across all platforms.

When it comes to payment options, it’s important to offer customers a variety of ways to pay. This could include credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, or any other form of payment. To further simplify the process, it’s a good idea to allow customers to save their payment information for future purchases.

To ensure customer satisfaction, it’s important to collect accurate customer information during the checkout process. This should include the customer’s name, shipping address, email address, and phone number. This will enable your company to send out product updates, promotional messages, and other important information.

Finally, it’s essential to provide customers with a secure checkout process. This can be done by making sure the checkout page uses a secure connection (HTTPS) and encrypts sensitive information, such as credit card numbers. It’s also a good idea to include a CAPTCHA or other security measure to prevent automated bots from submitting fake orders.

6. Customer account: A secure customer account for storing personal information and purchase history.

Creating an effective customer account page is essential for any business that utilizes a web-based platform. By providing users with an easy-to-navigate, clean, and customized page, businesses are able to stand out from the competition. To ensure that customers have a smooth customer experience on the website, here are some best practices for creating customer account pages:

  1. Keep it simple and straightforward: The customer account page should be easy to understand and navigate. The page should have a clear layout with simple and intuitive navigation.
  2. Personalize the experience: Customers should have the ability to customize their profile page. This can include changing colors, adding a profile picture, or even customizing the layout of the page.
  3. Utilize automation: Automate processes that can be performed easily on the customer account page. This will help to reduce the amount of manual work that customers need to do. Automation can include things like updating account information or making payments.
  4. Use security features: To protect customers’ accounts, it is important to include security features such as two-factor authentication. This will help to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to customer accounts.
  5. Provide customer support: Make sure that customers can easily contact customer support in case they have any queries or questions related to their account. This can be done through features such as chatbots, live chat, phone numbers, or email support.

By utilizing these best practices, businesses can ensure that their customers have a good experience on the website and that their accounts are secure and up-to-date.

7. Mobile optimization: A mobile-responsive design for an optimal user experience on all devices.

To ensure a successful mobile e-commerce experience, businesses should follow best practices such as using a simple layout [1], making the checkout process easy [2], ensuring an omnichannel shopping experience [2], supporting image zooming by pinching and double-tap gestures [3], providing a “save” feature for the shopping cart [3], using descriptive, well-labeled forms optimized for mobile [3], prioritizing search and keeping it above the fold [3], utilizing voice recognition to speed up search and other interactions [3], providing intelligent auto-suggestions, auto-detection, and errors with forms [3], instilling a sense of security and trust by displaying badges, reviews, and testimonials [3], providing smooth, easy, and speedy checkout [3], and making it fast and easy to pay with built-in payment systems such as Google Pay [3]. Following these best practices can help businesses achieve a more successful mobile ecommerce experience, which in turn leads to an improved bottom line.

[1] How to Optimize Your eCommerce Website For Mobile Devices
[2] 5 Tips for Optimizing Your E-Commerce Site for Mobile Devices
[3] Mobile E-commerce Best Practices for UX (with Infographic)

8. Security: Adequate security measures, such as SSL certificates and secure payment gateways, to protect customer data.

Security of an ecommerce website is becoming increasingly important as cyberattacks continue to rise. In order to protect your online store, there are several best practices to follow[1].  Firstly, it is important to choose a secure web host and ecommerce platform, such as one that offers SSL security and two-factor authentication.  Secondly, it is important to perform regular SQL checks to ensure that your website is safe from attacks. Thirdly, it is best to leave payment and data processing to the experts, as this will reduce the risk of data loss or theft. Finally, it is important to keep software and systems up-to-date to ensure that they are secure.

[1] Ecommerce Security: Securing Against Cyber Threats 2022
[2] How to Protect Your Online Store – business.com
[3] How to Secure Your eCommerce Website: 7 Tips – Mailmunch

9. Speed: A fast loading website to minimize user frustration and improve search engine optimization.

Speed is one of the most important aspects of a website’s performance and user experience. Here are some best practices for website speed optimization:

  1. Minimize HTTP requests: Reducing the number of HTTP requests required to render a page can significantly improve page load times. This can be done by combining multiple files into one, using CSS sprites and combining images into CSS.
  2. Minimize the size of your code: Minimizing the size of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code can help to reduce page load times. Compressing and minifying files can help reduce their size and using a Content Delivery Network can also help improve page load times.
  3. Optimize images: Images can take up a lot of time when it comes to page loading. Resizing and optimizing images can help to reduce their size significantly. Formats such as JPEG allow for further compression beyond the initial size.
  4. Use caching: Caching can help to reduce the amount of time spent on loading a page, as it can store frequently accessed data and serve it up faster. Setting up caching can be done via server-side scripts or through a content delivery network.
  5. Use a good hosting provider: Choosing a good hosting provider with servers optimized for speed and good support can also help to reduce page loading times.

10. Analytics: Integrate with analytics tools to track user behavior and inform future design and marketing decisions.

Ecommerce analytics best practices include gathering scattered marketing data across channels and platforms and understanding the numbers and the customers. Additionally, it’s important to have a firm understanding of the five key metrics, which are discovery, acquisition, conversion, retention, and advocacy. To make the most of this data, it’s important to integrate Google Analytics into your ecommerce website. To do so, you’ll need to create a free Google account and create an account in Google Analytics eventually create a property for your website. Once you have set up the account, you can start tracking your website’s analytics and making data-driven changes to improve your online store. [1], [2], [3]

[1] Analytics Best Practices for Large eCommerce Stores
[2] Ecommerce analytics 101: A marketer’s guide to driving more …
[3] Google Analytics for Ecommerce in 2022 (Complete Guide)

The best practices for ecommerce website architecture include using clear descriptive language making use of high-quality images, and consistently reinforcing branding elements.

Optimize your ecommerce website architecture by contacting Goodie today. Our eCommerce developers are ready to assist.