Skip to main content

5 Essential E-commerce Elements

For small business owners with e-commerce on the brain, this is the bare-bones introduction to an effective online purchasing experience. Every essential component of an e-commerce solution deserves a textbook explanation unto itself, but we haven’t got the time. Canadians are spending $15.3 billion a year in online purchases (Statistics Canada 2010).  For right now, let’s skip the literature. We’ll present each element in summary, and let your imagination build the framework for a unique online shopping experience.  With the basics, you can develop conversion strategies, and tap into that billion-dollar customer base.


Your e-commerce site needs to be able to guide users to what they’re looking for in three clicks or less, or else you risk losing customers to the dreaded “Back” button. Two-thirds of online shoppers hit a site with a specific goal (Nielsen, 2011), and don’t want to waste time. Usability encompasses ease of content, workflow, and site layout, and deserves further reading. Check out my Smashing Magazine article on improving usability for product pages here:

Great content

We can’t touch, smell, sample, or feel products online. Web shopping is an information experience, and as such, requires the right information. Content that works dynamically across forms (tech specs, image galleries, product descriptions) provides users with tactile suggestion; something close to that brick-and-mortar shopping experience they are accustomed.


While many users come to a site with a specific purchase in mind, we must prepare our e-commerce websites to accommodate all kinds of users: first-time shoppers, category-browsers, window-shoppers, and bargain-hunters.  Make the account log-in and registration process easy. Develop an effective search function for users who aren’t quite sure the make and model of their desired product. Accommodate every user.


A 2010 Statistics Canada report on Internet usage and e-commerce suggested that 19% of abandoned orders online were due to security concerns.  Provide users with reliable, recognized modes of payment, and push your commitment to security with an up-to-date layout that promotes legitimacy and linear workflow. For more tips, check out this Smashing Magazine article on e-commerce design:

Your stuff

Before embarking on an e-commerce venture, consider whether you are prepared to take on a potential spike in production. What does your current manufacturing process handle today? If you are confident that you could keep up with the demands of a much larger customer base, then let’s put these e-commerce elements to work! Contact Scott or Greg at Navigator Multimedia today, and tap into an ever-growing marketplace of savvy consumers!

See Also:

5 Essential E-commerce Elements [2016 UPDATED]

“Individual Internet Use and E-commerce.”  12 October 2010. Statistics Canada:
Nielsen, Jakob. “E-Commerce Usability.” 24 October 2011.

Related Posts

Kelowna SEO Company | Navigator Multimedia

The Navigator Multimedia team having a meeting in the office boardroom, ready to help our clients succeed with graphic design, web development, online marketing, and general digital marketing support..

30 Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses Learned from 30 Years in Digital Marketing

Here are 30 effective marketing strategies and marketing initiatives for small businesses in 2023-24.

Four people sit and stand around two laptops as they study SEO and digital marketing for their online business.

The Importance of SEO & Content Marketing in Digital Marketing (2023 Guide)

Own a business, work in sales, or manage a marketing department? This article explains the importance of SEO (search engine...

A pair of hands types an a Mac laptop computer while examining a Google Analytics report to prepare for the switch from Universal Analytics to GA4.

Google Analytics Is Updating from Universal Analytics To GA4

Here’s Navigator Multimedia’s Guide To Help You With The Switch Google Analytics is one of the most important tools for online marketing and analyzing website performance. As the way we navigate the web changes, Google Analytics needs to adapt accordingly....