How many times have you jumped online seeking to buy something, but instead you came away annoyed at not being able to get what you wanted? It’s certainly happened to me more times than I care to remember, prompting me to write an entire post about the anatomy of a great online store, which in fact is just the anatomy of how a standard online store should be. In fact, there are some elements to be discussed which should make for standard inclusions in the simplest of informational websites as well.

User Experience

User experience can mean different things to different people involved with the interaction of any website, let alone an e-commerce store. For the site owners it would probably mean how optimised it is for the search engines, which only to a certain extent is a representation of actual user experience from the point of view of a user visiting the site, but not entirely. To the user visiting the site, the user experience is a measure of how easy it is for them to navigate and complete the functions they jumped on the site to complete in the first place.

So if I want information such as what the price of certain products is, I should be able to get it clearly and if I want to actually buy something I should be able to do so seamlessly.

Recognisable Branding

A great online store will likely have extended marketing channels such as running an affiliate program, in which case the branding should be consistent. For instance, online headshop Grasscity might have affiliates promoting products from the shop with the use of banners, in which case one can immediately associate this branding with the vendor because of certain subtle consistencies like the colour scheme, type of inventory, and even the logo.

It’s all about that all-important association with the quality you come to expect from a certain brand.

Inventory

I suppose it’s clear by now that this list of what makes up the anatomy of a great online store is aimed more at those who are perhaps planning to have their own e-commerce platforms created, but it also applies to retailers who seek a great online source from which to source some of the products they want to sell. When it comes to inventory, a rather extensive list of available products for purchase indicates a certain amount of retailer power which suggests that the vendor stocks a wide range of high-quality products which they can then sell at great prices.

Clear Communication

This is a no-brainer – I want to be able to see how much something costs without having to jump through communication hoops!

Swift Support

For all that an e-commerce site can cater to by way of usability and the provision of information, sometimes you really just need to get in touch with someone to make a query about unique issues you might be facing, in which case swift support completes the list of what goes into the anatomy of a great online store.

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