5 Things You Need for an eCommerce Website

I often meet people who want to start an eCommerce website but don’t know the way forward. They have products and prices already lined up, but the venture into digital selling can be confusing and they don’t know where to start.

This is the breakdown I always give them. It is a good starting point for anyone who wants to sell their products online.


Shipping is a great opportunity to win favour with an online shopper. High shipping costs could cause a customer to quickly abandon the cart.

Large online retailers like Amazon have standardised packaging prices and options to make the administration of despatching the order easier. It is worth finding a good courier and packaging suppliers so that you can have a minimum size box, along with cost, for shipping to your market areas.

You can then set a volume quantity to your products so you know when the order will outgrow your minimum size box to increase the shipping charge.

Free shipping, even if built into the cost of the product, is a great cherry on top for the customer as well. A free shipping threshold (e.g. Free shipping for orders over R1,000) can be a good incentive for customers to purchase one more item to obtain free shipping.

Remember, you don’t have to ship everywhere and can limit your deliveries to certain regions. A customer outside this region will be told “We do not ship to that area” and can look elsewhere.

Product categories

Any retail environment needs to make it easy for the customer to find what they want. Think about how you would categorise your product. The added benefit to something being digital is that you can add multiple categories or tags to the product.

This means that someone could be looking for t-shirts and find a black t-shirt. Or they could be searching for black clothing and find the same black t-shirt. Give people multiple ways to find the product that they want.


Great pictures will sell the product within seconds. Consider how you would take your main product photograph, and what other pictures will give more information to the customer.

Consider having a uniform main image as this makes the site look neater. Think about the size of the photo and what the background will be. You might also consider product videos as well.

Analytics Measurement

Data is an amazing resource to have. Knowing how long people spend on the page, whether they leave the site at a certain place or how many times an item is added to or removed from the cart can help you tweak your website to get more sales.

It can also give you insight into which of your marketing channels is more profitable. Having this initiated early on in your store’s life, will give you great data to make decisions on later.

2nd Prize conversion

What happens if they don’t buy? Will you lose them forever? Perhaps try and convince the visitor to sign up for a newsletter or to get special offers. A chatbot can also entice visitors to ask questions in case they are confused.

Google analytics and cookies can allow you to remarket to the visitor at a later stage. Although, they will need to accept cookies on your site in order for this to happen.

You can have the flashiest ads and branding, but without the basics above, you might find it difficult to make progress.

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