What pages make up an e-commerce website? The most essential ones that come to mind are home page, product page, shopping cart, and checkout. What else? We reviewed e-commerce websites that we’ve designed over the years and also researched a number of popular e-commerce websites to put together a master site map of every must-have page that should be included in an e-commerce website. We identified 25 pages that we believe are very important for any e-commerce website to include.
The homepage is important, no question about that. It’s often the first impression that a brand gets to make, and usually the first page to tackle in an e-commerce design. The homepage can include promotions, branded lifestyle imagery, and featured products or categories. Value propositions should be clear, such as free shipping or what makes the brand or products unique. While the homepage is regarded as the front door of the site, keep in mind that people don’t always enter through the homepage and may arrive via direct links to other pages.
2. Category Overview
This refers to the landing page for a top level category, such as Women or Electronics, which will display an overview of what’s within that category rather than list all the products. Multiple Category Overview pages may be used if there are more than 2 levels, such as Womens > Tops > Sweaters. However, if your categories are only one level deep, you can skip the Category Overview page and go straight to the Category page (next).
3. Category Page
The Category page is the list view of products for a specific category or subcategory, usually displayed in a grid layout. It often includes filters so the user can drill down and find what they are looking for. The focus of this page is for the user to browse and see a lot of products at once, compared to the Category Overview which focuses on promotion and wayfinding.
4. Product Page
This is the individual view of a product with the full product details and pricing. The main call to action is the Add to Cart button. Optional elements on this page may include reviews, related products, and social media sharing.
5. Search and Search Results
E-commerce sites should have search functionality, especially for sites with a wide range of products. The search field is usually located in the navigation menu. Make sure to consider how the Results page displays the results. This page often follows the Category Page template, or it could have its own unique design.
6. Login/Create Account
E-commerce sites with account functionality allow customers to save data such as order history and payment information and can allow for other interactions such as wish list management, the accrual of rewards/loyalty points, and special access to deals. The login/create account form can live on its own page or be treated as modals or dropdowns. Make sure creating an account is accessible from the login fields (and vice versa), so when a user realizes they don’t have a login they can easily get to Create Account.
7. Add to Cart Confirmation Element
This is technically not a page, but it’s a must-have view to include. It’s important to provide visual feedback when the user adds an item to their cart. Often it’s in the form of a dropdown or flyout coming from the cart icon in the nav, or a modal on the page. Keep it informative by recapping what was added and update the cart subtotal. This is also a great opportunity to get the user to keep shopping by showing how close the user is to free shipping and presenting related products.
8. Cart page
The shopping cart needs to list everything the user has added with the ability for the user to make changes. It’s good practice to show estimated shipping cost and the promo code field at this point so the user can get a good idea of their final cost without going too deep into the checkout process (for shipping estimates to work, the user may have to input their zip code in advance). You don’t want abandonments to happen on the last step of the checkout when customers discover the cost of taxes and shipping and that their promo code doesn’t work–it’s frustrating for both the store and the customer. The cart page can also be an opportunity to upsell related products.
The Checkout Flow:
The following pages for the checkout flow are the most critical must-haves in an e-commerce site, as these pages are where the conversion (the sale!) happens.
9. Log In/Guest Checkout
After the cart review is the perfect moment to prompt the user to log in (if not already logged in) for a quicker checkout experience by using saved information. The user may not want to deal with creating an account or remembering their password, so provide the ability to checkout as a guest, which will require the guest to fill out all their information.
The next 3 sections, Shipping, Payment, and Review, can be treated as a single page or as separate steps.
The shipping step includes the form fields to gather shipping address. There’s often a checkbox to use the shipping address for the billing address.
The payment step includes form fields to input payment information. This may include fields to enter billing address, especially if it’s different than the shipping address. Also include the option to enter gift cards or promo codes, or pay with rewards points or store credit.
This is an important step to review all items to be purchased, the shipping info, payment method, discounts, and extra costs like taxes or express shipping. Make sure it’s clear that this is a review step and that the main call to action is to submit the order.
Once the customer submits the order, give them a nice thank you message and confirm that the order was submitted successfully. It’s helpful to display the order details and info on how to modify the order if the user catches a mistake after submission. If this was a guest checkout, take the opportunity to prompt the user to create an account to save all the information that they just submitted.
Confirmation pages may be used to display a message other than a thank you. As the system processes the order, something could go wrong and the site will need to return an error page instead of a confirmation to explain that an item sold out by the time the order was submitted.
14. My Orders / Order History
The Orders page lists any current orders as well as all past orders so the user can reference previous purchases.
15. Individual Order View
This page is like the receipt for a given order. It should include full details for that order–from what was bought to where it got shipped to. Depending on the sophistication of the e-commerce platform and its integration with shipping/fulfillment software, a tracking number may also be included with each order.
16. My Profile / Account Settings
Whether it’s labeled as “My Profile”, “My Settings”, “Account Information”, and so forth, this page includes all the basic account fields, such as name, email, and change password. It’s common to include any additional information that’s collected from the user, such as demographic information.
17. Payment Settings
The Payment Settings (or Manage Payment) page lists saved payment info (gathered from previous orders), with ability to update/delete that information.
The Addresses page lists saved shipping addresses (also gathered from previous orders), with ability to update/delete.
Footer and Content Pages:
19. Email Sign up
Email is a critical lifeline of e-commerce. It’s a sure way to guarantee return customers and market to interested prospective customers. Make it easy for interested visitors to sign up. This doesn’t have to be a dedicated page–a simple field in the footer or a pop-up modal can be used. Make sure to provide a short and sweet reason why to sign up and what type of emails they’ll will be getting. Also, don’t forget to consider the confirmation message that comes after submission. This, too, can be its own page or load into the modal/footer area.
Returns are an important part of shopping online, which is why there should always be a clear link to it in the footer. This page should also be accessible during the checkout flow, as cart abandonment may happen when a user is unsure about return policy and can’t confidently complete their purchase. The best return pages lay out the return/exchange process in an easy-to-understand way while addressing common questions and concerns.
A big question on online shoppers’ minds is the shipping time and cost, so make sure there’s an easy-to-find shipping information page (often in the footer, like returns). It should also include information about international shipping policies and any special holiday shipping schedules.
22. Help / Contact Us
Customers should be given a centralized place to find ways to get in touch with customer support whether with an email address, phone number, form, or live chat. Many sites combine FAQs with Contact Us to provide answers to questions that may have come up many times in the past (and also to save time). Don’t underestimate the importance of the Contact Us page–customer service is a huge driver for business growth, and making the customer service accessible and easy will provide a superior experience to users and get people to spread the word about the store and brand.
23. Store Locator / Where to Buy
If there are physical store locations, some visitors will come to the site for the sole purpose of finding a store near them. Likewise, if the brand doesn’t have its own physical store but its products are sold by other retailers, it’s important to provide a page for users to find who stocks the brand and where they can go buy it.
24. Store Details page
As you drill down from the Store Locator page, provide full details about a particular store, like a map and business hours.
As with all sites, don’t forget to include the legalese.
The above list covers everything that’s needed on a core level, but an e-commerce site may need much more based on the type of products it sells and the unique goals of the brand and the store. Consider other pages and features like the About page, Blog, Wish Lists, Careers page, and more. Stay tuned for another blog post as we dive deeper into what’s beyond the must-haves of an e-commerce site!