E-commerce best practices for services and products


Hi all,

This is my first post to the community, and I wasn’t sure which category this fit in. So here I am.

I’m helping redesign a website to a large company’s IT department, where users can request services (e.g. an email account, mobile phone service) as well as products (a computer, a smartphone).

The simplest analogy to follow would be to make it like an e-commerce site, where employees can go select what they need, add to a shopping cart, and submit.

However, as I’m thinking about it, it strikes me that services are not quite the same as products:
[]the costing (even if it’s internal, it still matters) is continuous instead of one-time
]usually there is no concept of quantity in a service; you either have it or you don’t
[*]you need to be able to handle requests to modify or stop a service
It seems to me that other fields of e-commerce have these complex offerings to handle. I can think of mobility service operators, who sell the monthly plan, as well as devices and accessories.

Before going too deep into this, I want to see what lessons or best practices I can get from others who have been down this path before. But most of what I’m finding for e-commerce UX relates to straight-up product shopping carts.

Can anyone point me to any good resources? Or am I simply overthinking this?

Cheers from Montreal,


Hey Tim,
I don’t think you’re overthinking it at all. I don’t have any resources to point you to, but I can put out a call via Twitter on your behalf.

Welcome to the community. :slight_smile:



I put the question out into the void yesterday but it didn’t get much traction. If you’re able to bump it, that would be great.

And thanks again for the warm welcome. =)



I worked in a job once where my responsibilities included redesigning the website where people submitted requests like these.

The organisation used an expensive off-the-shelf product called ServiceNow. I don’t know why it was selected, but it was a poor fit. The UI was terrible and it was very difficult to change anything to make it more user-friendly or relevant to the client’s needs. That was a tangent, but I thought I’d suggest that you [I]not[/I] look to that particular product for inspiration.

That said, I’m sure there are other products in this space that do a better job. Often an organisation will set these requests as a particular type of support ticket. There are always pros and cons to writing custom software to solve a task vs purchasing an off-the-shelf solution, but for this particular problem I would have thought it would make more sense to look at what was already out there. Are you using an existing package, and your task is to redesign the front-end? If so, what’s the package and what are the limitations on what you can and can’t change? Or is this custom software for which you have free reign to implement it however you like?