Must have features for eCommerce websites

Must have features for eCommerce websites

So you’ve been gaining conversions through your use of SKU Feeds? Great, but how can you be sure that these customers will return to you? Every eCommerce company small or large knows that small aspects of a website can have a huge impact on how the store performs. But what are the best and most essential features to ensure your eCommerce site has to help its success?

Fully responsive

The way a website runs is one of the most important aspects of eCommerce websites, as online shoppers are frequently impatient and looking for convenience. Loading times of websites and webpages can be the difference between a sale and a customer losing interest and shopping elsewhere. In order to cater to everyone it is also essential to ensure a website is fully responsive, meaning it has the ability to run and adapt to different devices, so mobile and tablet users get the same experience as a laptop or desktop user would when browsing the site.

A great site design

A website design needs to be as simple as possible but contain all necessary information, as overcrowding can put a large amount of customers off as it creates confusion but the same can also be said if a website has too little on it. The key to finding that key balance of information is to present a clear logo, as a good recognisable logo will build brand identity. Also when well known a logo can be seen as a sign of trust, the more popular the logo the less intricate of a web design is needed as people will already know by the logo what the site is about.

As well as a good logo, other great features to avoid confusion are a shopping cart , login section and search bar. Shopping cart allows customers to keep track of their order as they are shopping. Login adds a more personal theme and makes the checkout process more convenient as it means preferences, delivery and billing details and previous shopping histories can be saved and viewed by the customer. For large sites a search box is necessary to save overloading with tabs and drop down menus, allowing customers to search for exactly what they want.

Helpful site information

Giving a customer upfront the information they need is hugely beneficial, as in some cases it can reassure them immediately as they open a site or can save them time searching for the information they need. This kind of information includes things such as payment option icons, these let the customer know in advance if they are able to shop on the site depending on the available payment methods and their restrictions, as some may not accept cards from certain countries or certain forms of payment. Along with this there are trust icons, which mean a website is certified and secure, which gives a customer a sense of safety when it comes to providing a website with their personal information or banking details.

Another helpful piece of information is store finder, which is only useful for eCommerce companies with physical brick and mortar stores, as it appeals to customers that like to browse online but buy in person, allowing them to find their most local store and actually see the product in person before purchase.

There are also social media links, this is beneficial to both company and customer as social media can bring in a large amount of sales and keep customers informed. It can also be used as a quick and free form of advertising and self promotion, helping with customer engagement by posting latest products and news straight to the social pages. Social ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons on websites allow customers to directly like a company’s social profile page from the website and also share content from the website on their own pages, creating an even wider scope of reach for the company.

All of this also helps brand identity and improves loss of conversions as it would mean that people were aware whether they could use the site to suit their needs before they searched for items, rather than filling a basket and realising upon payment they could not get their goods.

Attractive homepage content

A homepage is what customers see first, it must contain attractive and interesting information or products such as deals, free products or advertising of free shipping. This allows a company to advertise to their customer straight away and helps sway their opinion of the website from the offset.

Discounts and deals often promote sales, websites can use large eye catching banners which can count as extra content to get their offers seen.

Free shipping helps with orders that are not local, implementing free shipping if possible makes online shopping a more attractive experience for the customer. If this is not an option there is also the commonly used idea of setting a minimum spend for free shipping, a feature which usually promotes more sales as people try meet the price.

Another way to utilise a homepage to its full potential is to offer latest news and products, featuring most popular products rather than ones that aren’t doing as well. Putting this good content on the homepage means the customers first sight good of the website will be more attractive and will encourage them to explore the site to its full extent.This is because quality or branded goods draw people in, as advertising a trusted brand identity can do a lot to build trust between the customer and their online shopping experience. If a website sells multiple popular brands it is best to feature a shop by brand option and display the most popular ones on homepage to promote the best sales.

Helpful catalogue content

Catalogue content and information can be hugely important, depending on the kind of product being sold the emphasis of a website’s catalogue should focus on either product descriptions or product images. For example, an eCommerce store selling computer parts should put emphasis into product description as shoppers would be looking for specs and information on compatibility, however a customer shopping for a tv would be more interested in its appearance as well as its specifications, meaning eCommerce sites selling this kind of product should have quality product imagery to catch a customer’s eye.

Whatever the kind of eCommerce website any imagery used should always be displayed in high resolution, especially images used for products,as this gives the website a more trusted and professional feel. Product images, descriptions and sometimes even videos should be accurate, as misleading advertising can be largely damaging to brand identity.

A useful feature to build up the trust of new customers is offering a space for reviews to be posted on items. As many sales are influenced by user generated sales and peoples past experiences with a product, as these can tell customers information about a product that may not be on the site, however this can also lead to negative reviews, meaning the section will require monitoring to ensure any issues and queries get responded to and resolved.

For further customer convenience and increased sales showing related items on product pages and offering a feature of a wishlist to save products to return to later. This can increase sales as it introduces customers to products they may not have otherwise seen to accompany their purchase, and also allows them to find what they want and return at a later date when it is more appropriate for them, saving them time filling their basket again at a later date.

Easily accessible help

Offering useful help in plain sight helps with customer convenience and trust between a customer and a brand, the easy way to do this is to offer contact information and when applicable an online chat service. A prominent contact number on the homepage or every page as well as a full contact detail page are essential for people who have questions or problems and need help quickly. However for times when the offices are closed online chats can be extremely helpful at keeping company reply times high and helping customers with their issues.

FAQ pages can benefit a company as much as a customer. This is because they can help answer the customer’s questions without the need for human input, as it allows them to find the answers to the most common questions directly on the site straight away, rather than having to contact the store and wait for a reply.

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