The internet is the new prime real estate for commerce businesses. Brick and mortar stores continue to see a decline in foot traffic as today’s consumers flock to the ease of online shopping.
Business Insider reports that sales in retail only grew by 2.1% in 2017, with more than half of that increase stemming from online sales. Companies who seek to keep the profit ball rolling are taking to the web as the younger generation displays a preference for Internet-based shopping.
If you’re reading this, chances are high you’re doing the same. But where do you start?
We’ve put together a comprehensive website features list to help you build the perfect online storefront for your business.
The Benefits of Online Shopping
Before we take a deep dive into what your eCommerce website needs, it’s important to understand the motivation behind your users. Why are people choosing online channels instead of walking into a store? What are the benefits?
These are loaded questions, but the key lies in that final word: benefits. The advantages of online shopping are many. This includes:
- Ease in comparing competitor pricing and sales for the best deal prior to purchase
- Online stores are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Fast shipping delivers what you want directly to your door
- It shaves off time from the shopping process that can be spent doing other things
This isn’t to say in-store shopping doesn’t have its own advantages, such as seeing or trying on a product before purchase. Yet many brick and mortar businesses see the advantage of enhancing their physical storefront by adding a digital option as well.
By finding synergy between in-store and web sales, businesses can meet the preferences of all of their consumers.
10 Must-Have’s on Your eCommerce Website Features List
That being said, not all eCommerce websites are created equal. There are good and bad Internet storefronts. To help keep your customer satisfaction high, we’ve put together 10 website features that all of the best online shopping experiences have.
1. Mobile Friendly Capabilities
Desktop browsers are dwindling as the dominant access point for search engines Mobile devices are now common tools lining purses and pockets across the globe. In fact, more people worldwide own a cell phone than a toothbrush.
With their prevalence and convenience, mobile devices are fast establishing themselves as the default for quick mobile searches. Your eCommerce website needs to accommodate this trend.
How? Two words: mobile responsiveness. Your website should automatically adapt to the screen resolution of the device it’s shown on. This includes using mobile features, such as touch navigation and single column layouts when used on cell phones and tablets.
Quality web developers can, and should, integrate this feature into your website’s design.
2. An Easy-to-Use Design Across All Platforms
While this tip may seem redundant after mobile responsive, it’s not the same. Your website as a whole needs to be user-friendly no matter what screen it’s on.
Remember, a great design doesn’t have to be busy or complicated. A study by Hubspot reports that 76% of consumers consider ease of use the most important feature of a website.
Keep things simple and intuitive so users can browse and buy want they want within seconds. Clear navigation and a seamless checkout experience will prevent items from being abandoned in the virtual cart, optimizing your sales.
3. Eye-Catching, High-Resolution Photos
Your consumers can’t see your product firsthand before they buy it. Instead, they have to lean on your personal description and photos provided. Eye-catching photos inspire confidence and entice the buyer.
Take the time and investment to produce quality product photos. Aim to capture multiple views of your product in high resolution. Include the ability to zoom in for closer inspection.
There is a level of faith that comes with purchasing an item without seeing and touching it first. Yet if your imagery is detailed and aesthetic, you can sell a viewer on the product.
However, keep in mind that the quality of a photo shouldn’t slow the loading speed. It should be fast and crisp.
4. Enticing, Time Sensitive Offers to Spur Sales
You see this often through coupon codes, “24-hour sales”, or even “free shipping when you spend $20 or more”. All of these are examples of values that present a sense of urgency.
However, you can’t be subtle when you do this. Many websites create banners near their header in order to call attention to current offers. Quick, bold messaging draws the eye while anchoring the message to every page doesn’t give the shopper a chance to forget. It’s like a buzzing neon sign.
5. Reviews Supporting Your Product Quality
Think about when you’re shopping on Amazon. What do you consider when browsing product listings? Almost every online shopper will mention reviews, especially when it’s a verified purchase.
We trust the opinions of others, and even negative reviews can work in your favor if you spin them the right way. Potential customers look at not just your overall ratings, but also bad experiences and how the company remedies them.
Display great customer service and you can turn a low star review into a seller.
6. A Related Items Section to Encourage Add-Ons
Shoppers may come for one thing, but set up your eCommerce store with a “related items” section on the product page and they may leave with more. This feature is common among successful eCommerce sites because it matches relevant add-ons with a product.
For example, someone buying a 3d camera may easily be enticed by relevant items such as a camera bag, extra lenses, or even a copy of Adobe Lightroom.
The related items section may be presented in different ways, such as “People Also Bought” or “You Might Like…”. This is smart marketing. A message that’s personal helps you further connect with your buyer.
7. A Social Presence for Your Brand
Today, everyone is on social media, including businesses. If you haven’t already, create social media profiles for your brand and link them through clickable badges in your header or footer. This not only will help with your credibility but also encourage a long-term buyer relationship.
When you connect with your consumers on social media, you open the door to a relationship where you can communicate directly to and with them. From social media posts to conversations generated through comments and one-on-one messages, you build a connection.
Use this to keep your customers in the loop with new products and offerings. You can even share glimpses into the team and work environment, giving your business a more human element. Doing so can make you feel more genuine and even encourage trust.
Why? Because it shows you’re more than just a brand. Your business is made up of real people, and that makes it relatable.
8. Security Elements to Protect Your Buyers
When processing transactions online, you’re dealing with your customers’ sensitive data. This includes logins and credit card numbers, which takes a high level of trust. Give your consumers peace of mind by implementing the proper security measures.
This includes an SSL, which now requires all websites to have. Those that do not are penalized with a warning page any time a user tries to access your site, as well as lower search engine rankings.
These elements protect both you and those who buy through your website.
9. Clear Shipping Information
When it comes to incorporating shipping into your price, build your website with transparency. Include the shipping cost early on during checkout. Waiting until the final stage of the transaction can lead to an unexpected spike in cost that creates a negative customer experience.
You can even factor the shipping into the price and then offer “free shipping” to your customers. Those two words imply savings that make the product purchase even more enticing.
10. A Return Policy People Can Trust
Buying from a business for the first time can be intimidating for online shoppers. This is especially true if they don’t recognize your brand or know your company’s reputation.
A clear return policy helps ease doubts and build trust, especially when the buying relationship is new. In fact, Invesp reports that consumers are 92% more likely to buy again from companies who have an easy return policy.
Incorporate your return policy into your site via a link in the footer or even your menu.
Need Help Building Your eCommerce Site?
Does your eCommerce site tick off all the marks on our website features list?
Or perhaps you’re here because you’re still building a plan for your online store?
Either way, our team of expert web designers and developers are here to help you turn you bring your ideas to life. With experience building eCommerce websites for several government, corporate, and retails organisations, we have the portfolio and the know-how to help you make an attractive website that users will enjoy shopping.
Ready to talk? Start by setting up a free consultation with our staff. We’ll sit down with you to discuss your business goals and how we can translate them into a brilliant eCommerce website.