Discover the ten most important features of eCommerce websites to take your business to its peak. Then, use our eCommerce website functionality checklist to get everything ready.
User-friendliness is perhaps the most crucial feature of an eCommerce website. ECommerce has become so popular because of its reputation as a convenient and competitive option for doing one of man's favorite activities – buying stuff. So, if your eCommerce platform deviates from that description, you'll lose many sales.
94% of website visitors say ease of use is the most essential quality of a website. Improving user-friendliness is often a matter of slight improvements in your web pages, such as pre-populated forms in checkout pages and autocomplete function in search boxes.
You may also want to invest in a User Experience (UX) designer. They're trained in helping customers navigate to what they want faster without unnecessary roadblocks. Thus, they're most qualified to make your website more user-friendly.
2. Multi-channel Accessibility
It's no news that most internet access today is from mobile devices. SaleCycle states that consumers made 56% of online purchases with mobile devices. That's a considerable amount. So if you want your eCommerce website to be accessible to more than half of the online shopping crowd, you should seriously consider making your website mobile-friendly.
Consider how mobile visitors use your eCommerce website – a smaller screen, using touches and scrolls. Therefore, optimise yuor website to accommodate these inputs and output. Another strategy is to organise your product catalog, so it appears smart. Include filters and categories so visitors can quickly sort through the catalog.
3. Scannable Text, High-quality Images, and Videos
In eCommerce, words alone don't sell. Words and images do. So, you can lay off writing lengthy product descriptions for each product; not many people will read them anyway.
Where you do have text, ensure the content is scannable. Most internet users simply scan through a body of text, so keep your key messaging short and easy to identify. Use bullet points to break down large blocks of text and use bold calls to action to direct attention to important details.
Where you can, substitute text with images. Online shoppers don't just want an idea of what the item they're buying looks like. They want to see it from different angles, in use, and feel it as much as possible. Therefore, use multiple high-quality images of your products in use. Images that take too long to load can turn prospects away, so be mindful of the technicalities.
Videos often make web pages load slower. So, be careful not to pack too many on each page. However, short, high-quality, low-size videos showing your products in use and different environments and conditions can be instrumental in nudging customers toward making a purchase.
4. User-Generated Content
Displaying user-generated content such as reviews or photos will benefit your eCommerce website immensely. Shoppers have no means to interact with your product before purchasing beyond the pictures they see on screen. Seeing and reading other users' experiences thus helps them feel at ease and makes them confident that others use your product.
So, encourage customers to leave reviews on your product pages and social media pages. Also, ask them to tag you in their social media posts, so you have an assortment of user-generated content to brandish on your website. For example, vanity Planet, a beauty and health business increased checkouts by 24% when they started displaying customers' Instagram photos on their most popular product pages.
You may feel inclined to display only positive reviews. But negative reviews also do good for your business. Having only positive reviews will make the impression that the product is censored. This may likely reduce the credibility of your products and brand. So, leave those negative reviews in there. Besides, if a product has mostly negative reviews, you should reconsider listing it in your catalog in the first place.
5. Special Offers
Who doesn't like promos? Seeing that a particular product or set is available at a discount can encourage customers to spend more on your website. In addition, your website header is a valuable piece of real estate that can help effectively publicise your promos and special offers.
Having a dedicated page that lists those offers in one place is even better. It saves customers the trouble of surfing for promotional items.
If you list products from different vendors on your website, ensure you build and maintain a good working relationship with them. Reach out to them, maybe even grab coffee or lunch. Let them know you're on the same team and that you're trying to garner revenue for both of you. What you're doing here is incentivising them to keep you up to date about the latest trends for their brands. Guess whom they'll think of first when they have a special offer.
6. Product Recommendations and Related Items
Product recommendations and Related Items sections are excellent eCommerce website features for keeping customers on your website. Perhaps you have a new product, or a customer needs an item they didn't know you sell. Imagine the benefits when your "Related Items" section features those products.
Besides, product recommendations based on search history or the item they're viewing send the message that you understand your customers.
7. Wish list
The practice of researching a product before one is ready to purchase. While visitors explore your website, the Related Items section may contain an item they're interested in. If there's no way to bookmark that item so they can buy it later, you lose out. That is where wish lists come in. They allow visitors to save items for later purchase, thus forming practical retargeting tools as you can send them reminders via email.
Furthermore, wish lists present excellent opportunities to extend your brand reach. Enabling customers to share their Pinterest wish lists with family and friends creates free publicity with inherent social proof.
8. Breezy Checkout
Nothing kills a sale faster than a complicated checkout process. And cart abandonment is common among eCommerce businesses for this reason. You've made navigation a breeze for your visitors up until now, don't destroy your hard work with a complicated checkout. What do you need?
Allow multiple payment channels, for starters. Research the most popular payment channels in your area and include them on your checkout page. If you don't accept a payment method (cryptocurrencies, for instance), indicate why.
Keep your checkout page design minimalist, clean and organised. Ensure billing and shipping information (and cost) are displayed. You know how annoying hidden shipping costs can be. You may include a ZIP code calculator to help customers calculate their shipping costs. Also, list all countries or regions you do not ship to. Users will find your return policy here, so don't skip that. And once the transaction has gone through, direct them to a confirmation page, so they're sure.
9. Security Features
The success of eCommerce presents a lucrative target for cybercriminals. Your customers have to enter sensitive information such as their credit card details during checkout, personal information while signing up, etc. Divulging such information requires that you instil some trust in their minds and protect their data and privacy.
You can start by obtaining an SSL certificate. It establishes secure connectivity between users and your website. Research an assortment of vendors and select a recognised and acclaimed SSL certificate vendor. A firewall blocks malicious traffic from entering your website, so you should consider using one.
Two-factor authentication is another must-have security feature of eCommerce websites. TFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a system-generated pin sent to users via email or text, in addition to their username and password.
10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
FAQ sections have become a necessary feature of eCommerce websites. The truth is, no matter how well-designed your website is, someone will always have a question. Customers generally need detailed information on a wide range of problems, including the checkout process, your return policy, recovering lost account passwords, product information, whether you have a physical store and its location, etc.
Giving them an area to find detailed answers to their questions will help customers feel confident as they proceed to make their purchases.
Things to consider when building an e-commerce website
You probably know the age-old adage about calculating the cost before undertaking any endeavour. You will need to prepare a few things in advance. The following are some things you need to consider:
• Payment Gateway
You need to get a payment gateway and credit card processor if you plan to accept credit card payments, recurring billing, and mobile payments. Authorize.net, Verifone, and Intuit are options you may try out. Use popular payment channels such as PayPal and Stripe for online payments.
Obtaining approval for a payment gateway and credit card processor is no easy feat and takes time, so don't wait until the website launches before you start the process. Instead, research what you need for the application and get them ready.
Usually, you'll also need a clean credit history, a valid driver's license or an international passport or other state or federal ID, and a tax ID.
• Shipping and Storage Options
You'll need to figure out your options and arrange to ship and store your inventory. Again, you'll need to work closely with the vendors. They know the products inside out and are in the best position to advise on storage and shipping. They know if, for instance, a product should only be transported by land.
So, decide if you'll drop ship or store the products in a warehouse. Will you be utilising UPS or FedEx, or a combination of both? How would you accommodate shipping restrictions on any of your products?
You must know the answers to these questions before launching your eCommerce website.
• Domain Name and Ecommerce and Web Hosting Platform
You'll need to select a domain name that represents your brand. It's a straightforward process. Carry out some research into domain name providers and choose a reliable one.
As for eCommerce and hosting options, you'll save time and money by selecting an open-source platform such as Saleor.io. They provide fast and secure web hosting, and integration for plugins and payments, and our developers here at Bravelab have extensive experience with it.
• Legal Business Issues
Start looking into legal requirements for your business in your region or country. Usually, you will need to register your business and obtain a vendor's license. It's best to involve an attorney in the process. It might cost you a considerable sum, but it'll save you unnecessary trouble and expense in the future.
• Publicity and Media Outreach
Begin generating buzz around your brand long before launching your eCommerce website. Start reaching out to vendors, journalists, and reporters and strive to build a personalised relationship with them. Pitch media contacts as they can afford you much-needed publicity.
Resources such as PitchBox and Help A Reporter Out (HARO) are excellent PR and SEO tools. PitchBox helps you manage email outreach and is a paid service. HARO has a free option and provides a platform for journalists to identify upcoming stories and for individuals to find opportunities to secure valuable media coverage. Using these tools effectively will help you gain exposure and greatly benefit your SEO.
• SEO Strategy
Don't wait until the last minute before you start your SEO strategy. After all, what would it benefit you to have come this far only for your website to fail to generate organic traffic? Creating your SEO strategy early (about a year before launch) will allow you to establish good SEO practices and lay the groundwork for organic traffic to flow to your website.
Owning and running an eCommerce website isn't child's play, as you must've realized by now. Therefore, start processing the above considerations to get a head start now.
E-commerce functionality checklist
The following is a checklist of all the crucial things you need to get out of the way while building your eCommerce website.
- About page
- Contact page
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Return and refund policy
- Shipping information
Product listing pages
- Categories and subcategories
- Filtering and sorting options
- In-Store status
- Product quick view
- Prominent Add to Cart button
- Product description
- Multiple High-quality product images and videos
- Customer photos
- Mini-cart widget
- 'Pin it' button for sharing to their Pinterest wish list
- Related Items
Shopping Cart Page
- Product details (images, quantity, prices, etc.)
- Clear call to action (e.g., Proceed to Checkout)
- Editing options (e.g., changing quantity, sizes, color, etc.)
- Cart total and shipping cost
- Multiple payment channels
- Pre-populated forms
- 'Check out as Guest' option
- Live Chat button or floating widget
Order confirmation page
Use this checklist to ensure you have everything nailed down while building your eCommerce website.
Our expert team of eCommerce platform developers at Bravelab knows what combining the best technology and practices can do for your eCommerce store. They've repeatedly applied the tips outlined in this article to create incredible eCommerce platforms that have benefited our clients. Your business can reap these benefits too. Why not book a consultation at Bravelab.io today? Our services are affordable, and there are no hidden charges. An incredible experience awaits you!