It is nothing new that we are now living in a digital age, where anything stated in a digital manner has a higher significance than that stated in print. When we need to know something immediately, we don’t turn to books or papers anymore, we turn to the faithful One, the knowledgeable one, Google. Our day to day routines is now predominantly run by the internet, from checking Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, etc. in the mornings to watching YouTube before sleeping.
The internet is not just a place for entertainment, but it is also for the daily livelihood of millions. The importance of the internet when it comes to professions is proved through the existence of e-commerce websites, that strive to provide services and information to the massive audience of the internet on a daily basis. Are you an owner of an e-commerce website, or are you planning to start one up? Then stick around, because, in this blog, I’ll be talking about the top 10 must-have features for any e-commerce site.
Before we begin with the must-have features for an e-commerce site, it is important that you know what an e-commerce site really is.
Have you heard of Flipkart, Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, etc.? Of course, you have, these are some of the most famous online shopping websites that exist. Well, these are the said e-commerce websites that I’m talking about. E-commerce sites, an abbreviation of electronic commerce websites, are the sites that deal with buying and selling of services and goods, or the transmission of data and funds, over an electronic network, most commonly, the internet. The business transactions in these sites take place either as business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer, or consumer-to-business.
These e-commerce sites play a very important role as an employment hub for millions of people, who act as sellers for their products. Thanks to the numerous advantages of the online world, people can now make their dreams turn into reality, selling their amazing products over the internet to buyers all over the world.
Must-Have Features for E-Commerce Sites
Before you establish your e-commerce site, there are several things you need to swear by. An e-commerce site is only successful when it is consumer-oriented and possesses the key elements and features to be efficient all the time. Listed below are the top 10 must-have features for any e-commerce site: –
1) Ease of Use.
This comes from the old K.I.S.S. adage about keeping it simple. Simplicity should be a goal in good design and you don’t have to sacrifice elegance to achieve it. As a matter of fact, studies show that 76% of consumers say the most important characteristic of a website is the ease of use. The objective is to help shoppers get to what they want, faster and without running into unnecessary complexity that can clog up the path to purchase.
Online sellers have minutes, if not seconds, to make a sale. Focus on the user experience by providing shopping categories, filters, and comparison capabilities. Consider easy-to-find customer reviews and FAQ information to help buyers make decisions more quickly. E-commerce sites should be a competitive advantage instead of a troublesome experience.
2) High-Resolution Videos and Photos.
Long gone are the days of posting one photo with a few bullet points and a price tag. Shoppers want to see multiple angles and people using the product in different environments. They want to be able to zoom in and get a feel for the product.
Technical considerations for images are crucial. Images that don’t load or take too long to load will see a consumer drop-off rate of 39%, according to Adobe. Images sell and get you success, not text. E-commerce websites should display multiple photos per product. The photos need to be high-resolution and optimized for page load.
3) A Mobile-Friendly Website.
Google declared it, so it must be done. All websites are required to have a mobile-friendly version by 2017 or suffer the SEO consequences. If this isn’t reason enough, one in three online purchases is completed on a smartphone.
With a responsive website, content intuitively adapts to whatever device is accessing it to provide the most user-friendly experience. Shockingly, many sites still have not adopted a responsive or mobile version. Plus, we all use our phones most of the time to access the internet and its holy facilities so why not make your site completely mobile-friendly, eh?
4) Utilizing User-Generated Reviews.
Internet consumers read reviews. About 92% of them, in fact. The star rating on a product is the number one factor used by consumers. You might think that having negative reviews is a sale killer. The opposite is actually true. Having negative reviews can often be positive. It’s shown that products without negative reviews are seen as censored and, in turn, shoppers will assume the positive reviews are fake.
Depending on website functionality, e-commerce sites can use plugins from the most popular review platforms including Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook. Forward-thinking e-commerce sites, like Paiwen paddleboards, are using reviews as user-generated content to drive social proof and build raving fans.
5) Give Special Offers.
We all love offers, right? Getting offers and free stuff never gets old.
Most e-commerce sites are using special offers in their standard marketing practices via email, social, text, etc. Next-level e-commerce sites take advantage of the prime real estate in the header section to promote special offers.
When consumers realize they’re getting a special deal, it motivates them to buy more and spend more time searching the site. If e-commerce sites are using ongoing promotions, providing a unique webpage that lists the offers will not only drive more sales but also improve SEO. Consider the shopper searching “zip code + Toyota special offers” and the value of that organic search result.
6) Create Wish Lists.
Oh, how I love wish lists! One for fashion, one for books to read, one for holiday gift ideas. Shop, save, and share!
E-commerce sites that aren’t using wish lists are leaving revenue on the virtual desktop table. What’s better than having customers bookmark items they want and will most likely buy in the future? That’s just gold in the pocket. And a remarketing campaign dream. It’s also an opportunity to share a brand with new buyers. When shoppers share their wish lists with family and friends, it sends FREE traffic with built-in social proof to a website.
7) ‘Find-in-Store’ Feature.
Not all e-commerce sites have brick-and-mortar stores. However, those that do must have a find-in-store feature. Sometimes you don’t want to wait for an item to ship. Instant gratification.
Shoppers are going online just to research and then complete the purchase in person. This is especially true for millennials, as 72% of young shoppers research online before purchasing in a store. This makes it incredibly helpful to see which local stores have products in stock.
8) Show the Related Items.
Simply seeing the phrase, “you might like this” creates a serotonin release signaling curiosity and excitement. A ‘related items’ feature on an e-commerce site creates the desirable stickiness effect that so many marketers strive to achieve.
It happens like this. You saved the AeroPress coffee maker to your shopping cart. A section emerges that says, “you might like this”. Would you like some freshly roasted, fair trade whole coffee beans? Maybe a digital scale to measure the exact amount of coffee grounds to achieve the perfect cup of coffee? You get the picture.
When an online seller uses a ‘related items’ feature to sell more, it’s actually signaling to the consumer that “they get me”.
9) Show Frequently Asked Questions. (FAQs)
Complex purchases require confidence with a seller and detailed information when buying products online versus face-to-face.
A great example: –
At Forthea Interactive, a client, Fine Watch Bank, sells expertly crafted high-end watches. The company’s buyers need confirmation of watch authenticity and detailed product information to feel comfortable when making a purchase. An additional information section details frequently asked information, which establishes credibility and builds confidence with the buyer.
10) Show Social Proofs.
Brands and online sellers that connect with their buyers on an emotional level create brand trust and advocacy. Social connection is undeniable and the opportunity to bond with an audience is easier now than ever. Linking social profiles and user-generated content with an e-commerce site are must-have features that will give online sellers brand character. Shoppers are inundated with a constant flow of “buy now” and “get this”. It’s those brands that engage with customers socially that create customers for life. They are offering products that help others and that people care about.
Social media allows e-commerce brands to show authenticity and associate an emotional connection with their products. Look at Nike’s Pinterest account to see how incorporating products with motivational images makes a huge impact. See how Ikea uses user-generated content to share design ideas and inspiration for how to use its products.