48% of shoppers judge the credibility of an online store based on its design and this impacts the likelihood of their conversion from lead to customer.
Let's dive deep to understand how these key features can help you to accelerate growth for your eCommerce website.
Are you planning to design your e-commerce website? Or updating existing e-commerce website. These are some of the questions about your e-commerce website you must answer.
- How should the layout be built?
- What features will make the buying process painless for the user?
- What kind of tools should the backend have to ensure sales reporting and customer service ease?
Well, the questions are endless but you don’t need to worry. In this article, we put all the key features to accelerate your eCommerce growth.
We’ve seen trends in eCommerce website design like animation, 360-degree product previews, advanced filtering, and dynamic product search.
However, trends don’t guarantee conversion rates or robust user experiences. There are certain fundamentals like user experience (UX), user interface (UI), fast and reliable hosting, security that every eCommerce site should have to stay relevant and competitive.
There are certain features that can help make an eCommerce website more user-friendly to customers and easy to manage from the perspective of the owners. Here is the list of 28 key features that any successful eCommerce site must-have. You can either try the following suggested features yourself or reach out to a web development company like ours to help you.
We divided these features into four parts so you can put more focus on each feature in detail.
1. Flat Design
Websites with a flat design enjoy higher loading speed, both on desktop and mobile. This isn’t great for SEO only, but for enhancing the user experience as well. While flat means removing distractions and clutter and focuses on minimalism.
You have to put an extra emphasis on creating your business logo as it works as the main visual part of the overall brand identity of your company. The logo of an e-commerce website has a direct impact on the customers, so it should be unique, catchy, and connectable to the audience. Make sure to choose the right color combination, design, and font so that customers are able to recognize it easily.
3. User friendly
The most important characteristic of a website is the ease of use. In e-commerce websites, sellers have only a few minutes to make a sale. You can win shoppers with good user experience by providing shopping categories, filters, and comparison capabilities.
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.
To make your eCommerce site more user-friendly, consider the following:
- Improve search functionality with an autocomplete option
- Create effective visual navigation
- Add pre-populate forms for users who are buying again
4. Easy navigation
Your eCommerce website navigation is of the utmost importance when it comes to the customer journey. It should be simple and easy for a user to understand. It should also have all the key features of your website:
- Company logo
- Phone number
- Account login
- Cart/shopping bag
- Language selection (if applicable)
For better user experience you can use Breadcrumb navigation to help the visitors to easily browse through product categories. You can include it right below the main navigation bar.
5. Call to action
A call to action is a button (or simply a text link) that tells site users to do something—explore the site further.
CTAs are important for two reasons: first, they can be used to drive people into a page where they become a conversion—whether that means contacting you, buying something, requesting an estimate, or something else. Second, CTAs help increases your click-through rate, which is the number of pages an average visitor views when they visit your site.
By using CTA, you can direct the attention of your visitors from decision fatigue and confusion to the important content based on your needs by inserting a clear call-to-action button. Add the CTA at a prominent position on your website and use a fill color that stands out from its background.
6. Featured products or Best selling products
On the homepage of your eCommerce website, you should have prominent sections to showcase featured products or best selling products.
Featured products attract attention to certain items in your store. This might help you reach a number of goals:
- Motivate customers to buy from you: place your best-selling items on the homepage.
- Showcase your assortment: add products from different categories to give a better idea of your brand.
- Attract attention to your new arrivals: this will work best if you have a lot of repeat customers.
- Power your sale: show your best deals on the homepage.
Don’t forget to sort your featured products: put the ones you want to sell out the most first. You can manually add featured products or automate the process to show a list of best selling products here.
7. New arrivals
Adding a “New Arrivals” section will keep your customers on-site.
This section is used to highlight the newest products within your online store. It’s a great way to give exposure to seasonal items or new collections you’ve recently added to your catalog.
Shoppers love getting great deals online, but they also want to be trendy. Finding something unique before anyone else is going to satisfy their shopping desires. They’re looking for new ideas, new products, and simple inspiration.
Having a new arrivals section will help deliver on that.
8. Offers and promotions
Offering promotions and special offers to your potential eCommerce customers is an effective method of driving ancillary traffic to your site, acquiring new customers, and growing revenue.
Best of all, these promotions can also be used to encourage new visitors to become loyal, repeat customers.
Some ideas for offers and promotions:
- Free shipping offers on products
- Free shipping promotion on categories or site-wide
- Percentage based sales. Offer a certain percentage off a brand or product.
- Buy-one-get-one (BOGO) offers or buy-one save on another.
- Quantity discounts. The more you buy, the more you save.
- Rewards point to programs to build a loyal customer base.
- Use a timer to countdown to when your sales end
When shoppers realize they’re getting a special deal, it motivates them to buy more and spend more time searching the site.
You just cannot forget this feature. A search bar on your website is mandatory. It immensely helps your visitors to get the information they are looking for. Be sure to make it prominent and clearly visible on your website.
If you optimize your search bar properly, it can become a powerful tool for conversions.
10. Live chat
Advanced eCommerce websites offer live chat options to their customers. Live chat offers a great value to your site as it facilitates instant communication to help your visitors through any stage they are having difficulty with. This speeds up the decision-making process for them to buy products.
Just imagine the situation where a user sends an email to customer support for a query and is waiting for the answer to make a purchase decision.
Once the user leaves your site it reduces the chances of purchase by 70%. It’s always preferable by users to chat with customer support to get immediate answers to their queries.
Live chat is easy to set up but to implement and maintain a proper live chat option requires careful planning and resources.
11. Return and Exchange Policy
Return and exchange policy are an essential feature of any eCommerce website. Your return and exchange policy should be clearly visible and well-written or illustrated.
This is another trust-building feature of online selling. It reassures buyers that if they are unhappy or just need a different size, the brand is there for them.
13. Contact us
Never make it hard for a buyer to get in touch with you.
Keep your contact information at the top right corner in the main menu and at the bottom of your site. These are the most common places to look for a contact us button. Providing details on the contact us page proves the authenticity of your business and your visitors can contact you whenever required.
It should include multiple ways to reach out, including phone, email, google map for location, and an online form.
PRODUCT AND CATEGORY PAGE
14. Product and category pages
Every second matter in the conversion journey.
With 55% of people spending less than 15 seconds on any given page (time.com), it’s easy to guess why your product page has to be amazing.
Your product category pages and product pages should have a clean design and consistent images. This means the same size and the same look and feel.
It seems like a no-brainer, but product pages must also include all necessary product information, i.e. price, description, specs, color or size variations, and user ratings so a shopper has everything they need to make an informed purchase decision. User ratings are extremely important as 69% of users will purchase based on a product rating.
Last, but not least, consider including social sharing options so a happy customer can easily share on their social media or with friends and get the word out there. Nothing works to promote your product better than a happy customer!
15. High-quality product images
Images sell, not text.
eCommerce websites should display multiple photos per product. The photos need to be high-resolution and optimized for page load.
According to Adobe - 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%
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.
16. Product filtering and sorting
Filtering and Sorting options are important features to have on your eCommerce site. With the use of filter and sorting options they can find the exact product they are looking for and it makes the buying process simple for them.
Sorting options allows users to see products in ascending or descending order of price, type, arrival, customer rating, popularity, etc.
Product filtering allows customers to filter products based on different attributes. For example, a clothing store may use gender, size, color, etc. as its filtering options.
17. Reviews and testimonials
Shoppers read reviews. About 95% of them, in fact.
And 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars.
You should build a complete flow to ask your users to write reviews on their purchase. Ask them immediately after purchase, send an email after successful delivery, and ask one more time after 7 to 8 days of delivery.
Depending upon website functionality, eCommerce sites can integrate plugins for user reviews.
Wiremo is one of the good plugins for user reviews for WordPress, Woocommerce, Shopify, and Squaresapce sites.
There are many advantages to provide reviews and testimonial options. It helps to build trust with your visitors and you get a lot of attention from the media which in due course leads to an increase in SEO rankings.
18. Related products
Simply seeing the phrase, “you might like this” causes a serotonin release signaling curiosity and excitement.
A ‘Related Items’ feature on an eCommerce site creates the desirable stickiness effect that so many marketers strive to achieve.
It happens like this:
You saved the coffee maker in 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 the related items feature to sell more, it’s actually signaling to the buyer that “they get me.”
Related items can also include similar product categories to comparison shop, “people who bought this item also searched for”, and so on.
SHOPPING CART, WISHLIST & CHECKOUT
19. Shopping cart
The shopping cart is an integral part of any eCommerce site. The best position to place the cart icon in the upper right corner.
Shopping cart is the place where your end consumers store their products to continue with the checkout process.
In terms of the checkout experience, it should require as few steps as possible to reduce friction and speed of the transaction. Include billing, shipping, payment methods, the ability to modify the product quantity, an option to save your products for later, or to sign in or create an account all on one page.
20. Wish list
eCommerce sites that aren’t using wish-list are leaving revenue on the virtual desktop table.
Sometimes, a customer may be interested in a product but decide to buy it later or may find a product interesting and want to check that later for more details.
A wish-list allows users to store a list of products so that they can easily find them next time they visit your site.
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.
21. Payment gateway
A good eCommerce website gives users an option of diverse payment gateways by not limiting their choices to a selected few.
Advanced payment options like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Payment Wallets, PayPal are a must-have feature for an eCommerce site.
These advanced payment options give users ease of access and improve conversion rates.
Just consider the ease of use associated with Amazon's one-click shopping. Shoppers with registered accounts can literally buy with the click of a button.
Stripe and Square are two major companies that offer pre-approved payment gateways that you can easily integrate with your online store.
22. Guest Checkout
Permission to checkout as a guest is especially important when the user has the first contact with the website/brand. In the first contact, the user often doesn’t trust the brand to provide their personal data. Forcing users to register before completing the purchase leads to a decrease in conversion rates (estimated for 35% of abandonment rates). To make checkout as a guest is generally much faster than creating an account.
Forcing a registration often breaks the buying process. Once the user takes the initiative to make a purchase the checkout process to be presented should be as easy and fast as possible, so minimizing the number of clicks, and the number of hoops is usually a good idea.
A user account is a must feature for an eCommerce site. You
Your site should definitely let the customers register and log in. It’s best to place this on the top bar for easy access.
OTHERS KEY FEATURES TO CONSIDER
23. Responsive website
A responsive website is compatible with devices of all sizes. The content intuitively adapts to whatever device is accessing it to provide the most user-friendly experience.
It becomes more crucial for eCommerce to have a responsive website as more than 50% of business is coming through mobile shopping.
Walmart increased mobile sales by 98% after optimizing its mobile site.
Creating a mobile-friendly experience for your shoppers will improve sales and potentially your rankings.
24. Page speed
In order to increase your sales, decrease page load time. If your website loads slowly, users will bounce and are not going to buy from it. This gives a single to Google and other search engines too and they start penalizing your site and it affects your ranking.
Overall you will lose business due to slow page load time.
According to 2018 research by Google, 53% of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load.
Make sure your website loads faster. Analyze and optimize your website with page speed tools to implement the required web performance practices. This may lead to higher user engagement, retention, and conversions. Customers will leave your website if it doesn’t load properly.
But don’t worry, a good development team takes care of page speed and it can be improved.
You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insight to analyze your website
Security of user information is the top priority for any website but when it comes to eCommerce it is a must.
eCommerce websites can be a lucrative target for cybercriminals. It’s crucial that online sellers protect customer information and take steps to ensure privacy.
Following are the key features to make your eCommerce site more secure:
SSL certificate - Establishes secure connectivity between a user and the website. A website with an SSL certificate looks trusted and secure for online transactions.
Two-factor authentication - Adds an extra layer of security by requiring username/password and a system-generated code sent via email or text.
Use a firewall - Provides a gateway or wall between two networks and permits authorized traffic and blocking malicious traffic.
Encrypt password - The passwords are hashed and not stored in a readable format.
These fixes will make your customer feel safe using your website and give you the credibility you need for them to make a purchase.
26. Share on social media
The next best thing you can do for your site is to have a share feature. Let your customer share your products, services, or blog posts on social media to get engagement. Some kind of sharing button is a must for online marketing and to encourage the visitors of your site to share your content.
In today's digital age, shareable content plays a crucial role as it helps to get traffic for a website. One of the best ways to get people to share your content via social media, email, and other online channels is to have sharing buttons on your website.
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section is the prime go-to destination for customers who might have certain specific questions concerning the products or operations of your business.
FAQ section provides a self-help area to address common customer problems. Buyers often ask about product support, returns, lost account passwords, etc. Some of the common questions customers are looking for:
- What kind of customer service do you offer?
- How can I change my shipping address?
- What if my order is damaged or lost?
- How can I track my order(s)?
- How do I cancel my order(s)?
- What are the payment methods available?
Additionally, FAQ establishes credibility and builds confidence with the buyer.
28. Shipping Information
Alarmingly, unexpected shipping costs are the number one reason for shopping cart abandonment.
It’s critical that eCommerce websites include shipping information early in the checkout process, including a ZIP code calculator showing the cost.
It’s also helpful to include delivery time and options for faster delivery. Sites should list countries that are outside normal shipping zones.
Interestingly, shoppers spend 30% more per order when free shipping is included. Be sure to present codes for free shipping on all pages of the site through the header navigation, if applicable.
Apply these key features to accelerate your eCommerce growth. In nutshell, your website should be user-friendly. It must have all the important features like better UI/UX, clear logo, CTA, proper navigation, live chat, and more. If you can do it yourself, hire eCommerce web developers to do it for you. Keep your shopping website up-to-date in order to keep your customers engaged. Think a step ahead of your competitors and keep updating new, customized, and user-friendly features on your site.