With so much competition online for the customers almighty dollar, successful e-commerce websites have an amazing range of features designed to get the most out of every visitor.
So how do you know which features your online store must have to enable you to keep ahead of your competition?
9 Essential E-commerce website features
- Clear & Easy Navigation
- Engaging Photos & Descriptions
- Easy Checkout Process
- Clear Sales Strategy
- Easily Accept Credit Card Payments
- Customer Friendly Shipping Costs
- Sales Reporting & Product/Customer Insights
- E-marketing Integration
- Dynamic Pricing (Wholesale Pricing)
9 Essential E-commerce website features
1. Clear & Easy Navigation
Having a clear and easy navigation can be make or break for your online store. If your customers get lost or aren’t able to easily navigate their way round your store they are most likely going to abandoned it. Simple menus and incorporating a search function to your store will lead them straight to your products and once they are there including breakdowns of product categories will assist them to find what they are looking for. Adding attributes to your products that can be filtered by your customers can give them the option to narrow down the choices and make it less overwhelming.
2. Engaging Photos & Descriptions
A picture tells a thousand words and even more so when it comes to online stores as people scroll through your products. Images are the first impression for your product so having high quality and focused shots are key to your store's success. But don’t forget to back these up with well written descriptions. Not only does it help to have a great sales pitch but if written correctly can help with your google search-ability. SEO needs to be kept in mind when writing product descriptions so you can have more chance of being found.
3. Easy Checkout Process
12% of users said they abandoned an online store because of complicated checkout. Don't let your store fall within this statistic! Placing clear checkout and cart buttons within your help will guide people directly to where they need to process their order. Giving them to option of guest checkouts is definitely an added bonus when it comes to online stores and it streamlines the checkout process and helps create convenience. With majority of online shopping being done on mobile devices it has never been so important to have a mobile responsive website. Keep up with your customers on the move and stand out from the crowd!
4. Clear Sales Strategy
If you want to keep customers coming back and even attract new customers having a strategy is a must for success in the online store world. Marketing towards the right audience, putting products on sale at the right time to get rid of unwanted stock and offering attractive discounts will all help to stay on top.
Coupons have proven themselves to be highly effective sales tools for every conceivable size and type of business and have shown to be a great incentive to keep your customers coming back. Discount coupons are commonly used as sales tools to add pressure of customers to purchase by adding constraints to the coupon such as time or price bar to receive the discount.
Gift cards provide a flexible way for your customers to purchase a gift for someone from your store, making it easy for them to share their love for your brand while also maintaining full freedom of choice.
Selling your products by seasonal sales is a great way to make room for new products and sell off the last season stock that isn't needed any more. Backing this up with eye catching advertising banners and CTA's is the best way to promote your sale and make the most out of reducing your prices.
A strong online store strategy will keep you one step ahead of your competition and keep your customers coming back!
5. Easily Accept Credit Card Payments
The easiest & fastest way to be able to accept credit card payments online is via PayPal. With over 165 million active accounts, PayPal has become a trusted global brand and industry leader in regards to payment gateways.
To give you an idea of just how trusted they’ve become, PayPal make up for a staggering 30% of all transactions made annually in the USA and over 45% of eBay’s overall revenue!
PayPal has made it easier for you to get paid and kick start your online store. Not only is it an affordable option that can integrate with any website, it’s a highly regarded company that your buyers will trust when handing over their credit card details.
For a small fee (2.4% + $0.30 per transaction) PayPal takes care of everything from processing the payment and providing a secure environment for your customers so there are no surprises when it comes to the fee PayPal charges, you know what you’re getting yourself into.
6. Customer Friendly Shipping Costs
Shipping is one the defining factors as to whether a customer purchases from your online store or decides to shop elsewhere.
Studies have shown that 44% of customers abandon their shopping carts because of high shipping costs. In the same vein, 22% of customers abandon their shopping carts because the seller did not mention shipping costs
Your shipping strategy for your online store should be a solution that cuts into your margins as little as possible yet remains attractive to your customers.
Recommended best practice is to include some form of free shipping offer or a flat shipping fee. For example, Flat Rate Shipping Fee of $5.95 or FREE if you spend over $100. Keeping it simple and clear helps attracts more customers as it they know straight up what they are in for.
They say you only have 3 seconds to capture a customer’s attention so having a clear and visible shipping offer on your homepage creates the perfect call to action for customers to continue to browse further. Shipping costs can be make or break for a customer to complete an order so do your research!
7. Sales Reporting & Product/Customer Insights
Gone are the days of complex sales reporting. You can now instantly grab an insight into your products and orders, track sales and growth trends and analyse where your store is performing the best. Not only that but you’ll be able to get an insight to which customers are purchasing the most of which products!
From selling a couple products up to thousands, your e-commerce website will be able to scale with you as your business grows. WooCommerce comes standard with a simplified sales reporting function as using this to your advantage can have a big impact on how successful your online store will be.
Using tracking of sales and activity can be the most proactive way to create marketing campaigns and increase traffic to your website. Getting to know what your target audience is searching, purchasing and which products are popular within your store will help you with sale campaigns and targeted advertising.
This information can be crucial for the amendments to your online store to increase sales in the future.
8. E-marketing Integration
Every visitor should be encouraged to sign up to your mailing list, especially then a customer has just purchased a product.
Targeted emails are a great form of marketing for your online store. MailChimp or Campaign monitor are the perfect Emarketing solutions for your small business. Integrating these solutions into your online store will ensure that no contact is ever lost and you keep your online store top of mind with special offers and interesting email campaigns.Click here to find out more about campaign monitor.
9. Dynamic Pricing (Wholesale Pricing)Looking to add an extra level to your online store and wanting to invite wholesalers to buy your products with convenience of online purchasing. Incorporating dynamic pricing will give the wholesale the option to login and view your discounted products that they can order and get delivered.
Suggested reading: Top 10 reasons to choose WooCommerce for your business