If you are looking to get an ecommerce website for your business in order to start selling your products online, you need to ensure that your new site will have the most important features of an ecommerce website.
Your new website development should have the following essential elements so that you have a better chance of becoming successful online and can be key for long term success.
Below are key elements to running a successful website for your business, how to increase conversions, and maximize your online profits.
Essential Features Of Ecommerce Websites 2018
1) High Quality Imagery
Product images are essential for ecommerce store success. Images should be high quality and highly detailed. Just think of it when you are shopping, would you buy something that looks bad?
You may be selling the best quality products in your store, but if your product images look poor, people are unlikely to buy from you.
It would be a good investment if you are selling consumer items to get a professional photographer to take high quality photographs of your products.
2) Clean Web Design
The design of a website will impact the way your visitors view your brand. If your website looks cheap, your brand will be perceived as a substandard provider or service. However if your website looks overly exclusive and you are selling mid range products, then this might force your customers to click away again before they even get a to look at your product prices.
A website should be clean and devoid of unnecessary, complicated and gimmicky features. Such features can affect buyer perception and take away from what you brand is all about. Successful ecommerce websites have a home page that is inviting for a user to click on products or categories and begin a process of viewing products, adding them to the cart and then checking out.
3) Quick And Accurate Search Function
A good ecommerce website will have an easy to find search box where people can quickly find what they are looking to buy. Your customers are likely to have a busy lifestyle, so being able to find what they need quickly can be the difference in making a sale or losing it. Just think, when was the last time you spent 10 hours browsing online shops at one time? Very unlikely.
Just look at Amazon for example, one of the best features from their marketplace website is their search function. It is easy to find, you cannot miss it, yet when you search for an item, 90% of the time the results will have exactly what you typed in and a range similar alternatives or related products.
If your customer can find what they need quickly, you will have a better chance of converting them into a sale.
4) Simple website navigation
Navigation is critical for having a highly successful ecommerce website. If a visitor to your online shop can easily access your products and find their requirements, the chances of them turning into a sale increases greatly.
Your products should be listed in structured categories to make it easier for your customers to browse the products that they came on to your website to look for. Having a good website structure will also help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duckduckgo and others to crawl and rank your website accordingly. Normally if you are looking for products online you will find online stores that have good a navigational structure ranking at the top of search engine listings.
The navigation is also essential in order for a visitor to be able to checkout as soon as possible and complete their purchase. Not only for checkout, your customer services pages should also easy to find.
5) Customer focused content
The content on your ecommerce website should be focused on your visitors. The website content should provide informed information to help your customer understand if the products that you have for sale are right for them.
Having quality, unique and informed information in your website content will help create a good user experience for your visitors and will encourage them to stay on your website longer and increase the chances of them making a purchase or to return to your website.
6) Detailed Product descriptions
Feeding into the important features of an Ecommerce website above, all ecommerce website owners should spend time creating content to provide their customers with detailed information on the products that you have for sale. In a lot of cases many webmasters just copy and paste content from what their suppliers provide. This will have detrimental effects to your efforts of getting your website ranked on search engines like Google who have algorithms that punish duplicate content.
Again, product descriptions should be written around your customer to help them understand if they need your products.
7) Related products to upsell and increase profits
Related product suggestions are a great way to increase the profits of your ecommerce shop. Not only does this feature improve customer experience helping visitors view more products in your shop but they can help upsell accessories and related items.
The more your visitors browse through your site, the more they will remember your offerings and come back to view more and increase the chances of them coming back to buy more.
8) Customer support
Some customers need help when completing a purchase on an online store. In some cases a website may experience some downtime. Whatever the reason that may hamper your visitors progress from making a purchase, most customers would want to know that support is on hand if they require it.
Online shops should have customer support details, phone numbers, links to a customer support page or instant chat easily available to access. Having customer services and support on your website shows that you care about your customers and will help them
9) Delivery and returns information
If you buy something online, you are going to want to know when you will receive your item. You are also going to want to know if it is possible to return your item and receive a full refund. Delivery and returns information are key features of an eCommerce website.
Delivery and returns information is essential for your website and will help to build customer trust in your brand. Normally the delivery and returns information page(s) can be found at the footer on an online shop website. This information is particularly important for clothing retailers as that industry see a high volume of items returned. Check out Amazon, they have good delivery and returns information.
10) Terms and conditions
A terms and conditions page is an important feature of an ecommerce website as it can protect your website, your company and in some cases your customers in terms of liability for damages or losses incurred as a result of using your ecommerce website.
This page can also contain a disclaimer if you are participating in any affiliate programs for your website is for a drop shipping business.
There are many terms and conditions generators that you can find by searching online but it is often best to write up your own or get a legal expert to do this for you.
11) Unique selling points – why people should buy from you
Ecommerce is becoming ever more populated online and no matter what you sell, there is a good chance that you will have many competitors. It is important that you highlight the advantages your customers will receive by making a purchase on your website.
You should consider what you do better when compared to your competitors online. Do you offer free delivery on all orders? Do you offer next day/ quick turnaround on delivery? Do you offer secure payment options? PayPal? Visa etc.?
If you do something that you know your competitors are not doing, you must state this on your website. Indirectly telling your customers that you are the best choice for them will increase your sales and boost your brand awareness.
12) Simple checkout function
A checkout function on a website is probably the most important part of your ecommerce site. The checkout must be simple and quick. The easier it is for your customer to make a purchase, the more profits you can earn online.
If you have a complicated or confusing checkout, then you are likely to experience a large number of abandoned carts. If a customer gets confused or becomes unsure about filling in the form at hand, they will become scared of the fact that the purchase may not work but yet they could get charged. People avoid problems but your website should not cause problems.
It is a good idea to also set up a guest checkout function on your website where people have the option to purchase without setting up an account on your website. With issues around data protection and website hacking, you can understand the concerns of a customer when shopping online.
13) A good payment gateway
Your ecommerce development should have a good payment gateway for your customers to complete a purchase. If your checkout only has limited options for making a payment, you are possibly denying people from making a purchase.
A good payment gateway would normally include secure payment options such PayPal, Visa and Mastercard checkout options.
14) Website security
Security is important for online shopping. With so many hackings going on in the world wide web it is important that your website is updated with appropriate security patches.
Adding to point 13 above, your checkout should be secure in order to prevent any compromises with your customers data and bank account details.
Ecommerce websites should have SSL certificates with enabled on their website if credit cards are the only checkout options. PayPal checkouts on the other hand redirect the customer to the PayPal website in order to process the payment. Having https:// in your shop URL helps to build trust in your brand.
15) Quality secure and fast hosting
Just because your website is up to date and contains SSL certificate encryption, your website could also be at risk if you are using substandard hosting packages.
Cheap hosting is normally shared hosting accounts where there could be a number of websites hosted on the same server. If one of the websites on the server gets hacked, yours will be at risk also. If your site gets hacked or infected with a virus, you could be at risk of losing vital website files or completely lose your online store.
It is important that you choose a reputable website host to prevent hackers, viruses and general downtime. For every minute that your website suffers downtime for any reason you are likely to miss out on potential sales.
Once you have your website built and populated with products, you are going to need to get customers onto your new development. Without visitors to your website, you are not going to get any sales.
You can get a digital marketing consultant to help you create a marketing strategy for you to best harness the potential of your new website. Web traffic is essential for you to get new sales. The best ways to get traffic is through search engines via search engine optimisation (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC) and social media marketing (SMM). Hiring a good digital marketing consultant will also help you to convert the traffic to your site into leads
17) Social media engagement
Social media plays a role in the success of a brand and is an essential features of an ecommerce website. While social media may not be your main source of leads for your online store, this is the platform that will help you increase your brand awareness and help create a relationship with your customers.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Snapchat are all social platforms that can engage your customers, build trust and help generate repeat customers. Social media can also be used as your customer support as people have become comfortable using social media as a way to communicate their issues rather than phoning or emailing customer support staff. How you engage with your customers using social media will also influence buyer perception of your brand.
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Why not share your own thoughts
Are there any features that you think are extremely important for an ecommerce website? What features are a must have for you? Let us know by using the comment form below and share your thoughts.