14 must-have features for your e-commerce website
A website that loads fast, looks great, delivers great sales and offers all-round customer delight is every business’ dream. Here’s a list of features your e-commerce website must have to ‘click’ with customers.
Table of Contents:
- Responsive Design
- User-Friendly Navigation
- The Information
- High-Quality Photos & Videos
- Sort & Filter Options
- Reviews & Rating Display
- FAQ Section
- Exchange & Return Information
- Web Push Notifications
- Social Media Integration
The Purchase Experience
- Cart & Checkout
- Multiple Payment Options
- Order Tracking
- Customer Support / Chatbots
An obvious but a fairly important feature is your website’s ability to offer a seamless experience across screens of all sizes. Consumers today are constantly moving between devices and it is important that the browsing experience is consistent across all of them, especially mobile. Here’s how you make things easier for yourself; choose from Shopify’s list of responsive themes.
“I wonder if – let me look for it – where can I find it -why can’t I find it – never mind I’ll look for it on another site.” Want to avoid the dreaded ‘customer bounce’? Build them an easy-to-understand customer journey where they can navigate between different product categories and website sections and complete the desired journeys. A simple burger menu, a well-designed header, clear and effective CTA buttons and a comprehensive footer with the site map ensure the customer doesn’t wander off from your website.
A search bar is a great feature to have on your website. It helps both kinds of users – the ones who know what they’re looking for, reach their destination faster and the ones who have no idea what they may discover can be guided to the desired destination. Here are four things to keep in mind while designing a great search bar:
- Ensure visibility: Top left corner of the screen is the most used placement.
- Use standard design: The magnifying glass is almost synonymous with search.
- Use autocomplete: Help users finish their search or use prompts to ease discovery.
- Make it user-friendly: Search terms must marry commonly used phrases. Accept red in place of oxblood or trash can in place of waste organiser.
High-Quality Photos & Videos
One of the most important features of your website if not the most important is the product photos and videos. Great quality photos that highlight all product features not only help your customer make an informed choice but also help reduce returns. Ensure your photos are well lit, aptly styled and intricately detailed to help the customer make choices around colour, variant or size.
Not quite ready to invest in studio photography yet? Here’s how you can get started with smartphone product photography.
Videos are a great tool to showcase your product in the environment it’ll be used or to educate the customer with tutorials. While videos are a great showcase tool, ensure that they are scaled to load quickly and do not add to page load times.
Quick tip: Shopify allows you to add 3D models and videos to the product catalogue page for a great product showcase. Read more about this inbuilt feature.
Sort & Filter Options
A phone with 8GB RAM, a 6.5 inch screen, a 4000 mAh battery, a 32MP camera under INR 15,000 that can be delivered within 2 days – consumer searches can get very very detailed. The trick is to provide the customer with a neatly categorised sorting & filtering list that ensures they are spending their time making a purchase decision and not discovering products. Categorise filters under relevant facets that customers may want to filter your products by and place the most important ones on top. Here are some examples to help you build your own list.
- Sort by occasion for fashion – office, festive, party, etc.
- Sort by user for services – students, professionals, etc.
- Sort by location for equipment – indoor, outdoor, etc.
- Sort by tech for gadgets – operating systems, hardware components, etc.
- Sort by chronology for tech products – release year, variant number, etc.
- Sort by category for food – veg, non veg, vegan, etc.
- Sort by skin type for skincare – normal skin, dry skin, etc.
- Sort by price – highest to lowest, lowest to highest or by particular price ranges depending on your product value.
- Sort by location – Country wide like India, U.K., U.S.A. or city wide like Mumbai, Bangalore, etc. to make sure you display the right product availability.
- Sort by launch/promotion – new, featured, on sale, etc.
- Sort by color/style – depending on the product variety offered by your store.
However, make sure to not overwhelm the user with too many filters. Only use the most relevant to your customers so as to keep them moving along the sales journey.
Reviews & Rating Display
With the inability to touch and feel products while purchasing them online, customers rely heavily on reviews and ratings from other customers to validate the information shared by brands and also to help them make their purchase decisions. This leaves brands with two important tasks – first, to ensure they are enabling and encouraging customers to rate their products and services and second, to make sure these reviews and ratings are strategically displayed on the website. There are a bunch of apps like Judge.me and Loox that help you do just that. You can check out the entire list here.
In order to build a comprehensive purchase experience & prevent customers from wandering off the website for answers, brands must build an easy-to-discover and an even easier-to-navigate FAQ section. This can be used to provide vital information and also to address the most common questions that potential customers may have regarding their products or services. Here’s an in-depth read on the why, when, and where of FAQs along with FAQ templates to help you build your own.
Exchange & Return Information
An easy way to steer the customer of any pre-purchase doubts is a clear mention of your exchange and returns policy. This helps the customer ward off apprehensions around their purchase and gives brands an opportunity to get the customer to sample products that they otherwise would hesitate to try. Along with building a generous policy that builds purchase confidence without burning your bottom line, it is also important to ensure your exchange & return policies are easily discoverable on the website. They can be added to the website header or footer, the FAQ section, the product catalogue page itself and even reiterated in the cart and on the checkout page. If you need any more help, check out this comprehensive exchange and returns policy guide that also includes a template.
Web Push Notifications
We’ve all read those witty notifications from food and grocery delivery apps; notifications however aren’t only for mobile apps. Websites too can use push notifications to create awareness around new offerings, remind about abandoned carts, share shipping updates, etc. Web push notifications are an easy-to-integrate feature that could open up a world of customer interaction and engagement opportunities for brands. There’s a host of great apps like PushOwl and Web Push & Announcement Bar that take less than 5 minutes to integrate with Shopify and can help you get started immediately. Check out the complete list of web push notification apps here.
Social Media Integration
Another great way for brands to build trust amongst customers and also build a community of loyal customers is to link their social media presence with their website. This adds a layer of authenticity by showcasing other people who have trusted the brand in the past, showcases template customers and how they use the product while encouraging new customers to share their experiences on social media channels. Wondering how to leverage social media to drive ecommerce sales? Head here for answers.
The Purchase Experience
Cart & Checkout
Losing a customer after they have made a purchase decision and added the product to the cart is probably the second harshest thing to happen to online sellers after CoD orders that aren’t accepted on delivery.
The formula for a great cart & checkout has 3 key ingredients:
No surprises: Don’t introduce any information or charges that weren’t previously known to the customer. Usual suspects – expensive shipping, long delivery times and taxes.
Make it quick: Customer data may be important but not at the cost of a sale. Design a checkout process that relies on minimum information to process orders & complete transactions.
Remember everything: Storing vital information like shipping addresses, payment information & other details, with the customer’s consent, ensures future checkout journeys are a breeze.
Multiple Payment Options
With the rising costs of customer acquisition, losing a sale because a customer forgot a CVV or because the server for one bank was down seems like a business crime. According to an article published by Axtrics, providing multiple popular payment options on your website can help increase sales by as much as 71%. Want to know how many payment options Shopify supports and how you can set them up for your website? We’ve got you covered with this quick 6-minute read.
Those memes about customers ordering a product online and heading straight to their doorstep waiting for the delivery aren’t that far off the mark. Offering the customer easy visibility at all order stages – confirmation, packed, dispatched, out for delivery and eventually delivered is a great way to keep them engaged throughout the order journey and reduce chances of post-purchase dissonance. An order tracking visit to the website is also a great opportunity for brands to showcase add-ons or complementing products and upsell to the customer.
Customer Support / Chatbots
Brands can continue forging stronger relationships with customers by making themselves available at all times, for all kinds of interactions and by assisting the customer with all the information they need. With the advancements in AI tech and the rapid development of e-commerce chatbots brands can ensure they’re addressing customer conversations at all times, across all geographies & time zones and at a fraction of the live agents cost. This ensures the brand is with the customer throughout the purchase journey, addressing concerns and minting better returns on their acquisition costs.
These 14 features can help you build an ecommerce website that attracts, engages, converts and brings back customers.
Also read: Ecommerce Trends to Watch Out for in 2022 &