Ultimately, these five features will either make or break your eCommerce site. In order to really have your site grow and succeed, these features are essential. Neglecting to use them at all or choosing to implement them ineffectively isn’t much of an option anymore—customers have expectations, and if you don’t meet them they will just go someplace else.
1. A Mobile-Friendly Site
The world is becoming more and more centered around various mobile devices, and a website that is not mobile-friendly is simply lagging behind the others. The majority of consumers own and use some sort of mobile devices as part of their day-to-day life; as a result, they also primarily browse and shop from the comfort and accessibility of their mobile device. Shopping on one’s computer seems like a thing of the past to many consumers because now the future is mobile-focused.
So, as a whole, having a mobile-friendly site is a huge advantage for any eCommerce company. For one reason or another, people are usually using their mobile device or have it somewhere on them.
Catering your site to that large demographic—a demographic which now makes up around 50% of all online transactions— makes converting traffic into sales that much easier. Whether a potential customer finds your site through social media such as Instagram or Twitter or other digital avenues, a mobile-friendly site will make it that much more likely that they will stay on your site and complete a purchase.
If anything, a site that is not mobile-friendly is a deterrent to potential customers. They’ll ask the question: “Why should I bother staying on your website, a site that isn’t properly optimized for the device that I’m using, when I could easily go on another that is?”. That is not the question you want people who are coming to your site to ask. And, as more and more people begin to use their mobile phones as their primary device, this trend will only continue.
Simply put, in this day and age a mobile-friendly website isn’t just important for a business, big or small—it’s entirely necessary.
Security is something that every person values. Whether it be at home or out in the world, people like to feel as though they’re safe and secure. Of course, websites are by no means an exception to this rule. If anything, it is especially true for eCommerce websites. To make it short, your website is selling something, then it needs to be safe for your customers to use.
Not every website is safe for customers to share their information on, particularly when it comes to important information. Addresses, card numbers, and names are all things that the customer expects to be secure when entering a transaction on any site. Unfortunately, that is not always the case for every website. Customers can have their information stolen on unsafe sites, something which will always reflect badly on your business.
That is why it’s important for your eCommerce site to be as secure as possible. First, it’s important to make sure that your website has a secure HTTPS connection—this will do your business a lot of good in the end. Not only will it help ensure that your customers’ information stays safe, but it will foster a level of trust between your website and the customer.
Even more, there is the extra level of security that is two-factor authentication. This additional step in the login process sends a code to the user’s email address or phone number, and provides an even greater amount of security. Ultimately, regardless of how far you’d like to go, it’s very important to make your customers feel secure on your website. Otherwise, they’re not very likely to spend their money on your products now or in the future.
Special offers and promotions are incredibly useful tools for attracting traffic to your eCommerce site and converting that traffic into sales. Often, businesses will use social media, email, text messages, and even the header of their own websites as ways to let customers know about ongoing promotions. It is an effective way to boost traffic and sales with very little effort put in.
When a business puts a promotion in the header of their website, they’re letting everyone who visits know that there is some sort of sale or special offer going on. It incentivises potential customers to browse when they otherwise may not have and, most of all, it leads to an increase in sales. If your website can keep customers on it longer, it is more likely that those customers will make a purchase.
If a consumer believes they are getting more value out of a purchase (i.e. a sitewide 20% sale), they are likely going to spend more money. Promotions may seem like a simple feature, and may even be an afterthought to some businesses, but they can really make a difference when properly utilized.
4. User-Friendly Website
When it comes to websites of any kind, ease of use is very important. However, this is doubly true for any kind of eCommerce website. The fact is that customers value a website that not only offers a useful service, but is also easy to use and navigate. To the consumer, if a website is too complex to navigate easily, it already has depreciated in value.
Customers make purchasing decisions in an instant. That’s why your website needs to be as efficient as possible in bringing any potential customers to a final purchase. If it’s difficult for them to get around your site, that’s just another obstacle in the way of an actual sale.
This is why it’s important for your site to be as easy to use as possible. Customers should not be struggling to find what they want to be, and every second longer it takes is a chance that they will go someplace else. Effective use of features such as breadcrumb navigation, autocomplete search bars, and filters will make any customer’s experience that much simpler—and that will lead to more consistent, sustainable sales.
5. Customer Reviews & Ratings
Often, reviews and ratings are one of the first things that a customer will look at before making a purchase. It gives them a sense of the product’s quality, as well as allowing them to see what other customers have to say about it. While reviews may seem like a small thing to include, the reality is that they have a huge impact on an eCommerce website’s success.
These features give the customer a chance to assess a product before actually committing to buying it. Ratings, for example, influence whether or not a customer will even be interested in a product. If a specific item is highly rated, consumers are more likely to click into its page and consider purchasing it; of course, the opposite is also true for products with lower ratings.
User reviews work in a similar way. Customers usually take the time to read the reviews of other customers in order to decide whether or not a product is worth the purchase. While positive reviews certainly help increase an item’s perceived value, it’s more useful to have a mix of positive and negative reviews. This all ties into the customer’s perception of your business’ trustworthiness.
Reviews and ratings don’t only show customers what other people thought of a particular product, they also provide a level of transparency. These features show that your business is not only providing a valuable service or product, but that you are willing to be open and honest with your consumers.
Bad reviews might lower an item’s overall rating on your site, but it also shows customers that you’re not just hiding every negative review that comes your way.