Every online store we build is unique! All the e-shops are aesthetically different and, of course, each of them have some additional or alternative functionalities!
However, they all have some common functional and aesthetic features that make them efficient.
In this article we have put together 12 eCommerce features that we believe should be available in every online store: these features can be technical, aesthetical or even commercial! The presentation order is random.
1. User and Mobile Friendly
Looking at the online store-traffic data we have developed in recent years, we notice that the percentage of mobile users is much bigger than the one of laptop users. When we say much bigger… we mean it! Latest statistics show that the percentage of mobile phone users is around 75% or more!
Of course, depending on the store’s industry, the percentage may vary. However, for B2C stores, the rate can sometimes exceed 90%!
Therefore, for a store to be Mobile Friendly is obligatory! Also, the world has become quite demanding and impatient regarding to the websites it visits. People expect to find all the options in the right places, that the page loads quickly enough, that the texts and other materials are clear, etc. People don’t have time to scroll through the site.
They want to find what they want, buy it and go on with their life.
These are the most essential elements of an online store effectiveness. Everything else, possibly even the product it sells, is secondary!
“User and mobile friendly design” refers to various parts of the online store. Indicatively, we need to consider design and implementation of what the user sees as the page opens (without scrolling down), how understandable and easy the menu is, how effective and guided the search is, how easy is to select the buttons on the small screens, etc.
2. Quality images and videos
Nowadays, the multimedia material on a website is a fundamental part of the function and experience. Once we would put a bad quality photo of the product and that was enough, but it doesn’t work that way anymore! The consumer wants to see quality and rich content. Nice photos in good quality, possibly video of the products and all in a matter of seconds (ex 2).
The point is that nowadays … pictures are selling, not text! Therefore, all material must be of high quality and optimized to load extremely fast.
Internet security has become one of the key pillars! An online store must have an SSL certificate (browsers now clearly show whether or not there is a SSL on the website). In the footer there must also be information on securing personal data and payment security. We can say that, the more security elements are added (ex. two-factor authentication, etc.), the better it is!
4. Special offers
A consumer wants to feel unique and privileged. That’s why the first thing you will see when going onto an online store, is the current offers.
Some offers are shown with a pop up window, some with a banner, others with plain text. In any case, when there is a special offer, there is a significant increase in the chance for the visitor to continue navigating the store and ultimately making a purchase.
The special offer can range from free shipping, up to a coupon code for an extra discount! If the bids are properly integrated into the policy of the business, they can have quite impressive results!
5. Finding a physical store
Many online stores are not accompanied by a physical store. However, when there are one or more stores that have e-shop products available, it is important to show them to the user and make it easy to find the one closest to them. Many times consumers are impatient and just want to go to a store and get the product now, instead of ordering it online and waiting 2 days for it to come. We don’t care where exactly the consumers will buy, as long as they buy!
6. Real product reviews
Consumers read reviews before buying a product! In addition, consumers seem more comfortable buying from stores with a rating of just over 4 (out of 5) and there are some downsides to reviews. This way they realize that these are actual ratings and not fake content added by the company. Therefore, it is important for an online store to produce and show real reviews of its products.
7. Related Products
You will surely have visited shops that offer some similar (either complementary or alternative) products below the product you are looking for. It has been noted that this functionality is one of the most efficient in terms of up-selling. Users see alternative ideas that they had not thought of and this makes them buy more.
Frequently asked questions are an area often overlooked in an online store.
Consumers, especially when it comes to slightly more expensive products, want to feel safe reading answers to questions they thought about the products (or hadn’t even thought about before reading the FAQ, but are now even more reassured because the store had more things to offer than they thought).
Find about 10 frequently asked questions your customers make before they buy and gather them on one page. Questions may concern the business, products, payment methods, shipping, return of a product, etc.
9. Payment methods
Although most people will choose to pay by debit / credit card or cash on delivery, it is important to offer as many ways as we can. For example, there are some people who choose to pay via PayPal! Furthermore, it is important in card payment that it appears that the process is being carried out in collaboration with a Greek bank (for example, if we are talking about a Greek e-shop). You could run a card transactions using PayPal or Stripe, but the Hellenic Bank offers to the consumers greater confidence!
10. Shipping costs
The shipping policy of the products and the details (process, delivery time, costs, etc.) play an extremely important role. Many times consumers abandon their carts because they discover at a later stage that shipping isn’t free, the shipping may be more expensive than they expected, or the delivery date may not suit them.
An online store should make shipping as cheap and convenient as possible (ex. delivery the next business day) and at the same time it should be easy for the visitor to find all this information while navigating (and not right before payment).
11. Return policy
One of the main stresses of a consumer who is going to buy from an online store is what to do if they are not satisfied with the product or if they find it defective, worn out, etc. In a physical store they are sure of the quality because they can see the goods before buying and, in any case, they know the opportunity to return what they bought a couple of days later. In an online store, these facilities are not necessarily available.
Therefore, there should be a page where the business will clearly state all the opportunities a consumer has, the procedures to follow, etc. Consumers expect that in the footer of an e-shop they will find links to pages with these informations.
The online marketplace may be impersonal, but very often consumers need communication. Either because they need guidance on which product they really need, or to ask for more details, or because they may have questions about the process or a problem, for example, with the payment.
An online store should offer different ways of communication in order to serve the needs of each customer. Many times a contact page with company details (phone, address, email) and a message form can be enough. However, there may be live chat, messenger, whatsapp, viber and other options.
These were some of the most important eCommerce features to keep in mind when building an online store. Of course, beyond that there are many other aspects to keep in mind. If you are thinking of starting your own e-shop for your business, contact us to see how we can help you.