10 essential features for a successful e-commerce site
Last modified: 2018/11/13 | Approximate reading time 6 mins
When setting up an e-commerce website, the time and money invested can be considerable. Of course, it’s expected that your efforts will soon be rewarded and the sum of your investments will quickly be profitable. However, it’s crucial to bear in mind that nothing is immediate and finding a return on your investments will involve hosting a beautiful and functional site. When creating your e-commerce site, there are essential features that are necessary to optimize the comfort of your visitors and keep them coming back for more.
This is especially true when considering that user experience is just as important to customers as it is to search engines. In this article, you will find a list of functions to include in your e-commerce website to increase traffic on your platform.
Here are our 10 key features for a successful e-commerce website
1) The importance of responsive design
You’ve likely heard about Google's ranking algorithms designed to improve the relevance of search results to users. The latest algorithms are put in place to favour sites whose design is responsive. In other words, sites whose display adapts to different screens, including mobile and tablet, will be higher ranking when compared to those that fit computer screens alone.
In addition to being an important ranking measure for search engines, adaptability is crucial for users who are looking for an ergonomic and efficient site for their purchases. According to a study, 40% of customers went to a competitor's website after a bad experience on a mobile site where the display didn’t convert to the screen. This is especially important for e-commerce sites because, above all, the user must be able to view products, fill out forms and make purchases without encountering pitfalls that could leave them feeling as if their personal information could be compromised.
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2) Image optimization and product descriptions
On an e-commerce site, customers should have access to quality images and a detailed description of your products. Therefore, it’s advisable to provide high-resolution photos that allow the user to zoom in on products on offer. Be sure to provide a complete description of each product, as this helps to reassure the buyer that they’ve made the right decision.
The importance of the description doesn’t only concern the customer, but again it also concerns the search engine. By optimizing your texts for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), the pages of your website will be more accessible and readable for search engines. As a result, you’ll improve your SEO and the visibility of your website even further.
3) Well-performing search functions
The user must be able to easily find products that interest them. For this reason, it’s necessary to integrate categories and subcategories while also allowing different search parameters such as price, brand, type, size and so forth. One suggestion is to invest in a tolerant search engine that accepts misspelled words. This is because there is truly nothing more frustrating to a user than a search that ends in "no results matching.”
Further, the success of an e-commerce site is strongly related to its navigation speed. Studies have shown that 57% of users leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to appear. Of these, 80% say they will not return to the site after this first failed experience, hence the importance of display speed that is intimately related to the user experience.
Curious if your website is efficient? Here's how to know!
4) Newsletter and loyalty program
Have you ever heard the phrase "the customer is king?” We’d suppose you’ve come across it once or twice. This sentence is all the truer when it comes to the success of running a business online. And for good reason; if the customer isn’t satisfied, it will take just two seconds for them to move on to your competitor. For this reason, treat your customers well. If you don’t do so, your competitor will take over where you left off.
Also, we’d recommend including a newsletter on your shopping site. This will offer a thread of information about your business with your users, informing them about news, current promos, and private sales. Lastly, consider a loyalty program that can be used to reward customers who frequently visit and buy on your website.
5) Sharing on social media
Thanks to social networks, there is a platform in place for free advertising, a huge benefit to any business. For this reason, share buttons with links to your various social media channels should be integrated in front of each product.
Thanks to this function, it will be easier for you to share your products via your corporate Facebook page or Instagram. Social media is a simple and effective way that offers visibility to your products and increases your web traffic.
6) User Reviews
Some may be reluctant to use this feature, as the fear of bad comments is a relevant one. It’s true that customers tend to vent when they’re unhappy, but will not express themselves when they are satisfied. However, do not hesitate to get good feedback by setting up a system that offers customers a chance to provide a comment or a note for when a product is purchased. If your products are of good quality, you will quickly see that positive comments are in the majority. This works as a proof of quality for potential customers because prospects will more likely be tempted to buy a product from someone with satisfied customers. On the other hand, negative reviews can help you identify product improvements while providing you with feedback to send to vendors.
7) Using retargeting as a digital marketing strategy
You'll probably be surprised to learn that 98% of users who visit an e-commerce site for the first time don't make a purchase. Rest assured, it’s possible to change the game by integrating a retargeting function into your website. To define the concept simply, retargeting (or retarget advertising) offers users personalized advertising that corresponds to the product they viewed on a website.
Retargeting is a technique that pushes the user to return to an online sales site previously consulted for the purpose of increasing the conversion rate. These campaigns can be integrated into your online marketing strategy and can be done via Google Adwords, Facebook and other means of communication.
8) Recovery of abandoned shopping carts
Did you know that 67.45% of online shopping carts are abandoned before the customer finalizes their order? How can you go about reducing this percentage? Statistics show that you shouldn’t hesitate to send a reminder email about these pending baskets. Indeed, 24% of customers who have abandoned a purchase claim that the "website crashed" and 15% of them indicate that the "waiting time expired,". These customers can easily be recovered.
9) Return and refund transparency
If there’s a feature that virtually all e-commerce sites must have, it’s return and/or refund feature. When shopping online, you can’t be sure that the product will meet your expectations. A customer who knows that it is possible to exchange or to be reimbursed for a product will be less hesitant about buying it. Transparency is strongly recommended and thus, the return and refund policy must be clearly indicated, without leaving room for doubts and questions because the credibility of your online sales site rests on your word.
10) A live chat tool
Everyone encounters doubts when purchasing products online, and in most cases, few take the time to call customer service. Fast and discreet, the Live Chat feature solves this problem by providing immediate answers to users' questions. This also helps to unclog phone lines and leave them open for more complex issues.
Looking for some inspiration for your e-commerce website? Check out our article with some beautiful design examples.
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