Top 9 E-Commerce Website Features You Should Know
When it comes to e-commerce websites, it’s all about functionality, features, and design. But which ones are the most important factors, and which platforms can help you achieve your goals? This is a question for all who are preparing for a new online business. There are e-commerce website features you must-have if you’re running an online business and have an e-commerce website. In this article, we will give you a full list of standard e-commerce features for all online stores and shopping cart platforms.
Here are top 9 features for an e-commerce website which you should look out for:
1. Content management system (CMS) of an e-commerce website
Content Management System is used to manage the website content such as logo, banner, footer links, policies, and products from the back end itself. When used in online retailing, the CMS will be used to manage the product catalog of a store. WordPress is the most popular CMS in use on the web, but there are others such as Drupal, Joomla, and even Magento, which is excellent for e-commerce website features.
A content management system will organize and store files, and provide access to their data that is version controlled. There are many different content management systems, some being relatively simple and others being complex and powerful. Usually included in a content management system are the features of format management, web-based publishing, indexing, revision control, search, and retrieval.
From a practical point of view, you shouldn’t overgeneralize, as that would require the CMS user to keep defining what their contents are like. But it is not possible to offer all the possible solutions, as the resulting system would be too complicated and hard to use. A compromise solution is advisable in all cases. Usually, a number of general options are offered to cover the most common needs, with the possibility of including additional modules or plug-ins to extend or modify the CMS behavior in order to cover the exceptional specific needs of the e-commerce website features.
The main advantages of a CMS are:
- Lower costs: the system is built once and can be used in many stores. Even though there are evolution and maintenance costs, it’s much cheaper than developing a customized system from scratch for every store.
- Evolution: CMSs usually evolve through the delivery of new versions. This makes it possible to solve existing problems and keep up to date in such as changing the environment like the Internet.
- Community: many people will use the same system as you. If you have a problem, it’s highly likely that someone has already experienced it and you may find information about how to solve it.
The main drawback is that the system was not specifically conceived for your store. Very often, the solutions it provides will be more general than required so that you won’t have any problems in that regard. However, you may have a specific need that isn’t covered by the system, so you will have to use extensions, or, in extreme cases, CMS modifications.
2. An easy-to-use checkout e-Commerce website
The checkout is a primary chokepoint for customers, and a lot don’t even make it past the first step. 28% of American online shoppers have abandoned a shopping cart for no reason other than the checkout process was too long or complicated. It’s a massive problem for many eCommerce checkouts.
Are you putting up roadblocks or clearing the way? Thankfully, many of these mistakes are easy to take care of with just a small investment of effort upfront. If you follow a few basic principles, you can improve your checkout and make sure your customers have the best experience possible. This e-commerce website features will make your store more reliable to the clients.
Get a Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Version of Your Desktop Website
Many e-Commerce brands build what are necessarily two completely different sites, a desktop version, and a mobile version, instead of building a desktop version that’s responsive to mobile devices. The result? Your shoppers, who may have researched your store on their desktop, open the mobile version of your store and can’t recognize it. Your website’s appearance and interface must be consistent throughout all devices. Otherwise, you risk losing customers before they even begin the checkout process.
Don’t Require an Account Setup: Create a Simple Guest Checkout
It’s a hard truth most e-Commerce brands have to swallow: your shoppers don’t want to spend the time to create an account with your e-commerce website features. Registration represents a commitment that, especially, first-time shoppers don’t want to make. It also takes up too much time, particularly for mobile users who just want to buy something in a few minutes and then move on to the next task. You can offer account sign-up incentives, such as free shipping and discounts, to help cultivate user data. This approach empowers budget-conscious customers to set up an account without souring their now slightly longer checkout experience. It’s a win-win.
Use Auto-Populate Tools and Reduce the Overall Number of Form Fields
It’s laborious to type in your name, address, and payment information on a mobile device. Since the majority of e-Commerce shoppers will be buying on mobile devices, make the experience simpler. Enable auto-populate tools on your site, allowing customers to add auto-filled personal information to their checkout. Add tools that streamline other parts of the form field process. Most importantly, let repeat customers save their personal and payment information on your site, enabling quick and easy checkouts on future purchases.
Remove Navigation Options from the Checkout Page
On the checkout page, the biggest problem you’re trying to address is decision fatigue. Your customers already waded through a wide array of products and then carefully selected what they want. Do not ask them to make more navigational decisions once their shopping cart is full. Your checkout page’s design should indicate that your customer has one thing to do—pay for what they want.
3. Multiple payment options (Credit card, PayPal, PO, Terms, etc.)
The idea of a single payment platform seems smart to many new business owners because it simplifies the process. But having multiple gateways on your e-commerce website features actually offers a ton of advantages that help make your e-Commerce websites more profitable.
Makes Shopping Easier for Customers
When it comes to checkout, you want to make the processes as convenient as possible. Multiple payment gateways help. If customers can’t find their preferred payment method, they will abandon their shopping carts. The Baymard Institute surveyed online shoppers about their reasons for abandoning items in their online cart. The survey found that 8% of people abandoned because there weren’t enough payment methods available. That percentage represents a healthy chunk of missed sales.
Shoppers Can Use Their Favorite Payment Method
Shoppers often prefer specific payment types. One customer may want to build their cashback points with their favorite credit card. Another may only trust an Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment made from their phone. Multiple gateways let you customize more payments for more customers. Although most online stores accept major credit cards and ACH payments, what you add after this will depend on other factors. A good match will customize your shopping experience, lower purchase barriers, and increase sales.
Your Customers Feel Safer Giving You Their Data
Safety in a payment gateway is a priority one. After all, that’s a gateway’s main job—encrypting customer data and transmitting it securely. So make sure a payment gateway is a PCI compliant before signing on with them. Your customers’ data is your responsibility.
But aside from actual data security, having multiple payment gateways creates a sense of perceived security for your customers. The Baymard Institute survey showed 19% of customers had abandoned their carts because they didn’t trust a site with their credit card information. But having multiple payment gateways helps.
You Can Make More Money Internationally
If you’re planning on selling internationally, you’ll want multiple payment gateways to support local payment methods. Payment gateways vary by nation, region, and accepted currencies. For example, Alipay is a favorite payment solution in China. Having a payment gateway that doesn’t support it would cut you off from an enormous market.
If you want to expand into foreign markets, multiple payment gateways help you handle different currencies. Convenience and trust increase when customers can purchase products and services in their local currency. So, you’ll need a gateway that can convert your website’s currency into local ones. Auto-conversion makes the checkout process more convenient. That means lower abandoned cart rates.
4. Search engine optimized (SEO) code and layout for an e-Commerce website
SEO management can refer to your company or your agency’s management of your SEO strategy. As a part of SEO management, your team or agency develops, leads, and modifies your strategy to maximize your results and achieve your marketing, sales, and business goals. Almost all e-commerce websites feature many forms that collect personal details from users. So it’s good practice to make sure ALL information is encrypted, not just credit card details. The four steps behind successful SEO management include:
Companies that excel at SEO have an in-depth understanding of their audience. They’ve done the research and understand what their target market wants from their business, product, or service. These companies also know the common questions and problems of their target audience. If you’re going to succeed at SEO management, you need to understand your target market at this level.
Even if you have marketing personas developed for your target audience, it helps to reevaluate your past research. Consumers can change over time. If you use outdated marketing personas, it can cause your SEO strategy to flop, which doesn’t help you or your company. Once you have your audience researched, you can take the next step towards launching your plan.
A competitor analysis can offer tremendous insight, which is why it’s a core part of SEO management. Whether you’re partnering with an SEO agency or leading the initiative in-house, make a competitor analysis part of your plan. For competitor analysis, it’s helpful to look at the following competitor types:
- Direct competitors: These are businesses you compete with offline and online. You probably already have a list of direct competitors to reference. Now, you want to look at their online presence and investment in SEO.
- Indirect competitors: These are companies you compete within search results. For example, two manufacturing businesses may compete for the search term, “local manufacturing companies,” even though they produce different products.
As a part of your competitor analysis, you want to determine the organization’s SEO strategy. In some cases, you may find that a direct competitor doesn’t have an SEO strategy. That’s where indirect competitors can help as most owe their high ranking in search results to SEO.
With your target market and top competitors researched, your company can begin the process of optimizing your e-Commerce website for search. This process can take time, so approach this task with realistic checkpoints or goals. For example, if you have 25 pages on your site, it’s probably not feasible for your team to optimize all those pages in a month. You have additional responsibilities to manage, though some companies solve this problem by taking advantage of website SEO copywriting services.
Like other digital marketing strategies, SEO uses data. With data from your website, you can measure the success and performance of your SEO strategy. Plus, you can find areas of improvement and make data-backed decisions when it comes to your next move.
With professional SEO management, you can resolve this problem. This tool allows you to track calls generated by your website, which makes monitoring your SEO results hassle-free. No matter how you approach reporting, whether with the expertise of an agency or the resources of your in-house team, make reporting a part of your SEO management. It can inform and improve your strategy, as well as demonstrate its value to company decision-makers.
5. Reporting tools of an e-Commerce website
The whole idea behind e-Commerce reporting is to build reports that showcase your company’s data, but this is worthless if you spend so much time making your report that there isn’t a second left to actually act on your data and orient your marketing strategy accordingly. This is where DashThis, our e-Commerce reporting tool, comes in handy.
Ecommerce analytics simply refers to any tool or strategy designed to analyze large amounts of data in order to produce actionable insights. Because it exists in an almost entirely virtual space, e-Commerce generates complex, comprehensive datasets — particularly those related to client behavior. More data was created in 2017 than was created during the previous 5,000 years combined. That is a lot of data to measure, parse, and analyze. Finding the right e-Commerce analytics tools for the job, however, can offer your brand an immeasurable advantage over the competition.
Without the ability to accurately access, measure, and interpret the vast amount of data that your shoppers generate, you might as well be operating in the dark. Turn on the light and put your customer data to work with Cloud Integration, an all-in-one, the unified e-Commerce platform that includes the most advanced e-Commerce analytics features available.
6. Promotion and discount code tools of an e-Commerce website
Five years ago, “coupon” or “voucher” was a nasty word to many online retailers, and it was not considered as a part of the e-commerce website features. While coupons and discounts were viewed as essential, they held a negative implication. Today, things are different. Discounts and coupons are consistently used by retailers and are now seen as a useful tool for driving sales. But what changed?
As a shopper, you get transparent, monetary compensation. As a retailer, coupons incentivize customers to purchase, create brand loyalty, and allow you to diversify your promotional marketing easily.
Promotions increase sales
Promotions on e-commerce websites benefit online consumer behavior, which makes it simpler for you to sell to buyers despite how much competition is out there.
A common misunderstanding with sales promotions is that you have to offer crazy discounts or incentives to drive sales conversions. While bigger incentives may be more appealing, a small incentive can still make a positive impact on sales, and you won’t have to diminish your margins drastically.
Promotions create a better sales strategy
We are all aware that November and December drive nearly ¼ of all e-commerce revenue, but there are other opportunities out there that you can capitalize on. Think Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Mother’s Day, and so on. By running promotions around key dates and holidays, you can convert more sales and add value to keep shoppers coming back. It’s also important to consider that you will face less competition promotion wise on these key dates that aren’t during the big holiday season. Take a look at this e-commerce promotional calendar to pinpoint your next big sales opportunity!
Convert a higher percentage of traffic
On average, 98% of new visitors don’t convert into a lead or sale? Almost all of the traffic that you end up driving to your e-Commerce website results in nothing. Yes, some of these new visitors who don’t convert may come back at another time. But you have no way of knowing how much of this traffic will return.
This puts heavy emphasis on converting the current website visitors. Promotions provide an effective way to engage and convert traffic. You are serving up an offer that says, “Welcome! Take 15% off of your first order. Enter your email to get the code” will provide the opportunity to drive sales but also focuses on capturing email leads. You can retarget these visitors for free with email campaigns.
Promotions are an effective way to engage people
For just a moment, think of your e-Commerce store as a brick and mortar store, and you need e-commerce website features to have more visitors. You’d never let someone walk through the front door without engaging them in some manner. Whether it be welcoming them, notifying them of current promotions, or providing them with some information, you have to engage that shopper. The same goes for your e-Commerce website and promotions. This is your opportunity to directly engage each shopper with something that could be of value to them. Using a pop-up promotion to provide something of value to your visitors (discount, free shipping, free gift wrapping) will only enhance their shopping experience. With pop-ups, think key moments during a visitor session. Upon entry, upon exit, and on cart/checkout pages to put that final stamp on the sale!
7. An integrated blog or articles section
For starters, a blog on your e-commerce site will consistently provide you with a platform on which to share news and information about your company. You can offer coupons, discounts, and make announcements about new products or events. For instance, did you know that a blog can make information about your products more shareable on social media? Or that a blog offers the perfect avenue for adding new content to your site regularly? What about the impact this has on your site’s search engine rank?
A big challenge to starting a blog is making sure you can produce enough content to keep it going. That is, once you decide on a publishing schedule, you need to stick to it. But this can feel difficult, especially when looking at the big picture. The task of creating new content regularly can feel daunting.
Tell Your Company’s Story
One of the most critical roles of an e-Commerce blog is to act as space for you to continually talk about who you are as a company. I don’t mean this in a literal, “This is what we’re about…” sort of way. Instead, I mean a blog is your place to demonstrate what your company is about by sharing what you find interesting, highlighting employees, and showing your products in action.
How to Spread the Word
An essential part of maintaining an e-Commerce blog is the e-commerce website features that help spread the word about it. A little bit of word of mouth advertising can help. But it’s bound to be much more effective if you share your content on social media, too. This means promoting your blog posts across social networks. It means sharing tidbits from those posts on Twitter. It means announcing new products on Facebook, and so forth.
8. Email marketing integration
With email marketing, you can capture website visitors and turn them into customers with a long lifetime value. Long-term is key here. As tempting as it is to focus on acquiring new customers is, research has shown that it costs five times as much to attract new customers than to keep existing ones. Email campaigns can be personalized and automated to be sent at the right time, so it perfectly fits the customer’s journey. Easy to set up and highly effective!
Building your e-Commerce email list
To make people sign up for your newsletter, you first need to make them aware you’ve got one. I hear you thinking: “Will a newsletter advertisement interfere with my customer’s shopping experience?”
The answer is no. Not if you place your signup form on strategic spots on your website.
Making people excited about signing up for your list
“Sign up to stay up to date with the latest news.” Yawn!” You can do better than that!
With so many e-Commerce newsletters available, what will you offer that makes you stand out from the competition? Your newsletter doesn’t have to exist solely to communicate sales periods and new launches. On the contrary, this is your chance to build your brand and invest in forming amazing relationships with customers. Instead of purely focusing on product sales, they actively build a following by telling stories around their brand. They educate their audiences with informative blog articles, entertain with online magazines, inspire with trend reports, and engage by putting the spotlight on their readers. This can help you optimize your e-commerce website features.
Using e-Commerce integrations and templates to minimize manual work
The beauty of email marketing is that you can reach all your customers simultaneously, without putting in a lot of work. Webshop integrations and templates are key for making this happen. By using an e-commerce integration, you can connect your store to your email marketing. All your customer information and purchase history data will be automatically synced, making it easy for you to maintain an up-to-date address book. With this customer information, you’re also able to send targeted campaigns based on your customer’s needs.
As for templates, most email software offers ready-made templates to copy, adapt, and use for your own e-Commerce newsletter. This is a great foundation to start with, as you only need to tweak the colors, images, and text.
9. The ability to scale up with your platform
The ability to scale is not necessarily the ability to blow up the market, continually growing and growing. Scalability refers to the ability to respond to demands effectively, to be prepared for growth, and adaptable to limitations and fluctuations in the market.
You’ll need appropriate resources for whatever you plan to scale to. Build momentum with cutting down on time and costs, and by increasing sales. The relationship between demand and supply is a cycle, and your ability to adapt to it defines your business’ scalability.
There’s only so much you can do on a budget. Automation can allow you to cover more ground with your current number of employees. Don’t get it twisted. It’s not about replacing employees or potential jobs with technology. Those positions wouldn’t be available regardless, due to the costs of hiring new talent. What technology can do is assist your present employees in their everyday tasks, and most importantly, extend their reach. Automation, therefore, redefines the job that e-Commerce retailers are able to do.
E-Commerce can be one of the hardest businesses to scale. Offering a service is one thing, but selling a product requires logistics, which is a whole different ball game. Is your e-Commerce business stuck in a rut? Is it growing, with the momentum you want to keep going? If either of these scenarios applies to you, here are three things you need to do immediately to build up or retain momentum, to ensure continued growth.
About CO-WELL Asia
CO-WELL Asia CO., LTD. (hereinafter referred to as CO-WELL) is the subsidiary company of CO-WELL Japan (located in Tokyo, Japan) operating in the fields of Global Software Development, Testing Service, AR-VR Technology Service, IoT Service, and Cloud Integration. Founded in 2014 in Vietnam with 5 core members from CO-WELL Japan, CO-WELL Asia has been growing steadily and constantly with over 400 employees and 2 offices located in Hanoi and Da Nang.
With the slogan “Behind your success”, CO-WELL proudly becomes a reliable IT service provider which builds a solid online store full of e-commerce website features for customers/partners to optimize their business.