Top 7 Essential Features of E-commerce Stores to Succeed

jessica_nguyen
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These features offer flexibility, make business easier, enhance the customer experience, promote branding and better commercialize your products. Sometimes, the most evident ones are missed as you develop an eCommerce website. Many eCommerce businesses are using different platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, or WooCommerce for their sites. However, no matter which one you choose, certainly unique and intuitive features should be included in your store to boost conversion rates. 

  • Fast & dynamic search
    • 80% of shoppers would leave their cart and go straight to competitors if the online store has bad web navigation, and irrelevant search results 
    • 30% of online shoppers use the site search functionality 
    • Visitors, who use search, are coming with clear intent - they have a conversion probability up to 6 times higher
    • Help consumers with suggestions
    • Avoid no search results
    • Enable them to organize results (filters & sorting)
    • Make it visually appealing (image previews) 
    • Check our article 
    • What is an eCommerce search? (should include such features as navigation, autocomplete suggestions, smart ranking, personalization, and so on)
    • The importance of site search ( with data)
    • Some practices to improve site search In-depth & accurate information about services/products
      • Be clear and complete
      • Be authentic and use reliable sources
      • Create content using buyer persona
      • Add factors of exclusiveness and urgency
    • Users always want the website to look transparent with detailed information in hand. This includes product descriptions, shipping information and related details
    • Content should be complete, reliable and accurate with high-quality videos/images. It must be done with the consumer in mind to have a proper tone and to answer buyers’ questions
    • A common mistake that many merchants make is not making shipping information clear enough (Shoppers get surprised by a shipping rate they did not take into consideration or merchants offer free shipping but do not advertise it well enough while e-consumers tend to spend 30% more per order if free shipping) 
    • Some tips
  • Visual merchandising
    • Website homepage - use your homepage space to inspire visitors with dynamic banners promoting a line of products
    • Use the site layout to maximize the sales potential. 
    • Navigation optimization to maintain their attention before clicking away
    • Sharp and clear visual elements should be used to showcase products from different angles with close-ups of features that make you unique
    • Product recommendations to significantly increase the size of users’ cart, and AOV.  Mention upsell and cross-sell techniques here 
    • Visual strategic decisions engage customers, from the minute they enter your store to the minute they leave
    • Improve key online metrics such as engagement, time on site, conversion rate, and AOV
    • Some tried-and-tested tactics 
  • Reports & analytics
    • User personas through demographic information, geographic location, interests and behaviour. Also, pay attention to engagement metrics - reach, impressions, engagement, organic search (keyword rankings and search volume) 
    • Acquisition - CTR, CPA
    • Conversion - Sales conversion rate, AOV, cart abandonment rate
    • Retention (customer lifetime value & customer retention rate vs. churn rate) - increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%
    • Give merchants a better understanding of product performance and customer behaviours
    • The reports contain detailed information regarding the orders, customer database, and product reports in terms of catalogue. It is useful for analyzing the growth of the business. The websites should be pre-integrated with marketing tools and analytics to better market the brand and read reports about the performance of the store. 
    • Emphasize the ‘search-driven analytics’ - Data from Deloitte shows that 49% of respondents say that analytics helps them make better decisions, 16% say that it better enables key strategic initiatives, and 10% say it helps them improve relationships with both customers and business partners.
    • Some key areas to focus on (with useful tools - Google Analytics, Shopify Analytics, PFS) 
  • Authentic reviews, ratings
    • Ask buyers to write reviews via email or text
    • Have a mobile-friendly review interface
    • Ask at the right time
    • Go specific with review questions (multiple-choice questions or suggested topics)
    • Encourage reviews with images and videos
    • Build brand trust and improve ROI
    • 92% of consumers will hesitate to buy a product with no review => it is powerful social proof to enhance customer experience and grow loyalty 
    • Authenticity in reviews does not mean publishing all fake and abusive ones => to stand out you should make use of honest voices from real customers. The right reviews must be informative, specific to the product features, and helpful for others
    • Tactics to collect feedback
  • Mobile compatibility
    • All websites that are not optimized for mobile will see a drop in overall traffic, ranking, lead generation rate, conversion rate
    • High bounce rates
    • Poor UX
    • Have a standalone website created for mobile device 
    • Have an adaptive website structure
    • Build a responsive website
    • Call-to-Actions - where to place CTAs
    • Structuring blocks, particularly the arrangement of content 
    • A ubiquitous part of the digital experience. A good mobile experience improves the opinion of a brand - 61% of the survey people
      Some drawbacks of not having a mobile-friendly site 
    •  Some aspects to note down
  • Customer support
    • A high volume of support and service requests
    • Common questions related to products, fulfilment, and return 
    • Need to monitor multiple channels with fast responses
    • Choose an inbox that integrates with your platform
    • Make self-service (knowledge base ) frontline 
    • Automation without losing personalization (like personalized auto-reply, chatbot)
    • Meet consumers via channels they prefer
    • It should be ready and reachable at any times as if  shoppers cannot solve their problems as quickly as possible, it will put your brand credibility at stake
    • Some best practices
  • Airtight security
    • Lack of trust in privacy 
    • Malware, virus and online frauds
    • Uncertainty and complexity in online transaction
    • Use multi-layer security
    • Get Secure Server Layer (SSL) certificates
    • Use solid-rock Firewalls
    • Use an anti-malware software
    • Comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requirements
    • One of the most important in eCommerce. Fact: cyber-criminals target mostly eCommerce businesses. Online businesses experienced 32.4% of all successful cyber attacks => deploy security protocols to keep customers and business free from attacks
    • Common security issues 
    • Security measures to cover 

That's my thought about the most important features when building an eCommerce website. What do you think? 

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