Ever wonder what some of the most successful eCommerce websites do to generate consistent high revenues month after month? Well, for starters, they’ve got the fundamentals covered well.
If some of the fundamental features don’t exist on your website, such as a user-experience driven design, or an SSL certificate, there’s no chance you can scale growth.
Here are a few specific ones that address the fundamentals but also go beyond them, which will help you improve your conversion rates.
#1 Keep your customer in mind before designing anything
- Security & Platform
It’s critical you choose a content management system (CMS) platform that can handle a eCommerce’s shopping cart integration as well as security. It’s strongly advised to purchase an SSL certificate if you want to win the confidence of your customers that their personal information will be protected. Customers are more likely to complete a purchase from a security website. When selecting an eCommerce shopping cart to work with for your online business, keep customer satisfaction at the front of your mind in everything you do and you’ll be rewarded with customer loyalty.
- Creative Design & Mobile-Friendly
When you use a template for your shopping cart you run a high risk that your website will look similar to another website online. You want to ensure your brand and online presence doesn’t reflect another business. You will be judged by your website design when the shoppers first visit your online store. Your business is unique, make sure the online world knows it! Invest in a custom website design for your shopping cart and leave your competitors in the dust!
It is imperative in 2017 that you make your website mobile-friendly, so this point hardly comes as a surprise. Because mobile devices have become so embedded in our everyday way of life, making your web store mobile friendly is mandatory. Numbers alone are the best incentive – in 2016 alone, global e-retail sales amounted to 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars and projections show a growth of up to 4.06 trillion U.S. dollars by 2020 [Source]. That is a great amount of revenue earned through mobile shopping alone! Re-platforming your website for handheld devices will earn your business more traffic and revenue, as it would reach out to a much wider audience. [Author’s Note: Mobile friendliness is also a key factor in Google’s latest SEO algorithms – if you want to rank on mobile searches, you need a responsive or mobile optimized website.]
- Order Tracking Capabilities
Shoppers want to know when their items are being shipping and when they can expert delivery. Automated order confirmation emails and shipping notification emails build customer’s confidence in their purchase and in your brand. If a customer registers, they should be able to track their order by logging into an account created upon registration. Consider sending notifications via email or mobile – Customers appreciate being kept in the know, and the brand will be top of mind.
- Website Hosting
How fast your website loads is crucial for merchandisers in terms of both customer experience and search engine optimization. The speed of websites that load in under three seconds have a lot of advantages over websites that take longer to load. Some platforms not only have the native SEO features but also offer apps to help users with their search optimization, including scoring their current efforts.
- Built-in SEO Enhancements
Merchandisers need an eCommerce solution that ensures users have control over permalinks for their individual product pages, site content, title tags, meta descriptions, keywords and tags.
- Product Reviews
63% of consumers indicate that they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews, according to a CompUSA® and iPerceptions® study. It’s safe to say no matter how well online stores promote their own products, reviews by other customers will have a greater impact. Choose an eCommerce shopping cart that allows for product ratings and reviews – and let “word of mouth” work for you.
Here are two ways to take advantage of reviews on your eCommerce website:
- Integrate a five-star or a 1-10 scale rating system below every product, and make it easy to grade the quality with as few clicks as possible
- Create a separate landing page with top user reviews, featuring short blurbs written by registered customers, which can draw even more views
Whichever approach you choose, it is good to treat your website like an actual, physical store where people would converse with each other and browse through freely. This kind of strategy will give visitors that feeling of human involvement.
- Customer Registry/Wish List
This is more of an advanced feature but nonetheless a fantastic enhancement to have if you’re a customer. A “Wish List” allows customers to save items from the online store and return at a later date to purchase those items. When customers have the option to arrange their items the way they want, the results of customer satisfaction is much higher.
- Special Offers
Need to WOW new customers or customers you haven’t seen in awhile? This is where choosing the right eCommerce’s platform is critical to your enterprise. Make sure you have the ability to create special offers. If not, this can dramatically impact the amount of traffic and sales you can generate. eCommerce shopping carts can help you promote special offers like coupons, order discounts, gift cards and free shipping store wide. These offers serve a dual purpose -they encourage customers to take advantage of a “good deal” while also helping you compete in today’s competitive online marketplace.
- Advanced Website Search Feature
Customers have a need for speed! Investing in an advanced search option for your website will help customers search for their products quick and easy. Customers can also navigate via categories, along with browsing by price, category and brand distinctions. If your eCommerce’s website does not have a search option customers may choose to leave your website and make a purchase somewhere else.
- Multiple Payment Options
Most online purchases are done by credit card. By offering options such as PayPal, Google, Checkout, checks, and/or money orders allows more people to feel comfortable checking out on your site.
#2 Inspire your users to take action
The way I see it, the most important features nowadays are the ones that inspire the users to take action.
- Launch a user-generated content campaign that inspires users to take and share photos of themselves with the product using your special hashtags. Put Instagram galleries on your home page – or even on product pages – featuring photos taken and tagged by the users.
- Show uncertain customers how other users are currently placing orders on your products with a recent sales app. It doesn’t matter if the orders were actually placed hours before. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a great tool for this purpose and it’s easy to integrate.
- Fast real time customer support many times ensures immediate conversion, this is why having a reliable and user friendly live chat service like Userlike is necessary, which should also be mobile friendly.
#3 Take care of SSL certification for security and reliability
According to me, the must have feature for eCommerce website are:
- It helps your users to easily find relevant products they may buy with existing product. Here I have explained this topic with example and recommended practice.
- Smart search module: While working as a consultant with leading online auto parts seller in USA, I found how smart search module can improve the conversion. Rather than providing single search option, I recommend providing faceted search which is clearly distribute result derived by category => Sub category => Sub-Sub category etc. If I will have to give an example of auto part seller, the best practice is to provide search option like: Make => Model => Year => Category of parts => Result
- SSL Certificate – SSL is a must for an eCommerce website especially during checkout process. There are various benefits of using SSL for eCommerce but the main benefits are, security & recognization.
Apart from these, there are many important features like easy navigation, last minutes discount / sale section, best seller products etc.
#4 Prioritize the pages that get the most of the traffic
So many eCommerce businesses fail at the first hurdle. Think about how your products are merchandised through your navigation menu and make it easy for visitors to navigate and purchase.
Outside of customer flow, don’t forget to pay attention to trust metrics. Install a high-quality EVL SSL to ensure visitors can trust your website with their details.
Finally; analyse which pages your traffic lands on. If the majority of traffic arrives at category and product level, you’ll want to prioritise your time on those pages, and not the homepage.
#5 The reviews section will increase your credibility
The following are 4 must haves for any website that wants to be successful:
- A social proof like a reviews system or testimonials. This will increase your conversions.
- Your home-page and inner pages have to look compelling with real high-resolution photos of your product and be mobile optimized
- One thing I always look for is a phone number on the home page. This adds legitimacy and shows the company is ready to help the customer out quickly
- Majority of your visitors will be on your website for few seconds, so have a exit intent to capture an email.
#6 A Call-to-Action on the homepage will help you get the conversions
The features you must have on an eCommerce site are a Call-to-Action right on the home-page above the fold, an email capture pop up that comes up right when you hit the site and a referral program. These things are necessary to ensure you build a solid conversion rate, life time value and viral coefficient to be able to compete.
#7 Focus on the analytics of the website
For the consumer fast page-loading time, high quality visuals, easy navigation, strong calls-to-action and AI chat-bots are essential. For the company – analytics, analytics, analytics!