From year to year, more and more shops go online. It used to make sense even before the quarantine, but lockdown surely gave a significant push to this process. Going online has many benefits for business owners. Foremost, it’s much less costly for business owners to sell online.

Let’s dig a little deeper and focus on the major benefits and key features of E-Commerce platforms.

Major Benefits of Owning an E-Commerce Website

Creativity and willingness to highlight among other businesses have great importance in launching an E-Commerce platform. However, creative solutions are not usually long-lasting and need regular updates.

What is constant, it’s a time-tested experience and a list of qualities necessary for your website to remain interesting for users and competitive in the market.

These qualities are:

Speed. You can’t compete if your website takes ages to load. It is seen as the first reason for visitors to close the tab and choose another shop among tons of ones with an equal product list.

Transparency. As practice shows, buyers can abandon a cart with no hesitation, if they find out there are any additional fees, which have not been specified at the very beginning. That’s what over 60% of buyers do.

So be honest with your clients and don’t muddy the waters.

Personalisation and supervision. Shoppers want to experience an individual approach, no matter if it’s shopping at brick and mortar store or online. You need to make visiting your website feel like going to an actual store, having fun, and communicating with the seller for making the best potential choice.

Problems Solving. Closely related to the previous one. But here it’s not only about the frictionless process of product search, but about the possibility to solve any problem that may occur as fast as possible. Solving the problem increases the chances for the buyer to reach the endpoint – making a purchase.

Fewer Steps. Online shopping should be as simple as possible. I say this not only as a developer but as a buyer. This is why subscription-based and one-click purchasing services are so popular these days. They speed up the buying process, which means increasing the possibility for it to happen.

Core Features

To stay relevant and competitive, e-shops need to focus on the following components of great functionality:

Mobile-Oriented Interface

An E-Commerce platform that does not have a customized mobile interface or an app is doomed to stay far behind its competitors and eventually disappear.

Mobile shopping statistics provide some very interesting data:

  • 125 million buyers in the United States own smartphones.
  • 50 million shoppers in the United States own tablets.
  • In the last six months alone, 62% of American shoppers have used their smartphones for shopping. That’s about 77.5 million people.
  • They make every third online purchase with a smartphone.

We must not forget that compatibility with mobile devices is hugely important for Google algorithms and significantly reflects on indexing.

Smartphone-friendly E-Commerce websites look well on screens of any size. Shopify platform handles this pretty well, but when using built-in templates, be sure to check the display settings. Otherwise, things maybe not that exciting.

Security’s First

When shopping online, you use your bank account data and you definitely don’t want them to be used for any other purposes. We can see press reports about big and reliable platforms that are being hacked and theft. It does not encourage people to buy from them again. It also turns it into a big problem for marketers to bring things back to the usual order.

Website security is essential for both the customer providing their card details and the domain owner who does not want to face a cyber attack. That is why sellers often choose Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, which provide complete site security as standard.

Website security can be provided by:

  • SSL certificate. The green padlock you can see in the address bar is the first sign that you can trust this resource.
  • Firewall. Roughly, it is an imaginary wall that does not let harmful traffic to the site, thus protecting both the website owner and visitors.
  • Privacy Policy Link. For websites offering an email subscription, it’s vital to have the Privacy Policy document and notify users about it. It’s an agreement between you and your visitors that you can collect contact data for your marketing and analytical goals, but these details will never be passed on to third parties.
  • Two-factor authentication. Another authentication step follows entering a login and password. It usually looks like a request to enter a code from an SMS or email. If the resource has its mobile application, you may need confirmation in the application.
Feedback and rating system

Feedback is vital in decision-making for over 90% of buyers. Almost every buyer checks the rating before buying and marks it as the key thing that can motivate them to make a choice.

The reviews must be genuine and look organic. Tons of positive feedback from bots look unnatural and scary. It also leads to sanctions from the search engine.

One more reason why you should not underestimate the feedback system or take it for granted: it is always a chance to notice shortcomings, fix them, and make the service even more customer-oriented. This is the very first and the fastest way to increase revenue, expand the customer base, and improve loyalty.

To all the above, half of the users don’t pay attention to feedback posted more than a month ago. Therefore, it is natural and desirable for sellers to remind themselves through e-mails, push notifications, and so on.

As a platform for feedback collection, you can use Facebook, Yelp, or Reddit, or ask for comments directly on your website.

‘You May Also Like’ Section

This is one of the most important trends for E-Commerce and gives the customer a personal touch. Amazon states that the page with recommendations plays a significant role in their sales. This feature helps to increase the cost of every other purchase.

Offering the “you may also like” field allows you to not only increase the size of checks but to explore the connection between products, understand better what to offer to customers. Each buying and selling transaction is material for analysis, which showcases user behaviour and improves its customer focus.

High-Quality Content

Photos, videos, and text. Don’t underestimate any of them. High-quality photos are key to making a choice when it comes to buying things. Ideally, if you can see the product from different sides, zoom it, watch a video or 3D picture. Buying clothes, shoes, or jewelry, it is perfect to have photos of the models.

Nice photo catalog on your website is an instrument for increasing brand awareness, its calling card.

Photos also can be a statement tool for telling about your position sometimes, like supporting some social movement, or so.

When taking photos for the website, don’t be snobby. Although most smartphones can create wonders of technology, the skills and vision of a professional photographer are of great importance.

Speaking about text content, use it not only for describing goods but for creating value, for assuring your clients that this or that thing can make their lives better, easier, more beautiful, etc. A skilled copywriter knows pretty well what to do and how to do it.

Full Transparency

When specifying information about delivery, payment, and everything else, be as clear as possible. There are two unpleasant scenarios where the seller does not tell the whole truth about the delivery cost:

First: you collected a lot of things in your cart. Possibly, you spent lots of time doing it and expect a specific amount. When making a purchase, you find out that you need to pay some extra fees for delivery, possibly for packaging or something else.

For third of cases, it ends with abandoned carts.

Second: the store actually offers you free shipping, but not out loud. You have no idea about that. You find out this amazing surprise only when it comes to payment.

For most buyers, free shipping is an argument for increasing a check size by about 30%.

Creating User Profile

Having a user profile has so many advantages that totally justify all the investment by a platform owner costs. Among them:

  • Fast log-in and buying things with no need to enter shipping data every single time
  • Buying history, preferences list, saved items, and much more
  • Email or/and phone number. These are invaluable things for marketing and sales teams. Having an email address, for example, you can send your clients links to new products, discounts, advertisements, articles in your blog, and tons of other opportunities.
Personalisation

Here we are talking about a loyalty system, using personal data (like birthdays) for sending gift vouchers and personal discounts. Favourite categories, purchase history, and more data that you can use for marketing activities and increasing clients’ loyalty.

Talk to your customers, make their lives easier. Make a customer, not a sale. And you’d be amazed at your sales conversions.

– Maria Monroy, director of sales at LawRank

Connecting With Social Media

Connecting a buyer’s profile with social media accounts has a lot of benefits for both the buyer and the seller. First, it makes the registration and login process more convenient and fast, eliminating the need to recall and enter the password every time.

Second, it is the most powerful platform for sharing information about products, brand, your mission, news, and special offers. You don’t need to use your corporate Facebook or Instagram accounts as online shops, but you must be present there.

It’s been checked that the major part of people in the age of 16-35 years is searching for a brand in social media first, check the bio and a full catalog, and only then make a choice.

Online chat

The rapid growth in the number and popularity of chatbots can be partly explained by the need of having this feature on your website. People clarify even the tiniest details before buying things. We have an impressively large assortment of goods around us and having something almost ok isn’t enough anymore. We search for a perfect fit.

About 79% of online customers said they like using live chat, as they can get answers to their questions immediately.

44% of consumers said that being able to ask questions to a live person while making an online purchase is one of the most useful features a site can offer.

Having an online chat not only allows you to clarify the information in a few minutes but also makes the process more human-oriented, which means so much in commerce.

Put an online-chat link on every page of your website. Thanks to this, your clients will ask a question immediately when it arises with no need to go back to the first page or, what’s even worse, to search for the needed section.

Section With Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

While working with all clients’ requests, it’s easy to become overloaded. It totally plays against you. You are not just not getting new customers, but you are losing existing ones – people who are already here and are ready to buy but have a question or two.

Therefore, you need to put yourself in your client’s shoes and think thoroughly about what questions they may have. Also, pay significant attention to messages you get, especially during the first few weeks or months after releasing your platform. Understanding what problems your clients go through you can:

  • add the answers to FAQ
  • improve your website or service and remove the problem

The FAQ is another opportunity for you to make the user experience more personalised. It feels like someone really cares.

This section requires constant monitoring and processing in parallel with providing telephone and online support. It is not possible to answer all questions, but the number of answers should constantly strive to 100%.

If the question falls into the category of those that arise, again and again, it should be in the FAQ section.

Is That All?

Definitely not. I am almost confident that you know much more features, especially for a particular business you drive. The number of them may be impressively important and always dynamic. While circumstances are changing, the list of features and advice will change too, it’s inevitable.

Start with an MVP, observe how people behave, what obstacles they meet, and on which stage they make decisions, positive or negative. It means analysis, implementing changes, feedback analysis, and work with analytics data. In parallel, pay attention to your competitors. You can always find something inspiring in their work and something that will show you how you shouldn’t work.

Summary

Always ask yourself if your website meets the requirements described above. Check if everything works correctly, if you collect all the needed data and if you can compete on your market. Be sure that your E-Commerce platform is human-oriented, that you can help to make the right decision, to fix technical problems, etc. Is there enough human element on it, or does it allow you to find answers to questions without creating new ones?

And always remember that your goal is not only to sell but to make the buyer come back.

Development of E-Commerce platforms, after visiting, which will leave only a positive impression and the desire to come again – one of the favourite things in Incora. Drop us a line and we will provide a free consultation and estimate and will implement your project exactly as you imagine it.