It’s not enough to have great products on your eCommerce site; the best quality products at the lowest prices still won’t sell very well if your site lacks the two other fundamentals of eCommerce: marketing and site design. A great eCommerce site makes life easier for the site owner to run on a daily basis, and offers ease of use for customers that ensure they will convert into loyal followers of your brand. The complexity arises in the successful marriage of style and function. A Pulse Mystery Shopper will help you identify shortcomings in your site usability and identify untapped revenue opportunities, but in the meantime here are five must-have eCommerce features for any successful site that will keep you ahead of the competition.
User Experience (UX) is seeing your site from a customer’s perspective. Sure, you want the fanciest site on the eCommerce block, with all the bells and whistles and new trend features, but are they conducive to a great user experience? Unlikely. Great UX is aligned with simplicity. A visitor wants to find the product they are looking for and buy it. It’s as simple as that. Distractions only delay and frustrate that process and you’ll find visitors quickly leaving for your competitors.
Ecommerce is becoming mobile-centric. Almost 52% of worldwide searches are now made on mobile devices. This means you need to adopt specific features on your site that go beyond simple responsiveness. Delivering accurate search capabilities, easy navigation, simple Add to Cart functionality, and swift checkout processes are why customers will rave about your store.
Speaking of raving customers, collect and promote user-generated reviews where applicable on your site. Unless you are a rare business that is the only seller of a product on the Internet you will have competition, and chances are your customers have, or will, compare you against them. The majority of shoppers read and are swayed by reviews, but that doesn’t mean you should clip your less than stellar ones. Visitors will admire honest review promotion, so don’t be afraid to display three or four star reviews alongside your five star ones. Sites that only display five star reviews are often viewed as censored and may be hiding something.
Words tell and pictures sell. It’s an old copywriting adage that still rings true. Long-winded product descriptions, or even concise bullet points, may explain the nuts and bolts of your products but websites are visual mediums and nothing screams “Buy me!” like a high-res photo (or five). Include multiple product photos for the user to scroll through, but make sure they are optimised for size or they will become boat anchors for your site speed.
It can be a fine balancing act for smaller retailers to weigh up product costs and shipping. Unlike the giants of eCommerce that can absorb shipping expenses, the average site owner needs to exercise a little creativity to retain the appeal of their store. An often cited reason for cart abandonment is unexpected, or excessive, shipping costs at checkout. Customers expect clear shipping information presented to them long before they click the ‘Buy’ button, and that includes delivery date estimates as well as the option to pay a little more for expedited shipping. Free shipping is the Holy Grail of conversions if you can offer it, with some stats showing additional basket sizes of up to 30% more when it’s offered. If you can’t extend to free shipping across the board, consider an achievable free shipping target with a live calculator to encourage additional purchases.