The eCommerce industry is thriving. There are several statistics and research reports that prove this. A forecast published by Statista projects revenue from eCommerce sales in the U.S to hit a whopping $1.3 trillion by 2025. See more details of this report on the graph below.
One factor that propelled the growth of the global eCommerce industry is the penetration of digital buyers. Another Statista report shows that 74.3% of Americans purchase products online. The figure is expected to rise to 80.4% by 2025.
This trend presents a unique opportunity for e-merchants. Brick-and-mortar stores are set to make a fortune by operating an eCommerce website. However, not all those with eCommerce websites succeed in the eCommerce realms. There are a few rudimentary elements that an eCommerce website must have to succeed. This article will explore the most pertinent eCommerce website features.
User-friendly Design and Navigation
The aspect of eCommerce website usability can never be stressed enough. Some experts regard user-friendliness as the most vital eCommerce website feature. Your customers want a good user experience as they walk through your website. If they can’t have a good experience, they will exit and look for an alternative- an alternative could be your competitor.
Did you know that 88% of online shoppers are less likely to return to an eCommerce website with a poor design? That is how serious the website design issue is to eCommerce store owners.
The key to reducing bounce rates and increasing conversions on eCommerce websites is to offer a user-friendly navigation system. Here are the features to prioritize when creating a user-friendly design for your eCommerce store:
- Make the site as responsive as possible
- Create a simple, intuitive home page
- Include a search bar
- List all category pages in the navigation bar
In today’s age and era, eCommerce shoppers heavily rely on mobile devices for online shoppers. Statista shows that mobile commerce sales will likely reach 710 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.
The secret to mobile commerce is to make your website compatible with all mobile devices and operating systems. And so comes the big question: “How does one make an eCommerce website mobile friendly?”
ECommerce mobile friendliness is broad and could be discussed in a blog post. However, here are some tips for a mobile-friendly eCommerce website for this article.
- All themes and templates integrated into your eCommerce website should be mobile-responsive
- Make all images as light as possible
- Change button sizes to fit the requirement for mobile
- Eliminate pop-ups
- Use adjustable fonts
- Declutter your eCommerce website
- Test your eCommerce website on real mobile devices
Security and Encryption
Hackers are running scams on the internet streets. eCommerce websites are a lucrative spot for attackers. Cybersecurity ventures project a surge in cybercrime. The same report reveals that the need for eCommerce businesses to safeguard their assets and networks against such risk is estimated to drive expenditure by businesses on cybersecurity to $1.75 trillion between 2021 and 2025.
eCommerce stores are a lucrative spot for attackers. Attackers will lay all traps to lay their hands on user data, such as passwords and financial information. E-merchants are not ready to hear the cost of a successful breach. They bring forth severe financial and reputational damages.
All these should be a clarion call for e-merchants to rise to the occasion and secure their websites with adequate security protocols. Several security measures will protect an eCommerce website from hackers and security vulnerabilities. Encryption is one of the most vital security measures every eCommerce website should have. As noted above, hackers seek to steal users’ sensitive data and information. Encryption makes it hard for attackers to tamper with data. Encrypted data is available in ciphertext rather than plaintext format, so attackers cannot read or comprehend the information.
The SSL certificate is needed to enable encryption on an eCommerce website. SSL certificates initiate HTTP to HTTPS migration. HTTPS is the secure encryption protocol. There are several SSL certificates available for use on eCommerce websites like DV SSL certificate, OV SSL certificate, and EV SSL certificate. They come at different prices and serve various purposes other than enabling encryption. But for encryption, you should go with a higher validation certificate as many SSL resellers offer low-cost or cheap EV SSL certificate that brings high value to your site.
Other security measures to safeguard your eCommerce website from attackers are mentioned below:
- Enable multi-layer security
- Use robust firewall protections
- Use anti-malware scanners and software
- Ensure the eCommerce website complies with PCI-DSS requirements
- Conduct regular updates on your software, operating system, plugins, themes, and extensions
- Perform regular data backups
- Perform regular security monitoring
Multiple Payment methods
One of the many challenges eCommerce store owners face is the aspect of shopping cart abandonment. And one of the causes of high shopping cart abandonment is the lack of a preferred payment method. To boost the chances of sealing a deal in the final checkout process, it is best for eCommerce websites to provide multiple payment methods. The logic here is that different users prefer different payment options, and the unavailability of one would inconvenience them.
Other than just offering debit and credit card options, allow users to use other methods such as PayPal, Stripe, Payoneer, or direct bank transfers. The more payment methods on your website, the higher your chances you can seal a deal with your eCommerce site visitors.
Shopping Cart and Checkout Options
A shopping cart and an intuitive checkout option are one of the most significant features of an eCommerce website. A shopping cart fills the gap between shopping and purchasing. The logic is that “eCommerce site visitors could shop but fail to purchase.” Simply put, a shopping cart is a software tool that lets shoppers make purchases.
The shopping cart will collect a customer’s payment method, distribute payment information to the payment processor, and store information about various products the user selects. In other words, the shopping cart is the online version of a supermarket basket and a cash register. With all the benefits a shopping cart brings, it would be best to ensure your eCommerce store has the feature.
Reviews and Ratings
The reviews and rating section is the most popular form of user-generated content integrated into an eCommerce website. The section is an integral eCommerce website feature because it helps provide social proof to online shoppers that a product will fulfill their needs and expectations.
eBay is an excellent example of an eCommerce store that has integrated this feature. The eCommerce website allows users to review and rate the products based on their experience. Online reviews are essential since they help to influence the user’s buying decision. According to an infographic published by Podium, 93% of online shoppers have made buying decisions based on reviews and ratings.
While integrating the reviews and feedback section on your eCommerce store is essential, ensuring that the section receives positive reviews is more vital. Negative reviews discourage users from buying, while positive reviews signify that your store is genuine.
Online shoppers will always want to know the progress of their order so they can plan on pickup logistics. A good eCommerce website should keep online shoppers informed about the progress by telling them the location of the order and the time it will likely arrive at their pickup station.
One of the best ways to boost customers’ confidence in the goods you sell is to include a generous returns policy on your product pages. The returns policy guarantees customers a full refund if purchased products fail to meet their requirements or spoil during their shipment. Shoppers are confident that they can return the products and get a full refund if things go south.
It also helps to position the return policy strategically, near your add to cart button, to boost the chances of the positive impact it would have on the purchases. Lastly, ensure you stay true to your word and stick to the stipulations of the returns policy.
Shoppers will always seek support regarding various aspects, such as product usage and shipment, or seek clarifications about various policy clauses. For this reason, an eCommerce store should have a strong support team to come to the users’ aid when need be. It would be best for customer support to be available 24/7/365 to avail the support at all times.
Adding a section on frequently asked questions is another excellent way of incorporating user-generated content into your eCommerce website. The FAQ section will help an eCommerce store in various ways. For instance, it will help boost sales by answering pre-sales questions your customers might have. FAQs also help reduce the time your customer support team would have to answer various questions your customers might have.
There you have it! A list of the ten must-have features of an eCommerce website in 2022. It is now time to proceed and implement these features on your eCommerce store. If implemented wholly and effectively, these features could propel your eCommerce website to success, boost leads, and increase conversions.