After the global pandemic outbreak, the international community rapidly shifted towards online shopping. In 2021, retail eCommerce sales generated 5.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide.
There’s literally no time like the present to start your own eCommerce business.
However, you need to put time and effort into creating a website that will bring tons of sales and customers. A website is like a heart for the eCommerce business, and it has to be tailored toward the preferences of your target market. You must make it according to the latest trends and up to speed with all the latest eCommerce features. We’ve compiled the least must-have features for eCommerce websites in 2023.
Responsive Website Design
More and more people use their mobile devices to shop and interact with different brands. It’s way more convenient to purchase products while driving on a bus or in the back of the car, with just a few scrolls and clicks. That’s why you must ensure that your website is mobile-friendly and responsive for all devices.
According to statistics, 79% of smartphone users bought some products at least once over six months. Additionally, the global pandemic adjusted the way of leading businesses for B2B companies who have adapted their websites to be mobile-responsive. Also, there has been a rise in custom-branded applications in the last couple of years, creating more comfortable conditions for buying things online.
How to make your website mobile friendly? You need to implement a responsive design, which makes the content adjustable to different screen sizes, layouts, and resolutions. You can also take mobile-friendly tests to see how the website looks on different devices.
Once the user accesses your website, they go straight to the website navigation. The 2021 Digital Experience Benchmark Report says that the average time on the pages is 54 seconds across all of the industries. Afterward, the attention span drastically decreases.
Whether your users are purchasing products or looking for an FAQ section, the navigation has to be as user-friendly as possible. Imagine walking into a huge mall looking for a specific product or shop, but there are no maps or consultants to ask around. That’s how users feel when they encounter a website with unclear navigation.
Here’s a piece of interesting stats, research shows that people spend 80% of their viewing time on the left portion of the website and only 20% on the right side. Consider this when creating a design for your online store.
One more tip to help in making user-friendly navigation is making your menu vertical. It makes it easier to shift your navigation into the mobile-responsive design then and easier for new users and returning customers to navigate through the website.
Multiple Security Features
With further development of technology, the risks of hacking and security breaches also rise. Security features are necessary if you want a successful eCommerce website. One of the ways to ensure security is to use a virtual private network, also known as a VPN. Think of that as the first line of defense against hackers and security threats.
You can utilize multiple security features to keep your online store safe and secure. Let’s review some of them:
Install an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate
With this feature, you can ensure the privacy and security of all the data exchanged between the web server and browser.
Set up multi-factor authentication
It’s hard to predict where or when your passwords could get compromised. Setting a second authentication factor is a preventive measure that will ensure the integrity of your accounts. Additionally, change your passwords regularly to boost your security.
Choose plugins wisely
We all know that plugins are a way to enrich your website with new features and functionality, but you shouldn’t compromise the data security because of that. Make sure to choose only the safe and secure plugins.
Shopping Cart and Checkout Buttons
The main goal for any eCommerce site is to gain as much revenue as possible. An optimized shopping cart is a way to go to reach maximum results. What does it mean exactly, an optimized shopping cart? It includes features like fast service, seamless checkout, multiple reliable payment methods, and the ability to preview the order before purchasing.
Meanwhile, if the customers experience troubles during the customer journey and checkout process, it will greatly affect their decision on whether to complete the purchase. Baymard’s research shows that the troubles during the checkout process result in 69.82% cart abandonment rates. In order to avoid such rates, here are a few tips on how to optimize your checkout experience:
Make your products clickable
In this way, you’ll ensure that the customers can familiarize themselves with the products’ details before purchasing. They need to have access to such product characteristics as size, color, model, etc., so they won’t order the wrong stuff by mistake.
Customers will appreciate that if your products are all clickable with a direct add-to-cart option. They can easily go to the checkout page and make purchases.
Optimize product names and details
When working on product page content, ensure to include SEO-related keywords in the headers. Additionally, the product name has to be included in the text throughout the product description. Don’t forget to make the product name clickable and use words that are familiar to your audience. Besides, itemize every single detail, such as the price, shipping details, and description.
Display several checkout buttons
If you place a checkout button in several different locations, it will raise the probability of customers actually seeing them. No matter where they are on the site, they need to understand how to go to the checkout quickly. In this way, you’ll increase your conversion rates.
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Offer Multiple Payment Options
If you aim to sell globally, your eCommerce store has to be flexible regarding payment options and methods. Most of the target audience will have one of the preferred payment methods, but you need to include other options to enhance the customer experience.
Regarding alternative payment methods, cryptocurrencies and digital wallets have slowly but steadily become the new trend. For instance, stats say that 6 out of 10 Gen Z and millennials prefer their banks to have cryptocurrencies. Of course, you can still offer traditional payment methods, such as bank transfers or credit cards. However, the alternative methods offer greater security, and customers tend to shift towards them.
Create FAQ Section
Suppose you want to have a comprehensive purchase experience and prevent customers from leaving your online store to google the answers they seek. In that case, you must have an easy-to-discover and easy-to-navigate FAQ section. FAQs are a source of vital information since they address most of the common questions potential customers may have about your goods and services.
Detailed Shipping and Return Information
With the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been a significant change in how shipping and supply chains operate globally. In the same way, consumer behavior has also changed. So the companies won’t stay behind; they need to learn how to manage customers’ expectations in a new way.
There are two main tendencies when it comes to consumer behavior. Firstly, consumers say that the free shipping option greatly affects their purchase decision. Also, they prefer to see shipping costs before buying a product. Hence, you need to display whether you provide such an option on your website. If you fail to do so, you may see a rise in abandoned cart rates, and your customers will go to the competitors.
Secondly, you need to inform the clients about the return process. 92% of customers say they will buy again if the merchant provides an easy return process.
Give your customers a great user experience, and they will return to you again. You will reduce losses and create better customer relationships.
Here are a few of the best practices to implement changes in customer behavior:
- Display whether the product is available
- Inform the customers about the return process in advance as well as expected arrival times
- Offer real-time customer support
- Display the shipping and return policies on the website
High-Quality Photos and Videos
Customers first notice the brand’s visual content when they visit the website. So, you need pictures and videos of impeccable quality to create a great first impression. 93% of online consumers say that visual appearance is the key determining factor in terms of making a purchase.
Also, you need to understand that it’s not enough just to have high-quality images and videos. Every eCommerce store has those these days. Meanwhile, you need to level up your brand’s content, and here are a few tips on how to do that.
Shoppable images & videos
Adding images and other visual content to your website makes it shoppable. The customers can go to the checkout page by clicking on the picture. These days, social media platforms and even Google Lens allow customers to use images as links to buy goods or services.
AI improves over time, and so does the company’s ability to cater to the needs of its clients. Don’t limit it to personalized subject lines or inserting customers’ first names into comms when it comes to personalization. Instead, enhance their digital experience by offering goods or services suited to their region, demographic, or preferences.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content is created by; you’ve guessed it, users themselves. It’s a free and efficient way to gain social recognition for your brand. Besides, UGC isn’t limited to photos and videos; it can also include reviews and testimonials, which can be invaluable to your brand. Stats says that as many as 89% of customers read reviews before purchasing products.
Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR)
Since its establishment, artificial intelligence has evolved a lot, and today it’s a new normal. Companies encourage their customers to try out new products before buying. With these technologies, the customers get to experience the product or service before making purchasing decisions. With augmented reality and virtual reality, companies give their customers enhanced customer experience that affects their purchasing decisions.
Contact Page with Multiple Contact Options
If you think that the work ends when you convince the user to buy your product and trust your brand, you’re in for a disappointment. It’s necessary to build a relationship with the users. For instance, finding their email address and adding it to your mailing list is a good start. Besides, provide an on-site option where the customers can reach you in case they need to clarify anything or want to leave feedback.
Create an Omnichannel Platform
Once your eCommerce website is optimized, creating an omnichannel platform is crucial. What exactly does it mean? Omnichannel platforms help you to make a connection with users and create an exceptional customer experience. Users don’t need to spend extra time logging into different social media channels and other platforms.
An omnichannel platform means you can meet potential customers wherever they are and provide them with a seamless level of service across all communication platforms. By incorporating omnichannel social media customer service into your website, the customers have the freedom to choose how they want to interact with your company. Besides, you can also sync it together with the customer relationship management process, creating an even more personalized experience.
You need a website that loads fast, looks impeccable, and delivers great sales. Optimizing your website does make a difference and affects how customers will perceive your goods and services.
Having a robust website is central to the success of your business, and you shouldn’t overlook its significance. Don’t stay behind in the eCommerce world, and make sure to include all of the mentioned features in your website.