8 Essential characteristics of a successful eCommerce platform7 min read
The exponential growth of online businesses shows that customers all over the world prefer to go digital, as evidenced by the recent eCommerce boom. All kinds of information can be found on the Internet. If an eCommerce platform wants to remain competitive and relevant, it needs to pay attention to a few key aspects.
Research has shown that the primary factors that allow online stores to achieve a business profit are the identification of customer preference and the understanding of their shopping trends. It is critical for eCommerce business owners to meet the demands of their online customers in order to remain competitive as the number of people shopping online grows steadily.
Every website is distinct in its own way. Trends, on the other hand, do not guarantee high conversion rates or positive user experiences. To remain relevant and competitive, every eCommerce site should have certain elements.
Here is a list of 8 must-have features for eCommerce.
According to studies, 76% of consumers consider ease of use to be the most important feature of a website. The goal is to assist shoppers in getting what they want faster and without encountering unnecessary complexity that can clog the path to purchase.
Online sellers have only a few minutes, if not seconds, to make a sale. Concentrate on the user experience by including shopping categories, filters, and comparison tools. Consider the following to make your eCommerce site more user-friendly:
- Improve search functionality by including an autocomplete feature,
- Create an effective visual navigation
- Pre-populate forms,
eCommerce sites should be a source of competitive advantage rather than a source of frustration.
2. A mobile-friendly website
Mobile shopping accounts for half of all online transactions. A responsive website adapts its content to the device that is accessing it to provide the most user-friendly experience.
After optimizing its mobile site, Walmart increased mobile sales by 98%. Intelligentsia also enhanced the mobile purchasing experience, resulting in a 16% increase in mobile transactions. It makes no difference if you have a million or five product pages.
Providing a mobile-friendly experience for your customers will boost sales and possibly your rankings.
3. High-Definition Images and Video
Posting a single photo with a few bullet points and a price tag is a thing of the past. Shoppers want to see the product from various angles and in various settings. They want to be able to get a feel for the product by zooming in and out of it. For images, technical considerations are essential.
If images don't load or take a long time to load, Adobe predicts that 39% of consumers will abandon a website. And we're not just talking about professional photos here. Vanity Planet found that adding Instagram photos to their product pages boosted checkouts by 24%. Each product on an eCommerce site should have multiple images.
It's important that the images are high-quality and optimized for page loading.
4. User-submitted Reviews
Customers read customer reviews. Approximately 95% of them, in fact. In 2020, 87% of consumers will read online reviews of local businesses, up from 81% in 2019. Furthermore, 57% of customers will only use a company if it has four or more stars.
You might believe that having negative reviews is a deal-breaker. The exact opposite is true. Having negative reviews can frequently be beneficial. It has been demonstrated that products with no negative reviews are perceived as censored, and as a result, customers assume the positive reviews are fake. Depending on the functionality of the website, eCommerce sites can use plugins from popular review platforms such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook.
Reviews are being used as user-generated content by forward-thinking eCommerce sites.
5. Advance Payment Options
Obviously, if you sell something online, you must be able to accept payment from customers. However, depending on the needs of the business, this feature can become complicated. If you do business internationally, you will need a platform that supports a variety of international payment methods as well as custom integrations because the data model can be extended to cover any payment method in the world. Users should be able to use their preferred payment gateways such as Simple Pay, PayPal, Amazon Payments, Google Checkout, Authorize.net, and so on. There are numerous online payment options available.
The key is to understand what works best for your customers and the best method for your product lines. Never underestimate the importance of usability, especially when it comes to the checkout process, as this is where many visitors abandon their carts.
6. Capabilities for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There must be a way for merchants to control the permalinks for their product pages and the content of their sites, as well as title tags, meta descriptions, and canonical tags, to avoid duplicate content problems. eCommerce platforms must therefore have a user-friendly and flexible SEO system via advanced marketing and SEO tools such as customer segmentation and grouping.
It's important to include sitemaps for search engines as well as control over URLs as part of the package. With some platforms like Shopify, you don't need an in-house SEO expert or a large budget to hire one, so even those with little technical knowledge can easily make their website Google-friendly with the help of an XML sitemap.
Merchandisers need to move quickly if they want to provide a good shopping experience for their customers and rank well in search engine results. There are lots of advantages over slow-loading websites for those who want to use them. Besides native SEO features, some platforms provide apps that assist users in search optimization and score their current efforts.
7. Promotional Offers and Discounts
Standard email, social media, text, and other forms of marketing often include special offers. The prime real estate in the header section is used by next-level eCommerce sites to promote special offers. To get the most out of a deal, customers are more likely to purchase additional items and spend more time browsing through the site.
eCommerce websites must have shipping deals to avoid losing sales due to unexpected shipping costs. Even if your products are excellent, no one wants to pay a fortune to ship them. Visitors to your eCommerce site are more likely to become paying customers if you offer free or reduced shipping. On the site's masthead, under the navigation menu, and next to the “Add to Cart” button, advertise your free shipping and all other discounts.
The use of ongoing promotions by eCommerce sites will increase sales and improve SEO if a unique web page listing the offers is provided.
8. Security Features
Online transactions have become an essential part of our daily lives. eCommerce websites, as a result, can be a lucrative target for cybercriminals. Online sellers must safeguard customer information and take precautions to ensure privacy. Everything begins with a safe eCommerce platform.
Other essential eCommerce security features to consider include:
- SSL certificate: Provides a secure connection between a user and a website. Before entrusting your information to an online store, look for HTTPS and a green lock in the address bar. Choose an SSL certificate vendor with a well-known brand. Symantec is almost always used by enterprise eCommerce behemoths.
- Two-factor authentication: Provides an additional layer of security by requiring a username/password as well as a system-generated code sent via email or text.
- Install a firewall: It acts as a gateway or a firewall between two networks, allowing authorized traffic while blocking malicious traffic.
- In the footer, there is a link to the privacy statement: Addresses the website's privacy policies and assures customers that their data will not be shared with third parties.
The best features of an eCommerce platform are not limited to the list above; you can customize them to fit your business's budget and scope. Nonetheless, these 8 features will undoubtedly assist you in initiating the process of creating an unforgettable customer experience.
To keep up with today's tech-savvy and demanding customers, we'll see more sophisticated and agile features on online shopping platforms in the future. If you're looking for the best eCommerce platform for your online store, it's easy to get bogged down in all the options. For this reason, it's a good idea to lay out your company's goals and expectations for a platform in advance.
Bear in mind that regardless of the design solution you choose, your website should be simple to navigate. It should add value to the user's experience — whether through informative product descriptions or a one-step checkout process. Only then will you see casual passers-by transform into loyal customers and clicks into sales.
When you're ready to commit to establishing your store, choose a reputable eCommerce website design agency with extensive experience and an understanding of your business requirements to deliver the best solution.