Basic eCommerce Features Explained for Beginners

If you are designing a new eCommerce website, you must ensure that it provides the best possible experience for your customers by including features that will make you look professional and trustworthy to them. There are many ways to spruce up your shop but we’ve whittled it down to the 10 must-have features for your eCommerce site if your goal is increasing overall sales. Stay relevant and competitive by ensuring that all of the following features are present on your site.

1. Shopping Cart

On an online retailer’s site, a shopping cart is a piece of software that facilitates the purchase of a product or service. It is extremely important because it not only gives the shopper a convenient and safe place to store and manage multiple items, it gives you the opportunity to collect information and reveal patterns, which can be used to create pleasing offers for or cross-sell related products to them.
Pro-tip: The best shopping cart makes it easy to remove products. 

2. Special Offers

A special offer is a product or service offered at reduced prices or rates. Special offers motivate consumers to buy by encouraging them to order more of a given item (or items). Increase sales through your ongoing promotions by offering consumers Buy One Get One/Buy One Get One Free/Buy One Get One Half Off, free shipping, percentage based discounts, quantity discounts or reward points for each dollar spent.

3. Related Items

Ostensibly, a related item helps customers find more products that they might like, but it also increases the conversion rate and average order value. However, just displaying popular products isn’t enough when most of your competitors are doing more than that. Show a prospect who has just added a product to their shopping cart what it is frequently bought with or give a customer a personalised recommendation based on their past purchase and browsing history.

4. Advanced Payment Options

Advanced payment options are a must-have. Making it easy for your customers to pay is essential for increasing conversions and sales. Your checkout must, at the very least, support most major payment cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) and third-party payment services (Paypal, 2Checkout, Amazon Payments). Providing as many payment methods as possible can also be a means of differentiating yourself.

5. Return Policy

A fair and consumer-friendly return policy result in increased customer satisfaction inspires confidence and builds trust. It can be the ‘make or break’ point of a consumer’s online purchase. Ensure that your return policy is comprehensive and clear. It should also be in plain English and easy to find. There should be no hidden return costs, and the time frame limitation should be no less than 30 days and no more than 90 days. Do not just hand out full-refunds, let the nature and the condition of the product determine whether it should be a full refund, a partial one, or an exchange.

6. Security

Your website may be hacked any day and your customers’ confidential information carted away. Protect customer information and ensure privacy by choosing a secure eCommerce platform, implementing SSL and two-factor authentication, using a VPN and firewall, and having a privacy policy in place. Your security requirements must be stringent so that your assets are protected from unauthorised access, use, alteration, or destruction.

7. Email Marketing

Email marketing builds relationships and trust by engaging existing customers and delivering targeted messages to new customers. Your email campaigns should be persuasive. Email message automation sends an email when a particular customer triggers them through his or her behaviour and complements your email campaigns.

8. Shipping Options

Integrate with several services to provide diversity in your shipping and delivery options. Allow buyers to select faster delivery, or to wait longer in exchange for lower-cost shipping. Offer shipping rates and methods. Value-added services such as delivery notifications and special handling are always appreciated.

9. Customer support

Solid customer support can lead to greater customer satisfaction and a more enjoyable experience for them. 70% of customers cite poor customer service as a reason for not buying from a brand. Customer service is as a vital point of contact, use it to enhance customer experience.
Pro-tip: Have a live chat feature. Answering visitors’ queries in real time can increase sales.

10. Mobile Enabled Shopping Site

Responsive web design is key when building your site. Everyone has smartphones, and they’re constantly using them. A user must experience a website that looks great and functions well regardless of whether they choose to shop from a smartphone, tablet, or a personal computer.

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