What should be an excellent online store? This question bothers both experienced merchants and beginners. I see I shall have to reveal a secret. eCommerce success is directly related to the customers’ satisfaction. Could you imagine such a thing? All kidding aside, brilliant user-experience is what separates a top online store from a second-rate one.
Ok, the next question is “What are the must-have eCommerce features?”. Despite an insane amount of possible options, it’s possible to highlight the most important ones.
Fast Checkout Page
It’s the most important page on every eCommerce site. A poorly designed checkout page leads to high bounce rates. Imagine a brick-and-mortar store. You spend an hour filling your shopping cart with products and heading to a cashier. Then, you get cash out of your wallet, but the cashier has some trouble with the payment system. A few minutes later, you get mad and leave this shop. Could you imagine a more frustrating shopping?
If you don’t want to lose clients and conversion, the checkout process should be as simple as possible and well-optimized.
No one likes to complete forms. You should make clients fill in only the most essential information to make a purchase. A good checkout page shouldn’t contain fields like “what is your favorite color” or “your dog’s name”. Ok? It’ll be enough to fill in name and surname, shipping, and billing information. If you need more data, you can use checkboxes.
A conversion-optimized checkout page should be distraction-free. It means that there should be only a form to complete. Don’t place there:
- social media icons anything that can drive customers away.
In one word, anything that can distract customers’ attention and drive them away.
You can add “trust logos” (Visa, PayPal, Mastercard, etc.) to ensure customers that the checkout process is safe and secure. Let’s gloss over payment gateways since there’s nothing to discuss. It’s just impossible to run a business without a payment gateway.
Need Checkout Page Performance Optimization?
AI-Powered Product Discovery
Shoppers take 3 seconds to drop off an e-commerce site if they are not able to find what they came looking for. 80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a website that offers personalized shopping experiences. Therefore the need to engage the shopper across the shopping journey is a must.
Shoppers should be able to find the products they are most likely to buy. For this Unbxd offers a contextual, AI-powered search relevance that brings the most relevant products in front of shoppers on the product listing pages and dynamically ranks them in the pecking order.
From correcting spelling mistakes, stemming the words, finding synonyms and like-phrases, Natural language process, Unbxd’s AI models are equipped to understand the sopper intent to the tee of it. Once the relevance is established, Unbxd offers a DIY merchandising console where merchandisers and eCommerce teams can boost, bury, pin and slot the products according to their business needs.
Unbxd also studies shopper behavior and establishes shopper affinities to suggest relevant product suggestions across the shopping journey. (with the help of its Recommendations product). Unbxd solution is optimized for mobile shoppers. It also has other cool features such as autocomplete, inline add-to-cart, dynamic faceting, etc.
Smart Search & Navigation
Site navigation is what makes the customer journey easy and convenient. Your site should contain:
- account login,
- cart/shopping bag,
- search box,
- store finder,
- language selection.
Editor’s pick: Customer Journey Map Fast Guide
45 % of customers use a search box instead of browsing numerous pages. Nothing is surprising in this fact as it saves time. The fewer steps clients make on your site, the better experience they have.
Smart Search Box
Your search box should be shouting. A good search box should be highly visible and placed on the top of the page. It’ll be great to implement an auto-complete search to your website. It makes the search process twice faster as an auto-complete search suggests products while typing. A visitor just clicks on one of these options and finds the right item.
The smart search box helps customers to get more relevant search results at a fast pace which leads to a better conversion rate.
Real-Time Filtering & Sorting Options
The next two must-have navigation features are Real-time Filtering and Sorting Options. These are essential ones for stores having a vast product catalog.
Let’s take a clothing store as an example. A good one has such filters as size, color, brand, material, etc. Moreover, customers should have an opportunity to sort the products by relevance, price, popularity, rating, and more.
80 % of mobile users have made a purchase online at least once in 2018. How many people use mobile devices? 5.13 billion people! The share of mobile sales will only go up. Perhaps, in the next ten years, we will forget what is like to shop online via desktop.
That’s why every eCommerce store should be optimized for mobile users. You need a responsive mobile theme for your online store. Don’t overwhelm it with numerous custom features as they slow down the page load speed. Low mobile website performance gravely affects the conversion rate. If a store loads more than in 3 seconds, 70 % of users leave it and choose competitors.
Editor’s pick: Mobile Performance: How to Speed Up Your Website
The solid mobile theme is just the most obvious solution to boost mobile user experience. Meanwhile, the most important thing that needs mobile optimization is the checkout page. All the information fields and buttons should be big enough for comfortable typing on smaller screens. Keep in mind that numerous information fields only distract users and complicates the process. Use floating labels as they convert the best.
Need A Responsive Mobile Design for Your Online Store ?
The first thing customers see on your site is the header. It must contain a search bar, site navigation and cart icon. Users should easily access this area while browsing an online store.
It doesn’t matter how far down a customer scrolled, a search box and shopping cart should always be at hand. It’s a must-have for stores with long catalogs and infinite scrolls. Users don’t need to spend time for scrolling if they want to access a shopping cart to finish a purchase.
SEO Optimized Category Pages
SEO is the cheapest and easiest way to get traffic. It doesn’t require lots of money and time compared to social media marketing and paid advertising. Once you’ve improved your SEO ranking you’re constantly getting organic traffic without spending time on numerous social media platforms and paid ads.
The easiest way to improve the site’s rankings is to add product categories descriptions. Use related keywords to describe the products of each category. If you manage to do it, search engines will show your site to users who look for these products online.
People always have questions. Moreover, they want to get the answers as fast as possible. That’s why they don’t like to make phone calls or send e-mails and wait to respond. If you can’t give them answers right now, they could prefer your competitors since they can satisfy their curiosity.
Live chat is a goldmine for both merchants and customers. Why? First of all, it’s convenient. Visitors don’t have to search for contacts. One-click and it’s done, a dialogue is established. Customers don’t need to wait hours and days to get answers. Live chats are also good research tools. You know what worries customers, what they want, and need. This data will help you to improve your customer service.
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Customers can’t touch a product in an eCommerce store. People trust each other, so they check reviews to get helpful and honest information. Customers also trust figures. 67 % of online shoppers check reviews to decide whether to make a purchase or not.
Don’t be afraid to get negative reviews. Isn’t it suspicious when a product has only 5-star rates? I think it is. That’s why 52 % of online shoppers trust a product more when it has some negative reviews.
Follow up every purchase with an e-mail and ask customers to review products. User-generated content can become the most beneficial marketing tool in your arsenal since it doesn’t require any investments.
Security is what concerns every online shopper. Over the last decade, we witnessed some terrifying data breaches: Facebook — 87 million users, Twitter — 32.8 million, eBay — 145 million, Marriott — 383 million guests.
It sounds shocking, doesn’t it? Every eCommerce site contains a great amount of personal data: names, addresses, credit cards, etc. That’s why the first thing customers look at while browsing your site is an SSL over https.
Editor’s pick: eCommerce Cyber Security: Threats, Trends, Principles.
These details will make customers feel safe visiting your site, enhance credibility and user-experience.
About the author:
E-commerce Journalist at Mobecls
2+ years experience
Feel free to ask me anything about this post in the comments below