7 Things Your Ecommerce Website Must Have
Updated (originally posted on )
Whether you operate an online-only business or use your website to supplement in-person sales, an ecommerce website can be an invaluable tool for building your business.
It's not enough to simply accept online purchases, however. As the online face of your business, an ecommerce website must offer the best possible shopping experience. Here are 7 key things your ecommerce site needs to stand out from the crowd.
1. Excellent Functionality
A successful ecommerce website must work smoothly and give users a seamless and enjoyable online shopping experience. Make sure your ecommerce site is mobile friendly, responsive, fast, and easy for site visitors to navigate. For more, see our blog post Website Navigation Tips to Give Your Website Visitors an Excellent User Experience.
2. Strong Security
Show your customers you care about their privacy and the security of their financial and personal information by using the HTTPS communication protocol and a secure ecommerce platform, maintaining PCI DSS compliance, having strong firewalls, offering secure logins, encrypting customer data, using the latest software versions, and promptly installing recommended security patches. To show visitors your site is safe, consider adding trust seals such as those from Norton/VeriSign and McAfee to your pages—studies have found that trust seals can boost conversions and sales significantly.
3. Clear Product Pages
If visitors don’t understand your products, they're unlikely to make a purchase. Make sure your products are labeled clearly and correctly, with attractive photos and unique descriptions. Not only will thorough, precise descriptions give your customers a better understanding of what they’re buying, it will also help with SEO. For more on improving your product pages, see our blog post 13 Product Page Enhancements That Will Make Online Shoppers Click "Buy."
4. A Streamlined Checkout Experience
According to 2020 data from Statistica, the average shopping cart abandonment rate worldwide is 88%. Many people who abandon their online shopping cart before checkout were just browsing or not ready to buy, but shoppers who are ready to make a purchase may abandon a cart because the checkout process was too complicated. To encourage visitors to complete their purchases, make the checkout process as simple as possible.
5. Easy-to-Reach Customer Service
Hopefully your product pages give your customers all the information they need. If not, giving them an easy way to contact you to get their questions answered is crucial to closing the sale. Display your phone number prominently on your product page and provide clear instructions for returns and exchanges. Consider offering live chat as well—in a study by Forrester Research, 44% of online consumers said having questions answered by a live person at the point of purchase was the most important feature a website can offer.
6. Simple Search
No matter how well-organized your products are, some customer will want to find something specific as quickly as possible. For those customers, make sure you have an ever-present search box to get them where they want to go.
7. Customer Reviews
According to research by Spiegel Research Center, online shoppers are 270% more likely to purchase a product with 5 reviews than one with no reviews. And don’t be afraid of negative reviews. Bad reviews give you an opportunity to address problems and show your excellent customer service with a courteous reply and a swift resolution. Don’t be afraid to ask for a review—according to BrightLocal's Local Consumer Review Survey, 85% of consumers are willing to leave a review if asked.