8 Essential Features for E-Commerce Websites

Published by Designzillas on August 27, 2013

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Today, more than ever, people are looking to the internet to do their shopping. Instead of getting in your car and driving to the store, you can be sitting on your couch, lounging by the pool, or even multitasking at work and be shopping at the same time. If your business already handles e-commerce or is interested in selling a product or service online, there are some essential features that every e-commerce website should have. You want your customers to have the same or better experience online than they would if they were in a physical store.

1. CLEAR LOGO/BRAND

Having a clear and recognizable logo is important for your e-commerce website. You are asking your customers to give you their money — this means they have to trust you. If your website is all over the place with no recognizable features, users will be less likely to give you their business. A clear logo and a clear brand that is consistent throughout the entire website is a reassuring sign to shoppers. For example, one of our clients, Bow Toes, has this consistent branding. The familiar pink and blue is featured on every page, as well as their logo. This way, shoppers always know whose website they are on.

2. DEALS!

Another important thing to include on your e-commerce website is a section for deals and offers. Who can pass up the opportunity to save money? A button or banner on the home page that lets users know of a deal or savings is a quick attention grabber. Your business can offer weekly deals, a product of the week, free shipping, or limited time offers. This will make your users keep coming back to see what they can save money on next!

3. SHOPPING CART/LOGIN OPTION

An e-commerce website would not be complete without the option to log in and create your very own profile. Have you ever been online shopping and unable to put items into a cart? Probably not. This is an absolutely essential feature! Sometimes shoppers may be interested in a product, but unsure of whether or not they want it right at that moment. If they are unable to put these items into a personalized shopping cart, that may be a lost sale for you! The beautiful thing about online shopping for users is that they can shop whenever they want, on their own time. An accessible shopping cart and log-in option make this possible.

4. CLEAR PAYMENT OPTIONS

It’s also a good idea to include clear symbols to denote what your users’ payment options are. Some e-commerce websites do not accept international credit cards or may not ship overseas. If this is the case, users should know this before they add items to purchase to their shopping cart. Imagine getting excited about a product or service and then finding out that you cannot even purchase it! This information should be straight forward and eye catching.

5. CONTACT FORMS

If you have ever had a problem with a product or service, you know how frustrating it can be to not be able to talk to someone from that company about your problem. For e-commerce websites, it is essential to have a clear contact form, or even an online chat service so that users can reach your business with their questions and concerns immediately. A clear and accessible contact form lets shoppers know that customer service is a priority.

6. NAVIGATION SYSTEM

Don’t forget about the search bar! Many times, shoppers visit a website knowing roughly  or even exactly what they are looking for. They don’t want to scroll through hundreds of pages looking for something. Without a search bar, you might lose a lot of potential sales. Search bars are essential for e-commerce websites, especially if the business has a large database.

7. PRODUCT IMAGES

This might seem obvious, but it is still very important! A downside to online shopping is the inability to hold the object in your hand and to see it, in person, for yourself. E-commerce websites with clear product images alleviate that problem. If possible, it may even be beneficial to have multiple photos of products, from multiple angles, especially if you are selling clothing or accessory products. This way the customer can get a full image of what exactly the will be purchasing.

8. SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Links to your social media websites are essential to any type of website, but for e-commerce, it just adds one more way for potential customers to interact with you as a business. Social media websites add another element of trust in that they can see how your business interacts with customers. It humanizes your business and gives it authenticity. Like contact forms, it adds people to the mix, and wouldn’t you rather buy a product or service from a business run by real people?

ABOVE ALL: ESTABLISH TRUST

Does your e-commerce website have all of these features? Remember, your goal is to sell a product or service to your clients. In order to do this, they need to trust you and believe that you will take care of them before they purchase, while they purchase, and after the transaction has been completed. These features add that element of trust and make the overall process more enjoyable and more convenient for your end users.

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