15 MUST HAVE FEATURES FOR ECOMMERCE WEBSITES

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By Rashna Mahzabin

In the digital era we live in, a website has become one of the staples of a big or small business. A website nowadays has become important for businesses to increase visibility of the company, accomplish many different marketing strategies to help a business grow, and also creates a character sketch of the business. Ecommerce businesses are based on their online websites and apps. An ecommerce website has a lot of features. However. a feature heavy website or a feature with unique website does not guarantee conversation rates and robust user experience. Below are 15 must-have features an ecommerce website should invest in.

AN “ABOUT US” PAGE.

This isn’t a legal requirement, but in the minds of some customers, it is required. Why? Because people like to know who they’re doing business with. In fact, about us pages are often the second-most visited page on a website – second only to the home page. You don’t have to go into quite as much detail on the “About Us” page, but make sure to include include photographs of your key employees, or of your company as a group.

USER FRIENDLINESS

The proverb “simple is better than complex” fits perfectly with ecommerce websites. The online sellers have only few minutes if not few seconds to sell a product to the customers. The customers search for websites that are easy for them to operate, which has a simple design for the users to unlock the features. Many websites have a lot of features and designs which can be very complex for a user and it lacks attraction for them. To accomplish user friendliness, the website should focus on easy navigation for the users on the website and make it simple enough so that the users can easily operate.

MOBILE FRIENDLINESS

In the time we live in, cell phones have become a part and parcel of life. People check their phone every other second and try to finish most of their day to day work on their phones. Most of the traffic in the ecommerce websites are from phones rather than laptops. Ecommerce websites need to be mobile friendly so that the pages download smoothly on mobile devices which may even be 2 years old. Also the mobile view should be able to use all the features easily so that it does not affect the images on the website.

ACCURATE SEARCH

Users use the search box on a website to navigate through the products. The search box needs to have accurate prompts where with key words one can find their desired product. To make this feature more user friendly, a website can have auto complete in a search bar and also show probable suggestions.

PICTURES AND DESCRIPTION

On an online ecommerce platform, the only contact with the product for a probable customer is through the picture and the description of the product. The pictures/images need to be of high resolution and should have a detailed description of the product for the customer to easily find what they need.

PERSONALIZATION

A website needs to cater to its individual customer. To do this, the websites should have log in options. After logging into their profiles a customer can see their previous check-out history, things they might be interested in according to their previous purchase etc. To do this the websites can use cookies.

CUSTOMER ACCOUNTS

Allow new user registration and account creation on your site. Users will be able to get their username and passwords from their email addresses. Choose to allow guest checkout or force account set up to a) ensure that customer information is collected b) create ease of access for the customer next time they make a purchase and c) provide account security on transactions.

WISH LIST

A user browses through a lot of products but may not always have the money to buy it. Now a days window-shopping has also taken a digital form where people browse through the ecommerce websites to see all the products. Adding a “wish list”option can help the users to keep a bookmark on the products they might want to purchase in the future. So the next time one logs in and goes through the wish list, he/she can buy the products from the bookmarks.

SPECIAL OFFERS AND EVENTS

Sometimes users need some boost ups to purchase. Amazon and eBay have their offers and bids for people to purchase a dress at an affordable price, sometimes they also have sales and offs on few of their products. This creates an attraction for the users and motivates them to buy those products.

REVIEWS

Customers, especially in Bangladesh tend to be skeptical towards buying things online when the ecommerce platform has been launched recently, as they are not sure of the quality of the product or whether the product will be the same as shown on the page. Reviews of customers on a product helps them to trust the website and the products. The users can see the reviews, inspect and then order a product.

FEATURED ITEMS

Most popular items, most reviewed or items you may like are some features that can easily be generated with the transaction data details that which product is most liked by the users, which is getting the most reviews or just the website referring some products. This feature has a stickiness in the users effect that marketers try to achieve.

INFINITE SCROLL

For users to browse through products, the feature needs to be smooth. Continuously loading products while a user is scrolling increases their time on the site. This can be tricky as the feature needs to be smooth on laptops and mobile phone views. Continuous loading is better since the users do not always keep a track on how long they have been browsing when a page is continuously updating which is very similar to the Facebook homepage feature where posts are continuously loading.

CHECK-OUT

A users experience of a website involves everything from the second they log in to the website till when they get off of the website. While scrolling there are few things that are a core part of the user experience:
Location: If your website chooses a pick-up point for the delivery on the map, then your map needs to be accurate. Many websites add the pick-up point on the map as an alternative to writing the address but they are not always correct, which creates a hassle for users. For this, either the website should have an address box where the user can write the address or use a very accurate map for the website.
Payment Method: The customer should have more than one payment method. Now a days bKash, Rocket etc. has created a momentum in transaction which needs to be addressed. Alternative payment can have these mobile transaction options such as bKash, Rocket; it should have options for payment via card and cash on delivery.
Delivery Time: We are always on the run. Going to school, college, university, office, meetings, hangouts etc. which is why getting a delivery can be a bit tricky. Which is
why, giving options of preferred timings and delivery points is crucial.

SECURITY FEATURES

Online transaction is a big part of ecommerce. This makes ecommerce websites a lucrative target of cyber criminals. The website holds our extremely important information such as email id, password, and bank for those choose online transaction via cards rather than cash on delivery. These websites need to have a very strong security feature for the customers to be open to the idea of online transaction or even to buy from the website. To create a secured website, few must-haves are:
SSL certificate: Establishes secure connectivity between a user and the website. Customers look for HTTPS and a green lock in the address bar before trusting an online store with their information. The ecommerce website should select an SSL certificate vendor with name recognition. The enterprise ecommerce giants almost always use Symantec.
Two-factor authentication: Adds an extra layer of security by requiring username/password and a system-generated code sent via email or text.
Use a firewall: Provides a gateway or wall between two networks and permits authorized traffic and blocking malicious traffic.
Privacy policy link in footer: Addresses the website’s privacy policies and promises customer data is not shared with third parties.

MULTI-TOUCH POINTS

For ecommerce websites, to create a loyal customer base who trusts the website can take some time. When we go to a shopping mall and enter a shoe shop, the store clerk comes to assist us to see which shoe is suiting us more or in a clothes shop the salesman will wrap the saree on his body happily to show you the magnificent creation or tell you tales about the salwar kameez which was worn by none other than Katrina Kaif in a song. To create the same familiarity with the online customers a website should have multi-touch points. A website can achieve that with these features:
Live Chat: A great customer service involves a one-on-one touch point which is key to conversations, and word-of-mouth referrals. A live-chat option can help the website to assist the customers. Customers can also get a swift reply on their queries and it can also work as a customer support help-line.
Contact us: Sometimes customers just want to drop some suggestions and share their user experience which they do not want to share in a live chat as it could be intimidating for many people. For this the Contact Us option can be helpful. In a contact box option users can drop their messages to the website.
Complaint box: For the customers to trust the company, they have to know that their experience is valued. Customers may have complaints but if the website does not address that then the customers will not have any place to share their complaints, which will move them away from the website. Every ecommerce website needs to understand the importance of this category where they can actually make valuable customers by addressing their complaint to assure them that they have been heard.

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