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Must haves features for eCommerce sites

Today's eCommerce businesses rightfully invest heavily in their tech. Here is a list of must-haves for all eCommerce sites to keep their users engaged.

eCommerce business must focus on 3 aspects to ensure they meet their objectives, which is typically, driving online sales or generating leads.

  1. User Engagement - The eCommerce website should inspire your visitors to engage with your website.
  2. Build Trust - The eCommerce website should build trust within your visitors; so that they are confident of spending their hard-earned money on your website.
  3. Ease of Operations - The eCommerce website should provide a simple, easy process for visitors to complete the purchase or submit their contacts.

Driving User Engagement

  • User Experience - If you are like most eCommerce businesses, you have a few hundred competitors online. Once you get your prospective customer on your website, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention. A design that stands out from those of your competitors is an absolute must-have and helps grab their attention. You also have to keep the design simple and more importantly, intuitive; so that the visitors can easily find what they want, easily and quickly. For eg, if a visitor is trying to understand your return policies; it is important that they get access to this information quickly, without having to navigate through many different pages.
  • Mobile Experience - eCommerce sites are reporting up to 80 percent of visits from mobile devices. So, your website should adapt to provide a mobile-friendly user experience. A mobile-friendly user experience is not just about laying out the content so that it fits into smaller screen sizes; it should truly adapt to align with mobile browsing habits. A few examples include bottom tab bars, swipe left and right, sticky buttons etc.
  • Website Speed - There is no faster way to lose online customers than to keep them waiting for your website to show up. Concentrated efforts on monitoring and improving Google Lighthouse score is an absolute must for eCommerce websites. Your scores on Performance, Accessibility, Best Practices and SEO should far exceed a benchmark of 90. has published a large number of case studies on https://web.dev/tags/case-study/ that demonstrate how optimizing core web vitals has helped businesses improve on bounce rates, conversions, session times, page views etc. Also ensure that your website has the ability to scale, without affecting performance, when you experience higher than normal traffic, especially during holiday buying.
  • Product Experience - As you expect visitors to make purchase decisions while browsing through your website, it is absolutely critical that they get a near real-life experience of the product. While long text description has been the norm, successful eCommerce websites showcase the products visually using compelling photographs and videos. Multiple photographs target different objectives - some highlight the product in use, while others highlight specific features. High-resolution product images and high-quality zoom capabilities are a must; however, without impacting speed and performance. When your products need a lot of technical specifications (eg. the 4Cs of diamond jewelry), a structured representation makes it easy for visitors to review them.
  • Navigation, Search and Filters - Roughly 50% of visitors have a clear idea of what they are looking for on an eCommerce website. So, it is important that they are able to find it quickly. A well-implemented search and filter functionalities help these users quickly narrow down to a product of their preference. Though common on all eCommerce sites, the implementations vary significantly and can impact your sales. For example, what results does the search display when a specific product searched for is not part of your catalogue or not available in stock? Browse by categories is an absolute must-have; and it is common to list your top-selling categories first. Keeping your top-selling products on your home and category pages is a sure-shot way of getting your visitors to take a look at them; and getting some upsells or cross-sells.
  • Related Product Recommendations - Intelligent products recommendations is a really cool way to get your visitors to engage better with your eCommerce website. It also creates significant upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

Building Trust

  • Customer Reviews - Customer reviews help in generating trust and is an absolute must for eCommerce sites. Highlight reviews that talk about the unique features and benefits of your product. You should also include reviews that add credibility to your business; for example, you can include a review that highlights your customer service. While not easy to manage, user-generated reviews from verified buyers can add significant value, especially if you are a new business or brand. 
  • Social Proofs - Social proof include following and activity on social media like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. Display it on your website to demonstrate your credibility. 
  • Return Policy - A simple, clear return policy goes a long way in giving confidence to your visitor before making a purchase. Don't keep this hidden in your website footer; instead, reinforce this by talking about or linking to return policy near to add to cart and buy buttons. It is also important that you keep this policy updated as and when you make changes.
  • FAQs - FAQ section is a great self-help tool for serious buyers and an absolute must-have. It should be up-to-date with clear and accurate information. In addition to answers to common questions on customer support, returns, login, passwords etc, you should consider including questions that re-inforces the credibility of your business and products, such as the number of years you have been in business, the authenticity of your products etc.
  • About Us - For small businesses, the About Us page can be used to bring out your personality and give a personal touch to your businesses and brand. For corporates, this section can connect with the corporation that is driving the eCommerce brand.
  • Contact Us - It is absolutely important to have a clean Contact Us page, where your visitors can easily understand their options to reach you. While it may be tempting to just keep an email; adding a phone and a physical address helps build credibility. As with other pages of your website, it is critical that the information here is accurate at all times.

Easy Operations

  • Add to Cart Experience - It is important that the visitor has all relevant information related to completing the purchase right in the vicinity of the Add to Cart button. This includes reinforcing information on availability (eg. "in-stock"), delivery (eg "delivery by Thursday", "free-shipping".) and returns ("30-day returns"). Also, depending on the nature of the product, keep it easy for visitors to buy multiple units of your product ("3 packs of juice").
  • Checkout Experience - Don't underestimate the challenges you have overcome by the time you have got them ready to make a payment :) So, once they are ready to do it, the process should be quick and easy. Avoid distractions; some smart eCommerce sites remove non-critical navigation options from the checkout page. During checkout, any information that you display should be accurate and should not bring about any confusion or surprises (eg. the visitor suddenly sees a change in price due to taxes). 
  • Payment Options - Go the extra mile to accept all popular forms of payments. 

While this article lists some of the critical must-haves for your eCommerce site to start bringing value to your business, successfully implementing them requires you to be working closely with an experienced technical team. Do get in touch with us for your implementation.