6 Essential Features of an E-Commerce Website
In today’s competitive online marketplace, the user-experience your e-commerce website provides could not only make or break the bottom-line of your business but also dictate its long-term growth potential. E-commerce today is not only about showcasing your products with attractive images and having a checkout page in place; the rules of the game have changed in the recent years. As an online store owner, you also need to care about factors such as, how quickly a customer can move from the landing page to the order check-out page, and shell out the money!
With most of online shopping these days happening via mobile phones, e-commerce businesses must give utmost importance to improving the experience for mobile shoppers. To that end, we have put together a list of essential features that an e-commerce website must have in order to be a success.
1. Mobile-Friendly User-Experience
People are increasingly shopping on their phones, and e-commerce websites are cashing in on the growth of mobile’s market share in the online shop. A recent survey found that 55% of the online shoppers purchased products using a mobile phone. Hence, making the website compatible with mobile phones across various platforms is crucial to offering a good user-experience to shoppers. Businesses are taking the mobile-first approach to website design, and leaving no stone unturned to make it intuitive, responsive and quick.
Some key points that enhance user-experience are page layout, placement of the search bar, visibility of the shopping cart, easy navigation, options to customize their purchase and a provision to change their selections without any hassle. If you are planning to launch your online business or revamp your existing one, do keep in mind that the website must meet all the checkmarks of a mobile-friendly e-commerce platform. In our blog ‘The Importance of Having a Mobile-Friendly Website', we explain how store owners can make their websites mobile friendly by using nopCommerce.
2. Branding and USP
With several competitors in the market, it becomes imminent for any good e-commerce business to have a clear and unique branding for their store. Choose an attractive logo that’s easy to recognize and associate with your offerings. Display important company information so that visitors are assured that it’s a trustworthy website, and not just one of those sites that’s filled with the ‘buy now’ button without explaining what the products are or what kind of brands the store does business with. You must distinguish your online business clearly from the rest of the stores with an impressive USP that will keep the visitors coming back for more.
In nopCommerce it is easy to give a professional look to your website by customizing nopCommerce themes per your business needs. You could change your nopCommerce theme and logo in ‘General Settings’ section of nopCommerce admin area as shown in the screen grab below.
3. Highlight Deals, Freebies and Free Shipping
Shoppers are always looking for attractive deals and offers, bundled products, freebies or festival discounts. Ensure your home page displays these features appropriately to get the attention of visitors. If you are offering free shipping irrespective of the purchase amount, then this needs to be highlighted clearly. Let visitors know what your unique offerings are by placing deals, discounts and other critical information right on the landing page of your website. Also, make sure that these sections are linked to the right sub-pages so that customers can get more details about the offers if they want to explore. And do back-up your promises with timely delivery and absolutely no hidden costs because it’s important to earn the shopper's trust and build a loyal customer base, too!
To make your deals more attractive, nopCommerce default theme provides built-in features like Navo Slider, Featured Categories and Featured Products in the home page. In our blog ‘NopCommerce for Store Owners: Features You Can’t Ignore’ we have highlighted how nopCommerce tools like Discounts, Affiliates, Reward Points and Campaigns can help you market your store. Also, there are nopCommerce plugins like ‘Nop Smart Product Collections’ available on nopCommerce marketplace which can be used to make your site more attractive. For information on some of the useful nopCommerce plugins for your website, refer our blog ‘Our favourite plugins in nopCommerce’.
4. Variety of Search Options
Most shoppers prefer to buy branded products while for others it is the price or occasion that matters. Do keep various search options such as ‘shop by brands’, ‘shop by price’ or ‘shop by occasion’ to name a few. Make your product catalogue as attractive as possible with images, short and detailed product information, delivery time and features like popularity of the product or quantity already shipped, among others.
Customers normally browse through the catalogue several times before making a purchasing decision; so, do place eye-catching offers and deals in the detailed product page to grab attention and encourage Shoppers to proceed to the payment page.
nopCommerce has built-in feature to assign products to brands and assign products to multiple categories. You can create your categories per your requirements and use these categories and brands for filtering products easily. nopCommerce also allows products to be filtered based on price, and product attributes such as, color, size, material, and more.
5. Payment Options
Give customers the freedom of making payments through various options like credit or debit card, redeem points or coupons, cash on delivery, payment through popular apps, and other avenues. Businesses must give importance to making their e-commerce website a convenient shopping experience for all kinds of customers – whether it’s a regular shopper, or a first-time buyer, who may not be comfortable sharing credit card information, for example.
nopCommerce is computable to integrate with almost all popular payment gateway options available. All you need is an appropriate plugin to integrate your site with your preferred payment option. You can find the list of plugins available in the nopCommerce marketplace.
6. Easily Accessible Customer Care
Although e-commerce is all about ‘do-it-yourself’, a good e-commerce website must display the business or call centre phone numbers in case the customers have a problem to be addressed. Whether it’s a live-chat or a 24x7 customer service hotline, businesses can provide value-added services to enhance the overall shopping experience of the user and address pre-sales or post-sales queries. These features go a long way in gaining the trust of the customer and popularizing your e-commerce site.
nopCommerce has implemented features like sending emails to customer about all stages of the Order starting from Order placed to Order Delivered. It is also possible to integrate an SMS module to send text messages to customers' mobile phones. nopCommerce also provides plugins to integrate your website with a live chat service. For more details on this, refer our blogs ‘Built-In Email Templates: A Powerful Nopcommerce Tool’ and ‘Our Favourite Plugins In Nopcommerce'.
These are just a few key features that any good e-commerce website must have to grow their business and reach out to a wider online audience. Remember, a sensible, attractive, trustworthy and easy-to-use e-commerce store will play a big role in determining the success of your online business. Open source e-commerce platforms like nopCommerce provide many user-friendly features, themes and plugins to help you create an efficient online store. Please contact us to know more about our nopCommerce development services.