A successful e-commerce site is well designed, user-friendly, mobile-friendly and responsive. Those four things are a given. But what other features can you build into your online store to take your product sales to the dizzying heights you dream of?
Whether you’re selling digital or physical creative products, there are eight e-commerce website features you must include if you’re serious about business growth…
1. Product images and videos
Gone are the days when you could get away with a standalone, blurry, face-on product shot. Nowadays, customers expect high-quality images, and they want to interact with them by zooming in, scrolling through variants, and viewing your product from different angles. They want a real idea of what your product will be like when they receive it.
If you’re using an e-commerce platform like Shopify, you’ll be able to install an app to enhance your images no end. Video is also a powerful tool to add to your store’s marketing arsenal. A product explainer video, for instance, can help potential buyers decide whether your product is right for them. See examples of brilliant product videos.
2. User reviews and social proof
Would-be customers want to see that your product will satisfy their needs. So they’ll do their homework before they hand over their cash and look for user-generated reviews and social proof (here’s why e-commerce reviews matter). Most e-commerce platforms integrate with review plugins, making it easy to collect reviews and display them on your storefront.
As for social proof, first of all, make sure you’re active on social media and posting great content about your products. Then, install social follow icons on your website so visitors can connect with you and establish that you’re running a trustworthy business.
3. Abandoned cart recovery
Almost 70% of people shopping online abandon their cart before purchasing. This is down to various reasons like high delivery costs, a complicated checkout process, the website seeming untrustworthy – or the customer simply getting distracted halfway through.
One way to tackle the latter problem is to send an email or push notification shortly after someone abandons their purchase to tempt them to return and finish buying. By adding an abandoned cart recovery feature to your website, you can set up this process to happen automatically in the background while you focus on other areas of your business.
Regardless of your website copy’s clarity, customers will have questions. However, they may not bother contacting you to find out what they need to know. Having a clear FAQ section within your online store helps customers get their answers quickly. It’s another way to convey trust and will also contribute to your SEO efforts!
Within your FAQs, be sure to outline your returns policy – customers need to know whether there’s a money-back option (and how easy getting a refund will be) before they commit to buying. Shipping costs and timescales are also crucial to include to avoid customers getting unwanted surprises later. Get clued up on how to create an effective FAQ page for your store.
5. Range of payment methods
Offering alternative payment options beyond the usual debit and credit cards can help maximise conversions and increase trust in your brand. Consider digital wallets like PayPal, Google Pay and Apple Pay – they offer advanced security and involve fewer steps at the checkout for customers. Learn about e-commerce payment processing.
6. Top-notch security
Speaking of security, this is an essential feature, in general, to focus on. Many people shopping online worry about payment fraud and whether their personal information will be kept safe. To protect your online store, ensure you’ve chosen a secure e-commerce platform with robust security measures, that maintains PCI compliance (an information security standard relating to handling credit cards).
Do also consider two-factor authentication (2FA) for customers with an account. This is where the login process involves two steps, including receiving and submitting a secure PIN code. The leading e-commerce platforms will integrate with 2FA via an app.
7. Related items section
Showing related items on product pages (and at the checkout) is a powerful upselling / cross-selling tactic that can boost your average order value. This feature simply reminds customers what else they might want to buy, encouraging them to continue shopping. See this example of a related product gallery in Wix.
If you don’t know how your online store is performing, how can you be sure you’re headed in the right direction for business growth? E-commerce analytics is the answer. It’ll help you make intelligent, data-driven decisions that’ll lead to more sales. Customer demographics, acquisition (how customers find you), shopping behaviour and conversions are just some of the data types you’ll want to capture and analyse.
Pondering over what to read next? If you haven’t already built your online store, read this detailed roundup of brilliant e-commerce platforms for creative businesses.
CE member? We have two helpful how-to articles on setting up shop online and the secrets to putting the ‘commerce’ into your e-commerce site.
A Creative Entrepreneurs membership is the key to accessing tons of exclusive content and resources designed especially for creative businesses. Here’s what you’ll get when you join us.