With the ever-increasing availability of the Internet and smart devices, the number of online shoppers worldwide is expected to reach over 2.14 billion people by 2021. This is more than a quarter of the world’s population in potential customers right there. The reach, convenience, and cost-efficiency of eCommerce have prompted many companies to launch a digital storefront and start extending their business online. And while building an online store is a great way to grow your audience and adapt your business to the challenges of tomorrow, most companies are either afraid of the costs or simply don’t know where to start.
The good news is that building a successful online store no longer requires a heavy budget and time investment. Today there are numerous platforms such as Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce that enable cost-efficient, easy, and quick eCommerce development. All you need is a reliable tech partner to help you choose the right design and equip your online store with powerful functionality that will help your customers get a kick out of shopping.
Here are the 7 must-have features you should focus on to realize your business potential when starting a digital forefront:
User-friendly catalog management
The ability to find something fast and without trouble is probably one of the most important features an online store should have if it wants to stand up to the competition. Provide your customers with easy to navigate search functionality that includes clear-cut categories, precise sorting tools, and smart attribute filters so they could easily find the products they need without even knowing the exact name or brand. Provide personalized suggestions on the things your customers may be looking for and intuitive flows to follow to make their shopping experience most pleasurable and easy as pie.
Attractive and SEO-friendly content
Looks aren’t everything but they sure do play a major role in your customer’s decision to order. You should provide appealing, high-resolution product images with multiple viewing angles and the ability to zoom in followed by vivid yet SEO-friendly product descriptions that tell your customers all the important details about the product while generating traffic to your online store. Remember that there is no physical, charismatic salesperson in an online store to sell your customers a great story. It’s the good-looking, helpful images and well-crafted copy that make customers more likely to buy and come back for more.
A well-implemented live chat is a great feature to have. Shopping is always easier and more enjoyable when you have a friendly assistant to rely on when you need help with the choices or whatever issues you may have encountered when browsing through the wares. Knowing that there is a real person behind that chatbox ready and happy to provide you with immediate assistance gives a customer more confidence in their actions and increases customer satisfaction with the service.
Fast and easy checkout
The shopping cart is the integral, most important part of every online store. It’s the place where the final consideration happens, where your customers make their final decision whether to buy the product or drop it. Here, even the slightest concern or misunderstanding can lead to cart abandonment. To avoid the issue, it is crucial that you make the checkout process exceptionally simple and flexible. Encourage instantaneous decisions by making sure that both the registered users and guests can checkout fast and without trouble. Don’t delay the purchase by gathering irrelevant, unnecessary information. Smoothen the checkout flow and keep your shoppers happy.
Familiar and trusted payment gateways
Study your target audience to identify their most popular and trusted go-to payment choices. Whether it’s PayPal, Stripe, Google Pay, or Apple Pay, try to integrate as many of the familiar to your customers, reliable, and secure payment gateways as you can. Having a wide variety of popular payment options will help you establish trust with your customers. It will also significantly simplify the checkout process as most of your customers’ payment information is filled and processed automatically by their digital wallet platform of choice.
Efficient analytics and reporting tools
Every successful eCommerce website relies on data-driven insights when implementing changes and new market strategies for their business to prosper. They integrate their online stores with efficient monitoring and analysis tools like Google Analytics to collect and process the store’s performance data, turning it into useful reports with detailed statistics and metrics—customer session data, their habits and experience, cart abandonment rate, sales percentage, etc. All this data can help you improve customer engagement and find ways to encourage more purchases.
Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices play a huge role in our everyday lives. And shopping is not an exception. According to Statista, in the United States around 50% of consumers used their mobile devices for online shopping in 2019. And while it may be a bit early for you to develop your own mobile application, there are many readymade templates and responsive design techniques you can use to optimize your website’s content and layouts to boast aesthetic looks and flawless user experience when accessed from any browser on any PC or mobile device.