Online shopping has been in existence for decades, but with the Covid pandemic hitting the world, e-commerce has gained momentum that is par numbers. From food to daily household needs, everything gets ordered at a single click. Who knew that you could get your urgent needs delivered in just 10 minutes that too without stepping out from the comfort of your home? This convenience has taken e-commerce or online shopping statistics to the skies.
Statista.com published a report that claims that there will be 50% growth in the e-commerce industry in the coming years, and numbers are likely to hit $ 7.4 trillion by the year 2025. These projections are enough to take e-commerce web development seriously now.
There is no doubt that for online shopping platforms to run effectively and efficiently, it is inevitable to create a user experience that drives the target customers to the platforms. Below, we have rounded up some important E-commerce marketplace features that should be considered for an e-commerce website.
The Basic Essential Features for E-commerce Web Development
1. Responsive and Mobile Friendly Website Design
It is indisputable that users are most comfortable with mobile devices, and to support this fact, a study by a digital examiner shows that 80% of total B2B (Business-to- Business) purchases are executed through mobile devices. That being the case, making the website mobile-friendly proves to be a very significant factor in deciding the success of the online marketplace.
To ensure that the website is responsive to all electronic devices, choose a theme that sits well with the other features of the platform and run pilot mobile-friendly tests. This will help you in checking if all the features are performing well and if navigation is user-friendly through all devices.
2. High-Quality Photos and Videos
The visual content on your website is the prime factor that influences a customer’s buying decision. A study shows that 90% of the shoppers under the survey believed that the quality of the images on a website was considered important by them while making purchases. Here are some useful tips for creating top-notch visual content for your website:
- Make your images and videos clickable with direct purchase links
- Personalisation with respect to demographic factors and preferences
- Source images and videos that are of super quality and appeal to the users
- Use original and real images like swatches
3. Product Reviews
Every user tends to follow reviews and testimonials put up by other customers before determining if the product will suit their needs. Reviews are User-Generated Content or UGC and prove to be very crucial in establishing and maintaining social validation of a business, brand, or even a product.
One thing to mention here is that businesses use the practice of hiding negative reviews, but it only lowers the credibility of the brand. It is recommended to let those negative reviews stay on the website while working on creating experiences for buyers that compel them to write positive reviews.
4. FAQs for Products
Frequently Asked Questions or FAQs are another form of user-generated content that can work wonders for your sales. It answers the most asked questions that customers generally ask before completing sales. Further, it saves the costs and time that would have been otherwise incurred in solving those queries regarding products. FAQs cover possible questioning that may arise before and after-sales.
Another benefit of putting up the FAQ section is that it boosts the credibility of the business. Customers can even be allowed to vote for the questions that are more important, just like Amazon features it.
5. Related Products
Very often, it happens that customers end up purchasing a related product rather than the product they’re searching for in the first place. This tactic of suggesting to them similar products with different features (colour, size, style, etc.) proves to be a game changer for businesses.
When customers are not able to find the perfect product they wish to purchase and scroll down to the bottom of the result pages, showing them related products will keep them hanging on the website.
6. Multiple Payment Options
One aspect that provides an edge to e-commerce websites is providing customers with the flexibility of choosing different modes of payment while making a purchase.
The user experience should be made easier using the below-mentioned practices:
- Always display options for payment before checkout. It ultimately builds credibility for the business.
- Render multiple options for payment and allow for switching in case one mode fails for some reason.
- Make information entry easier for customers. For instance, allow copy & paste options for entering card numbers for debit and credit cards.
- Offer to save information to curb the hassle of entering the same information again & again.
7. Detailed Shipping and Return Information
It is a very common practice for businesses to hide or show the shipping charges at the very end step of the sale process. But it turns out to be the drowning stone as customers tend to step out of purchasing if they find shipping charges more than their expectations.
Hence, it is always advisable to put out shipping charges well in front and also mention if the shipping is free after a certain cart amount.
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Another feature that keeps the customers hooked to the business is easy-to-return policies. According to a study, 92% of customers return if the return process is generous! Interesting right?
8. Order Tracking
It can not be denied that we, as customers, stay at the window and wait for our orders to arrive as soon as the shipping notification lightens up our phone screens!
Businesses should stress providing customers with information regarding the order status. From shipping to its arrival at the doorstep, customers are interested in every step of the delivery process. Keeping them hooked with every little advancement in the logistics process in a timeline within the order tracking bar will give them a sense of involvement and retain their eagerness for order delivery!
9. Contact Page with Multiple Contact Options
One of the essential features that should be included in an e-commerce website is a contact page which allows the customers to interact with the business in case of any queries, clarifications, feedback, or suggestions.
Contact options may include e-mail addresses, phone numbers, or even well-crafted FAQs regarding products or business, live chat, chatbots, etc.
Chatbots are the latest artificial intelligence (AI) assisted features that can chat with customers on behalf of businesses 24*7. With sentimental analysis and machine learning, chatbots can be customised to interact with customers like real humans!
10. Security Features
With the continuous evolution of technology, the chances and risk of hacking and security breaches always remain on the higher side. It’s become inevitable to keep this concern under consideration and use methods to restrict the leakage of crucial and confidential information to outside parties.
Security can be achieved using different techniques like:
- Install a Secure Socket Layer or SSL Certificate on the website.
- Choose plugins that do not compromise the security of sensitive information.
- To restrict unwanted logins, it is preferred to set up and provide customers with the option of multi-factor authentication to verify any login attempt.
11. Advanced Search Filtering
Provide customers with ease of navigating through the website and finding the exact product they are searching for. Predict well in advance the query of a customer using multiple artificial intelligence-assisted techniques and allow them to filter out the exact requirements.
Filters may vary from business to business and depend upon the features of the product, which may include colour, size, fabric, availability, etc. It’ll give the customers the simplicity of narrowing down their search rather than wandering on the website in hunting for the required product!
12. Coupons, Loyalty Points and Gift Cards
Coupons and gift cards for discounts can work wonders for sales through an e-commerce website. It functions on a simple psychological factor that customers think that they’re saving more and no! It does not leave the businesses broken. In fact, it aids in attracting new customers and selling items or products that do not get sold generally!
For instance, putting up flyers on websites with terms like ‘now or never’ or ‘buy two, get one free’ can insanely drive up your sales! Give customers a discount on shipping and see your order numbers hitting the highest marks. For returning customers, set up a loyalty program that gives them a sense of belonging, and they save more with every new purchase.
The choice and combination of features that you wish to incorporate in your e-commerce marketplace platform highly depend upon multiple factors and the category of e-commerce (B2B, B2C, B2G, C2B, C2C) website you are planning to create. Optimising it using the above-mentioned features will aid in creating the desired impact on existing and potential customers. And it goes without saying that with the rapid and persistent growth in internet shopping, now is the perfect time to take advantage of the ongoing trends in the online shopping arena and take it to the next level.