Creating an ecommerce site is fairly simple, but building a high-quality, engaging online store can be much more difficult. There are so many factors to consider when trying to draw customers to your site and keep them on the page.
The best way to strengthen an ecommerce store is often to focus on one aspect of the site at a time. You can break down the process into small, actionable steps that will improve user experience and increase sales.
As the future of ecommerce seems to indicate that online shopping’s popularity isn’t going away anytime soon, stores are likely to have an increasing amount of competition.
To start you off on the right track and help your business stand out from the crowd, here are 11 ecommerce features that customers like to see when visiting an online store!
1. Uncluttered website design
Simple and clean web design is the way to go when it comes to ecommerce sites. The first impression of your website is critical, and using too many photos or too much text can overwhelm your site visitors.
Your business site should only include essential information and links for your customers. Visitors should be able to quickly navigate to the pages they need, and their eyes should be drawn to the most important content of the page.
Empty space on your website is perfectly fine, and simple color schemes tend to work well.
Including a clear system of organization is also one of the top ecommerce tips. All of your products should be part of a hierarchy of categories to help customers promptly find what they’re looking for and discover new items of interest.
2. Fast loading speed
Page speed is one of the most important elements of your site’s overall performance. With constant access to the internet, most people today have short attention spans and little patience for slow-loading sites.
In fact, many site visitors will leave a page if it takes more than two or three seconds to load!
Reducing page size is the best way to increase your site speed. Most ecommerce websites use lots of images for their product listings, so make sure to compress your photos so that they don’t slow down the page.
Caching can be helpful for returning customers, too. This stores some of your site data so that it loads more quickly for repeated visits.
3. Clear, benefit-driven product descriptions
Most consumers prefer a straightforward description that clearly highlights the function of the product instead of a salesy write-up that uses vague or flowery language. A good practice for creating your descriptions is to focus on the benefits of the item and what value it will add to the customer’s life.
When customers can’t see the product in person, they rely heavily on the images and descriptions you provide. Make sure that your descriptions are clear enough that anyone could understand the product, its uses, and its benefits just from reading your write-up.
4. Thoughtfully designed product selection
Shoppers often visit small ecommerce sites when they’re looking for a high-quality, specific item. It’s difficult for small online retailers to compete with major stores like Amazon or Walmart, so your company’s value comes from your carefully curated selection of products.
With small ecommerce stores, less can be more. It’s better to have a smaller collection of high-selling, quality items than it is to offer a wider variety of lower-quality products. Customers may feel overwhelmed with choices if your store is too big. Help them choose their purchases by only offering the best items.
5. Opportunities for free shipping
Shipping costs can make a big difference in conversions for a business. Many shoppers will abandon their cart if the shipping prices are revealed to be too high during the checkout process.
To avoid losing customers, be clear about your shipping prices right away. Don’t wait until the last page of the checkout to reveal the shipping total.
If possible, find opportunities to offer free shipping. It may not be financially viable to offer free shipping for all purchases, but you could provide it for purchases over a certain amount.
For a significant number of shoppers, this will be a great incentive for them to add items to their cart. Your shipping deals should be clearly advertised on your home page or product pages so that customers know what to expect.
6. Personalized recommendations
You should have a target demographic in mind for your ecommerce store. However, even within this category, customers can vary widely. Offering a personalized shopping experience is an excellent way for your business to attract and retain customers.
In the last few years, there have been major advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
These technologies can observe and analyze customer behavior to deliver a highly personalized experience. They can recommend specific products based on the shopper's browsing history or previous purchases.
Customers tend to prefer stores that show them their ideal products. The less time your shoppers have to spend sifting through irrelevant items on your site, the more likely they’ll be to complete a purchase!
7. Post-transaction communication
Following up with your customers after a purchase is key. This should happen in a few different steps.
Immediately following the purchase, you should send the customer an email receipt and confirmation number. This message could also include links to your social media platforms so that customers can easily reach out if they have questions.
You should send an email after the order ships as well. This can include the expected delivery date, the tracking number, and your store’s contact information. Customers appreciate staying in the loop during every step of the online shopping process.
A few days after the order is delivered, you can send a personalized email to the customer asking for their feedback. This message should be brief but friendly.
Address the customer by name, and let them know that you’re happy to receive feedback. Give them a few different options for contacting you to make it as easy as possible for them to reach out.
Customers like to shop at stores with whom they have a personal connection. When you let your customers know that you care about their satisfaction, they’ll feel more loyalty toward your brand.
8. Special sales
Special deals and promotions can create a sense of urgency and excitement for your customers. Seasonal or holiday sales, discounts for first-time purchasers, or free shipping for a limited time can all entice shoppers to make a purchase right away.
Comparison shopping is much faster and easier online than it is in-person. All customers have to do is open another tab and search for the product on another site. Sales, coupons, and other deals can give your business the competitive edge it needs to stand out from other online retailers.
It can take some time to discover the timing and types of sales that will produce the best results. It’s a good idea to carefully measure the success of each promotion so that you can compare your marketing efforts.
9. Simple checkout process
The last thing you want is for customers to abandon their order during checkout. If your store’s checkout is too lengthy or complicated, your shoppers may not feel motivated to see the purchase through to the end.
To speed up the process, allow customers to check out as a guest. Only ask for the bare minimum information that you need to complete the payment.
In addition, it’s generally best to keep the checkout to a single page if for added simplicty.
Finally, your store should accept multiple types of payments, including credit cards, PayPal, and mobile payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay. This can help make the checkout process as easy and accessible as possible for your customers.
10. Real customer reviews
The majority of online shoppers appreciate being able to read reviews for a business and/or product before committing to a purchase. Including reviews and testimonials from real customers on your site can make your shoppers more confident in your products.
You can generate reviews by sending follow-up emails after a purchase. Reviews from repeat customers can be especially valuable. Make sure to respond to both positive and negative reviews so that your shoppers know that you appreciate their feedback.
11. Easy product returns
Online shopping is more convenient than in-person shopping, but it’s also riskier. Because customers can’t actually see the product until after they’ve purchased it, your store should have a straightforward, hassle-free return process.
Ensure that your return policy is clear on your website. Shoppers may be more likely to make a purchase from a business when they know they have the option to return it.
If possible, your store should provide the return labels and cover the cost of shipping. Even if a customer was unhappy with a particular product, they may purchase from your store again after a pleasant return experience.
There are dozens if not hundreds of ecommerce web design strategies that you can use to bring customers to your site. However, virtually all ecommerce marketing advice comes down to the same idea: keep your customers in mind at all times.
For a successful online retail store, you have to think about what your customers want. If you can identify your ideal customer base and determine what their wants, values, and priorities are, you can better manage your ecommerce site to ensure that it’s optimized to create an excellent user experience.
Start with these 11 tips to strengthen your site, and then adjust your strategy as you see what brings the best results for your business!