Ecommerce Must Haves

Ecommerce Must Haves

Having an Ecommerce site is basically a must in this day and age. Offering customers the option to shop online can help your profits greatly, by increasing ease of access and expanding your reach beyond the area you are physically located.  There are a seemingly endless number of Ecommerce platforms to choose from.  No matter which one you choose, for your Ecommerce site to be successful, there are a few must-have features you need to be sure to offer. 

1. Accept All Major Forms of Payment 

There are plenty of gateways through which you can process payments on your site.  PayPal, Square, and Stripe are a few of the most popular and widely used.  You want to be sure whatever gateway you are using accepts all major credit cards and forms of payment.  Most people go into a purchase with a certain form of payment in mind, and you do not want to lose that customer because you do not accept their payment method. 

2. Easy-to-follow Checkout Instructions 

Another aspect of Ecommerce purchasing that is important to shoppers is the simplicity of your checkout process.  There is a large amount of information you will need to collect from purchasers, including all contact, shipping, and payment information.  But you do not want to make this process lengthier or more complicated than it needs to be.  Make sure as potential customers click through, your checkout process is intuitive and does not lead to any confusion.  You don’t want to lose a purchase once a customer has decided to buy just because they are confused by your interface.

3. Allow for Guest Checkout     

Another way to streamline your checkout process is by allowing guest checkout.  This means customers can make a purchase without creating an account with you.  Oftentimes, the extra step of creating a user account can feel like a barrier to new customers, especially those who are not completely sure about your brand yet and are just “trying it out.” You will still be collecting their contact information for checkout, so you won’t lose the benefit of gathering information by allowing for guest checkout, and will likely gain a few customers you would have otherwise lost. 

4. Wish List or Save for Later option 

Window shopping is still popular, even online.  When potential customers visit your Ecommerce site for the first time, they may not be ready to commit to a purchase right away.  However, providing an option for them to create a Wish List or otherwise save items they are interested in for later could increase the chances they return and purchase from you in the future.  It is much simpler for someone to log in and have the items they are interested in already collected, than it is for them to start the search over for anything they were interested in buying. 

5. Accurate Photos

Wherever your menu or list of offerings is, you want to be sure there are correct, up-to-date photos to accompany each offering.  Humans are visual creatures.  They want to be able to see what they are getting themselves into when making a purchase.    A simple photo can answer many of their questions about the product or service you are offering, and instill confidence in their purchasing decision.  Make sure your photos are high-quality along with accurately depicting the offering. 

6. Detailed Product or Service Descriptions 

That being said, even though a picture speaks a thousand words, your actual words used to accompany the pictures in this case are also important.  A photo can provide a lot of information, but not everything.  Write a description to go along with each of your offerings, that includes all relevant information you can possibly think of.  If relevant, be sure to include things such as size or dimensions, color options, noise level, materials, and a short description of the functionality. You want to provide as much information as possible pre-purchase to avoid unhappy customers who were misled to purchase something different than what they wanted.

7. Accessible Customer Reviews 

No matter how much information you provide, that is still not enough for some people.  Some shoppers want to hear reviews from other consumers about their experience with the product or service before buying it.  Providing customer reviews alongside each of your offerings can streamline this process for consumers and provide them with reassurance about their purchase.

8. Ways to Cross-Sell and Upsell 

Cross-selling and upselling make stores large amounts of additional revenue each year.  Efficient and effective sales teams can bring in large amounts of revenue from what was originally going to be only a small purchase.  Since you are not personally interacting with your customers through the Ecommerce site, you need your site to do the salesmanship for you.  Craft your site to show customers items similar to those they have added to their cart.  You can also add pop-ups showing order add-ons during the shopping or checkout process to try to garner additional purchases. 

9. Collect Emails from Abandoned Carts 

One valuable way to reach those who might purchase from you is by using the information from abandoned carts.  These people clearly at least considered making a purchase, but for one reason or another, just did not quite follow through.  This is a prime group to target with a follow-up email or discount to encourage them to finish their purchase.  In contrast to many other marketing efforts that cast a wide net in hopes of reaching relevant consumers, this targets a relatively small audience, while still offering just as great of a potential pay-off. 

10. Clear FAQ and Policies Page

Help your customers understand your business and your offerings with FAQ and Policies/Procedure pages.  You want your customers to have a clear understanding not only of your products, but also of your return policies, site security, warranties or money back guarantees, clearance or sale exclusions, and other pertinent information.  Customers who felt misled or purposely not informed about any of these policies are more likely to be unsatisfied, demand refunds, or leave negative reviews.  Be clear and try to answer any questions your consumers are likely to ask.

With these 9 features, your Ecommerce site will be off to a great start.  If you focus on these features, select the right platform, and market wisely, your Ecommerce should be off the ground in no time!

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