Working with over 100 e-commerce sites in the past 11 years, I've seen many businesses thrive and also many businesses limit themselves with not having the right website functionality when it comes to e-commerce. Here are 4 features I've compiled that are must-haves with any website.
1. Optional guest / quick check-out
A lot of shops force you to ‘sign up’ to actually place an order. However, many people (especially those security conscious) want to feel like they aren’t signing their life away joining your website. You may ask ‘who would think that?’ - but their are lots of people, especially those who are protective of their privacy, so you need cater for your target audience and give them multiple options - guest checkout being one of them. Also consider including a 3rd party checkout like PayPal - if people have a PayPal account - they can quickly checkout without signing up to your site.
The quicker and easier a customer does your checkout, the more you WILL sell.
2. Include an abandoned cart feature
This is a great way to find out why people didn’t complete your checkout, but also to see if you can still get them to complete the process.
Basically, if someone doesn't complete the checkout and leaves partway through, this is most commonly due to: they change their mind or their card declines. However, website glitches can also cause this.
So - its important you can track this process so you can identify what works, what doesn’t and what you can improve. You can also just gauge from customers whether something was too expensive, or consider cutting your profit back slightly by offering free shipping to get them to complete the sale.
3. Product detail & multi-media
No one likes viewing a product on a website and it only having a single sentence for its description. Ensure you write or get a well-written description that you can market your product with. This includes: Product information, product specifications, product features, multiple product images, a product video even downloads such as installation instructions, operating manuals… The more information you can supply, the more the customer will trust and be happy to buy from you, because you’re being informative!
Not to mention - Google will also look at your product pages much more if you add description to them!
4. Use Google Merchants and Re-marketing
Basically these features are external to your website - Google Merchants allows you to feed your products into Google Searches, so when some Googles a product you sell, your product comes up. Furthermore, these products are much more prominent because they’re at the top of the page generally, and include a price AND image. So its much more visual and draws your eye. You pay ‘per click’ for these appearances - so you may pay for example $1.00 if someone clicks your listing… However, if you can get a lets-say $500 sale from a $1 click, then it is well worth it!
Now, Re-marketing is basically a feature where you your products ‘follow’ people around on other websites. So if someone lets say didn’t have time to complete the checkout because they had work, then that product / your business will pop-up for example later that evening back in their face again on other websites they browse. For example Facebook. Then ideally, you’ll find that user clicks on these again, and completes the purchase, therefore meaning you can capture sales, even if the user leaves entirely. This can be done with Facebook for example, and obviously Google too. A great feature to consider especially when you’re selling.
Those are just 4 things you can consider - there are so many more but this will get you started, small-steps are the way. Master these 4 and you’ll expect to see great benefit!