Every website is unique, and each comes with its own content and other features that make it stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, when it comes to ecommerce, cool features and trendy designs aren't going to be enough to make your site successful.
Instead, you want your ecommerce website to be aligned with the needs of your customers while also making it a powerful solution for you and your team. When it comes to ecommerce solutions, here are the top features you want yours to have.
Full Integration With Your CMS
The primary benefit of a full integration between your ecommerce solution and your CMS is a seamless experience for your users. When customers visit your site, they won't feel like they're entering a separate area of your site to make a purchase. Not only can that be confusing, but it can also make users wonder if they're in the right place, potentially second-guessing their decision to buy.
For you, managing ecommerce content directly alongside the rest of your website content makes the process simpler and more efficient. You won't have to duplicate content or reinvent the wheel. Instead, all your content can be managed from a central location. This way, it will be easier for your team to deliver an optimal experience for your customers; a win-win situation!
The year 2015 marked the moment that the number of mobile users surpassed the number of desktop users, and that trend has continued to increase. That year, Google also released an update to their search algorithms that gave a boost to mobile-friendly pages in search results.
Shoppers are enjoying the mobile experience, too. The 2016 holiday shopping season was driven by mobile shoppers, with half of all web traffic and 30% of online retail sales happening on a smartphone or tablet device.
In other words, if you're not optimizing for mobile devices, you're leaving an increasingly large portion of your potential customer base out. Today's customers enjoy searching for products anytime and anywhere. If you aren't giving them the convenience they want, chances are they will look elsewhere.
In the context of ecommerce, user-generated content typically refers to reviews, ratings and feedback that customers post to a website after purchasing a product. If you didn't know that this type of feedback was essential for your success, here's a few facts to consider:
- 92% of shoppers are reading reviews.
- 84% of shoppers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation.
- Almost all consumers—a full 90%—read less than ten reviews before forming an opinion about a company.
- 73% of shoppers say that only reviews from the past three months—in some cases, just one month—are relevant. Anything older than that is too stale.
The takeaway here is that online shoppers rely on the experience of others when making decisions. If you're not providing an easy, reliable way for consumers to give feedback on specific products and on their overall experience, you're not giving new visitors the confidence they need to choose your products and services.
Special offers are a great way to motivate shoppers in every stage of the buying cycle. From introductory offers for new visitors to retargeting abandoned shopping carts, most ecommerce sites are using special offers in a variety of ways to boost sales.
Of course, managing these special offers can be a complex operation on the back end. Your ecommerce solution must be able to simplify and optimize the process for you. For example, you should be able to implement offers with specific start and end dates and provide discounts by percentage and by dollar amounts.
Personalization refers to more than just name-dropping. You need a robust personalization package for your customers, and your efforts to deliver will be rewarded. Consider that:
- 56% of online shoppers are more likely to return to a site that makes recommendations.
- 59% believe that finding interesting products is easier with a personalized experience.
- 57% of shoppers will provide personal information as long as they also benefit from it.
Two common ways to deliver a personalized shopping experience is by suggesting related items and "customers also purchased" items. Both of these choices provide consumers with expanded buying options, and the second also comes with built-in social proof that customers crave: if others bought it, I probably want to as well.
When you combine previous purchase and browsing information with the buying habits of your other customers, upselling and cross-selling will not only be more effective, but your customers will be happier with being presented with relevant options.
Multiple Payment Options
The safety and security of consumer payments is of primary importance. There are far too many headlines in today's news for consumers to feel confident with anything less than the tightest security.
There is also the matter of convenience for consumers who are enjoying some of the newest ways to pay online. Apple Pay, Google Wallet and PayPal are just a few ways that shoppers are keeping their money safer and easier to use online, and you want to offer as many of these options as would make sense for your buyers.
These options are also becoming increasingly prevalent with mobile shoppers who may not be comfortable punching credit card numbers in while connected to a public WiFi hotspot. Plus, mobile shoppers are increasingly using these options at the cash register in-store—not just online—so the more options you provide, the more shoppers you'll draw into your online store.
If you want to offer your shoppers a personalized shopping experience, it all starts with data. By understanding the likes, dislikes and habits of your shoppers, you can create a more satisfying experience for everyone and boost your bottom line.
For example, when you collect information about shopping experiences, you can discover which days and times are the busiest, which times of year seem to bring an influx of customers, and other similar trends. This information can inform your sales and marketing strategies as you ramp up your promotions for the busy times, and change directions during non-peak times.
Although platforms like Google Analytics will provide you with lots of information about how your pages are performing, without the details surrounding successful and abandoned transactions, your data set will be incomplete. When analytics is built into your ecommerce solution, you'll be getting an integrated, robust report on the consumer activity that matters most to your business.
Running a big promotion will often put a heavy burden on your servers and your software. It's essential that your ecommerce solution can handle the load of a surge in shoppers without being overkill during more common conditions.
It's also important that your solution can grow over time as your customer base expands and your company grows. The ability to scale in the short-term to accommodate surges while also growing with the company in the long-term will ensure you're not missing out on key sales and revenue opportunities.
Making the Right Choice
So much of sales and marketing is focused on the needs of your customers, and rightly so! If you're not keeping your customers happy and coming back for more, then there's not much of a future for the company.
When choosing an ecommerce solution, you want one with features that are geared toward making the customer experience fast, easy and seamless with the rest of your website. You also want one that makes sense for your business, and for all those that work behind the scenes to keep your ecommerce site up and running smoothly.
When your solution hits these eight points, you'll be giving your customers the best possible experience while getting the features and usability you need for an all around excellent ecommerce solution.