Your Pocket Manual To The Must-haves in Ecommerce Websites

Introduction to opportunities in the eCommerce sector
Must-have elements of eCommerce website

Table of Contents

A Front-end Features

  • Clutter-free navigation
  • Site security
  • Mobile responsive layout
  • Visible checkout tab
  • Multiple payment options
  • High-resolution visuals
  • Complete information on shipping and return policy
  • Social proof
  • Relevant information about the product
  • A section displaying related products
  • Availability of the products
  • FAQ page (General and product-specific)
  • Help centre
  • PCI compliance
  • Consistency in the design
  • Option to choose a different language
  • Provision to change the shipping location
  • Newsletter signup form
  • Contact information
  • Live Chat window
  • Search bar
  • “Share” feature for the products
  • Add to Cart and Add to Wishlist option

B. Back-end Features

  • Integration with different third-party platforms
  • Robust Content Management System (CMS)
  • Administrator Management
  • Order and Shipping Management
  • Automatic site backup
  • SEO Management
  • Email Integration

Ecommerce websites have touched a mammoth number of 12 to 24 million across the world. It is showing a year-on-year growth of 23%, and it reflects the huge opportunity that this sector entails.
Despite these inspiring numbers, less than 1 million of eCommerce sites sell over $1000 in a year. So, you have a great scope to make it big in this field. Yet, certain elements form an integral part of your eCommerce web portal.
They broadly fall into two categories: Front-end features and Back-end features.
Let’s start with the front-end features first, and delve deeper into each one of them.

1. Have a Clutter-free Navigation

The attention span of humans is constantly dwindling. So, it becomes imperative to make your website easy to navigate. Make sure that your menus are visible. It will help visitors to sift through different products.
Also, provide all the necessary options to sort the products by

  • Price
  • Size
  • Reviews
  • Brands
  • Styles and other relevant attributes.

Your prospects and customers are busy. So, you must make it a point to make the navigation experience as smooth as possible.
Take a look at this image.
Macy’s has a nice eCommerce website layout with search and filter options.
According to different attributes, you must allow product filtering and sorting. Include the price, brands, size, colour, and price range.
Have breadcrumb navigation on your website. It will give links back to every page that the user has previously gone through.
Here is a screenshot to explain the breadcrumbs navigation on Best Buy.
This tactic will encourage your customers to browse through the website while reducing the bounce rate. It will also improve the searchability of your website. You will be able to boost the SEO by using breadcrumbs. This type of navigation will remove user anxiety as they can get the complete trail of their browsing process.
In the navigation bar, add a store locator to help the customers search for physical stores or pick-up points. It will encourage more people to visit your brick-and-mortar store. It is a great way to increase footfall. Tell your prospect why they must buy from you by mentioning all your salient features.
Ease of access is the primary conversion rate optimization feature. Remember, people will leave your site unattended if they’d find it difficult to operate.
Ecommerce websites need to have a swift and easy to understand navigation for visitors. It will help them to follow a process starting from browsing to checkout seamlessly.
Uncomplicate as much as possible as people don’t like to dive deep. Fewer clicks until the payment pop-up is how shoppers like their shopping process to be.
Easy site navigation is one of the vital user experience (UX) aspects. It can make or break your conversion.
The navigation aspects that every eCommerce store designer should keep in mind are:

  • Effective Product Categorization
  • Pagination
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Footer

2. Increase Your Site Security With SSL

Cybercrimes are constantly on the rise. So, you must keep your visitors assured about the security aspect. As a credible eCommerce store, you have to take care of the customer’s personal information. Also, you must protect their contact details and bank account details.
Trust is of paramount importance when it comes to shopping online. Keep your SSL certificate and other security features visible on your website. It will instil a sense of confidence in the visitor’s mind. Ultimately, it would enhance the likelihood of earning conversions.
Five steps form the basis of eCommerce website security:

  • Buy a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate so that you can carry out data transmission securely. Have HTTPS website with a green padlock in the address bar. It will build confidence in the customer’s mind.
  • At the time of checkout, always use AVS (Address Verification System), and Credit Card Verification Value. Also, use a Two Factor Authentication to avoid any fraudulent activity.
  • Encourage the users to create strong passwords and change them at regular intervals.
  • Have a strong firewall with multiple layers of security on login and contact forms.
  • You can also have CAPTCHA to separate bots and genuine users.

3. Create a Mobile Responsive Layout to Gain More Leads

According to Statista, around 50% of the users use their mobile devices to access websites.
Therefore, you must make sure that you design a responsive website. It must render well across all web browsers and devices, regardless of the screen size.
Always test your websites so that you can check for any rendering errors beforehand. Strive to create a flexible website that imparts a smooth customer experience. Take care of browser compatibility and loading time. These factors influence your ranking on search engines as it is a crucial eCommerce SEO factor.

4. Use Visible Checkout Tab to Win More Customers

Conversion is, of course, the priority of your website. Have a clear checkout button so that the customer can easily make the purchase. It is advisable to have the checkout button at the top and bottom of the eCommerce site. It will make it more convenient for the customer to complete the sale.
Provide every detail about the item/s that the user has in the shopping cart. Include the product name, price, quantity of the products, and final price with shipping charges and tax.

5. Add Multiple Payment Options To Encourage Sales

Customers might abandon the cart if they are unable to find the payment option of their choice. Include all the different modes of payment options at the time of checkout.
They are debit cards and credit cards of every bank, Paypal, net banking, cash on delivery, and Pay Later option. Show the payment system icons so that the customers instantly know the payment options you accept.
Add a tab where the subscriber can put the promo code or discount coupon code to avail any offers.

6. Use High-resolution Visuals for Better Conversion

Your customer can spend hours on your website scrolling picture after picture and may give up at some point if there is no clear picture of the product shared.
Visuals will help the decision-making process and tempt your customers to convert. Use high-resolution images of the products to give the prospect a real look and feel of the product.
You can also have a 3D presentation of the product along with its 360-degree view. If your product is available in different colours or patterns, you can also make it visually rich by using animated GIFs. Allow the users to zoom in and zoom out to get a clear picture of the product.
Remember to have various pictures of the product available. To ensure the customer does not give up midway due to lack of a clear image, try to enable the “zoom” feature.
The zoom feature allows your customer to get a closer look at the item of their choice.
You can also use videos that would take the customer experience to the next level. After all, product videos make the buyers 85% more inclined to make the purchase.

7. Display Complete Information on Shipping and Return Policy

Ecommerce business owners must relieve the customer of any apprehension. Let them know about the shipping and return policy upfront. It will avoid any cart abandonment.
Mention the shipping charges, estimated delivery date, and return policy under every product. Providing these details will keep the customer assured and encourage him or her to buy.
You can even give a “try and buy” option to the customers for retail products like apparels and accessories.
If the item is non-returnable, clearly mention it in the product description. Failing to do so might become a problem for the customer in case they do not like the product.

8. Include Social Proof to Build Trust

Always include customer reviews and testimonials. It will build the customer’s confidence. Consumers like to believe another user more than the brand. Having the customer rating, along with every product, will reinforce their belief in you and bring more conversions.
Over 70% of the users will not complete a purchase unless they have checked out the reviews. If you do not include customer feedback, your prospects might get confused and choose to buy from your competitor.
Remember that you must feature both positive and negative feedback from customers. Do not hide negative reviews on your eCommerce store. Instead, try to address the customer’s concerns to build a reliable brand reputation.
Add the feature of review functionality on your website. It will help your customers to easily review through third-party platforms like Facebook, Google My Business, and product review websites.

9. Add Relevant Information About the Product

Along with the shipping information and product reviews, you must include all the details about the product. Let the customer know all the features and customizations available.
If a description does not accompany the product, your customers would not know the exact specifications. Ultimately, they would bounce from the website.
A product description is also important from the point of view of eCommerce SEO. Always include keywords in this description so that your page ranks on Google.
However, avoid writing an entire essay about the product. Keep it short, crisp and focus on product availability, sized and colour options.
Do you feel the product description is too short and isn’t doing justice to the images or the product on display? Then, feel free to add, a ‘know more’ tab. It allows your customer to get more information about the product of their choice.
Enabling the ‘know more’ tab for a product will allow you to keep the product landing page to be less cluttered.
Here’s how Amazon lets the customers know all about the product through a detailed description.
You must also show the number of products displayed on the page. Let the customers adjust this according to their preferences.
If a product is eligible for free shipping or no delivery charges, highlight it. It would eliminate the cost barrier and prompt them to purchase. They work as a risk reducer and draw the attention of your customers. Also, mention the Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) with every product.

10. Add a Section To Display Related Products

Have a section to display the related products to the user. It would give the subscriber a sneak-peek into similar products or items that go well together.
For example: Let’s say a customer has searched for red tunic tops. You can display red stilettos and red lipstick in the ‘related products’ section for them.
You can also have featured products, bestsellers, new arrivals, and personalized products section. It is a tried and tested tactic to boost the conversion rate.
Do not forget to add relevant call-to-action buttons in this section. You can even include links to special offers pages or any other occasion-based sales page.
For instance: If Valentine’s Day is around the corner, you can include a link to Valentine’s Day gifs to generate instant conversions.

11. Update the Availability of the Products

Always show product availability in your eCommerce store. Sometimes the product may be unavailable or out of stock items. In that case, let the users subscribe to the alerts whenever the product is back in stock.
Create a sense of urgency by displaying the number of items available. It would tap on the “fear of missing out” instinct and encourage instant conversions.

12. Create a FAQ Page - General and Product-specific

Many customers might be having similar questions about order placement, shipping, return policy, and refund. To address all these concerns, have a single FAQ page with the answers to these questions.
The FAQ page will eliminate the need of approaching the customer support executive for trivial needs.
You can brainstorm the questions that the user might be having. Build an accessible FAQ page that will help the user to find answers quickly.
Track the questions you get too often in your support requests. With time, you can keep optimizing this page with these FAQs that you might have missed.

13. Include a Help Centre to Give Personal Touch

Sometimes, despite having an FAQ page, your customers might not be satisfied. Have a help centre on your eCommerce site to let them chat with the support executives or email them. You can even have a tollfree number.
Just mention the working hours clearly so that your customers do not have to keep waiting for an answer.

14. Keep it PCI Compliance to Increase Security Standard

Lack of trust is among the top reasons why a user abandons the cart. Adhere to the PCI DSS guidelines to maintain a secure payment environment. PCI DSS is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It will help to secure all the transactions that go through the eCommerce website.

15. Maintain Consistency in the Design

Consistency is one of the most important design principles for an eCommerce website. The product images, description, features, and return policy, must be placed in the same way on all the product pages. It will make navigation faster for the user.
They will look at the respective place for the information they are looking for. Besides, you must have a similar amount of negative space around the borders of the product images. All these factors count!

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16. Provide Options to Choose a Different Language

Let the customer choose the language of their choice. It is true for eCommerce stores that deal with different geographical locations with different languages. It will help to impart an inclusive experience to the customers.
By overcoming language barriers, you will be able to reduce the bounce rate that arises due to this reason.

17. Allow Customers to Change the Shipping Location

Allow customers to change the shipping location. So, they will be able to place an order regardless of their current location.
Not having this feature would increase the cart abandonment in case the user has signed in from another location.

18. Include a Newsletter Signup Form

Include a newsletter signup form on your eCommerce website. Your subscribers will be able to join your email list. Then, you can send them promotional offers or discount coupon codes. It will yield a higher conversion rate and ROI for your business.

19. Display a Clear Contact Information

Have a “Contact Us” page on your website so that the customers can reach out to you. It must include your physical address and contact number. Your customers will be able to communicate faster and more effectively with you.
Make sure your customer does not find it difficult to navigate while making a choice. If you make it difficult, they wouldn’t be hanging around for long on your site.
Keep your contact options available. People widely use social media contact options. So, don’t forget to have your own social media profile updated on your website.
Simple contact options not only allow your customer to reach out to you easily. It will allow them to connect to you with their queries or concerns. It also makes your eCommerce website appear to be a lot more reliable and trustworthy. Include contact options or a chatbot that allows them to connect to the right team.
On this page, you must have an email address, social media profiles, and a chatbot to answer the customer’s concern. It will help them to get in touch with the concerned department for a quick resolution. Also, it will help with eCommerce SEO, as NAP is crucial for SEO nowadays.

20. Improve Your Sales & Support With Live Chat

Live chat is a great option for small-scale eCommerce business owners. It will allow your customers to get in touch with you. You can resolve their concerns immediately through this channel.
Just plan your resources well. Try to maintain a reliable live chat option by chalking out a proper strategy.

21. Provide an Intuitive Site Search Feature

Website visitors usually browse through various options.
He/she may have a higher buying intent but lacks the exact match buying option.
In simple terms, people like to explore their choices before actually buying a product. These people will look for various product options in an eCommerce store before making a purchase.
For this sole reason, e-tailers need to embed an optimized site search feature in their eCommerce store.
You can embed codes to install the site search via back-end development. Or utilize third-party integration that offers such services.
A few of the points to keep in mind while optimizing your site search are:

  • An intuitive return search that can recognize typos
  • A simplified search box that can read abbreviations and symbols
  • Sometimes you won’t have the exact match products for the search. In that case, enable a recommended or similar product page display
  • Support the search through specific model numbers and names
  • Drop-down suggestions that can complete the search query nearing the entered text by the user

Your customers will be able to search for the products of their choice with the help of a search bar. It will enhance their shopping experience and boost customer loyalty in the long run.
After all, we all love the convenience and user-friendly navigation. Keep optimizing your search bar at regular intervals to yield higher conversions from your website.

22. Embed “Share” Feature for the Products

“Share” feature besides the product will enable your customers to send the product URL to their friends and family. Allow them to share it across all the major channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, or copy the link to their clipboard.

23. Insert ‘Add to Cart’ and ‘Add to Wishlist’ Option

It goes without saying! ‘Add to Cart’ option is a must-have for any eCommerce website. Don’t just have a ‘Buy Now’ button. Keep an ‘Add to Cart’ button to go with it.
You can also let your customers add the products to their wishlist by having a Wishlist button. Most of the leading eCommerce stores have this feature on their website.
Furthermore, you must also allow the customers to save the items for later. It will let them come back later and complete the purchase at their convenience.
That brings us to the end of the front-end features. Now, we shall switch to back-end features. They are:

  • Integration with different third-party platforms
  • Robust Content Management System (CMS)
  • Administrator Management
  • Order and Shipping Management
  • Automatic site backup
  • SEO Management
  • Email Integration

We shall now explore each one of them.

24. Have the Option to Integrate with Different Third-Party Platforms

You must be able to integrate different third-party platforms to your eCommerce website. It can be CRM tools, payment gateways, or any other marketing tool like Zapier.
Make sure your back-end has all these facilities. You can also use external tools to send out text messages or in-app push notifications through your website or mobile app.

25. Develop Your Store in a Robust Content Management System (CMS)

You must be able to edit the content on your website and the product pages. Make sure you can change the layout of the website without any change in the codes. Choose a CMS that works on a drag-and-drop editor so that there are no technicalities involved.

26. Include Administrator Management

Administrator Management allows you to limit the access of the back-end. A website can have many managers. And with the help of this feature, you can assign different roles to different people.

27. Include Order and Shipping Management

Your website has a huge number of orders at a given point of time. Order and Shipping Management will let you keep track of these orders and various shipment processes going on. It will also give you inventory management features.
Have a robust platform that gives you the provision to manage different payment processes. Use the platform to carry out tax calculations, and revise the pricing according to the location.
A simple example would be this: If a user logs in to the website from Australia, the pricing will display in Australian Dollars while in the UK, it will display in Pounds.
Now, your website may be running multiple offers at a certain point in time. Your back-end must be able to apply variable discounts, and the right offers without any technical glitches.

28. Schedule Automatic Site Backup

Automatic site backup is the most critical element for any eCommerce website. Cybercrimes are increasing with each passing day.
You must always have a plugin like VaultPress or BlogVault on your WordPress website to have an automatic site backup. It will make sure that you do not lose any data from the website in case of hacking or malware issues.

29. Give Importance to SEO to Attract More Traffic

You must have an ecommerce SEO company in place to get higher conversions on your eCommerce store. So, get a powerful SEO management system. It will let you track all the inbound links, outbound links, referral links, as well as affiliate links.
Make sure it allows you to add the focus keyphrase, SEO title, meta description, slug, and the canonical URL. Take help of tools like Google Planner, AHREFS to get keyword suggestions.

30. Integrate Email to Have Effective Communication

Email is the most effective channel to reach out to eCommerce buyers. Your store must integrate with email marketing tools such as Convertkit, HubSpot, Adestra, AWeber, and Emma. It is important because you need to send out:

  • Frequent welcome emails,
  • Promotional emails,
  • Transactional emails,
  • Cart abandonment emails,
  • Re-engagement emails,
  • Back-in-stock emails to your customers.

If a customer sends you an email, make sure they get an automated response. It will keep them assured that the team will resolve their concern at the earliest.

Bonus Tip : Have a Visible Privacy Policy

You must also include standard documents like terms and conditions and privacy policy. Have a sitemap to guide the users about your website navigation.

Wrapping Up

These are the top 30 elements that you are inevitable for your eCommerce store. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, make sure you have these features on your eCommerce website.
Do you need expert assistance for your eCommerce website? Are you looking for personalized support for your eCommerce site? Then, Speak to our eCommerce SEO experts now!

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Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.

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