These days online buyers expect to see particular features and elements on any eCommerce site they use. Without them, your site won't acquire the trust required to make a purchase, and the site won't be so relevant or competitive.
Read on to discover which 21 elements are must-haves for today's eCommerce sites.
If you're undertaking the creation of a new e-commerce site or looking at how you can improve the current store, these tips are sure to help.
Making an e-commerce experience delightful can come from looking at the top brands selling online. These elements all feature on the leading e-commerce sites.
1. Navigation that is easy to use and follow
An easy-to-follow navigation system can make all the difference. Customers need to be able to find what they want to buy quickly and easily. Products need to be categorised in an obvious and logical way, with the most popular categories first.
Screenshot from Matalan.com, June 2022
Matalan knows how to help their customers shop.
Some look for brands, and some for a category. This navigation bar helps customers get to the products they want to buy without getting frustrated.
2. Search bar for the site
Site search is another crucial feature on nearly all successful e-commerce sites. Customers can search for what they want without going through the navigation system.
Screenshot from Tesco.com, June 2022
Tesco offers a range of suggestions so that it's easy to find what you want or even get inspired to buy other products.
Try tracking any searching using Google Analytics to learn more about what your customers want.
3. Website Footer Navigation
One way to help your customers find your most popular products is to add links in the footer of your website.
You might add the most popular products, services or links to the information you know customers want to the site footer.
Screenshot from Vodafone.com, June 2022
Vodafone is a site that has fast-track links to get to social media, their top products and other information.
Not only does the footer have links for what they want their customers to find, but they also consider what search crawlers need to discover.
4. Videos of Products and Services
Customers are more likely to buy if you add videos of your products and services to product pages.
Marketing guidance site, Think with Google has claimed that more than 50% of shoppers say that video can help them decide what they want to buy.
You'll find that many e-commerce platforms allow for adding images and video files to product pages.
Screenshot from Apple.co.uk, June 2022
Apple is an influential company that uses video well to show what their products look like and which features they have. High-quality video and images help to sell their products both in-store and online.
5. Reviews of Products and Services
A significant influence on conversion due to credibility are product reviews and ratings. These are content created by users and can help customers decide whether they want to pull out their wallets and purses.
In fact, one of the major reasons why eBay has been so successful is that they offer a rating and review process so that it's possible to build trust with the seller of goods.
Screenshot from eBay.co.uk, June 2022
eBay users can then categorise reviews as helpful or not, which means the best reviews will move to the top of the product page.
6. Generous Return Policies
Trust is everything when it comes to buying online. By offering a return policy that is no hassle and easy to do, you can improve the confidence of your consumers.
Screenshot from JohnLewis.com, June 2022
Ensure your customers can easily see the returns policy when they order, such as placement close to the add-to-cart button.
7. FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions For Products
A valuable way to bring in relevant user-generated content is to add a section for FAQs or frequently asked questions written by customers.
The benefits of adding an FAQ section are:
- Answering pre-sales questions and providing more information to increase sales numbers.
- Salespeople don't need to answer questions about products before or after purchase.
Screenshot from Amazon.co.uk, June 2022
Amazon has a well-thought-out FAQ section for customers to use. They can ask questions and answer questions and then vote which answers are the best so that the most popular questions are at the top of the pile.
8. FAQ For The Store and it's Policies
Above and beyond having FAQs for products, how about adding a store FAQ page?
This is an opportunity to add questions about returns, shipping, security, payments, etc.
Screenshot from John Lewis, June 2022
Some companies answer store FAQs in the help centre, such as Etsy.
This means that their customer support team don't have to answer general questions so that they can spend their time solving more complex issues.
9. Order and Parcel Tracking
When your customer places their order, they will want to know when they can expect it to be delivered.
Making it easy for customers to check the order status and track the package on the website is functional, especially if they don't have to log in.
Screenshot from Dunelm, June 2022
They can just add their email address and order number to track where their parcel is.
10. Email Opt-In Subscribe to Newsletters and discounts
Emails have one of the best revenue-generating potentials out of any communication method. You can enjoy increased conversions by getting visitors to sign up to your newsletter.
You can encourage them by offering to enter them into winning £100.
Screenshot from TheRange.co.uk, June 2022
The Range offers web visitors to add their email addresses to their newsletter, and they will receive the latest offers.
11. Push Notifications on the Browser
If you'd rather allow your customers to see updates directly on their browser, provide them with a promotional message through push notifications.
You can tell them about your promotion, special offers etc, delivered via their browser.
Screenshot from Aldi.com June 2022
Aldi offers the chance to subscribe to push notifications.
12. Chatbots to Answer Questions and Provide Guidance
Being able to provide answers 24.7 can mean you get more sales. With a chatbot, you can program it to deliver solutions to any questions that web visitors ask. Giving answers means people can buy from you even in the middle of the night.
Chatbots can help online shoppers by giving answers or sending them to a support page or a product.
Screenshot from Homebase, June 2022
Homebase offers online help, so you can ask about products and delivery.
13. Coupon Codes and Discounts
Consumers love coupon codes and will often search for them when shopping online.
You can provide coupon codes as they shop to keep customers loyal to you and keep them on your website.
Screenshot from SelectSpecs.com, June 2022
Select Specs puts a bar at the top and also has a window for subscribing to their newsletter in exchange for 10% off.
14. Product Availability Filters
A range of e-commerce stores allows customers to find products with filters for when goods can be delivered.
Another approach is to make it clear when the delivery can be made as soon as Coop does on their site.
Screenshot from Coop, June 2022
Coop offers customers a same-day delivery or a pick up in-store.
15. Mobile Apps for More Sales and Ordering
In addition to having a mobile-friendly online store, consider having an app too.
You can keep your brand in consumers' minds by adding it to their phones or tablet.
You won't have to wait for customers to revisit your site or go to social media to get your sales messages across.
Push promotional messages through the app.
Screenshot from the Aldi app, June 2022
Aldi has an app that provides customers with shopping and information on their weekly special buys.
16. Gift Registries
Gift registries are created for weddings and more.
They will help you sell more products by storing a list of the products that a new couple wants.
Many marrying couples set up wedding registries. Amazon has the most wedding registries with 45% of the market.
Screenshot from Amazon, June 2022
Amazon sells more than 250,000 products to choose from, making it the ideal place to hold a wedding list of gifts for couples.
17. Multilingual Support
If you sell to customers across Europe, you may want to provide support in the top languages of your region.
- You can opt for Google Translate for customers to use
- Develop a your website in several different languages
18. Loyal Customer Program
Increase customer count and retention with a loyalty program. These are typically free or paid programs that give early access to the best deals.
Some loyalty programs work by adding points from each purchase that can be redeemed in a discount or complimentary products.
Screenshot from Sainsburys, July 2022
Although some marketers don't like carousels of images and videos on the homepage, many different eCommerce stores use them.
For example, PetShop showcases its promotions with carousels.
Screenshot from Petshop.com, June 2022
Petshop uses carousels to promote its products.
20. Local Store and Other Information
If you also have a physical store, adding details about the store to the website's header can help.
Your customers can shop online, click and collect or even look at the local store's inventory.
Screenshot from Tesco.com, June 2022
With Tesco, you can search to find your closest store.
21. Personal Data Policy
Screenshot from MarksAndSpencers.com, June 2022
Help your customers enjoy delightful shopping experiences
Providing a delightful shopping experience doesn't mean reinventing the wheel to deliver it. What makes the difference is listening to your customers and implementing what they ask for.
Although you might not want to add every e-commerce site feature, adding some of these will make it easier and more enjoyable for buyers to shop with you.
Take your customers' feedback and do some A/B testing to check which features they like and create more sales with increased customer satisfaction.
If you need help getting your e-commerce set up to be customer-ready or increase sales, get in touch.
I'm Paul Gordon an SEO freelancer who has spent the last 16 years helping businesses expand and grow through effective SEO strategies.