E-commerce is an indispensable element for those business looking to sell products and services online. It can also be a great way for charities and businesses fundraising to conveniently gather funds. An e-commerce platform astronomically increases the potential audience when compared to say, a traditional retail store, and as we know, an increasing number of sellers have moved to online only. From online shopping to online courses or booking holidays, the efficacy of online is clear for all to see.
By 2026, Forbes predict that almost a quarter of all retail purchases are expected to take place online, with the global e-commerce market this year expected to hit around $6.8 trillion.
With so much competition – and that competition always growing – its crucial that e-commerce websites stand up to their competitors. To do this, there are a number of essential features that improve UX, and in turn, increase the likeliness of a sale conversion.
Let’s face it, with Amazon accounting for a staggering 37.8% of all e-commerce sales, the more you can do to improve your site, the better!
Easy Access to the Basket/Cart
How many times have you been shopping online and then found it difficult to quickly see what is in your shopping basket? It’s a genuine source of frustration for online shoppers, and something that can quite easily lead to an order being abandoned.
Basket experience, something that is often overlooked, has to be positive. The basket is the gateway to the checkout. Its one thing having a customer fill their online basket with products, but if they don’t checkout, it is simply a waste of time for all involved.
As mentioned, there is a direct link between basket experience and abandonment. So, make sure that the user experience is seamless when it comes to checking their basket, and paying for their basket.
Not specific to e-commerce websites, but of particular importance, is some form of support for those trying to purchase.
Whether it be a telephone number or live chat, quick and efficient access to support will undoubtedly see your website generate more sales. Live chat is a great option for sites with high traffic, or high complexity queries. It also requires less time and less people.
If a user runs into an issue and cannot find a resolution quickly, the chances are that they will look elsewhere.
According to a recent survey, 83% of shoppers need assistance to complete an online order.
The frustration of a slow loading or slow-moving website is something we have all lost our tempers with (particularly those readers that remember dial-up!).
But, when a user encounters this on an e-commerce website, this slow speed can result in a direct loss of earnings.
If the shop, the basket or anything other part of the site takes too long to load, the percentage of abandonment drastically increases. It is likely that users can find a similar product elsewhere, on a site that loads seamlessly.
So, make sure loading speed is optimised by hosting your website with a reliable source. A reliable web host will also ensure things are sorted quickly if there is ever an issue.
With an increasing number of ‘drop-ship’ websites around, demonstrating your online stores credibility can help gain customers from less trustworthy sites.
Drop-shipping is when a person, or company, sells goods on their website that they do not keep in stock. When an order is received, they send the order details to another company to ship the goods directly to the buyer. But because they are middlemen, they normally charge more money.
Real client reviews pulled from 3rd party systems like Google or Trust Pilot can be a great way to give your business legitimacy and give your customers peace of mind. Likewise, having a company name and history on Companies House can show how long a company has been trading. A telephone number is also a must.
It might sound simple, but having a currency convertor on an e-commerce website when shipping internationally is vital.
Not only can it help extend the reach of your products to other countries, it means when checking out, those that need to convert the price don’t go elsewhere to do so. If a user leaves your site to check how much it would cost in their currency, it increases the chances of them purchasing elsewhere. Likewise, it gives the buyer more chance to change their mind.
Having a convertor also demonstrates transparency and helps build trust with potential customers.
E-commerce Website Essentials
So, whether you are creating a new website for your shop, or looking to improve an existing website, including the e-commerce website essentials listed above is a must.