17 Things Every eCommerce Site Needs to Succeed
If you’re reading this, chances are that you want to start selling products online or you want to sell more than you already do.
If you really want your eCommerce site to succeed, and why wouldn’t you, then there are some key features that should be included.
From great design and branding to professional videos, we’ve compiled a list of 17 things every eCommerce site needs to succeed in 2022 and beyond.
A Good eCommerce Store is More Important Than Ever
While eCommerce might not be the only way to sell products online, it is certainly the fastest-growing method. Online retail sales amounted to 4.9 Trillion U.S dollars worldwide in 2021 and this is predicted to increase to 7.4 trillion dollars by 2025.
The reason for this growth is simple: eCommerce makes selling products online easier than ever before. And when you think about how many people use their smartphones as their primary source of information and entertainment, it makes sense why eCommerce has become so popular among business owners who want to reach more customers across the globe (and make money along the way).
In today’s world where eCommerce is important and competition is fierce, it’s no longer enough to just have an online store – even if you have the best products or services in your industry. You need to have a good eCommerce store and this article is here to help you do that.
#1 – Great Design & Branding
Your brand is one of the most important parts of an eCommerce site. It’s what makes people remember you and come back for more and is an integral part of their online shopping experience.
Your branding should be consistent across all your channels, from social media to email marketing. If someone sees your brand on social, they should recognise it when they land on your website. This consistency will make them feel safe making purchases because they know exactly who you are and will see you as a reputable company to buy from.
Your branding also gives visitors an idea of what kind of products you sell, your company’s ethos and the quality of your products and services. Meaning it’s important that you take time to get your brand and its visual identity right before you start to design and build your eCommerce website.
#2 – High Quality Imagery
When it comes to product images, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
Quality is Key
The first thing we look at when shopping online is the product image itself. If your images are blurry, dark or have bad composition then customers will be less likely to buy from you. Make sure your images are clear and high-quality so that customers can see exactly what they’re getting before they place their order.
Make Them Relevant
Your product images should be directly related to the item being sold. For example, if you’re selling running shoes on your eCommerce site then don’t use stock photos of people hiking up mountains or driving cars — they won’t make sense for that category. Instead, opt for high-quality photos of people wearing the actual shoe you’re selling so that customers know what they’re getting before they even click “add to cart.”
Don’t Forget the Features
Making a sale online is harder than in person as we aren’t able to physically get the product into a customer’s hands. They don’t get the option to touch, feel, or try on. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t make it easier for them by showing them a wide range of photos of the product so they can see all of the finer details and features.
The size of your image files is massively important for two reasons.
1 – large files take longer to load onto a device, meaning they’re not good for both user experience and SEO.
2 – And equally as important, large files need lots of energy to load onto a device, which means they create a bigger carbon footprint.
So, when creating your files make sure you optimise your images as much as possible to ensure you have great images that don’t compromise your site or the planet.
#3 – Professional Videos
It goes without saying that your eCommerce site should have videos. After all, they are one of the best ways to allow your customers to see the product in action and learn more about it.
The video can also help them understand how to use it and care for it, as well as show the benefits that may not be obvious from simply looking at photos or reading descriptions on a webpage.
Make sure your product videos are professional-looking and high quality: don’t use shaky footage; keep audio levels consistent; make sure you shoot against a clean background so viewers can focus on what’s important (i.e., the product itself); include close-ups of key features; etcetera.
Whether you’re making your own videos or using a professional videographer, pay attention to details like lighting and sound quality as well as length—it should never last longer than three minutes! And if you are making your own videos be sure to research best practices for filming and lighting before hitting “record.”
Bonus Video Tip
Don’t set your videos to autoplay. This is important for two reasons:
1 – Videos are large files which, like the images, take time to load. This will increase the page loading time which again, is not good for the user experience or SEO. Not everyone will want to watch the videos so it’s best to give them the option to play if they want to after the rest of the page has loaded.
2 – As videos are large files, again, they need lots of energy to play which increases your website’s carbon emissions. Ensuring they only play when people choose to watch them will mean that your website isn’t generating lots of carbon emissions unnecessarily.
#4 – Mobile Friendly
A mobile-friendly site is a must for any eCommerce website.
During 2021’s holiday season, a third of all online purchases came from mobile users so if your site isn’t mobile friendly you’re losing a lot of potential sales.
A mobile-friendly website will ensure your customers can easily browse for products and make purchases, no matter where they are.
If self-building, ensure you chose a responsive theme. This means you won’t have to spend your time worrying about what happens when someone visits your site from an iPad versus an iPhone and you’ll be able to focus on making sure you have great site content instead.
#5 – Accessibility
You will have a wide range of people visiting your site so make sure that it’s accessible to all of them.
When designing and building your eCommerce site make sure you factor in the needs of people who use screen readers, are colour-blind, are deaf or hard of hearing, have dyslexia or are neurodiverse.
#6 – Clear Navigation, Search & Filter
It’s no secret that a good user experience (UX) is vital to the success of your eCommerce site. If it’s difficult for people to find what they want, they won’t buy and they’ll be unlikely to return. This is where clear navigation, search and filter functionality come in.
Make it as easy as possible for customers to navigate through your site so they can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
As well as clear navigation, provide filter options wherever appropriate so customers can refine their search according to specific criteria such as price range, product features or brand type. This will make it easier for users to find the product that meets their needs exactly and in turn, buy it from you.
#7 – Clear Call to Actions
Call to actions are an important part of your website. They are what direct the customer to click on your product or service, sign up, add a product to their cart and check out.
Therefore, it’s necessary that you have strong call to actions across your eCommerce website that are both eye-catching and clear.
You should place them above the fold and make sure they are clearly visible. Your call-to-action should also stand out from the surrounding elements like images and text which can distract visitors.
#8 – Enticing Sign-Up Offer
Here’s the deal: you want to convert your visitors and customers into buyers, but they’re not always ready to make a purchase the first time they visit your site. Which means it’s important to have an enticing offer to make them sign up for your newsletter so you can keep engaging with them and be front of mind when they are ready to make a purchase.
Once you’ve got that, make sure it’s placed in a prominent location on your site so it’s easy for users to see it and sign up.
#9 – Delivery & Returns Information
Nobody likes to spend time browsing and choosing products on a site to then find that delivery isn’t possible in their area, or is expensive. So make sure your delivery details are clearly visible on your product pages and on its own specific page.
As well as that, make sure that your returns policy is easy to find – after all, buying online is risky. Will the product be the quality we expect? Will it fit? Will it work? If not, can we return it, and what are the associated costs?
Not having this information clearly laid out and accessible creates doubt in a buyer’s mind and gives them a reason not to buy from you and in turn, look elsewhere.
#10 – Reviews
Reviews are incredibly important in helping a user decide whether to buy a product from your eCommerce site.
Reviews are also great because they can help you build a community around your brand and encourage people who love what you do to recommend it to their friends and family— which can mean more sales down the road!
#11 – Cross-Selling Opportunities
This is a great way to increase sales and average order value. Cross-selling can also help you increase customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, and brand awareness.
#12 – FAQs
Depending on the number of FAQs you have you can make a separate page or add FAQs to your individual product pages. When making your FAQ content and thinking about how to add it to your site you’ll want to consider a few things:
Ease of Use
Make sure it is easy to find, easy to read and easy to understand. If you have lots of questions don’t put them all on one page—break them into categories that help visitors browse through them easily.
Provide answers to common questions such as “How do I return an item?”, “Where are my items shipped from?” or “How much does shipping cost?”
Include a search box so people can find their answers quickly, rather than reading through all of the information on each individual question.
#13 – Referral Scheme
A referral scheme is a great way to get your customers talking about you, and it’s probably the easiest way to get new ones. You could offer something as simple as 5% off their order if they refer friends. Or, if you want to be more creative:
– Give them a free gift with their next order
– Credit them back for previous purchases
A referral scheme is an incentive that can work wonders for both parties – getting existing customers back into the fold while giving new prospects some confidence in what you have on offer.
#14 – Guest Checkout
Guest checkout is one of the most important options for your eCommerce site.
Guest checkouts make it more convenient for people to complete their purchases and mean that they tend to lead directly to higher revenues for your online store.
#15 – Contact Details
The contact details of your eCommerce store are essential.
Contact details are a lot more than just an email address and phone number; they include things like social media links, FAQ pages, and maybe even an online chat system.
It’s important that you set up these contact options in a way that makes them easy for customers to find.The best thing to do is make sure all of this information is available on your website’s “Contact Us” page.
Don’t hide from your customers. The more accessible you are the more trust they will have and the more likely they are to buy from you.
#16 – SSL Certificate
If you don’t have an SSL certificate, your customers are going to be wary of entering any personal information on your site.
In today’s digital world, every website needs to have an SSL certificate – especially eCommerce websites. An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is the industry-standard method for encrypting data between a user and a website so that it cannot be intercepted by third parties. This helps prevent unauthorised access to sensitive information such as credit card details.
The installation process is quick and simple: most hosting providers offer free guides on how to install the certificate in your hosting area within minutes—and some even provide automatic installation tools that can do it for you.
#17 – Several Trusted Payment Options
Following on from the trust and security theme your eCommerce site should have several forms of recognised and trusted ways to pay. Accepting credit card payments is a must and PayPal is also important.
Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other similar options are becoming more popular so it’s worth offering them as payment options on your site too.
Cryptocurrencies are another payment option that’s gaining traction, especially with younger users who may not have access to traditional bank accounts or credit cards but still want to buy from eCommerce sites.
Long Story Short…
Now is a great time to be selling online. Online retail is a massively growing sector and it’s only getting bigger. So if you already have an eCommerce site then it’s time to take it to the next level. And if you don’t have one yet, what are you waiting for?
Written by Kayleigh Nicolaou
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