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Ecommerce navigation filters on H&M's website

Ecommerce Website Essentials: Does Your Site Have All 11?

Ecommerce accounted for over 14% of retail sales, and that percentage is projected to increase over the coming years. If you’re looking to get in on the ecommerce action, you need to make sure your website has the ecommerce essentials it needs to succeed. That’s why, in this post, we’ll go over 11 ecommerce website essentials!

Before you continue reading, check out this short video on what makes a good ecommerce website with one of our web developers, Chloe Kilmore!

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11 key features of an ecommerce website

The 11 key features of an ecommerce website — including yours — are:

  1. Mobile-friendly design
  2. User-friendly navigation
  3. Multiple security features
  4. Prominent shopping cart and checkout buttons
  5. Multiple payment options
  6. High-quality photos and videos
  7. Detailed shipping and return information
  8. Ratings, reviews, and other social proof
  9. Item availability
  10. FAQ page
  11. Contact page with multiple contact options

Keep reading to learn more about these ecommerce website essentials!

1. Mobile-friendly design

Did you know that more than half of all website traffic now comes from mobile devices, and 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from mobile-friendly sites? That means making your ecommerce website mobile-friendly can increase both your traffic and conversions! To make your site mobile-friendly, use responsive web design — it’s best practice for ecommerce web design.

Responsive websites adjust to the screen on which someone views them, so your site looks great and works correctly on laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

If users can’t quickly find what they need on your ecommerce site, they’re unlikely to stick around long and even less likely to make a purchase. Helpful, easy-to-use navigation is one of the most essential ecommerce website features. For great ecommerce UX design, have clear menus that allow users to browse different product categories.

Make sure these menus are in easy-to-find locations, such as across the top of every page.   Horizontal ecommerce menu on Overstock.comYou can also allow users to filter and sort products by price, style, size, manufacturer, and other characteristics. The features you include in your ecommerce web design depend on the products you offer and the characteristics that are important to your customers.

  Ecommerce navigation filters on H&M's website

3. Security features

Another ecommerce website must-have is adequate security. You need to protect your customers’ data, and you need to show visitors that your site is secure and trustworthy. If shoppers don’t trust your site, they likely won’t make a purchase.

Insufficient security also opens your business up to significant financial and legal risks.   Ecommerce website essentials: Security exampleSome of the most vital site security steps include:

  • Purchasing a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which enables your site to transmit data securely
  • Using an address verification system (AVS) and credit card verification value (CVV) at checkout
  • Creating secure passwords and updating them regularly

Read through our entire site security checklist to learn more about bringing this ecommerce essential to your site.

4. Prominent shopping cart and checkout buttons

Easy-to-use cart and checkout features are vital ecommerce websites features. To encourage conversions, make sure your ‘add to cart’ and ‘check out’ buttons display prominently on your site. When the user clicks into their cart, show them all the relevant details, such as the name, price, and quantity of each product in their cart.

Shoppers should also be able to remove items or change item quantity directly from their cart. Also, allow customers to save their cart so they can come back to it later.   Kohl's ecommerce cart checkout button

5. Several payment options

What makes a good ecommerce website? The way you accept payment. Allowing as many popular payment options as possible improves your customers’ experience and can encourage conversions.

  Ecommerce website essentials: Payment exampleIn addition to major credit cards, consider accepting payment methods such as PayPal and Apple Pay. Display icons of accepted payment methods on your site, so shoppers know in advance what they can use to buy your products.

6. High-quality photos and videos

Visual content gets users’ attention, keeps them engaged, and helps them make purchase decisions. Using high-quality photos and videos on your site makes you look professional and improves user experience. Studies have even suggested that product videos make shoppers 85% more likely to purchase a product, which makes video one of our top key features of an ecommerce website.

Don’t just settle for one image of your product, either. Include photos from multiple angles, let shoppers zoom in on the image, and show people using the product in different situations.   Sweater product images on PacSun's websiteMake sure, though, that your visual ecommerce website elements don’t cause your pages to load slowly.

Page speed optimization techniques and services can help you avoid this issue.

7. Detailed shipping and return information

Providing detailed shipping and return policy information can help shoppers feel more comfortable about making a purchase, which increases conversions.   Ecommerce website essentials: Shipping exampleMake your shipping information and return policy easy to find and easy to understand. Your website’s footer is an excellent place to put links to this information.

  Ecommerce website example: Return and shipping linksOffering a generous return policy and free or low-cost shipping can increase your conversion rate, but they’re not ecommerce essentials.

8. Ratings, reviews, and other social proof

Do you read online reviews before you make a purchase? So do 95% of customers. And, more than 70% of users won’t make a purchase until they’ve read reviews, making ratings and reviews one of the top ecommerce website essentials.

  Ecommerce website essentials: Reviews exampleIncluding user-generated ratings and reviews on your website can help keep shoppers on your site and encourage them to make purchases. To get reviews, build review functionality into your site and encourage customers to leave reviews on third-party sites like Google My Business, Facebook, and product review websites. Other kinds of helpful social proof include user-created social media content and testimonials.

9. Item availability

Few things in online shopping are more frustrating than deciding on a product — or even making a purchase — only to discover that the item you want is out of stock. You must reevaluate your purchase decision or wait an unspecified amount of time for the company to restock.   Ecommerce website essentials: InventoryHelp your customers avoid this frustration by making the availability of each product prominent on its product page.

If an item is out of stock, include information about when it will be available again.

10. A frequently asked questions (FAQ) page

A well-thought-out and easily accessible FAQ page can help make users’ experience on your website much more convenient. If users have a question, a FAQ page can help them find the answer quickly. So, make an FAQ page one of your ecommerce website’s features.

  Ecommerce website essentials: FAQ pageWhen first creating your FAQ page, brainstorm questions users may have, think about questions you often get and consider whether there’s anything you want users to know that would fit well on the FAQ page. Later, if you find customers often ask a question that isn’t yet on your FAQ page, add it in.

11. A contact page with multiple contact options

If users can’t find the answer to a question on your FAQ page, they may want to contact you. An easy-to-find contact page with several contact options makes your site more user-friendly and helps your business appear trustworthy.   Ecommerce website essentials: Contact page exampleOn your contact page, include contact options such as a phone number, an email address, and social media profiles.

You can also use a chatbot to answer users’ questions and help them get in contact with the right members of your team.

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Ecommerce website essentials and beyond from WebFX

Does your website have all the ecommerce essentials? If not, add these ecommerce website elements to your site, so you can start pulling in more customers and driving more sales. For more ecommerce tips, check out our other ecommerce resources.

If you’d like help getting your ecommerce website up and running or taking your ecommerce business to the next level, consider ecommerce website development and ecommerce marketing services from our ecommerce solutions company. Request a free quote online or call us at 888-601-5359 to get started.

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