Not every e-commerce store is created equal. Some online stores are packed with features, while others are barebones and only include the essentials. But, it’s not the number of features that your website has that counts – it’s how effective those features are in converting visitors into paying customers.
Today, we’re going to showcase some of the most important features that your online store should have enabled to bring in more sales and boost your customer satisfaction. Let’s get started.
1. Convenient One-Page Checkout
Nothing should get between your customers and your products – that includes your checkout process. Traditionally, online stores separate checkout into several pages for different information, such as billing information or shipping details. But, when customers are in a rush or are making an impulse buy, putting several steps in between their cart and their final purchase may cause a few to leave prematurely. So, to prevent abandoned carts, it’s important to make the checkout process quick and seamless.
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With one-page checkout, every necessary field is on the same page. Customers can enter their contact information, shipping details, and billing information without moving to a different page. One-page checkout is favored by many modern merchants because of how well it converts. In fact, one study by Get Elastic saw a 21.8% increase in sales after applying one-page checkout to their customers.
Your checkout process doesn’t just rely on page length for effectiveness, however. It’s also vital that you offer a variety of payment processor options to customers so that they can pay in the way they prefer. This could range from typical credit card processing to PayPal or digital wallets – this will ultimately depend on what your customers use the most. By adding multiple options, it becomes even more convenient for customers to make a purchase.
2. Abandoned Cart Management
So, what should you do if customers end up abandoning their cart, even with a one-page checkout implemented? Figure out the best way to bring them back to your online store. This is where abandoned cart management features come in.
First, the front-end of your online store needs to be optimized for reducing cart abandonment. Enable saved carts so that customers can come back to their cart at a later date if they need to wait. Also, make sure that customers can easily see how many items are in their cart on every page of your site – this live count of items reduces the chance for surprise when a customer reaches their cart to check out.
Next, the back-end of your site needs to have the right features enabled. You’ll need to have a way to monitor all abandoned carts on your website so you can pinpoint any potential problems with your checkout process. These could be glitches on the page, shocking shipping prices, malfunctioning payment processors, or more.
Now that you know where cart abandonment is happening, you can then target your lost customers with automated reengagement emails. These emails are automatically sent to customers after a certain time has passed since they’ve abandoned their cart. Within the email is typically a reminder of what they left in their cart and a message enticing them to come back and complete their purchase. Some emails even include incentives, such as coupons or discounts, to bring that customer back.
3. Comprehensive Shipping Tools
Shipping can be a complicated and messy aspect of e-commerce without the proper tools. To keep the process streamlined, every part of shipping should be fully integrated into your online store so that customers can understand your shipping rates and you can deliver products correctly. Utilize the following tools on your online store to improve your shipping process:
- Shipping Labels: One of the more basic shipping tools that your online store should have is the ability to print automatically generated shipping labels. These labels use the information entered by your customers to generate labels that you can then print out and use to deliver their order.
- Delivery Date Estimates: It’s also beneficial to add delivery date estimates to your customer’s checkout page. This ensures that customers understand and can expect when their package is going to arrive with the shipping method they chose.
- Shipping Rates: Customers should also be able to easily calculate shipping rates from within the cart. This ensures that customers aren’t confronted with surprise fees at checkout and are paying the accurate amount for shipping.
4. Upsell & Cross-Sell Features
The product page is one of the most important pages on your online store. They should include the right amount of information that customers need, presented in a way that customers will engage with. But, aside from product details, you can add functionality that can increase your store’s average order value instantly: upselling and cross-selling.
You can add upselling to your product page by adding extra variants or additions to the product that increase its price. For example, if you’re selling jewelry, you can add the option to engrave the piece of jewelry with custom text. Alternatively, if you’re selling electronics, you can give customers the option to add an extended warranty for an additional fee.
To cross-sell other products on your product page, one of the easiest features to implement is a “related products” section. This section can have other names, such as “You may also like…” or “frequently purchased with…”, but they all serve a similar purpose. The cross-sell section on a product page introduced customers interested in that product to other products that may either complement it or are similar. A complementary product could be a carrying case for an electric razor or socks that match a shirt’s pattern.
5. Multichannel Marketing Integration
Your online store should have multiple options for marketing and expanding your audience. Obviously, there are a seemingly endless number of marketing-centered features that you could add to your online store. So, we’ll go through some of the most common and effective forms of marketing integration.
- Email Marketing: Your online store should naturally gather email addresses from each customer that makes a purchase on your store. You can also gather email addresses from non-customers through a newsletter signup feature. With those email addresses, you can keep customers up to date on sales, new products, or any other changes to your business easily.
- SEO Tools: Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an affordable way to increase your website’s visibility on search engines. Your eCommerce website should have features enabled that allow you to optimize every page for high ranking on search engines. This includes custom meta tags, meta descriptions, and image alt tags.
- Social Media Buttons: Customers look for a brand’s social media presence as a sign of trust before making a purchase on their website. The best way to showcase your accounts is through clickable social media buttons on either the header or footer of your site.
Most modern e-commerce platforms have all of these features built in, so you won’t need to hunt down extra applications to enable the functionality we mentioned. However, if your platform doesn’t include these marketing features, you can utilize third-party solutions such as Mailchimp or Rejoiner.
6. Customer Service Tools
Before and after any transaction on your online store, customers may find the need to contact your business for assistance. When this happens, you’ll want to make that process as easy and convenient as possible for the customer. We recommend you utilize at least one, if not all, of the following customer service features on your online store:
- Live Chat: By enabling live chat on your online store, customers can get in contact with your team instantly. There’s many options available for adding live chat to your website, including POWR’s Live Chat app. You can also enable a chatbot for general questions or for times where you’re not available to offer live assistance.
- Contact Us Page: Every online store should have a page that details your business’s contact information to the customer. This includes your business phone number, email address, street address (if you have a physical location), and any other form of contact. You should also add a Contact Us form to this page.
- FAQ Page: Sometimes, self-service assistance is the best solution to a problem. This could either be due to customer preference or your availability for support. Either way, it would be beneficial to include a section on your site dedicated to answering frequently asked questions that your customers may have about your products or service. Try POWR's FAQ.
In this article, we’ve discussed some of the most important features that online stores should consider adding to their website. Of course, every online store has unique needs depending on its target audience and industry. For example, your online store may need its checkout page to be multiple pages long because of your specific customer’s preference. Or, your website may not be able to utilize email marketing because your customers don’t mainly use email for correspondence. While these may be true for some businesses, the sentiment still rings true: every feature you add to your site should be tailored to make the shopping experience better for your customers.
Author: Jimmy Rodriguez
COO & Co-founder of 3dcart, a leading shopping cart software. As an ecommerce authority, he’s focused on helping internet retailers succeed online by developing strategies, actionable plans and customer experiences that grow and improve performance.