12 Essential Ecommerce Website Features to Boost Your Business and Grow Sales

Want to boost your eCommerce business and grow sales?

Online trading is expected to reach $735 billion over the next three years. There are currently over 2 billion online customers. Yet 82% abandon their shopping carts.

This article reveals 12 essential eCommerce website features to ensure customers stay on your online store. Then continue to buy after their first purchase.

From making sure your site works on mobile devices to interactive analytics, you’ll learn how to improve sales. Read on to discover the best ways to engage with your customers and encourage them to check-out again and again.

1. Mobile Responsive

A mobile-friendly or mobile responsive site works on any size or type of device. Instead of customers having to pinch and zoom in to see your content, responsive sites adapt automatically.

The key is to edit your site’s CSS files to use media queries. This code checks the screen size and presents content accordingly.

2. Privacy Policy

Although US law doesn’t currently require you to display a privacy policy most eCommerce stores do.

The reason’s simple. Customers sometimes pursue legal recourse over privacy violations.

They use common law like unfair trade practices. Consumer protection statutes are often used to prosecute businesses that perform online profiling.

Adding a privacy policy and clear terms and conditions helps safeguard you from these issues.

3. Live Chat Ecommerce Website Features

Live chat website features provide a simple way for your customers to engage with you at any time.

That’s especially important when they decide to buy.

Give them peace of mind that your company is real and will fulfill their order. Be there to answer their queries. Offer support in the advent of a return or refund.

Live chat offers all that and more.

4. User Tracking Website Analytics

It’s essential to recognize how your customers interact with your website.

Do they have difficulty finding products to buy? What information are they most interested in? What pages or sections do they read or click the most?

Website tools that record the interaction and present it in the form of a heatmap are a great way to see what’s going on.

Heatmaps gather all your customer movements together and display them on your site pages. You can see where activity occurs the most and track your users’ journey as they move through your website.

Heatmaps aren’t just for enterprise clients either as many SMEs use the analytics tool to record their customer engagement.

5. Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs offer a simple way to answer the most commonly asked questions without the need for email or chat.

Customers often have queries on:

  • Shipping rates
  • Delivery times
  • Returns and refunds policies
  • Sizing and colors

Instead of adding huge chunks of text to your product pages use FAQs. Make sure the titles are presented in a bullet point style with anchor links to the answers.

Also, ensure the FAQs page integrates with your customer support platform. If your customers submit a query, the software can check your FAQs first and automatically present a solution.

6. Multiple Product Photos

Would you buy something that you couldn’t really see?

Yet many eCommerce websites offer a single, poorly-lit product picture, or worse – no photo at all.

Adding a photo gallery to your store lets customers view your items from all angles. You can show different sizes and colors. Even display a size guide as a picture.

Most eCommerce stores offer multi-photo addition. Magento has a range of open-source plugins for extra functionality. Shopify includes them as standard.

All you need are some hi-res pictures so your customers can zoom into them.

7. Blog Articles

Much is said of SEO techniques like adding keywords to <title> tags, etc. Yet the one thing Google admires the most is well-written, relative content.

Adding a blog to your web store lets you write informative copy to help boost your SEO and retain visitors.

Writing an article on how to use your products correctly will benefit your Google rankings and offer an interesting read. You can add categories to your blog that reflect your product categories and link the two.

Building an ecosystem like this will only benefit your page rank and will be worth the investment in the long run.

8. Order Management Software

Can your customers see their previous orders and track their current purchases?

Amazon.com is renowned for its excellent customer service. At the heart of that lies the ability for shoppers to see what they’ve bought and to purchase those items again.

Order management software acts as a bridge between your customer service team and your buyers.

Shoppers can track the progress of their orders when you update your system. They receive automated emails when their goods get posted. And watch their delivery’s progress through the courier’s website.

9. Content Management Software

A CMS makes it easy to update the content on your store without having to learn code.

All modern eCommerce software includes CMS website features. Like a word processor, you can add and edit content and format it with ease.

A CMS also lets you edit the site’s structure and create new pages to keep it fresh for visitors and search engines.

10. Product and Site Search

A limitation of ‘static’ websites is the lack of a search facility. That’s fine for small stores but if you sell hundreds of products you need a search facility.

Database-driven eCommerce sites offer the advantage of search.

Customers can then explore products, blog articles, and useful content all from one place. It’s a powerful tool that can help them find what they want without having to hunt for it.

11. Social Media Integration

Combine your marketing efforts into the world of social media using integration website tools.

You can post to Facebook or Instagram while simultaneously updating your product pages. Special offers and sales are easy to promote in this way.

Tap into a bigger audience using social media. And while you’re at it, why not sell your products on Facebook too?

12. SSL Certificate

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or PCI DSS governs how credit and debit card data is processed.

One of their rules is the requirement to add an SSL certificate to your site. That means using HTTPS instead of HTTP.

It’s simple to add a secure certificate. Just ask your developer or web host/cart software provider.

It costs around $15 per year. And you might have it installed already!

How To Make a Great Ecommerce Website and More

This article has highlighted 12 essential eCommerce website features that are easy to add to your own online store.

Ensure that you know what your customers are doing on your site before spending money on features you may not need. For example, website analytics tools like heatmaps offer a ‘live’ perspective on your customers’ behavior. Use that data to shape your store’s future.

Remember to read our other articles on website tools and the best website features in our marketing tips section.

Use the search feature to learn more about eCommerce. And bookmark our blog to make it easy to return.

Annika Bansal

Annika "The Chick Geek" is the founder of AnnikaBansal.com. Small Business Sense shares small business ideas, tips and resources for independent Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners.