Every e-commerce website is unique in its own way. But the features of a good e-commerce website make all the difference. Just in case you’re wondering, an e-commerce website is an online store where you can sell products and services. It’s like having a marketplace on the internet.
Using e-commerce websites started way back in the 1990s when Jeff Bezos created the first online retail shop, which we all know as Amazon. This method of buying and selling has grown over the years with the advance in technology. Virtually anyone can buy and sell items online with their smartphone or PC from the comfort of their home.
We believe this is a welcomed development as it helps small business owners like you start your business on a lean budget. With an e-commerce website, you can display your products, process orders, accept payments, manage logistics, and attend to customer complaints/inquiries. Thus, saving you the cost of renting a physical shop or office space and even hiring staff.
Before you dive into the features of a good e-commerce website, let’s answer some questions in your mind.
What types of products can be sold on an e-commerce website?
There is no limit to the products you can sell on your e-commerce website. You can sell a wide range of products and services. The most important thing is to ensure that you have the key features of an e-commerce website.
However, in this article, we will divide these products into three categories.
1. Physical Products
These refer to tangible items that you can see, feel, and touch. They include items like; books, clothing, accessories, food, furniture, stationery, electronic gadgets, kitchen appliances, building materials, and so on.
2. Digital Products
These are intangible items that you can only see, access, and use on your mobile device. They include; online courses, ebooks, software, videos, podcasts, music, swipe files, etc.
Yes, you can also use your skills and expertise to provide solutions and render services to your customers on an e-commerce website. Some services you can sell on an e-commerce website include freelancing, coaching calls, consultation, training, tutorials, virtual assistance, tech skills, insurance, software subscription, and maintenance.
What makes an e-commerce commerce website different from a regular website?
What most people refer to as a regular website is what we call an informational website. As the name suggests, an informational website is a platform where you can post educational and informative content around a subject. Blogs, resource sites, and medic sites fall under this category.
Some businesses use this as a place to display their expertise and brand offering, whereas the actual buying and selling happen offline. The main purpose of such websites is to help their target market to learn more about their business. Potential customers can research the site to help them make informed buying decisions.
The purpose of an e-commerce website is to get customers to buy on the spot. The key features of an e-commerce website are designed to display your products/services features, benefits, prices, and facilitate online payments. With an e-commerce website, you can wake up to daily bank alerts. Cool, right?
Why do you need an e-commerce website?
Before we discuss the features of a good e-commerce website, you need to understand why you need an e-commerce website. There are a thousand and one reasons you need an e-commerce website, but let’s stick to the basics.
With the features of a good e-commerce website, you can:
- Advertise your products and services directly to your website visitors and customers.
- Attract new customers through Google search.
- Sell directly to customers on your website. Thus, reducing the customer buying journey.
- Build a customer email list.
- Learn more about your target market demographics to better understand your customers.
- Run marketing campaigns, promos, and flash sales.
- Offer discounts and coupons to attract return buyers.
- Increase brand awareness and credibility.
- Effectively track inventory without fear of missing items, over, or underselling products.
- Speed up business operations and reduce payroll.
- Increase working hours and work around the clock without lifting a finger. Yes, that’s what we call smart work. Customers can visit your website, buy items, and pay for services at any time.
The list is inexhaustible. Having an e-commerce shop is definitely worth the hype.
Are there other reasons that come to mind?
You can add that to the list.
Types of Ecommerce Website
The features of a good e-commerce website are determined by the purpose of the website. This is not just about the type of product you intend to sell on the website. Your target market also determines the key features of an e-commerce website.
All e-commerce websites are broadly classified into six categories according to the parties involved in the transaction. These parties could be businesses, consumers, or administrative organizations. Let’s talk about the parties involved in e-commerce transactions.
1. Business-to-Consumer (B2C)
We bet you’re familiar with this one. It is the most popular type of e-commerce website. A B2B e-commerce website enables transactions between a business and end consumers. Think of it like a retail store, where customers can buy items for their personal use.
2. Business-to-Business (B2B)
Do you know that as a business owner, you can sell goods and services to another business? Absolutely! That is where the word business-to-business (B2B) is coined from. Here, you are not selling directly to the end consumers. You can serve as a wholesaler who sells goods to retailers, who then sell to the consumers.
3. Business-to-Administration (B2A)
This one is as popular as the rest. This type of e-commerce website is where a business sells a product or service to a government organization or public institution. A typical example is businesses that train government staff or design your university’s student portal.
4. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)
This is like a marketplace where anybody can sell to anybody. You don’t need to have a registered business before you can sell on this type of e-commerce website. As long as you have something to sell, you can become a vendor on a C2C e-commerce website. Examples of such websites are Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Jiji, Shoply, and Alibaba.
5. Consumer-to-Business (C2B)
A C2B e-commerce website allows individuals to offer goods or services to businesses. It is the perfect place for freelancers who are looking to work with big brands or small businesses.
6. Consumer-to-Administration (C2A)
This is like a B2A website. C2A e-commerce website allows individuals to provide goods or services to public administration and governmental organizations. Think of a freelancer offering website design services to government parastatals.
TOP 25 FEATURES OF A GOOD E-COMMERCE WEBSITE
The success of your e-commerce website is not just dependent on the quality of your products and service delivery. How your website is designed and promoted also plays a vital role.
You may wonder, “What features of a good e-commerce website are most important for my site?”
With the key features of an e-commerce website, it’s all about functionality, design, and monetization. Look out for features that make your website user-friendly, easy to navigate and manage. This way, you can achieve your business goals.
Now, let’s show you the top features of a good e-commerce website.
Home, Header and Footer Features
1. Top-Level Domain
The first on your list of key features of an e-commerce website is a top-level domain with a secured internet connection. If your products or services are only for a particular region, you can use the country’s code domain.
2. Brand Logo
Your brand logo, tagline, and branding aesthetics are non-negotiable. Place your brand logo in a prominent spot for all to see. Preferably at the top left corner. Don’t forget to include your brand description on the homepage.
3. Customer Login
Add a feature that allows customers to register and log into your website before buying a product. It’s a good way to get their data to build your email list. Alternatively, you can also use a newsletter sign-up form to collect customer data.
4. Language Options
Include language options that allow your customers to read the content on your website in their preferred language. This is a key feature of an e-commerce website that wants to accommodate buyers from different regions and countries.
We know you’re out to make money, but a little window shopping hurts no one. Sometimes, customers may be interested in buying a product from your e-commerce website, but may not have the money to pay on the spot.
A wish list allows them to save a list of items that catch their fancy. Who knows? The next time they visit your site, they may decide to pay for at least one item on that list.
6. Store Finder
If you have a physical shop or pickup point, add a store finder at the top bar. This will help customers locate your store with ease.
7. Search Bar
Add a search bar to help customers find products they want to buy with ease. If you get your optimization game right, your search bar can become a powerful sales conversion tool.
Another trick is to show customers’ items based on their search or buying history. This could increase their chances of buying again.
8. Shopping Cart
If your site doesn’t have a shopping cart, then it’s not an e-commerce website. It’s just like entering a supermarket without a trolley or shopping mall. Make sure this is in the upper right corner of your website.
9. Loyalty Program
One of the best ways to lure customers into buying from you is to give them incentives. Nobody loves freebies and discounts more than online shoppers. You can give your customers reward points, discount coupons, free shipping, return offers, and other special offers. If you are running a promo or flash sale, boldly highlight it on your homepage.
10. Contact Details
Your contact details; phone number, email, and office address should be on your homepage. You never know when a customer will need to contact you either to make an inquiry or issue a complaint. Don’t forget to include links to your social media handles.
11. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This is where you get to answer questions and concerns about shipping, store locator, order tracking, returns and exchanges, store locator, shipping information, order tracking, etc. Also, include your terms and conditions.
Product Category Page Features
12. Product Image and Number
This is where you can display high-quality product photos. Make sure your products’ photos have a consistent size and resolution. Also, briefly describe each product category, and show the total number of products displayed on each page.
13. Breadcrumb Navigation
This helps your customers to browse through the product categories. Add it at the right corner below the main navigation bar.
14. Product Filtering and Sorting
This allows customers to select and sort products based on their attributes. The attributes could be size, colour, brand, material, customer gender, etc.
Don’t forget to include a call-to-action button that pushes customers to add items to their carts and checkout. You can also add links to special sales, featured products, best-selling items, and new arrivals.
Product Page Features
16. Product Title, Image and Description
You must add the product name, high-quality photo, and even video. The images should have a zoom-in functionality that allows customers to have a closer view of parts of the product. And, of course, your product descriptions and specifications are necessary.
17. Product Prices and Variables
Include your product prices and indicate if there are discounts or promotional offers. You can also give your customers the option of choosing products based on their preferred colour and size. You can also add a list of related products at the bottom of the page.
18. Add to Cart Button
Display this button beside the product image. You can add a few trust signals around the add to cart button to convince customers to buy the item. There should also be an option to select and change the number of products they want to buy.
19. Consumer Reviews
This section allows customers to read, rate, and review your products. Display the average rating and number of reviews below each product.
Customer Checkout Features
This is the part most business owners love because it is where the money is made. Don’t miss any of the key features of an e-commerce website.
20. Payment System Icons
Unless you don’t want to get paid, you must include payment system icons at the bottom of the page. This lets your customers know the available payment options.
For ease of transaction, your e-commerce site should accept payment methods that are popular among your customers.
21. Cart Details
Your customers should be allowed to see details of what they have in their cart before making payment. It should include the product name, price, and quantity of each product.
Again, give your customers the option to change the quantity or remove items from their cart. No customer will forgive you if they pay for more items than they planned to purchase, especially if you don’t have a return policy.
22. Total Price
After mentioning the price of each product, sum up the items in the cart and highlight the total price. Don’t forget to mention the individual amounts for shipping costs and tax.
Indicate if there is a discount and include an area to punch in promo codes or coupons. If for any reason a customer doesn’t want to go through the payment process, provide a means for them to save their cart in case they want to come back later.
23. Shipping Method
Add multiple shipping options that are convenient for your customers. Ideally, you must have at least one low-cost shipping option.
24. Billing and Shipping Address
The checkout page should have two address fields. One for the billing address and another for the shipping address. You’ll be surprised to find that for many customers, these two are different.
25. Security Seals
Display security seals or trust badges near the section where your customers will input their credit card or bank details. They help to convince your customers about the security of your site and the payment process.
There are no limits to the features of a good e-commerce website. Remember, you are the boss! You can make your own rules and change the features of your e-commerce website to suit your taste. You can alter the layout and navigation, edit button placement and text, add a customer review section, feedback form, upload products videos, or even add a blog to your website. It’s up to you!
This is all there is to know about the features of a good e-commerce website. If you intend to create a website for your business, be intentional in your choices. Don’t settle for a static content site where you only post information about your brand offering and contact details without making a single sale.
The goal of a website is not to have an online brochure or billboard. It should serve as a vehicle that drives sales to your business. Take your business to the next level by creating an iconic e-commerce website today.