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7 E-Commerce Features for High Converting Websites

Posted by Drew Melendy on May 14, 2020 4:15:25 PM
Drew Melendy

There are dozens of ways of online retailers that can create beautiful, high performing e-commerce websites these days. With an abundance of website builders, it no longer requires coding skills or the need to hire a website designer. Anyone can do it!

However, creating a website that actually drives conversions requires careful consideration of all of the necessary features of e-commerce websites. Here are the seven features that matter most to their success.

Screenshot of an online boutique's website homepage.

1. Attractive Design

Many times, a website is a customer’s first touch point with a brand, so you need to be prepared to make a quick first impression with visuals.

Site visitors will make instant snap judgments based on how visually appealing and orderly your site looks. If it looks cluttered without clear branding, your website will appear messy and untrustworthy.

However, with a front and center logo, brand colors, website banners, and other eye-catching imagery, your site will appear credible and engaging.

Visual appeal isn’t the only thing to consider, though. While you need the ability to create a compelling and beautiful website, you’ll need to make it intuitive and easy to use, too.

2. Streamlined Navigation

The goal of streamlined navigation is to provide shoppers a way to keep browsing effortlessly or quickly pin-point what they’re looking for. Otherwise, they may get frustrated and leave empty-handed.

Site-Wide Navigation Menu

A well-designed top navigation menu offers shoppers a quick path to certain product categories or items. It will always be available to them no matter which pages they land on.

Custom navigation menus give you a lot of freedom to choose that path for them. For effortless navigation, provide a few simple categories for that make sense for products you carry. A minimalist menu keeps things uncluttered and straightforward.

If you want to add more specific options within the categories of the top menu, expanding the navigation bar with drop-down menus is a great solution for maintaining a tidy look. For example, clicking “Tops” can reveal a drop-down menu for tees, knits, and blouses.

Navigation from the Home Page

Banners and adverts are another way to pique visitors' interest and get them exploring different pages from your home page.

Banners are the images you see spanning across the tops of websites. Here you can include custom graphics and enticing messages to encourage action. Motivate onlookers to shop sales or new arrivals by clicking the banner, which will direct them to specific pages and collections.

Featured categories for a retail website shows off basics, tops, and bottoms.

Adverts are an additional way to catch their eye from the home page. Adverts are custom graphics that highlight different collections and direct shoppers to their respective pages. Use these to highlight best sellers, featured products, and more.

Navigation via Headers & Footers

Navigation isn't only limited to collections and product pages, though. Customers will also need access to their account page and carts. Every e-commerce website should include a quick way to get to these from the website header.

Footers help provide additional navigation to categories as well. Plus, they are a reliable space to find other relevant information. Display a Contact Us, About Us, Shipping & Returns policies, FAQ pages here for additional information, transparency, and trust-building. 

Furthermore, this space is prime real estate to encourage shoppers to subscribe to mailing lists or take them to your social channels to engage with your brand outside of your website. 

Social media and email marketing are some of the easiest ways to engage your customers continuously, so these are small yet vital details to keep your brand top of mind.

Related Reading: 5 Ways to Win Customers with Emails

3. On-site Search Bars

Most times, engaged shoppers will explore websites to browse their selections. However, there will be times customers want to find items and categories or products quickly. 

Up to 30% of visitors to a website will use the search box. Search bars help those with clear intent instantly find products related to their query. 

4. Persuasive Product Pages

Product pages are the mainstay of all e-commerce website’s success. Even if you have the most perfect, optimized site, it will mean nothing if your product pages can’t help customers through their buying decisions or provide easy ways to add items to their cart! 

Product Photos

Let's talk about the first thing shoppers will notice- product photos. Visuals are one of the most significant deciding factors for consumers. Product pages need the ability to show off multiple photos of items, so retailers have a way to show off the best angles and close-ups.

Product Descriptions, Sizes, & Variants

A well-written product description can also have a significant impact on buying decisions. Every product page will need a place for these as well. Whatever details your customer needs to know about your item should live here.

Other vital product information, such as sizes and variants, must be evident and easy to make a selection from.

A product page featuring multiple photos, sizes, variants, product descriptions, and an add to cart button.

Add to Cart Buttons

Prominent “Add to cart” buttons are a must. You never want your customers to have to search or click multiple times to toss items into carts.

If your website allows you to show out-of-stock items, it should be strikingly apparent. Some e-commerce platforms, such as CommentSold, have the ability for customers to pre-purchase sold-out products or put themselves on a waitlist to be notified when items come back in stock.

Waitlists allow customers a second chance at buying a sold-out item, which enhances the customer experience instead of frustrating them. Just like the “Add to Cart” button, make “Add to Waitlist” requires a clear call to action.

5. Simple Cart Management & Frictionless Checkout

Shopping carts are the feature that closes the gap between shopping and purchasing. To keep customers from abandoning carts, it's crucial to get shopping carts and check out pages right.

Cart Summary

Carts should remain fixed at the top of every page for easy access. Once a customer enters their cart, they need the ability to see the details for everything in it, as well as, have the ability to add, remove, and change item quantities.

For at a glance, informed decisions, carts should display product thumbnails, item names, item prices, quantities, and subtotals. It should be obvious how to leave this page. Buttons should prompt them to continue shopping or to go to checkout.

Account Creation

Most e-commerce platforms either prompt a customer to register or to log in before they can enter the checkout page. A simple registration form using their email and other personal details keeps this process straightforward.

Still, some websites make this even easier. The ability to register via Facebook with a click of a button is an excellent option for eager shoppers. Once signed in, they’ll be directed to the checkout page. 

Inspire Boutique's cart page shows expired cart items, order summary, shipping methods, and multiple payment methods.

Checkout Page

Effective checkout pages guide customers through the necessary steps they need to take to make a purchase, in the least amount of clicks. 

First, it should prompt customers to provide their preferences for shipping. Buttons keep storefront pick up and shipping options plain and unmistakable. Next, they'll choose their preferred payment method.

Credit cards remain the leading payment method for online transactions in the United States. As such, using a payment processor, like Stripe, can provide a way to safe way to secure these payments.

However, you’ll want to cater to customers who are accustomed to other popular payment methods as well. Paypal is only second to credit card payment methods, and buy-now-pay-later options, such as Sezzle, are quickly on the rise.

Related Reading: How to Get Started with Social Commerce

6. Promotions, Coupons, & Discounts

Promotions, coupons, and discounts can personalize pricing, motivate customer retention and acquisition, and help you get a competitive advantage.

The ability to provide coupon codes for individual collections or sitewide discounts, BOGO, secondary offers, and free shipping thresholds excite customers and drives better conversion rates.

While discounts and coupons are staples of every successful e-commerce websites, don't forget about other powerful promotional tools.

Integrations with loyalty programs and referral programs can triple your customer acquisition and retention rates by motivating shoppers to purchase repeatedly and to share your business with new customers.

7. SEO Capabilities

93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. If interested shoppers can’t find your website to start with, you’ll be missing out on opportunities to convert them into customers.

Inspire Boutique shows up first in a search result thanks to their website's search engine optimization capabilities.

Built-in SEO tools will help your website get found more frequently in search engines. Page and product titles, along with meta descriptions, give brands control of how they show up in search results.

Plus, they offer a place to enter keywords that will boost their search ranking and, ultimately, the site’s visibility.

The Takeaway

There’s a lot that goes into a high performing e-commerce website. These essential features work to bring winning customer experience with effortless ways to shop. Likewise, they provide retailers the tools they need to market their products and methods to keep website visitors engaged.

If you're looking to expand your online sales even further, consider integrating your website experience with social media selling. Adding Facebook and Instagram to your sales strategy can drive more sales, web traffic, and customer engagement.

Topics: Technology, Sales

Smiling business woman in her retail shop stands behind her computer.