8 ESSENTIAL THINGS YOUR E-COMMERCE SITE SHOULD HAVE
1. Clear Logo
A clear and remarkable logo is a business card for both startup shops and branded stores. When it comes to online shopping, a recognizable logo is is a reassuring symbol and an element of trust of the company or organization. The more popular brands can afford to create an online store with a fashionable home page displaying minimum features. A well-known logo or a mascot, a beautiful image or video and the ‘Buy’ button wil suffice for such designs.
2. Deals, Freebies and free shipping
People usually decide very quickly whether they like a website or not, that’s why you should grab their interest in a matter of seconds upon their entry to the site; otherwise they will just find some other shop with a more attractive home page. And nothing attracts better and faster than shopping deals. Millions of people lose their minds during sales and discounted periods, and buy anything at slashed prices just because it’s on sale.
Some are attracted by free shipping, some by the major mark downs — but almost everybody is interested in one kind of promo or another. Thus, discounts and special deals are usually the first things that website visitors look for. Alluring promises and unique prices stimulate visitors to spend, spend, spend. So, it makes sense to position eye-catching banners with discount offers on the upper part of the home page of an online store.
Free shipping is also a crowd favourite. You are now selling to the world, not just to the local market, so you should take the shipping costs into account. To save themselves from unwarranted shipping expenditures, many online stores usually adjust the minimum order price to include shipping costs. As for the customers, buying from big retailers and online brand stores usually result in major if not multiple purchases. Hence, the order price for free shipping is marginal and not a deterrent for these buyers. Moreover, buying things on the Web even without the holiday deals may even be cheaper than in shops and boutiques — that’s why minimum price limitation is acceptable.
3. Latest news and most popular products
When there are news, a sales period or upcoming events that buyers should know about the product, the home page is the best place to house them. Do not make it too hard for buyers to find exclusive deals and hot prices. Moreover, recurring customers will more likely look through several ‘new’ items on sale rather than spend half an hour browsing through the full inventory for something new and trendy.
4. Shopping Cart, Login Box and Search Box
The shopping cart, login box and search box features are usually placed together at every eCommerce site. It’s almost impossible to imagine a store without a shopping-cart function included. The most popular shopping cart icon is a simple basket so it makes sense to choose something similar for your site. Many stores also provide their customers with private accounts where it’s possible to check all their previous and current orders.
If you deal with a large online store that has a wide choice of goods then the search box is a must-have. This will also prove popular with customers who demand a specific product that they just need to locate from your online store to make their order.
5. Payment Systems Icons
eCommerce websites deal with many customers from all over the world and they each have their own preferred payment system. Moreover, there may be technical limitations to a payment method or option, and that’s why it would be better to clarify payment options in advance. For instance, some eCommerce websites don’t accept international credit cards. Others require the customer billing address and the delivery address to be in the same country as the official store’s location.
Online stores commonly use credit and debit cards, gift vouchers, cash on delivery, PayPal, etc as their main payment system. You can easily find these payment icons at the footer or on the top right corner of sites. As you can see with the following examples, payment details should be displayed on the home page in plain sight.
6. Social Media Links
It’s said that almost 20% of online purchases are accomplished after surfing through social media sites. People are inclined to take in public opinion. Social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are the best, if not fastest, source to get the info you need on just about everything.
Moreover, social media accounts bring excellent opportunities for self-promotion: online communities can help to identify the most active and influential customers, or find new ones who are not familiar with the web store yet. For online shops, it’s a good channel to keep customers abreast of the latest news, or special deals which are oriented towards Facebook or Twitter followers only.
7. Phone numbers and online chats
With online shopping, buyers interact with sellers via computer networks making transactions that aer no longer geographically bound. When there is a problem however, customers would more likely prefer to have someone they can talk with. This is the core of the need for a store support team; 24/7 hotlines and live chats are highly appreciated forms of value-added customer service.
If online purchases can be done all day and all night long, there is a need to provide 24-hours customer services to solve the majority of pre-sale and after-sale questions. Moreover, people can go online from their working places or from home, so a purchase — and any accompanying enquiry — may come at any time of the day.
8. Store Finder
A store finder tab is a must-have option for web stores that have several local or national retailers. Many conservative customers who prefer to check out the actual store itself may visit the website but only to find the nearest shop location or branch.
More likely, one will find this option on the top or bottom right corner of the site. If the store has a wide trade network then it will be good to create a special store location search box for a country, city, zip code or address search. Check out the store finder tabs on these eCommerce websites.
Bonus: How-to guides
How-to’s are not obligatory. It is however a way to arouse visitors’ interest in purchasing something that they may not be familiar with. For customers who are making major purchases, like a refrigerator or a new LCD TV, they would like guides or at least to know which specifications to look into before making a purchase. This tab has nothing in common with the help desk, which usually answers technical questions and solve problems associated with a purchase.