While the quality of the products you sell is essential, the UX & UI have a huge impact on customer decisions at different points of their shopping journey. Before creating a wireframe that will be used to develop your website, it’s crucial to determine a set of must-have ecommerce website features you want your website to show up.
If you are planning for a new online business, this post will be a helpful reference that shows a list of 29+ critical features a well-functioning online store must have. Even if you are operating a poor-functioning one, the list might also help you realize the point where the improvements are needed.
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The homepage usually receives the most traffic and where most customers start their journey on your ecommerce website. A well-functioning homepage must offer an easy way to navigate other pages and start their shopping experience. The Mango’s homepage is a great example of a well-designed and feature-rich one.
1. Top-level domain with HTTPs
As you start from the homepage, pay attention to the top-level domain first!
HTTPs (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is the secure version of HTTP used to transfer data between a web browser and a website with a higher degree of security. For ecommerce websites that require users’ credentials like credit card accounts and login information, it’s particularly important to use HTTPS.
When reaching a non-HTTPs website In modern web browsers like Chrome, it will be marked as “not secure.” Once visitors face this precaution, they will think it is an unreliable website and likely to leave without hesitation.
2. Business logo
The business logo is not only a critical branding factor but also an interactive element on a website. We always click on this element to come back to the homepage, right?
Your business logo should be put at a prominent spot near the left corner of the header and point to your website’s homepage.
3. Navigation bar
An intuitive navigation bar plays a vital role in helping shoppers easily reach their goals on your website. If your products range across multiple categories/subcategories, a drop-down mega menu will be a great choice. This allows all categories to subcategories to be visible and reachable at one click.
4. Search function
While over 70% of shoppers find the products they want using the search bar, this is a must-have feature on every ecommerce site. The element might not make sense for stores that specialize in a few items only, but it helps shoppers find a product quickly and correctly if you offer a wide range of selections across categories.
Modern shoppers even expect a smart search bar that can handle long searches, give them suggestions according to typed texts, and tackle their spelling mistakes. A feature-rich search bar like that will leverage customer engagement, finally improve sales.
5. Login / Signup
While shoppers can sometimes complete an order without creating an account on ecommerce websites, the login/signup feature allows them to save personal information to save time for later purchases. Accordingly, your site should give customers an option to register on the header’s top-right corner on every page.
Sometimes, customers may be interested in a product but want to check it later for more details or decide to buy it later. A wishlist gives them a place to save a list of these products so that they can easily find them next time visiting your site.
Notably, most online stores require customers to create an account to save a wishlist. In this case, this feature works for leads generation more than any newsletter promise. You can also send customers an email to remind them of items in their wishlist with a “call-to-action” button like “Shop Now,” which is a way to motivate customer engagement.
7. Shopping cart
When it comes to listing must-have ecommerce website features, “shopping cart” might be the first one that comes to mind. This integral part should be visible and accessible from the homepage and let customers know how many items are in their shopping cart.
Once customers have an account on your website, they definitely want to receive notifications about their order status, delivery status, any events related to their account, or update any upcoming promotions and sales events.
9. Language / Currency switcher
If your online store is a kind of international operation with multiple versions for different languages, it must offer a language and currency switcher. By using it, customers can choose the proper version that they want to be served with.
Usually, the switcher should be visible on the header or footer of your website.
10. Contact buttons
Whatever you sell, clear contact information gives customers a sign of reliability that you cannot omit on your website. For example, a skeptical prospect may need to know how to complain about late delivery or poor-quality items before placing an order on your website. Well functioning contact buttons, for this reason, is what they want to see.
11. Newsletter subscription box
Customers’ contact information is one of the most valuable assets that a business owns. And customers’ emails carry out a great communication channel to push your marketing efforts to them. This is where the subscription box comes to help you collect visitors’ email addresses.
With customers who subscribe to your newsletter, you might want to send them nurturing emails, special offers, or an introduction to new products. As mentioned in 10+ Critical Ecommerce Integrations to Get Businesses Ready, an email and marketing automation system will help you implement and manage all of those efforts effectively.
12. Social media links
In addition to your online store, your profile on social media offers a friendlier way for customers to engage with your business. If your business has profiles on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on, it’s recommended to make them accessible via small icons placed on your homepage’ header or footer.
13. Support Center / FAQs
Besides contact buttons, you should always give customers an option to ask for support or offer a FAQ section instead if there are no complicated case-by-case questions usually asked. Whatever you use, make sure customers can easily find it from the homepage’ footer.
Category / Subcategory Page
You might organize your products in different categories (or even subcategories) on your website. After your homepage, each category page is the next most important step in your funnel and helps narrow down options for shoppers, guiding them to the products they want to purchase. Like a bridge between shoppers and specific product pages, a category page should include the following features.
14. Breadcrumb navigation
A breadcrumb shows visitors a path explaining how they reach the current page. For deep-structured websites with multi-level categories, this feature is especially useful in saving visitors’ efforts from drastic scope jumps throughout your site once each point of the breadcrumb is clickable. This is critical from the UX and SEO point of view, so make sure your site has it.
15. Product filtering and sorting
This couple of functionalities allows customers to search for items that best fit or nearest their expectations, finally improving the likelihood of purchasing those items. Product filtering is used to filter products based on different attributes like Size, Color, Price Range, etc. Meanwhile, the sorting allows viewing products on ascending or descending order of price and arrival.
Along with product filtering and sorting features, the “Clear Filter” option allows users to restore the category page’s view.
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Search Result Page
Customers reach a search result page after using the on-site search function, which shows them the most relevant items according to the search terms. In general, both the category page and search result page show a list of products. Hence, a search result page should also allow customers to filter and sort products based on product attributes.
A product page is the most crucial aspect of the online store, where customers will get all the information about the product they want to buy, including:
- Product name
- Product SKU
- Product description (what it offers, how does it help customers, why do they need it, etc.)
- Product images or videos
Hence, it should be equipped with features to promote customers’ instant interaction and engagement with your business.
Though online stores do not always enable customers to zoom product images, this feature is gradually becoming a must for experience-driven ecommerce. Zoomable images give customers a close-up view of a product, accordingly making it more informative and persuasive.
17. Quantity option
Just below the product price, there should be an option to edit the product quantity. That way, the customers can easily adjust the number of items they want to purchase.
18. Product variations
A product can have multiple variations. So when this product is offered in an online store, it should be selectable right from the product page. Typical examples we usually see are fashion items with the same design but different sizes or colors. In such cases, there should be ways so that customers can select the size and color they want, such as a drop-down list, checkboxes, etc.
19. “Add to cart” button
There’s no explanation needed for this most important ecommerce website feature. As store owners always want customers to click the “Add to cart” button as many times as possible, it should be displayed prominently on a product page. However, don’t just show it there. Make it available below everywhere a product is visible, from the homepage, category page, search page to “recommendation” blocks. Store owners should give the “Add to cart” button special attention and ensure it functions well every time.
On the other hand, there are some cases you might consider hiding this button:
- A product is out of stock.
- You want to promote an upcoming product before it’s officially launched.
- The selected quantity is not valid.
20. Rating & Reviews
Ratings and reviews are valuable user-generated content describing the experience with a product from real users. Statistics showed that 95% of people hear from real buyers before deciding to purchase. So if you want to conquer prospects, don’t omit this section on your product pages and encourage valid buyers who purchased your products to leave their feedback.
21. Related products
Showing related products allows online stores to make the most out of the chance to increase sales when customers are engaging on a product page. This popular ecommerce website feature will be more effective if combined with related product promotions, which increase per-customers sales.
Related products might be the ones that share the same tags or categories as the current product.
22. Product recommendation
Don’t wait for customers to solely find the products they are looking for to get sales. That’s not the way modern ecommerce works. Online stores should show them the products they can potentially need instead, based on their behaviors, browsing history, and contextual data. This way, there’s a possibility that customers will buy more than they initially need.
Product recommendation is now widely deployed by a lot of online stores.
23. Social sharing buttons
Most people have at least one social account, and sometimes they might want to share a product link with their friends via social media. This is how integrated social sharing buttons on product pages bring your business chances to reach a wider range of audiences. This feature can be added with the help of many social share plugins and extensions compatible with the ecommerce platform you use.
Cart and Checkout Page
Being the final step of customers’ buying journey; however, customers still leave a poor-functioning or buggy checkout page. And an ecommerce website must ensure these fundamental features are available and work well.
24. Edit quantity/remove option
Even after moving to the checkout page, customers still have reasons to edit the added quantity or remove some items in their shopping cart. For example, the total price exceeds their shopping budget or wants a larger amount at the last minute. It would be annoying if they can only go back to previous steps to do that.
By providing this function on the checkout page, the order process will be fastened and your website will reach a higher degree of shopper satisfaction, positively improving the retention rate.
25. Billing address / Shipping address
Billing Address is the address connected to a specific payment form, which is typically a credit or debit card. This information is used to verify the authorized use of such a card and reduce fraud through a service provided by the card networks (i.e., Visa/MasterCard/American Express) called Address Verification System (AVS).
On the other hand, the Shipping Address is where the merchandise will be delivered to buyers and required for online transactions.
Billing and shipping addresses may be the same, but sometimes different. Therefore, it’s common to have both fields on your checkout page.
26. Shipping options
Whatever shipping methods your online store supports, all of those should be visible and selectable in the checkout process.
27. Promo code box
Ecommerce websites will lose some chances to convert more orders without offering promotions on special occasions. That’s why the promo code box should be available at the checkout step to allow customers to leverage chances to save money by adding a discount code.
28. Payment options
Many online stores offer an excellent checkout experience by accepting various payment methods. Accordingly, customers will determine the one convenient for them before being redirected to the relevant payment gateway or payment page.
29. Continue shopping option
As soon as an order is successfully created, you can redirect the customer to the homepage or the page showing special deals with a CTA button. This practice aims to encourage continuous engagement and optimize the shopping experience rather than just keeping he/she stayed on the successful checkout page.
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Depending on various factors, ecommerce website features might be customized to different business needs. But never forget any feature mentioned on the list if you don’t want to disappoint shoppers or even lose them.
BSS Commerce is an ecommerce web development agency with top-notch ecommerce solutions that online merchants can rely on. We help customers to deliver an ecommerce experience that drives sales. Whatever industries, business sizes, and budget, our services will be fully tailored to meet your business needs. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you need our help.