Ecommerce (also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce) has grown immensely in recent years and even more so in recent months. With so many platforms and solutions, it can be overwhelming and difficult to know what exactly makes one platform better than the other or to know how your solution can differentiate itself from the others.
Issues of usability and mobile-friendliness aside, which currently should be considered more a requirement than a functionality, our team has created this list of the top 17 functionalities necessary to have a successful ecommerce platform.
- Guest checkout: It is important for first-time users entering the site to buy something. The golden rule is that the faster you can make the purchase, the better. Therefore, it is recommended to have guest checkout so that the client does not feel forced to make an account and lose interest.
- Sign in with social networks OAuth: It prevents customers from having to make an account and allows them to use social networks Google, Twitter, or Facebook, so that the ecommerce site can use the data that already exists there to identify the customer.
- Similar products: This is supercritical and depends on how well cataloged the products are. Good information and classification structure are essential, otherwise, this functionality can do more harm than good. In the same way that in a store the customer takes a product and next to it has another similar one that they can end up buying, in addition, you need to have that in an online ecommerce. A way that the customer can know of and ideally compare similar products.
- Related products: Similar products will show the same products but of different brands/models, related products, on the other hand, are complementary products. This helps stores to be able to sell more products since one goes for one purchase (such as paint) but ends up also buying brushes, stencils, canvas, etc.
- Reviews: Reviews are important because they help convince people to buy things. Customers tend to feel more confident when buying something after seeing that their peers, or people with similar educational levels, preferences, etc., is also buying that something. The reviews help to convert a potential customer into a current customer by validating their interests and awarding safety to the product, brand, or to the general store.
- Social proof: Social proof also goes hand in hand with photos or material produced by the business. For example, here we note how below it has a section where using a hashtag brings you instagram posts from regular people who they use the product and that helps the client to reach the conclusion that the product could serve him.
- Offers / Discounts: One of the most important factors for a person making a purchase is the FOMO (fear of missing out). When you give discounts/offers, many customers automatically think that they should take advantage of the fact that the product they are interested in is now 20% off.
- Abandoned Cart: This is super important. It should be possible for a company to send emails or notifications to users who left items in their carts and closed the window. This could include sending a discount code to convince them to buy. All ecommerce platforms have this or at least there are plugins that help you with this.
- Wish lists: Sometimes people are looking for items, but they are not necessarily going to buy them now. If you allow a wish list functionality, you will know that the customer has an interest in that product but for some reason does not want to buy it now. You can then schedule emails for when a product in their wish list is running out or has a lower price so that the customer is notified. Additionally, you can use analytics to suggest other products featured in wish lists for customers with a similar profile.
- Pick up at the store: There are customers who prefer delivery but others prefer to go find the product. Providing flexibility to the client is important.
- Delivery tracking: It doesn't have to be something immensely detailed but the customer should at least know the status: order received, processed, ready to go, delivered, on the way, delivered.
- Follow-up by email: After the person has received the product, it is recommended to send an email a week later asking: How did the product work? Did you like it or had any problems? This follow-up helps the brand a lot since it shows genuine interest in customer satisfaction.
- Order History: This feature may sound obvious, but it is important that customers can view the history of products they have ordered and have the option to reorder. This more with consumable products. It is true that an appliance store will not require it as much, but with a makeup store for example, or a store where the product runs out after a certain number of months and the person will want to buy it back.
- Photo galleries: When buying a product it is important to have more than 1 photo. The more photos the product has, the more security the customer has of what exactly he is buying. Example, with footwear, one is going to want to see it at various angles, see the sole, see it combined with clothing.
- Flexible CMS: It sounds obvious but in the same way that in a physical store the products can be arranged and rearranged, you will need a CMS that gives the ecommerce store flexibility to make quick changes to the website. Especially for the homepage, flexibility is required here. Most CMS offer this feature, but they must be configured well.
- Save credit card details: This is usually handled with the payment gateway that offers this type of feature for security. Basically what you are looking for is that on the site, just as Amazon/Ebay does, the cards you have used to pay come out and you do not have to always digitize it.
- Address book: Allow the user to have one or more shipping addresses so that they do not have to digitize it whenever they make an order online. This is essential for all ecommerce.