Do you run a small business and still don’t have an e-commerce website? If yes, then you may be losing a huge share of your online sales which you may be giving away to your competitors, unwillingly and unknowingly.
Whether you own a startup, small business or medium-sized business, you definitely need an e-commerce store.
If you think that e-commerce website development can cost you a fortune, perish that thought.
With the evolution & advancement of CMS platforms like WordPress, now you can build your own e-commerce website at much lower cost.
Although, the cost to develop an e-commerce website using WordPress CMS could be significantly lower, but the return on your investment will certainly be higher.
Let’s have a look over some of the essential features that your e-commerce website must have in order to be successful.
But before that, let’s understand why small businesses need e-commerce websites.
Why E-Commerce For Small Businesses?
#1 Low Cost Development
For any small business, investing a huge amount of money on any software or application could be very difficult, especially during their inception phase when they have a limited budget.
But the good news is that running an e-commerce business is affordable.
Why e-commerce business doesn’t require much investment.
- Low cost website development: The first step to run any e-commerce business is to create an online store. And building an e-commerce website is really inexpensive.
- No need of any infrastructure: Unlike a brick & mortar business, you don’t need to invest on your retail outlet or warehouse. You can display the whole range of products on your e-commerce website.
- No recurring costs: In case of e-commerce business, you don’t need to pay any recurring cost like rental, salaries, electricity etc. You can eliminate all of these expenses by setting up your store online.
All the above facts are self-evident that an e-commerce website is really ideal for small businesses.
#2 Maximum Reach
Again, for small business, it could be a big challenge to reach out their targeted customers within their budget.
But fortunately, an e-commerce business can allow them to build their brand among relevant audience and that too, without making a hole in their pockets.
In case of a brick & mortar outlet, the business owners are required to spend a significant amount of money to advertise their business and reach out their customers through traditional channels like billboards, radio, television etc. which could cost them a fortune.
However, with an e-commerce, they can maximise their reach using some of the effective yet affordable online marketing mediums like Facebook and Google.
#3 Low Cost Advertising
Gone are the days when only big boys could promote their brands because of their big pockets. Now, any small business can join the race of online advertising, compete with these big boys and win over them too.
The cost of advertising an online business is so affordable that you can start making profits from your new e-commerce business in just few weeks or months.
This has been never possible in the history of advertising.
#4 Easy Expansion
In case of a physical retail outlet, expansion is not that easy.
You need to spend additional money on infrastructure and other basic expenses. This is the reason that sometimes it takes several years or even a decade to expand a brick & mortar business.
But in case of e-commerce, you can easily expand your online business by just spending a bit more on your website design enhancement or improving your marketing & advertising campaigns.
This is because your e-commerce website can accommodate hundreds and even thousands of products without having any need for you to hire additional warehouse or showroom.
14 Essential features that an e-commerce must have in order to be successful.
Developing an e-commerce store is not challenging.
You can simply hire any affordable website designer to build your online shop. But it takes some extra ingredients to make your e-commerce website successful.
What are those extra ingredients?
Here, we are going to share 14 such basic yet essential features that an e-commerce website must have, in order to be successful.
Let’s dive into them.
#1 Clean Design
A clean design is what it takes for a successful e-commerce website. Unfortunately, most of the webmasters try to show everything in one go, thereby making the website look clutter.
Studies have proved that users always like clean websites over complicated ones.
A clean website design with focused call-to-action will always help you to get more sales & conversions.
#2 Clean Menu
Menu plays an important role in any website design, especially in case of e-commerce websites design.
A simple & clean menu will help your potential buyers to navigate through the webpages of your site easily & hassle-free.
#3 Easy Checkout
Let’s face it. Nobody wants to put much time on filling out those lengthy forms. If you ask too much of information from your potential customers, they may abandon their cart and quit your website.
As a rule of thumb, your e-commerce store must always have a quick & easy checkout process.
#4 Search Feature
Since an e-commerce website may have hundreds and in some cases even thousands of products, a search bar will always help them to search & buy their desired products.
#5 Guest Checkout
If you really want to reduce the order abandonment rate & increase the sales on your e-commerce website, don’t force your customers to create an account. Instead, allow them to checkout as a guest.
#6 Abandoned Orders Followup
To revive the abandoned orders of your e-commerce store, you must have a proper arrangement of sending out reminder emails to the users for completing their orders. The users are those potential buyers who did add the products to their cart but never paid.
All you need to do is, ask your website developer to integrate a module or plugin to store the abandoned order details and send them automated emails in a certain frequency.
#7 Variety Of Payment Methods
Instead of providing your customers an option to pay through your favorite payment gateway, you must have maximum number of payment methods on your store.
This will allow your users to choose their desired payment gateway in order to complete their orders .
#8 Responsive Website Design
A responsive design for an e-commerce website is as important as its existence in the first place. There are several benefits of having a responsive website, mainly below:
- Grab more sales from the users who are browsing your website using their handheld devices.
- Have higher chances of getting your website ranked on search engines as they love responsive websites.
- Providing your mobile users with excellent user-experience.
#9 Customer Support
Having a customer support section on your e-commerce store will help your users to contact you and resolve their queries on-the-spot. You can provide this server through some of the efficient tools like live chat etc.
A live customer support can also help you to grab more sales as your potential buyers can make-up their decisions instantly.
#10 Customer Support
With the increasing threats of hacking & spamming, it has become more important than ever to ensure the security of a website, especially if its an e-commerce store.
Before you hire a website designer, you must ensure that he or she is specialised in website security. All said, security is of utmost importance for your e-commerce website.
#11 Discount Coupons
Everybody loves discounts and offers. Who won’t.
Therefore, in order to succeed in e-commerce business, your website must have the provision for you to create discount coupons for your customers.
For me, discount coupon is an inevitable feature for any e-commerce website development.
#12 Fast Loading Speed
Various online studies have proved that the websites with slow loading speed have higher chances of losing a lot of sales.
There is always a stiff competition, whatever business you are into. In other words, your customers have a lot of options to buy from.
So, who would like to wait on your website, because of its slow loading speed, to make any order.
#13 High Resolution Images
E-commerce business is virtual, so it does make a complete sense for every business owner to let their potential buyers see the clear image of their desired product(s) before they decide to buy them.
Moreover, websites with lousy images have lousy sales too.
#14 Customer Reviews
Your existing customers’ reviews on your products work like a recommendation for the new and skeptical users.
When your e-commerce store has positive reviews on most of the products, the new users are likely to buy from you with confidence.