5 E-Commerce Features Every Online Store Must Have
As consumer behavior shifts, it’s more important than ever for SMEs to build a smart, intuitive online store that converts again and again. Read to learn more.
More and more Asian SMEs are selling online to grow their business not just in domestic markets but internationally. There is a lot of competition and businesses are facing an increasing number of e-commerce features to choose from. Deciding on features that will enhance customer experience and increase sales on your website can be overwhelming.
Businesses must prioritize the features that matter most for APAC consumers: convenience, speed, cost-effectiveness, positive and engaging user experiences, and personal reward. Here are 5 online store must-haves that will keep your customers browsing your site and returning to purchase:
1. Strong brand essence
Successful brands have consistent, distinctive brand personas that go beyond branding and visual aesthetics. Brand essence – why your business exists – defines how customers perceive your brand and how deeply they connect with you.
Apple, for example, set out a strong brand persona by clearly defining what the company stands for: Innovation, Difference, and Simplicity. When consumers buy an Apple product, they can rely on its innovative technology, distinct design, and ability to work effortlessly.
- What does your business do best?
- How do you deliver value?
- Why should people choose you?
The more you seek to understand your demographic, the easier it will be to speak to your target customers on an emotional level – inspiring trust and loyalty. But first, create a brand persona that translates to your e-commerce website. Think of your business as a real person:
- What do they look like?
- What do they like and not like?
- What is their personality like?
- How do they speak, and what do they sound like?
- How do they engage with others?
Answering these questions will help you create a brand guide that enables consistency, for instance across website copy, email newsletters, blogs, social media posts, as well as responding to your customers. A consistent brand reflects stability and builds trust.
2. User-focused design and functionality
Ease and convenience play a significant role in why people buy online. If customers experience friction in their shopping and buying journey, chances are they will find another website. Friction includes slow website upload, too many steps in checking out an item, no contact information, not being mobile-friendly, low-quality product images, complex navigation, unclear searchability of products, cluttered layout, and broken links.
Most importantly, empathy is key in how you can provide a user-focused website.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Get to know them. Anticipate their needs by studying customer behaviors to help predict what problems you can solve for them. Pay attention to your customer’s journey and identify patterns in what they are looking for. Run a/b tests to see what website components encourage better, desired user journey. And, of course, get feedback to evaluate and improve your systems and processes through surveys, social media comments, live chat, and other customer conversations.
3. Develop an omnichannel strategy
Imagine this: a customer discovered your business through a Facebook ad. Curious, they checked out your Facebook Business Page, browsed your content, maybe even inquired through live chat. They’re interested in your product, so they clicked through to your e-commerce website. After browsing your site, they finally decided to buy from you.
Where does an omnichannel strategy come in?
Having an omnichannel strategy means putting the customer at the heart of your business. Simply put, your omnichannel strategy meets your customers where they browse and shop and integrates all your online and offline storefronts – so you can deliver a cohesive experience to drive sales.
Moreover, the buying journey doesn’t end with a one-time purchase. An omnichannel strategy ensures that your business builds a lasting relationship with your customers. You want to turn them from buyers to brand advocates by:
- offering loyalty and referral programs
- giving them exceptional experiences
- making them a part of your business journey through storytelling
- proactively asking their insights and feedback
- building an engaged community around your business or brand
4. Logistics and supply chain management
Gaining a competitive advantage in today’s crowded digital landscape is critical. Go back to the fundamentals of putting your customers first. You need to give them positive experiences from the moment they first encounter your brand to the final step of receiving deliveries and after-sales service. Order fulfillment must be seamless, not just for the customer but also for your business.
For instance, it’s important to the customer to have access to flexible delivery options. FedEx® International Connect Plus (FICP) is a day-definite e-commerce service that offers competitive pricing, flexible delivery options, offline and online shipping automation solutions, and extensive parcel tracking capabilities. That means additional control over when and how businesses and customers receive orders.
5. Data-driven campaigns and strategy
Understanding and leveraging data is crucial in growing and scaling your e-commerce business. It is easy to gather and analyze data thanks to AI and automation tools. However, privacy has become a top priority now more than ever. We’re seeing the end of third-party data with Apple allowing its users to opt-out of data tracking and Google Chrome planning to block cookies in 2023. The solution? Collect data on your website. Track where people are clicking, what pages they are looking at, and how they engage with your content via website analytics.
You can also ask relevant questions about user preferences when they sign up on your website or via quiz, survey, or poll. From there, you can give recommendations, offers, and deals to provide a hyper-personalized shopping experience.
As consumer habits evolve, it has become more important than ever to know and understand your customers. Customers have the power to choose, so you need to stay agile and responsive to their needs and demands. Ensure that your e-commerce website features are intuitive, user-friendly, secure, personalized, and accessible to give customers memorable, positive experiences.
In conclusion, your website must be agile – able to adapt to ever-changing consumer behavior and the fast-evolving e-commerce landscape. The bottom line? It’s about incorporating the right people, process, technology, and logistics support so you can sustain growth and build a resilient business.
For more e-commerce tips, head here.