8 Must-Have E-commerce Features for Great Digital Experiences

If you’ve got an e-commerce site, you know that getting customers to come to your website is only half the battle. Once they are on your e-commerce, they must have a good enough experience and be interested enough in your products to convert. This is harder than ever as there are more than 26.5 million e-commerce sites worldwide, leading to fierce competition. Simultaneously, consumers are more comfortable than ever before with ordering online.

So, to capture potential clients, your e-commerce has to both be and appear trustworthy, and appeal to your customers, both visually and experientially. Here are 10 must-have e-commerce features if you want your e-commerce to be at its best.

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The 8 features for sustainable e-commerce growth

  1. User-Friendly Navigation: This may seem obvious, but there’s nothing more frustrating for a consumer than confusing and hard-to-navigate e-commerce sites. Consumers are not patient, and if they can’t find what they are looking for quickly or understand what you have to offer, they’ll go somewhere else. So, be sure to offer intuitive and easy-to-use navigation. Clear categories, filters, and a straightforward menu contribute to a positive user experience.
  2. Mobile Responsiveness: With Mobile commerce sales expected to reach  $620.97 billion by 2024, it’s safe to say that this is not a segment of the market you want to miss out on. The majority of m-commerce buyers are Millennials and Gen Zers, who also happen to have high expectations when it comes to their online experiences. Ensuring that your e-commerce platform is responsive on various screen sizes is no longer only an option. It is essential.
  3. High-Quality content: There’s nothing more off-putting than arriving on an e-commerce site and realising several of the images are pixelated, the text and product descriptions have grammatical errors and some of the links are broken. However, in the same vein, images that take 30+ seconds to load are not up to par either. In both scenarios, you will come off as less professional and trustworthy. Make sure you have clear, high-resolution images showcasing your products effectively – but that these images are compressed and fast-loading. To create high-quality content, use industry-standard camera equipment and ensure that any stock imagery aligns with your brand. Implement features like zoom functionality to allow users to get a closer look at the details. Multiple images or product videos can also help in making informed purchasing decisions. While customer-generated content can be powerful, it should never replace professionally taken product photos. Any newly posted pages should be reviewed for spelling mistakes and any broken links should be fixed as soon as possible.
  4. Customer Reviews and Ratings: This is another one that seems obvious but is incredibly impactful. On average, 72% of customers won’t make any purchasing decisions until they read reviews about your business. What is more one review can improve conversion rates by 10% or more, 30 reviews can improve conversions by 25% or more, and 100 reviews can improve conversions by 37% or more! Enable customers to leave reviews and send them follow-up emails a few weeks after purchases asking for reviews. You can even offer discounts like a 10% off voucher for any review of a verified purchase.
  5. Personalized Recommendations using AI: AI can be used in many ways and is a powerful tool that you don’t want to miss out on. By analyzing user behaviour and preferences, AI algorithms can provide customers with relevant product suggestions that align with their interests. This not only increases customer engagement and satisfaction but also drives sales and revenue for retailers. Several different AI techniques can be used for personalized recommendations, including collaborative filtering, content-based filtering, and reinforcement learning. Collaborative filtering is a technique that uses user-item interactions to recommend products that similar users have purchased or liked. Content-based filtering is a technique that uses product attributes and descriptions to recommend products that are similar to the products that a user has viewed or purchased. Reinforcement learning is a technique that uses rewards and penalties to train an AI model to make recommendations that lead to desired outcomes, such as increased customer satisfaction or sales. You can also use AI to dynamically adapt website content based on the client’s geographic location, search history, and more.
  6. Smart and Adaptive Search Functionality: Consumers on e-commerce sites often start their journey with search and, on average, spend 2.6 times more compared with non-searchers. So your search shouldn’t be “good enough”. It should be the best it can possibly be. Smart Search is. a term used to describe search systems that are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning (ML). It includes cognitive search, intelligent search, and semantic search. By combining technologies, Smart Search can anticipate what a user is looking for by taking into consideration their search history, goals, and the context of their search. In simpler terms, Smart Search makes it easier for a customer or service agent to find what they are looking for by streamlining the search process. Adaptive Search is an advanced feature that provides a dynamic navigation context. It allows users to configure their search based on specific criteria, and set personalized search profiles. This functionality is crucial in creating a search environment that adapts to varying user needs and preferences. It significantly enhances the overall shopping experience by ensuring that customers can easily find what they are looking for with precision and ease. It is particularly useful for B2B e-commerce. The ability to adapt to different catalogue versions enables seamless transitions during updates or changes in product lines, providing a consistent user experience.
  7. Seamless Integration with Social Media: As mentioned previously, m-commerce is growing, and with it, so is social selling. Integrating with social media has become indispensable for businesses aiming to expand their online presence and connect with a broader audience. This integration extends beyond visibility to encompass social selling, utilizing features like direct shoppable posts, influencer collaborations, and user-generated content to leverage the authenticity and reach of social platforms. By seamlessly intertwining e-commerce with social media, businesses can not only enhance user engagement but also drive sales in an era dominated by digital interactions and mobile-first consumers.
  8. Accessible and Inclusive E-commerce Experience: When it comes to selling online, you want to ensure that anyone can use your website. Creating an inclusive e-commerce experience involves prioritizing accessibility for a diverse user base. Adhering to web accessibility standards like WCAG ensures compatibility with assistive technologies, making your platform navigable for individuals with various abilities. This encompasses features such as adaptable design, alternative formats for product information, and user-friendly navigation, fostering an environment where everyone, including those with visual, auditory, or cognitive impairments, can seamlessly engage with your online store. Embracing inclusive language, diverse imagery, and gathering feedback for continuous improvement further contribute to a welcoming and accessible shopping environment. By championing accessibility in your e-commerce strategy, you not only enhance the user experience for individuals with disabilities but also demonstrate a commitment to diversity, expanding your customer reach and cultivating a positive brand image.
  • Bonus: Simplify, simplify, simplify! This one isn’t a feature so much as a guiding principle. User attention spans are fleeting, so ensuring that every aspect of your e-commerce platform is user-friendly is paramount. Streamline the search process with AI, simplify the checkout journey with minimal steps and guest checkout options, and provide real-time order tracking with proactive notifications. Simplify the returns process with a clear interface and prepaid labels. Offer responsive customer support through multiple channels and quick response times, utilizing chatbots for instant assistance. Simplify the review process, making it easy for customers to leave feedback. Embracing simplicity across touchpoints contributes to customer satisfaction and loyalty. A straightforward and hassle-free shopping journey fosters positive relationships. As you focus on incorporating advanced features, never underestimate the power of simplicity in creating an unforgettable digital experience.

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How A Headless Commerce Architecture Can Help E-commerce Retailers Implement These Features

Headless commerce is an architecture that decouples the front-end and back-end of an e-commerce platform, providing flexibility and agility in implementing various features. Here’s how headless commerce can help e-commerce retailers implement the mentioned features:

  1. User-Friendly Navigation: With headless commerce, retailers have the flexibility to design and customize front-end experiences independently of the backend. This allows for the creation of highly intuitive and user-friendly interfaces that prioritize seamless navigation. Developers can leverage modern frameworks and technologies to build interactive navigation systems tailored to user needs.
  2. Mobile Responsiveness: Headless commerce enables the development of separate front-end applications for different devices. Retailers can design and optimize the user interface specifically for mobile devices, ensuring a responsive and engaging experience across various screen sizes.
  3. High-Quality Content: Content delivery can be enhanced through headless CMS (Content Management System). Retailers can efficiently manage and deliver high-quality images, videos, and product descriptions. With the separation of frontend and backend, content updates become more agile, ensuring that the website consistently presents polished and error-free content.
  4. Customer Reviews and Ratings: Headless commerce allows for seamless integration with third-party review platforms and tools. Retailers can easily incorporate customer review functionalities into their e-commerce sites, encouraging user-generated content. This integration can be achieved without compromising the overall performance of the site.
  5. Personalized Recommendations using AI: Headless architecture supports the integration of advanced AI algorithms for personalized recommendations. By analysing user behaviour and preferences, retailers can implement sophisticated recommendation engines that provide customers with tailored product suggestions, ultimately enhancing engagement and driving sales.
  6. Smart and Adaptive Search Functionality: Headless commerce enables the implementation of smart and adaptive search functionalities by leveraging AI and machine learning. Developers can integrate advanced search algorithms, improving the accuracy and relevance of search results. This ensures that customers can easily find what they are looking for, enhancing the overall shopping experience.
  7. Seamless Integration with Social Media: Headless commerce facilitates seamless integration with various third-party services, including social media platforms. Retailers can easily embed social media features directly into their e-commerce sites, fostering a more integrated and engaging online presence that aligns with the preferences of modern, digitally connected consumers.
  8. Accessible and Inclusive E-commerce Experience: Headless commerce allows for the implementation of accessible and inclusive design principles. Retailers can adhere to web accessibility standards and easily optimize their frontends for compatibility with assistive technologies. This ensures that the e-commerce experience is accessible to a diverse user base, promoting inclusivity and broadening the customer reach.

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Go Even Further With A Frontend-as-a-service

A Frontend-as-a-Service (FeaaS) can complement headless commerce and further enhance the implementation of features in an e-commerce platform. Here’s how a FeaaS can contribute:

  1. Rapid Development: FeaaS provides pre-built front-end components and templates that can be easily customized. This accelerates the development process, allowing retailers to quickly implement and update features without the need to build everything from scratch.
  2. Consistent User Interface: FeaaS ensures a consistent user interface across different devices and channels. This is crucial for maintaining a cohesive and recognizable brand identity, regardless of whether users access the e-commerce site through a desktop, mobile device, or other platforms.
  3. Cross-Platform Compatibility: FeaaS platforms are designed to be cross-platform compatible, ensuring a seamless user experience on various devices and browsers. This is particularly beneficial for e-commerce retailers aiming to reach a broad audience and provide a consistent experience across different platforms.
  4. Scalability: FeaaS solutions often come with scalability features, allowing the e-commerce platform to handle increased traffic and user interactions during peak periods. This scalability is essential for maintaining a smooth and responsive user experience even as the business grows.
  5. Third-Party Integrations: FeaaS platforms often facilitate easy integration with third-party services and tools. This can be advantageous for e-commerce retailers looking to integrate external functionalities such as analytics, customer service tools, or marketing services seamlessly into the front-end.
  6. Real-time Updates: FeaaS enables real-time updates to the front-end without disrupting the entire system. This agility is beneficial for implementing changes, updates, and new features swiftly, ensuring that the e-commerce platform remains dynamic and responsive to evolving user needs.
  7. Focus on User Experience: By leveraging FeaaS, e-commerce retailers can focus more on optimizing the user experience. The pre-built components and templates provided by FeaaS platforms are often designed with usability in mind, allowing retailers to concentrate on enhancing features that directly contribute to a positive user experience.

These features, and the way you implement them, can be the key to your growth in the coming years. Keep in mind that the two things you must always prioritise are customer experience and scalability.