Missing Link: 9 Features Your Store Needs

Ever wonder just how massive the world of ecommerce is? According to reports that were culled from the online think tank, Statistica, in 2013 over $1.2 trillion was conducted in sales worldwide, with estimates of 2014 sales nearing the $1.5 trillion marker.

By 2018, it’s projected that the tally for ecommerce sales will exceed $2.5 trillion. To put this into better perspective, a Yahoo Finance article pegged the net worth of the entire United States (as of 2012) at $15.68 trillion. By comparison, present ecommerce sales account for over 10% of the entire net worth of the U.S. economy.

Behemoth shopping cart and marketplace providers like Amazon, Bigcommerce, EBay, Etsy, Monster Commerce, Shopify, WooCommerce, Volusion and others have changed the game of the online shopping universe, creating an inviting and enticing opportunity for shopkeepers – of all technological backgrounds and proficiencies – to compete with other online stores, spurring rampant success stories of innovative product lines that the world would have perhaps never been none the wiser to had the digital world not shook things up in favor of the mom and pop e-retailer.

If you happen to fit into this demographic of online store operators, you’ll want to pay attention to the following nine offerings in this article. They are must-have elements of any solid ecommerce website, and are quintessential in you gaining – and maintaining – your competitive edge in the topsy-turvy online world of the present day and age.

1: Use a Memorable Logo

If you do not yet have a professionally designed logo, make sure you get one in order as soon as possible. Something seemingly as simple as a logo can mean the difference between your brand being remembered by visitors or simply forgotten in the hodgepodge that comprises the internet.

Shoppers have ample places they can look to in order to find the goods they are seeking. Assure that your brand is earmarked by a professionally designed logo. Learn more about how logos influence your shoppers by reading this intriguing white paper.

2: Add the “Wow” Factor to Your Home Page

Your home page should be stunning to look at, attractive and enticing to shoppers from the moment that they arrive on your website. Most ecommerce stores, according to numerous studies, have a 70% shopping cart abandonment rate, and also have at least a 48% bounce rate with an average conversion rate of a trim 3%.

Understand that you only have mere seconds to impress your prospective customers, or you could lose them for good. Seeing as 97% of online shoppers overall won’t covert to begin with, featuring a sharp, attractive and engaging home page is a surefire means of turbo-boosting your conversions while decreasing shopping cart abandonment and bounce rates.

3: Strategically Place Helpful Tools

Don’t mistakenly presume that your shoppers will possess the same technological online shopping prowess as you do. Rather, be keen to the notion that shoppers require some assistance from time to time.

By featuring key tools like an easy-to-use nested search bar, live support options, shopping cart icons and easily accessed navigations tools, you can make sure that your shoppers are taken care of, so they stay at your store for longer and shop for more products during their visit.

Here’s a list of 12 ecommerce tools that no website should ever be without.

4: Run Frequent Promotions

According to studies, shoppers want deals galore to be offered to them. Offer products at a discount and you stand to increase your sales and conversions substantially. Aside from relying upon PPC ads, SEO and social media promotions, also make sure that your internal promotions are being fed to shoppers upon their arrival at your site.

This includes showing featured specials on the home page as well as hosting a “specials” section on your storefront to encourage shoppers to take advantage of the deals that you are offering on your best-selling wares. A related Forrester report found that 70% of people prefer to shop online over the holidays specifically because of the sales and deals being offered.

5: Publish Engaging Blogs

Simply put: blogs drive traffic. A number of studies have been conducted on this matter, with one study showing that over 92% of companies that blog saw notable traffic increases.

The results are astoundingly similar: businesses that blog enjoy more website traffic and better rankings on the major search engines. Be sure that you are blogging and that you are blogging often. Offer solutions to shoppers, tips for the holidays, wish list ideas, and that sort of thing. Avoid using direct sales strategies when blogging. Instead, rely upon the power of education-based marketing, and use that as your foundation for a good blog engine.

6: Be Social Media Friendly

Social media matters greatly. Regardless of your personal feelings or affiliation, your shoppers are likely all using some form of it or another. Social media allows you to reach out to your target market in a personalized manner, one that you can’t otherwise do in most other mediums. Become a social media brand ambassador and grow your social channels.

Consider sponsoring certain blog posts and updates to garner more traffic and social interest in your brand. According to recent studies, over 40% of consumers made a purchase after sharing an item that they found on social media.

7: Offer Impeccable Support

According to a recent study, shoppers want live support when checking out in nearly 50% of instances, as were noted by respondents.

This is because many shoppers will have questions about the items they are about to purchase. You can look at a number of live support apps that can help you tackle this common customer service goal. Just be certain that you don’t overlook it, because it could mean the difference between strong converters or shopping cart abandoners.

8: Make Payments Effortless

With countless security breaches disgracing the online world, shoppers have become increasingly wary of placing online transactions.

Strive to assure them that your site is secure and that you offer a variety of payment options. While you should accept all major credit cards on your shopping cart, offering to accept third-party payment options like Google Wallet, PayPal and others will only serve to help you attract more buyers in the long run.

9: Offer Free or Cheap Shipping

The jury is out: studies show that shoppers either want cheap or free shipping. Over 60% of your shoppers want shipping to be affordable and fast. Most want it for free.

Since many smaller online stores can’t absorb the cost of shipping just to offer it for free, you do have some alternatives. Explore your options with discount USPS shipping for your smaller and heavier items, which gets them out the door to your customers at a low price with a fast one-to-three business day delivery window and optional $100 shipping insurance from the USPS.

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