Shopping cart, wish list, gift card, coupon – these concepts have migrated online with the rise of ecommerce and are now primarily associated with nifty icons on a website rather than objects of the physical world. According to Statista, the ecommerce share of all retail sales worldwide amounted to nearly 12% ($2.8 trillion) in 2018. These numbers are growing year over year.
Even with limited budgets, businesses are challenged to find the best ecommerce platform to meet the needs of online shoppers. The availability of customizable ecommerce platforms can now save companies the trouble of tedious and expensive coding; most of these turnkey solutions deliver the must-have essentials, such as shopping cart plugins, libraries of themes and templates, site search functionality, as well as business intelligence and support modules.
There are also some cool features of the best ecommerce platforms that can enhance the efficiency of your marketing and contribute to a seamless customer experience. Here’s a roundup of remarkable features to look for.
Responsive design for cross-device compatibility
Google says, “80% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites allow them to easily find answers to their questions.” Most shoppers own a smartphone these days. If you put two and two together, the importance of mobile-friendly ecommerce site design comes to the fore. If you run a business, it’s in your best interest to make sure the online store’s pages are flawlessly displayed on all screen types and sizes.
Having purchased a product online, many customers would rather pick it up in the company’s store nearby than wait for delivery or pay a shipping fee. Referred to as BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up in Store), this principle can be implemented via the ecommerce platform. The relevant feature allows the customer to see which local stores have the goods in stock.
User reviews with star ratings
Customers read reviews, period. They also pay attention to those little stars next to a product before making their decision. In addition to providing the user-generated review and ratings functionality of their own, the best ecommerce platform should go with plugins that pull in feedback from popular review services, such as Yelp and Foursquare. This can add an extra social proof layer to the customer journey.
For an ecommerce site, SSL and 2FA aren’t just a couple of acronyms. The former denotes a cryptographic protocol for secure interaction between the user and the website, and the latter (two-factor authentication) ensures intactness of the customer login process. This combo helps keep your online store tamper-proof and safeguard the buyers’ privacy.
Built-in blog platform
If you want to build long-term relationships with your audience, customer touchpoints shouldn’t be isolated to sales. A blog is a great way to keep people tuned for your services and give them fresh insights into the products you offer. It can also enhance your SEO by decreasing the bounce rate and attracting backlinks. Ultimately, a blog functionality integrated with your online store helps engage customers and improve search engine rankings.
Whereas the market of best ecommerce platforms is prolific, separating the wheat from the chaff might be a nontrivial task. Do your homework, explore the features and vet the reputation of the service before making up your mind. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all platform – the main decision criterion is a feature set that aligns with your business model and goals.