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9 Must-Have E-Commerce Website Features [+ Bonus Tools]

Learn how to create a standout e-commerce website. We’ll explain the most important features every e-commerce website needs to succeed.

E-commerce has taken off in the last several years, slowly but surely closing the gap on brick-and-mortar sales. In fact, Forbes anticipates that 20.8% of retail purchases will take place online in 2023. This exciting statistic should encourage existing businesses with e-commerce platforms and inspire those who haven’t yet made the leap. 

In order to stand out in the booming e-commerce space, businesses must put their best foot forward and focus on their website. In this guide, we’ll explain the most important features every e-commerce website needs to succeed. But that’s not all, we’ll share some bonus tools that will help set your website apart from the competition.

9 Features Every E-Commerce Website Needs

Here are some of the most important features that every e-commerce website needs.

1. Responsive Design

Modern e-commerce websites must have a responsive design because users are accessing the internet through many different devices, from laptops to smartphones, tablets, and more. As such, e-commerce website designs need to be responsive to accommodate a wide variety of screens. A responsive website design should look beautiful, feel natural to use, and remain consistent no matter what device your customers use.

2. Organized and Logical Navigation

Customers should be able to easily navigate through your e-commerce site and find what they’re looking for–as well as your other product offerings. Keep your products logically organized so users can easily identify which products you carry. Don’t reinvent the wheel with your site navigation–a layout that’s too cute or too complicated will likely cause users to bounce. 

Take a look at FitVine Wine’s site navigation. Users can clearly see where to shop for products and even narrow down the options. The cart is located in the upper right-hand corner, which is natural for e-commerce sites.

3. Footer Navigation

Don’t overlook footer navigation in your e-commerce website design. Compared to your main navigation, the footer should be a much more simplified way for users to access important pages on your site. Unless you have an extremely complex site map, you should reasonably include every page of your site within the footer for easy access.

4. Comprehensive Product Descriptions

Be generous with product descriptions on your e-commerce website. Remember, customers don’t have the luxury of inspecting or sampling your products before making a purchase. Include as much necessary information about your product as possible, anticipating any questions a consumer might have that would influence a buying decision.

5. Product Photos and Videos

High-quality product photos are absolutely necessary for e-commerce sites, especially when you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store or sell your products in retail locations. Your website is often the first touchpoint customers have with your product, so you want to put your best foot forward. Take high-resolution photos of your products in good lighting to showcase what sets your products apart from the rest.

6. Product Reviews

User-generated content is a powerful marketing tool–product reviews are no exception. Authentic reviews from verified customers give users peace of mind when buying your product because they’re more inclined to trust other consumers. Whether you incorporate a Google review widget or have your own proprietary review system, users will really appreciate seeing what others have to say about your products.

7. Seamless Cart & Checkout Interface

The cart and checkout experiences are arguably the most important parts of an e-commerce website. Simplicity and convenience are key when designing the checkout experience. There should be no surprises or unnecessary steps waiting for customers who are ready to make a purchase decision. The goal is to help users navigate quickly and easily through the checkout process and make a purchase. Thankfully platforms like Shopify have invested a lot into their cart and checkout process, so you don’t have to try and reinvent the wheel here.

8. Live Customer Support or Chatbot

E-commerce stores have the enormous advantage of servicing customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays. This opens up countless opportunities to generate revenue. The challenge, however, is offering customer support that matches site availability. Luckily, live chats and chatbots are readily available to help e-commerce businesses automate customer support. Even small businesses can answer customer questions in real-time with the help of chatbots.

9. Site Search

If you have a large website with many product offerings, a site search could really benefit your customers. Search bars are perfect for power users who know exactly what they’re looking for, as well as curious users who want to browse. As far as style goes, a magnifying glass is a universal design symbol for search. Likewise, an empty search bar in the left-hand corner or even the top center of the page is a common placement.

Need help with your website? Check out these 10 top wine marketing companies.

Bonus Features to Improve the E-Commerce Experience

Ready to take your e-commerce website to the next level? Check out these bonus features that will help put your site on the map.

Product Locators

If your product is also sold in retail locations, why not give your customers a chance to find them locally? A product locator can help customers find your products near them, where ever they may be. Great product locators also collect valuable information from people searching for your products, allowing you to identify the most lucrative markets or opportunity areas for your products.

The Grappos Product Locator is the best tool available for this purpose. It has a user-friendly interface for your customers but it also provides you with important market data. Best of all? It’s fully supported by our incredible team. 

Request a Grappos Product Locator demo →

Webpage Pop-ups

Pop-ups have gotten a bad rap over the years, and for good reason. E-commerce sites have used and abused pop-ups, causing frustration with how disruptive they can be to the website’s overall experience. But it doesn’t have to be this way! E-commerce sites can use pop-ups to their advantage without annoying their site visitors. 

Exit-intent pop-ups are the most common, with an overlay window appearing once a user moves to leave the webpage. With this pop-up, e-commerce businesses can prompt users to subscribe to an email list or newsletter, sometimes offering a discount incentive. A captured email is a huge win in the e-commerce space, even if the user bounces in the moment, because email marketing has a massive return on investment. 

Social Media Integration

Building a community is hugely important for e-commerce businesses which is why so many invest heavily in building up their social media presence. Integrating your social media profiles, like Instagram, helps build trust with customers and authentically showcases your brand. 

Website Design Makes the Difference

Building an effective e-commerce website isn’t rocket science. By including these must-have features and bonus tools in your website design, you can give users a seamless, enjoyable shopping experience–and ultimately pave the way for increased sales and conversions. 

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Eric Kunisawa

Founder & CEO

Eric Kunisawa is the founder of Grappos. He's been successfully helping businesses connect customers with their products since 2008.

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