As an ecommerce website owner the web spoils you with choices. Some are cheap while others are towards the higher end of the cost spectrum. Most feature rich ecommerce solutions have a cost benefit attached to them. While there are features that you absolutely need, some others are definitely superfluous to your needs. While bespoke design integration is all what clients usually see and feel, there is more to an ecommerce website than just looks.
Below is a list of features that you should look for in any ecommerce solution that you procure for your website or which your web design company offers. As an affordable ecommerce solution provider, we are proud to offer all the below mentioned features at a fraction of costs of what other web design firms would offer.
Your ecommerce storefront should be scalable – You should be able to add unlimited number of products, product categories and other options like sub-categories and menus.
Bulk order discounts – This is the holy grail of consumer marketing and is one of the most valued requirements for your ecommerce website.
Promo codes – Universally used today, these codes can be implemented one or more times.
The ecommerce solution that you choose should have the ability to assign products to multiple categories.
The ecommerce system should have the flexibility of setting the options like SKU numbers, unit and weight to be mandatory or optional so that there are no false values on your website.
Multiple factors with assigned weights for calculating shipping cost – The cost to ship an expensive or a breakable item is much more, and rarely depends on the weight of the product. Your ecommerce solution should have factors based on which shipping charges can be calculated.
Comments upon ordering – Customers may need to provide some extra information related to the design, configuration or other attributes of your product or about shipping/billing. It is always recommended that a “Comment” or “Description” box be present adjacent to the order screen.
Ratings, reviews and tips – Important not just for making your ecommerce site more customer-friendly and interactive, these options also let your product page gather some good text from a search engine standpoint.
Support for add and display of product suppliers, product manufactures or brands – This is important for narrowing down the choices and even for categorizing the products in a better fashion.
Image Gallery of the products – Usually, most ecommerce site owners like to have multiple product photos to keep the visitor interested and to show the product look and feel.
Automatic support for Cross selling – Related products display is a great way of keeping users engaged with your website and help you sell more. It can be a tiring job to manually tag related products. There should be a provision through the product management system to correctly predict the related products.
An important feature for ecommerce stores that sell software or media should be to allow digital downloads. The ecommerce storefront must check the log-in and order status of the user before allowing downloads.
Your ecommerce storefront should provide the ability to promote “Featured Products”, “New Products”, “Best Sellers” or “Hot Deals” on the home page or the category index pages of your website.
Ability to remove shopping cart links so that if there is some issue with your merchant account or your PayPal account, it can still run as a catalog website.
The ecommerce solution that you choose should let you easily manage products, categories, shipping and the orders.
Easy upload of images, videos and software from your computer through a web browser.
The system should have an elaborate Help section or an active support system via chat, phone or even a forum so that you can get some assistance as and when needed.
Ability to alter the shipping price and even attach “free shipping” for certain products.
The ecommerce store that you use should support multiple shipping like UPS and USPS.
Ability to add sales tax figures through the ZIP code for domestic shipments and through country code for International orders.
Ability to export orders, customers, total sales, tax and shipping related data
Should be able to activate or deactivate a customer record.
Should provide the ability of PO ordering which can be selected by the admin for a customer.
Order management and corresponding inventory level updates should be easy to understand and fulfill.
Add comments to orders which can be seen by the customer. This helps you, the admin, as you can answer any customer questions or put some points forward, if needed.
Restriction of digital downloads so that the system is not abused or used in an unwanted manner.
Integrated online payment gateway such as authorize.net or PayPal for collecting payments corresponding to the orders.
Capabilities to send emails and email newsletter with dynamic categorization based on purchased products or “wish lists”.
The system should be easy to assist the admin in creating and maintaining promo codes and bulk order discounted prices for products.
The ecommerce storefront should have a Search Engine Friendly URL architecture with keywords in the URL.
Your ecommerce solution should have one single URL for a given product even if it can be accessed via multiple categories.
You should either be able to integrated SEO plugins or the system should itself give you the ability to add unique title tags and meta tags.
XML Sitemap Creation and Submission – If you need a new ecommerce website or have a relatively unknown ecommerce site, the search engines may not be able to completely crawl the site, all by themselves. Your ecommerce website should have the ability to generate and submit XML sitemaps.
Onpage optimization of the product and category pages – The site should have the provision for text based paragraphs on the product pages, should carry proper H tags and you should also be able to add alt attributes to your images.
Breadcrumb navigation – This is important not just for SEO, but also for the usability of your ecommerce website.
Account creation should be easy and non-mandatory. Large forms which ask for too many fields to be filled before proceeding for checkout, discourages visitors and may lead to uncompleted orders on page visits.
The shopping cart software should let the customer edit their profile which carries important contact information.
The shopping cart should let the users add a new billing method and modify the existing ones. This helps the site in case of credit card failures when a backup card or a PayPal account is used by the customer to complete the order.
Informing the customers is one of the most important things that your ecommerce solution should do. Whether it is when they place the order or when the status of their order changes, your ecommerce system should notify the customer via email.
Product download links in the Customer Area makes it easy for the customers to download at their will.
Product “Email a Friend” links where the customers can send a product link to one or more friends.
Printing of the orders and the invoices should be supported by the system.
Add to Wish list or Save to Cart features that lets the users order at a later date or time.
If your ecommerce website sells products internationally, language translation and currency conversion capabilities help you close more deals.
The servers that you use should be SSL enabled and if your web development company is providing the hosting for your ecommerce site, they should have SSL on their servers.
Databases that retain the credit card numbers and passwords for user accounts should do so in an encrypted format.
Throughout the storefront, there should be a robust scheme to validate user input.
Configuration settings for the storefront should not be assigned to every login, but only to one, top level admin
The shopping cart should support offline credit card payment, payment processing by phone, mail, PO etc and AIM and SIM methods for the most popular payment gateway – Authorize.net.
Built-in support for PayPal Pro, 2checkout.com, PayPal IPN.
Support for Verisign, Linkpoint and Worldpay as alternative gateways as they are used as an alternative to Authorize.net.
Email marketing and newsletter integration
Integration with third party email marketing tools like Mailchimp and Constant Contact.
Conversion tracking through Google Analytics integration
Sales tracking and monitoring through Salesforce integration.
Keyword and content performance reports.
Goal tracking and advance segmentation of visitors via Google Analytics.
The features mentioned above work well for most of the ecommerce websites online. While selecting a solution, this list should help you in doing a cost-benefit analysis of the options available. For all these features at affordable development costs, contact Cynexis for your ecommerce website design.