If you don’t have an e-commerce store yet, now’s the time to invest in one. If you do have an e-commerce store, do an audit to make sure it’s fully equipped and ready to go.

Here’s a list of the five most important features your online store needs to succeed:

  1. Mobile Friendliness

    As of February 2020, Google announced that they will start penalizing websites for not having mobile-friendly sites. This means that if your site isn’t user friendly on a mobile device, your ranking on search results will be lower - and you may not even show up at all. After all, around 50% of internet traffic happens on mobile devices!

    That’s why it’s crucial that your website look nice and function well on smaller screens. If you’re building a site from scratch, you may even want to consider building from mobile up, not from desktop down.

    Not sure if your site is mobile friendly or not? Google will tell you with this tool.

  2. Updated list of products, prices, descriptions, and pictures

    As a consumer, you probably know this pain point well. You locate your desired product on a website only to find an nearly empty webpage. That doesn’t give you much confidence in the company or product and you probably won’t make the purchase.

    When your physical store is out of commission, it’s crucial that your online store provide customers with the information they would usually get from an in-person visit. That means a thorough catalogue of everything you sell, including detailed information, high quality photos, and clear pricing.

    Put yourself in your customers’ shoes - what would you want to see on a website if you were shopping for that product? The more information, the better!

    Looking for an example of a site that does product info right? Check out Open Wear.

  3. Shopping cart and secure checkout

    If you are looking to sell your products online, then you need, well, to be able to sell. That means your site should have shopping cart functionality and a secure checkout process. There are tons of different options for this depending on where your site is built. Platforms like Wix and Squarespace have their internal solutions, while Shopify offers its own external one. They each come with pros and cons that you should evaluate based on your budget and business needs.

    The bottom line is that it should be an easy-to-use solution that merges seamlessly with your site. Here’s a list of some of the most popular solutions to get you started.

  4. Shipping, return, and refund policies

    Putting yourself in your shoppers’ shoes again, making a purchase online for a product you can’t see (in person), feel, smell, or taste means that you can never be 100% sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for. To alleviate any hesitation, you’ll want to clearly understand shipping, return, and refund policies before buying.

    Whether you list the policies on each product page or have one page dedicated to elaborating on them is up to you - as long as your customers can find the information easily and it’s written clearly.

  5. User generated reviews

    Last, but certainly not least, comes reviews written by your customers. You can write about how amazing your product is all you want, but you’re a bit biased! Nothing compares to reading a review written by a real life customer who was thrilled with your product.

    If building out a review section on your site is too much for now, start small. Ask for testimonials from your most loyal customers via email and include them in content on your site. Jenny from Pittsburg loved your winter-warm down jacket? Quote her in the product description. Matt from Los Angeles scarfed down your chocolate chunk cookies? Display a tagged photo of Matt with your cookies via your embedded Instagram feed.

We could write a whole thesis on what makes a good ecommerce website, but we’ll spare you. Now more than ever, having an excellent digital storefront could be the key to your business’ success. No need to be overwhelmed - take it one step at a time and don’t forget that the internet is filled with resources to help you complete each of these steps.

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