Why Great eCommerce Software is Crucial For Your Online Shop
Written by: Nicholas Fincher
To build a good eCommerce site, you’ll need 3 things:
- Good product displays
- A way to entice customers to purchase your products or services
- A great user experience to ensure a positive purchase journey and encourage loyalty
These are the main areas to focus on when building your online store. But if you want your site to really become ‘revenue generating’, then extra steps need to be taken. Essentially, you need to streamline the process.
Great user experience will obviously make for greater sales, so what if you could replace the cashier in a shop with an automated process that works 10 times faster? Then you’d be getting money 10 times faster as well, right? This is where eCommerce software comes into play: eCommerce software is essentially your electronic, automated cashier.
How Does eCommerce Software Work?
eCommerce software automates the process for your site to generate more sales and create repeat customers who are likely to buy again. It includes a set of eCommerce tools as part of a complete toolkit, and offers a wide variety of elements to use on the site to help sell your products.
Some of the eCommerce tools available to retail merchants include:
- Live chat windows
- Callback options
- Direct mail delivery to physical addresses
- Help-desk functions
- User engagement analytics
- A/B testing to analyse the ordering process
- Website personalization options
- Interactive elements to help buyers make a purchase
But one of the most important elements of the eCommerce toolkit is the shopping cart feature where customers store their items before purchase. This is arguably where the greatest interaction takes place, and where sales can be increased 10x times. How? By making sure that you have chosen a good shopping cart platform for your site.
What Makes a Good Shopping Cart Platform?
Apart from the fact that photos and videos appeal to our brains as human beings, displaying product images on a website are a great way to interact with customers and increase their likelihood to buy. Large, detailed visuals have been proven to boost eCommerce sales dramatically, by instilling confidence in the customer and giving them the opportunity to view the product before purchasing. This will also help them to answer questions such as: Is this definitely the item I want? Is it the right color? What does it look like from another angle?
Product Ratings & Reviews
Customer reviews can really help to boost sales, and a good shopping cart platform will provide customers with the opportunity to leave feedback about the product(s) they purchased. ‘Star ratings’ allow customers to score the products based on certain criteria, which in turn can influence other customers to purchase them as a result of such recommendations (or perhaps choose not to buy based on a negative review).To implement a product review system on your site, you will need your developers to prepare a piece of code, or alternatively use an eCommerce shopping cart software with these functions built-in by default.
Menu With Filtering Mechanism
When there are many product options to choose from, your site could benefit from built-in filters to make it easier for customers to select which products they need based on certain attributes: product categories, colors, size, model, etc.
Quicker Checkout Process
Studies have shown that the more time spent by customers filling in details to buy a product, the more likely they are to abandon the purchase. One study in particular identified that 27% of respondents had abandoned their carts because the checkout process was too long or complex. Offering a guest checkout option is a good way to alleviate this problem.
Having a search function on your site makes it much easier for visitors to decide whether they want to purchase something, while also making the entire buying process much more efficient.
The purchase journey doesn’t end when a customer clicks on ‘Pay Now’; confirmation emails, SMS texts, and follow-up mails regarding the status of their order could help to improve the over-all experience and even contribute as a key factor in their decision to purchase again.
This is hugely important in eCommerce, particularly as customers are supplying sensitive information when making a purchase. They need to have peace of mind, which could include offering a variety of different payment methods, and ensuring that the site's SSL certificate is clearly visible to improve website security.
Some other indicators of good shopping cart software include:
- Special offers to add traction to sales, and especially for new customers
- Availability of applying coupons and reducing prices with discounts
- Ability to extract a price list with featured items to a separate file and share via email or social networks
- Ability to integrate into cross-platform solutions
- Tracking, analyzing & watching visitor behavior on your site; which pages they visit, do they convert, etc.
- Include an 'Items Viewed’ and ‘Similar Items’ function for customers to refer to when browsing the site
These functions can have a great impact on the quantity of sales a website can generate. It can also help to improve involvement and time spent on the site, which can ultimately improve your Google rankings.
What Makes an Ordinary eCommerce Store a Great eCommerce Store?
eCommerce websites may be viewed as super advanced online platforms that streamline the overall process of selling goods and services to customers. Good eCommerce sites offer a variety of payment options, and have a marketing platform to follow through on for after-sale support and campaigns to encourage customer retention. They also track buyer behavior, engage in A/B split testing, and run fast and reliable systems to manage order volume. This is done through separate search elements on the site, filtering options and great navigation patterns that make it easy for the customer to find their desired product(s). Good eCommerce sites will also guarantee a reliable delivery process from the point of ‘Pay Now’ right to the doorbell of the customer’s residence, and ensure that they are completely satisfied with their purchase.
Perception is a powerful thing, and this can greatly affect a customer’s willingness to buy. Sites that use a good eCommerce platform with good shopping cart software demonstrate a certain loyalty to ensure that customers have the best user experience possible. Better software solutions make it easier to provide good customer service, and allows you to set your business up on the Internet more quickly. It’s also arguably cheaper than having to hire a team of developers.
This was just a quick overview addressing how you can set up an eCommerce store, and the advantages of using good eCommerce shopping cart software, while also identifying between ordinary and great online stores. Be bold and make your eCommerce site as appealing as possible for purchases and repeat business. This doesn’t mean having to blow your budget either, but knowing how to build a good eCommerce site will help you to reap the benefits by lowering your business expenses in the long run.About the Author
Nicolas Fincher is a marketing and PR manager working for eCommerce software company CS-Cart, which offers a comprehensive range of multi-functional shopping cart tools.