With an average online spend of SDG 2,206.64 in 2020, Singaporeans are some of the highest spenders in the world according to JP Morgan*. Since 2017, the B2C e-commerce industry has seen a double-digit growth every year. A uniform high-speed internet availability and the extremely high percentage of social media acceptance (96%) among Singaporeans only mean that more and more purchases will be done online.
While this is good news for any e-commerce website in the region, it also means dealing with very savvy and digitally confident consumers who would look for a best-in-class experience online. Due to additional challenges like high costs of storage space in Singapore and multiple competitors, it is important to provide an enhanced user experience on your e-commerce website to gain and retain customers. Here are 5 essential features that are a must for any e-commerce website.
Mobile Friendliness / App
According to the same report, almost half of the online purchases were completed on mobile and more than half of those were done through apps. This means, while you may have a comprehensively designed website, the mobile version should also be equally attractive and efficient. A mobile-friendly experience for users is bound to increase your sales and also improve your search rankings. So what does a mobile-friendly website mean?
- Compatibility with all kinds of mobiles and tabs is a basic requirement. All your pages should be optimized for mobile browsers as well.
- This includes optimising product images and videos for mobile viewing.
- Fast load time and responsiveness is a must for all pages whether the customer visits through a browser or your mobile app
Clean design and Ease of navigation
In today’s virtual age, if a customer is unable to find what they are searching for in 3 clicks, they will drop off the page. A short path-to-purchase is a time-tested truth even in brick-and-mortar stores and is equally relevant online. It is evident that to keep a customer engaged and ensure a purchase, your website hierarchy should be simple and clean. Anything unnecessary must go.
You may have 10 products or 10,000, but each of them has a specific purpose for the consumer. This should come out clearly in your product descriptions – each product page should give the relevant information to the customer clearly and concisely.
Having a clean design also helps in optimising the website performance and indexing the pages for an online search.
High quality product photos and videos
Two out of the five senses (smell and touch) are not available to online customers when they look at a product. It then becomes more important to present the product effectively to assist their purchase decision.
Apart from giving exact product information, like volume, dimensions, colour, and other relevant features it is also important to include photographs from all possible angles that can give the user a complete view of the product. Many sites also include a 360° rotational view that the visitor can scroll around and look at the product as if they were holding it in hand and moving it about. Renting an e-commerce storage space with ancillary set-up for shooting high quality videos and photos of your products can be a great asset when your website launches new products frequently.
Having product usage and operation videos also helps make the customer comfortable with the product. Videos showing the product being used in a real-life situation by someone similar to themselves is highly likely to induce purchase than a product that does not show such a video.
Ratings, Reviews, and Q&A
Allowing users to review a product and provide ratings is now an essential feature on any product page. Reviews are a substitute for word-of-mouth on any product and have more influence on customers than features or product description.
Similarly, product ratings also play an important role in a purchase decision. According to a Womply report**products with 4.0 to 4.5-star ratings have the highest number of sales, even more than those with a 5-star rating. It is therefore important to allow verified customers to give ratings and reviews of products on your website.
Question and Answer is another feature that is important for customers. It serves just like a sales assistant in a shop who is there to assist you and resolve any queries you have about the product. The questions asked through Q&A on a product page should be answered promptly, correctly, and clearly to help the customer make a decision.
Data security and Secure payment options
And finally, ensuring the safety of user’s personal data and payment details is of prime importance if you are here for the long haul. Without trust, a shopper will not make a purchase on your website irrespective of the discounts you are offering or the high quality of your product.
A transparent but safe purchase environment is absolutely essential for any e-commerce website. For starters, it is good to have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate that enables secure data transmission to and from your website. Also, ensure Address Verification System (AVS) and Credit card Verification Value (CVV) field for all credit card checkouts. You may additionally use the services of payment gateways to secure payments.
Apart from this, invest in a good anti-virus and anti-malware protection service that not only protects users’ data but also prevents any website hacking. Host your website on reliable platforms too, to ensure server availability and quick response at all times.
While many other things can be done to enhance the user experience for your e-commerce website, these are the 5 essential features that can help you bring great experience to your users and make sure that they keep coming back to you for all their online purchases.