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8 Things Your Ecommerce Site Can't Live Without

There are approximately 3 billion people online today--that means there are tons of lucrative opportunities out there to make a profit. So why is your ecommerce business struggling to meet its potential? The good news is, the solution is a lot easier than you think. You’re likely just missing a few pieces of the ecommerce puzzle.

To help you improve your online business , we’ve compiled 8 things your ecommerce site can’t live without :

1. Vivid Product Descriptions

No doubt, the products you sell are the lifeblood of your ecommerce site. But did you know that your product descriptions are more important than the product itself?

That’s right--you can sell the best product in your niche, but if you have a lousy product description, you’re leaving money on the table. According to Practical Ecommerce , 95% of online customers in 2015 and 2016 “believed that online product descriptions were important to their buying needs.”

So how do you write high-converting product descriptions ? Well, it boils down to highlighting your product’s benefits and features with solid sales copy .

Product descriptions are there to inform and convince. By emphasizing a product’s benefits and features --benefits meaning what your product can do for a user, and features meaning how your product stands out from the competition--you are showing users how your product is unique and useful to them.

To do this effectively, you need to write sales copy that isn’t overly self-promotional--and that’s the hardest part. It’s truly a balancing act--that’s why many ecommerce sites hire professional writers to craft their product descriptions.

Consistent product descriptions that suit your brand’s tone and voice will build user trust in your product, which means customers are more likely to return in the future.

2. Provide Purchasing Incentives

This should really be a no-brainer: give your customers a reason to pay for your product. One route is to give shoppers free shipping on items over a certain amount, or give them a discount once they’ve bought a certain amount of merchandise from your store.

You could even give them a small percentage of store credit based on the price of the item they purchased; the options are endless, and marketers are getting better everyday at incentivizing the ecommerce experience.

3. Sophisticated Search & Navigation Options

Easy site navigation is a key component to your success as an ecommerce entrepreneur . One way to make your site more navigable is to include sophisticated search options.

Here are 3 ways for you to enhance the search experience for your users:

1. Easy-to-find search bar: The best place for your search bar is in the header of your site because it’s more visible. Give the user obvious directives, like “search (sitename)”, or “enter search keyword”, so they know exactly where to go to perform a site search for a specific item.

2. Filtered results page: Give your shoppers a more personalized experience by allowing them to filter their results page. In the example below, users can choose everything from size, style, and color in one location. This is convenient, and allows users to fine-tune their search criteria with no hassle.

3. ‘Smart’ breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are a savvy navigation tool that allow users to easily maneuver between products and sections within your site. Providing a simple visual simulation like this will improve the user experience, which will keep customers on your site rather than your competitors’.

4. Thorough Website Policies

Every website needs to have sturdy policies in place to prevent legal claims and liabilities from users. However, as an ecommerce site, the most important policies are Terms and Conditions agreements and Privacy Policies .

Your terms and conditions --also known as a terms of use or a terms of service --details the terms users must abide by in order to use your platform. This is a lengthy, intricate document, so many entrepreneurs prefer to use online builders to generate their site’s terms and conditions agreements .

Because your ecommerce site collects confidential user data, you also need to have a thorough privacy policy in place. This policy explains to users what personal information you collect, and what you do with that information. Many sites also include their return and refund policies in this section as well, since this policy covers payment details.

Just like the terms and conditions agreement above, privacy policies are dense legal documents that many site owners have no experience writing. Thankfully, there are plenty of informative privacy policy templates and writing guides out there to help entrepreneurs write sound policies.

Related: 3 Common Agreements in the Freelance World and What They Mean For You

5. Trust Seals

Your ecommerce site should have what are known as ‘ trust seals ’ or ‘ trustmarks ’ visible on the homepage so users know that their personal information is protected. Here are some common seals you’ll see on other sites:

  • Trust Arc ensures customers that you, as an ecommerce entity, are being transparent with your privacy policy. One of Trust Arc’s main tenets states that, in the event that a customer should raise a complaint, you are obligated to make a good faith effort to resolve the issue.
  • VeriSign’s seal means that your website is following all the legal requirements necessary to operate as a legitimate online platform.
  • GeoTrust ensures secure digital transactions for organizations of all sizes.
  • Better Business Bureau’s seal means that your site upholds BBB’s Code of Business Practices . By becoming accredited through the BBB, your company will get a listing in the BBB’s Accredited Business Directory, which is distributed to thousands of customers annually. There are also other benefits, such as tax deductions, BBB logo use, an Accredited Business Profile , and others.
  • 6. Payment System Icons

    One way to establish a sense of trust with your users is to include payment system icons. Having these emblems on a web page will reassure users that the site will process their payments securely.

    Here are some of the most secure payment solutions out there:

  • PayPal is one of the leading digital payment processing companies in the world. For a small transaction fee, you can purchase items and make payments into other user accounts.
  • WePay facilitates “payment for platforms”. Extremely user friendly, they are one of the go-to sites for ecommerce platforms.
  • 2CheckOut streamlines the process of accepting online payments. They are global, safe, and they work with all the big digital payment players.
  • Authorize.Net offers a range of services, including mobile or mail payments, digital payment processing, and security measures like fraud prevention.
  • Amazon Pay is global, trusted, and only requires one secure login to conduct your transactions.
  • Skrill allows users to make money transfers and payments for a minimal fee. Plus, all you need to access their benefits is an email address.
  • 7. Accelerated Mobile Pages

    Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are designed to make web pages faster and more responsive for mobile users. But do you need AMPs for your platform? If you want to maximize your outreach, then yes: According to Outer Box Design , “ 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months,” and “ One third of all ecommerce purchases during the 2015 holiday season were made on a smartphone.”

    Mobile is important. Here are a few more benefits of utilizing AMPs for your website:

  • Improved user experience: AMP pages enhance the user experience by making the transition between pages quick and seamless.
  • Faster load time: By decreasing the load time, users are more likely to remain on your pages for a longer period.
  • Improved search ranking : Google’s algorithm values faster pages. By expediting load times, your mobile pages will rank better.
  • Lightning bolt tag: AMP pages are denoted by a lightning bolt image on the search engine result page. This signifies to users that your page is optimized for mobile, increasing the likelihood that they will visit your site.
  • 8. User Testimonials

    It might be a bit counter-intuitive, but your site will actually improve conversions if you have both positive and negative customer reviews. According to Vendasta , “ 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores.” If you only post positive reviews on your site, users tend to view you as spammy, overly self-promotional, or even deceptive.

    That’s why transparency is key--if you give users a balanced perspective, they will be more inclined to invest in your product or service.

    Think of it like this : by offering both good and bad reviews, users will notice a trend in the quality of your product, which will lead them to make an informed decision. This will reflect better on your product or service, and you will have less disgruntled users in the end.

    Maintaining a profitable ecommerce site is really a matter of covering your bases. There’s a lot to keep up with, but if you’re serious about running a successful online business, you’ll find that each one of the items above is necessary. Take the time to do it right, and watch as your conversions multiply.