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21 Must-Have Features For Ecommerce Sites

21 Must-Have Features For Ecommerce Sites

With digital technology, one thing always remains true — it is constantly changing. From something as simple as an update to extravagant enhancements, anything existing in the digital world is prone to change. And not keeping up with the changes could mean the difference between forging ahead of competitors or falling far behind. Whether you are creating an e-commerce site or are due for an upgrade, this list of must-have features is worth reviewing.

Certain elements are essential to every ecommerce site to stay relevant and competitive. Read about 21 features that are must-haves today.

Are you creating a new ecommerce store for your business or looking for ways to improve the functionality of your current store?

Creating an ecommerce experience that is sure to delight your customers can be as simple as taking a little inspiration from the top ecommerce brands.

The following are 21 must-have features for ecommerce sites.

Example brands were selected from The Top 50 Ecommerce Companies in the U.S. list published by Similarweb.

1. User-Friendly Navigation

The key to helping customers find the products they need quickly is to offer a user-friendly navigation system.

Products should be logically categorized, with the most popular categories listed first.

Sephora knows how customers like to shop.

Some specifically seek out products by brand, while others shop by category. Their navigation bar reflects this organization, along with quick links to inexpensive and sale products.

2. Site Search

In addition to user-friendly navigation, site search is a feature found on most of the top ecommerce sites.

It allows customers to bypass the navigation and search for exactly what they want.

Nordstrom offers a site search with suggestions for popular brands and products that match what you enter.

Most site searches can be tracked using Google Analytics.

3. Footer Navigation

Have you considered the best way to utilize your website’s footer to help customers find your top products?

Try a list of links to the top products, services, and information that customers want to find.

T-Mobile uses its footer to direct customers to their social media profiles, English and Spanish sites, featured phones and plans, support, and company information.

Their footer effectively includes links to everything they want both customers and search crawlers to discover from any page throughout their website.

4. Product Videos

Adding video to your product pages can increase conversions.

According to Think With Google, over 50% of shoppers said that online video helped them make a decision on which brand or product to purchase.

Most ecommerce platforms allow retailers to add videos and images to their product pages.

Apple uses video to highlight features of its latest iPhone on its sales page. Their use of high-quality product images and video help sell their products online and in-store.

5. Product Reviews

The most popular form of user-generated content found on ecommerce sites is product reviews and ratings.

This section of an ecommerce product page is crucial to providing social proof to shoppers that a product will fit their needs.

eBay allows customers to rate and review products, displaying reviews below the product descriptions and sponsored items.

Other eBay users also have the option to rate reviews as useful or not, moving the best reviews to the top of the list on the product page.

6. Generous Return Policy

Want to increase consumer confidence in the products you sell? Offer a generous return policy and include it on your product page.

Place it near your add to cart button to increase the chances that it will have a positive effect on the number of purchases.

7. FAQ For Products

Another way to incorporate user-generated content into your ecommerce store is by adding a section of the most frequently asked questions by customers.

This section can help your store in a number of ways.

  • Increase the number of sales by answering your customer’s top pre-sales questions about your products.
  • Reduce the amount of time your customer service has to spend on answering questions about products, before and after the purchase.

Amazon’s question and answer section on product pages gives customers the ability to ask questions, answer questions, and vote up the best questions to ensure the most frequently asked ones appear at the top.

8. FAQ For The Store

In addition to the FAQ for your product pages, consider adding a FAQ page for your main store.

This should cover any of the general questions people may ask about online privacy, security, payments, shipping, returns, and other shopping concerns.

Etsy offers answers to the most frequently asked questions in its help center.

This saves their customer support team from having to answer general questions and gives them more time to solve complex issues.

9. Order Tracking

Once your customer places an order, the top question on their mind is when will my order arrive.

Make it simple for customers to check their current order status on your website.

AutoZone has an order tracking page that doesn’t require customers to log in.

They simply need their email address and the order number they received in their order confirmation email.

10. Email Opt-In

According to Mailchimp benchmarks, emails sent by ecommerce businesses have an average open rate of 15.68% and a click rate of 2.01%.

This is important considering the revenue-generating potential ecommerce emails have.

If you can’t get visitors to make a purchase on your website, one of the next best conversions for your store would be to attain the visitor as a subscriber on your email list.

This would allow you to reach them with future sales and email promotions.

Samsung prompts visitors to subscribe to their email list to receive their latest offers using a pop-up.

Another way ecommerce retailers can capture email addresses is by adding an opt-in form in the header and footer of their website.

11. Push Notifications

If you want to bypass spam filters and social media algorithms, the next best way to capture your ecommerce store visitors as subscribers is through push notifications.

Push notification services allow visitors to subscribe to your latest updates in their browser.

When you have a promotion you want to notify subscribers of, you can send a message that will be delivered to their notification center via their browser.

Shein is one of many ecommerce brands that allows visitors to subscribe to push notifications.

Once subscribed, visitors will see the latest messages from Shein in their desktop notifications.

12. Chatbots

One of the benefits of running an ecommerce website is its ability to generate revenue, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout the year. That also means providing support to your customers during those hours as well.

According to LivePerson’s survey of 5,000 consumers, positive sentiment about the use of chatbots nearly doubled between 2020 and 2021, from 31% to 61%.

Many ecommerce stores use chatbots to assist online shoppers with basic questions and navigate them to a specific product or support page.

Lowes uses an always online expert, which is an automated assistant with specific prompts for visitors to choose when looking for a specific answer, finding a specific product, or solving a basic customer service inquiry.

13. Coupon Codes

We know that consumers often search for coupon codes on Google when presented with a coupon or discount box on a checkout page.

In the United States, 88% of consumers use coupons when shopping, using coupon sites like,, and

If you want to keep customers on your website throughout the checkout process, give them great deals via your own coupon codes.

Victoria’s Secret uses a bar at the top of its website to highlight its latest offer.

When visitors click on View Offers, they will get additional offers and coupon codes to apply at checkout.

14. Product Availability Filters

Do you have multiple options for customers when it comes to pickup or delivery methods?

Give customers the ability to quickly find the products that are available with their preferred pickup or delivery option.

Walgreens offers customers an item availability filter that will sort products based on their pickup, same-day delivery, shipping, or in-stock availability. This gives you the best chance to convert customers based on fast availability.

15. Mobile App

In addition to having a mobile-friendly store for shoppers to make a purchase from any device, also consider having a mobile app for your store.

Mobile apps allow you to keep your brand on your customer’s minds, placing your app icon/brand logo on the smart devices customers use most.

You don’t have to wait for customers to open up a browser or another app for social media or email to get your latest sales messages.

You can push those promotional updates through your app to any customers that have notifications turned on.

Home Depot offers an app that allows customers to shop for products online and have them shipped to their homes or reserved for in-store pickup.

16. Gift Registries

If you do a search for gift registries on Google, you will find dozens of well-known brand retailers.

Target, Amazon, Walmart, Crate & Barrel, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond are just a few that appear on the first page of SERPs.

Why are gift registries important to driving sales? Let’s just look at wedding registries for a moment.

According to The Knot 2020 Wedding Registry Study, 80% of respondents set up a wedding registry.

CNBC reported findings from Baird’s 2022 survey that Amazon leads as the top wedding registry provider with 45% listing penetration.

Target offers gift registries for babies, weddings, and charities. You can also create a custom registry to celebrate any occasion you choose.

17. Multilingual Support

If your ecommerce store caters to customers in a specific region, you have two options to support the top languages spoken in their region:

  • Depend on Google Translate to help customers translate your website into their language.
  • Create multiple versions of your website for specific languages.

Xfinity uses English on their www subdomain, and Spanish on their es subdomain.

Content can be switched from English to Spanish using the En and Es links in the main navigation bar.

18. Loyalty Program

Do you want to increase customer retention? One way to encourage people to shop from your ecommerce store again is to offer a loyalty program.

These are typically free or paid programs where customers get private or early access to the best deals.

Many allow customers to accrue points per purchase that lead to various rewards, such as a specific dollar amount off your next purchase or a free product.

Ulta is one of many brands that offer a free rewards program for their loyal customers.

Customers can join for free and earn points redeemable for products and services online and in-store.

19. Carousels

While marketers may not agree on the value of image and video carousels on the homepage, you will find many ecommerce brands use them.

Major retailers such as Walmart, eBay, Home Depot, Samsung, Wayfair, Lowes, Costco, Sam’s Club, and Kohls have carousels with their latest promotions and sales.

Chewy is another ecommerce brand that features a carousel on the homepage. Theirs promote discounts for auto-ship orders, healthy pet food, flea & tick medications, pet bedding, and more.

20. Local Store Information

If your ecommerce brand also has physical store locations, you can boost offline sales by adding details for the nearest store to your website’s header.

This would allow customers to shop online, reserve for in-store pick up, or browse their local store inventory before going to make an in-store purchase.

Costco offers a link to the closest store based on your zip code. They also display current store hours.

21. Personal Data Policy

Depending on where your ecommerce store is based and the customers that it serves, your site may need a policy that notifies visitors of the data that is collected about them on your website using cookies from the website and other analytics tools.

Michael’s ecommerce store displays a popup advising visitors about cookie usage to enhance user experience and analyze website traffic.

Visitors then have the option to accept the policy or adjust their cookie preferences.

Start Creating Fantastic Shopping Experiences

It’s important to remember that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel in order to provide a fantastic shopping experience for your users.

It’s simply a matter of listening to your customer’s feedback and monitoring your competitors to see if new trends in ecommerce arise.

While you don’t need to try every new feature your ecommerce platform has to offer, you should look into the ones that your customers have come to expect from the top retailers in your vertical.

Combine your customer’s feedback with A/B testing to see what implementations drive more sales and higher customer satisfaction.

Unless you are a digital wizard or your business falls within the technological category, chances are it is challenging to keep your e-commerce site current and comprehensive. We at Clear.Charge.Solutions have a proven track record and have helped some of the most prestigious companies stay on top of their digital business through upgrades or complete builds. Clear.Charge.Solutions boasts a department of website specialists that build over 150 websites annually. Feel the confidence and peace of mind that a partner like Clear.Charge.Solutions can provide. Call 877.847.4478 or find us on Facebook.

6 Simple Growth Hacks For Startups

Starting businesses in the modern world is more complicated than it used to be before the digital age. These days, it is a matter of building and growing two businesses: The actual one and the digital one. Technology is a double-edged sword; it can provide ease and convenience and boost business, but it can also be fickle if the user does not understand how to leverage it. Knowledge is power! Here are some easy hacks to help you get your startup on its feet and growing faster.

As many of my readers know, I usually write about strategy, innovation, and leadership. But recently I’ve been asked a lot about how I helped establish as a destination website for hundreds of best practice digital tools and templates using growth hacking strategies. That’s because it’s incredibly hard to cut through the noise and establish a new brand, website presence, and business model in today’s increasingly cluttered competitive world.

So, here’s what we did to build a brand and drive tens of thousands of visitors to our website each month, all without any significant marketing investment. Anyone who’s focused, methodical, and willing take the time can do it.

1. Create Expert Content

Content is king. You can create it yourself or provide a platform that encourages users to contribute content as part of your business model. Content drives the brand and engages customers. Plus, Google and other search engines index and prioritize pages with solid content, so your specific webpages with noteworthy content will get a boost in SEO rankings and see increased traffic over time. Content comes in many forms: articles, blog posts, listicles, white papers, templates, and videos.

2. Syndicate Content to Grow Backlinks

Backlinks are the lifeblood of SEO. The more that reputable websites link back to your website (or sub-pages on your site), the higher you’ll rank will be in search engines. And the higher your rank, the more organic visitors you’ll receive. Whatever you’re doing or providing as part of your business, position yourself as the expert. Become a source of knowledge and insight for the press, get interviewed on podcasts, write articles for other sites, or do anything else that gets your name (and backlink) out there on the net. This strategy also builds your brand.

3. Become a Video Star

Content isn’t just about the written word. YouTube is now the number-two search engine in the world, right behind Google. Video content highlights your expertise. It gets shared. And it drives traffic to your website that can convert to newsletter signups, subscriptions, and product purchases. Be sure to include keywords in the titles and descriptions of your videos. Also include a plug at the end of the video for where the viewer can learn more (e.g., your website). Re-purpose your videos on social media and embed videos into your website to further reinforce your content expertise.

4. Build Email Relationships

While just about every email inbox is cluttered with spam these days, when someone gives you their email address, they’re essentially giving you permission (opting in) to connect with them. While the same principle applies to social media, email is still a unique, higher-touch, form of connection-making. As compared with social media, email is like pinning a flyer up on someone’s front door versus hoping they see one that has been posted on the corner telephone pole as they walk by. So, create easy ways for people to sign up for newsletters. Connect with others on LinkedIn, where most profiles include email addresses. Focus on building a list and providing high-value communications that use expert content to connect with your audience versus just trying to sell them your product. Many free or inexpensive tools can get you started like Mailchimp and Constant Contact.

5. Measure Everything Using Dashboards

The only way to gauge progress is to measure it. Use Google Analytics to track your most important metrics, like the number of visitors, landing pages, conversion rates for your newsletter and purchases, and more. Use free tools like those provided by Moz and Similarweb to benchmark yourself against the competition. Connect social media metrics and advertising into a dashboard that provides a holistic picture of the business. But don’t spend too much time cobbling together data. Keep it simple so you can get a quick read on how you’re doing while spending most of your time doing the things that grow your business.

6. Test, Retest, and Test Again

Google recently introduced a great tool called Optimize. Optimize allows you to quickly run tests on your website or individual web pages. By creating A/B tests that serve up different page headings, product prices, button colors, etc., you can gain insight into what works and what doesn’t based on what you’re trying to achieve. Track which market positioning statements result in the most newsletter signups or which price model delivers the greatest revenue. Running tests should be an ongoing activity which essentially means you’re taking the winning formula from your A/B test and then running another A/B test using that as the baseline. Connect your tests to your data analytics to track what works (and doesn’t) over time.

Most small startups don’t have big funding. That’s why growth hacks are so important. Use a little elbow grease, coupled with savvy customer engagement strategies, to build the basis for market traction. You might need to give it a little time to yield results, but that’s also what’s needed to create an enduring business.

Any business risks failure without seamless, accurate, and secure payment processing. From integrated or mobile processing, card-present or web and phone-based transactions to e-commerce, having a reputable, reliable, and responsible company like Clear.Charge.Solutions will help propel your business forward. Contact our friendly team to discover how we can equip you with the optimal payment options for your business. Call 877.847.4478 or find us on Facebook.


Three Things That Small Businesses Must Prepare For In 2024

Unless you find yourself successfully operating in a niche market, the business world is a competitive place. Every step owners and operators can take to secure and stabilize their enterprise is always a good idea — ensuring reliable, predictable, secure, and seamless payment processing with the experts at Clear.Charge.Solutions is a prudent start! Entrepreneurs can also help protect their businesses by anticipating and preparing for future economic or social trends that may impact them. Here are three to consider for 2024.

The new year has begun, and the U.S. economic situation has generally been solid now that the worst days of the pandemic are in the rear view mirror. However, small business owners should always look forward and be on the alert for outside considerations that could negatively impact their companies.

While the Federal Reserve has hinted at possible interest rate cuts this year, we don’t know for sure. Trade has rebounded nicely as supply chain disruptions subsided, but international events could change that in a hurry. And, despite a strong holiday season and some good signs in the economy, the threat of a recession always looms.

As I see it, there are three things that could most hurt the outlook for small businesses this year.

1. Continued High Interest Rates

After almost two years of interest rate increases, Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled towards the end of 2023 that the central bank could start cutting interest rates in 2024, providing that inflation continues to fall.

While the statement raised expectations that rates could drop, there is no guarantee that it will. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) makes its decisions on interest rate hikes based on numerous economic factors, including inflation numbers, employment figures, and overall economic conditions. Chair Powell has repeatedly stated that the Fed’s target inflation rate is 2%, and we are not there quite yet. We may have more clarity on January 30-31, when the next FOMC meeting is scheduled.

Meanwhile, the latest Jobs Report from the Labor Department found surprisingly strong hiring in December. The U.S. economy added 216,000 jobs in December, signaling a still strong labor market. Unemployment held at 3.7%, a figure that signifies nearly full employment in the economy. Since the labor supply is tight and the demand for workers (as evidenced by job creation) remains high, wage pressures will continue for business owners. This pushes their overall costs higher.

Should businesses borrow money in 2024?

Deciding whether your business should borrow money depends on a number of factors, and interest rates are just one of them. If you are concerned that rates are too high and that you might not be able to make the payments, you might consider holding off from borrowing. But there are other factors, beyond the cost of capital, to consider.

Purpose of Borrowing: If you need the funds for an opportunity that might go away, such as buying a business that is up for sale right now or purchasing or repairing vital equipment, then the reason for borrowing is a big consideration. If your company is on a growth path, you may not want to let interest rates hold you back.

Return on Investment (ROI): Evaluate the potential return on investment for the borrowed funds. Will the investment generate enough income to cover the cost of borrowing, including interest payments? If the ROI is positive, it might make sense to borrow, providing that your company has the financial capacity to meet debt obligations without compromising day-to-day operations.

Economic Conditions: While interest rates are important. If the economy is strong and your business is poised for growth, borrowing may be more justifiable. However, if economic conditions, including your own business forecast for 2024, are less rosy, then caution may be warranted.

Risk tolerance: If interest rates remain at their current rate or increase in the short term, would your business still be able to cover the debt?

Ultimately, the decision to borrow money should be based on a comprehensive analysis of your business’s financial situation, goals, and the economic environment. If in doubt, it’s always advisable to seek professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

2. Geopolitical Uncertainty

Geopolitical events, such as China’s increasingly aggressive behavior toward Taiwan, the war in Ukraine, and the hostilities between Israel and Hamas, can significantly impact the supply chain and the U.S. economy.

Geopolitical tensions can lead to trade wars and the disruption of the flow of goods and services across borders, which may cause shortages of raw materials and delays in production, thereby increasing the cost of imports and exports and leading to higher prices overall. We have also seen how increases in energy prices in oil-producing regions can fuel inflation by driving up transportation costs. Higher costs naturally affect the economic success of businesses.

3. Recession

The Fed’s efforts to cool inflation seem to be working, albeit not as quickly as many economists would have liked. The central bank’s stream of small but steady interest rate hikes have curbed inflation and may indeed produce the “soft landing” that economists had hoped for. However, we saw during the pandemic that unforeseen circumstances have the potential to cause a global economic slowdown.

Many small business owners worried about recession during the pandemic and did so even through last year. While the U.S. economy has remained fairly solid, the possibility of a recession is still something that business owners must consider in their own long-term planning.

Another aspect of successful businesses is their impeccable management of money and time. Smart business owners know how beneficial it is to have the optimal digital processes in place to facilitate a smooth transaction (and save money with a streamlined, fiscally responsible structure). The friendly professionals at Clear.Charge.Solutions take the worry off your hands with their proven track record and expert solutions. See how we can help you today! Call 877.847.4478 or find us on Facebook.