Essential features every eCommerce website needs in 2024

Published on June 7th, 2024

Online shopping is big business, especially in the UK. By some measures, Britain is the third largest eCommerce market in the world, generating £220 billion of sales every year. 89% of UK consumers now shop online, and internet sales account for around 30% of all retail spending.

With 1.24 million eCommerce sites now registered in the UK, it’s not enough to have a functional online shop. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to ensure that your site is engaging, attractive and user-friendly. From navigational tools to AI-powered chatbots, here are six features that will put you head and shoulders above the competition.

Attractive eCommerce layout

When it comes to eCommerce, first impressions count. 94% of customers judge a company by its web design, with 75% seeing well-designed websites as more trustworthy and 38% refusing to engage with websites they deem unattractive.

There’s a lot of science behind the principles of good web design, but some basic things to think about include:

  • Making sure the most important elements are the largest and most prominent
  • Using complementary colour schemes
  • Choosing fonts that are easy to read
  • Not cluttering the homepage with too much text

User friendly-design

48% of eCommerce users cite convenience as their main reason for shopping online. If you want to keep these customers happy, you need to make sure that your site is as easy to use as possible. There are dozens of ways to do this, but some of the most important are:

  • Clear links providing easy navigation between pages
  • An internal search function that returns accurate results
  • Fast page loading times
  • Multiple language options
  • Accessibility features for the visually impaired

Mobile capabilities

80% of eCommerce traffic now comes from smartphones so it’s vital that your online store is compatible with mobile devices. Make sure that page size, page shape and text placement are automatically modified for phone screens, and consider limiting the number of images and videos to reduce loading times. If you really want to target mobile customers, you could also create a dedicated app for your store.

User reviews

Reading customer reviews has become a standard practice for online shoppers. 89% of consumers will read reviews before making a purchase, and half say that a positive review is one of their top three reasons for buying a product. For this reason, a review section is an essential part of any eCommerce site.

Product user review example

As well as driving sales, user reviews will make you appear more trustworthy. By placing your review section front and centre, you’ll send a clear message that you have complete faith in the quality of your products.

Multiple payment options

A great online store is no use if it doesn’t result in sales. Online retailers lose $18 billion a year as a result of abandoned carts, and 9% of these are due to a lack of payment options.

In order to appeal to the widest range of customers, you need to offer more than standard debit and credit payments. Linking your site to third-party payment providers such as PayPal and Stripe will ensure you don’t alienate more tech-savvy shoppers.

Out of hours customer service

eCommerce never sleeps, and online shoppers expect the same level of service at 3am as they do at 3pm. 90% of consumers say that fast response times are a vital part of customer service, and 60% expect their queries to be answered within ten minutes.

Having a customer service team on hand 24/7 isn’t feasible for most businesses, but there is another option. Generative AI has made it easier than ever to automate out of hours customer support. Adding a chatbot to your site will ensure that help is always available, and can also be a valuable sales tool. Research shows that a well-designed chatbot can increase sales by 67%.

Make an impact

These things can make a big difference, but a great eCommerce site is about more than just features. It needs to act as an extension of your brand, giving customers the best possible impression of your products and services. This isn’t something that can be achieved with a template. A personal touch is needed, and that’s where we come in.

At Nebula, we see ourselves as more than a web agency. We want to be your partners in digital innovation, and this means designing an eCommerce site that’s as unique as you are. We’ll take the time to research your business so that we can build an online store that captures your essence and captivates your customers. Get in touch today to get started.