The 10 Must-Have Ecommerce Website Features (2023 List)

The functionalities and capabilities of high-performing online stores

Jane Pardo | Updated December 17, 2022

The best eCommerce websites have powerful elements that stir interest and turn visitors into paying customers.  

Running an eCommerce website means you can generate revenue 24/7 throughout the year. 

But if your website doesn’t have the right features, your potential customers will click away and leave. Worse, they could go to your competitors for a better shopping experience. 

That’s why we created this e-commerce website features list to make your online shop a success, whether you’re building or revamping your online store. We will explain what works best for eCommerce sites to help you get on the right track. 

Consider the following must-have features to transform your website from ordinary to high-converting. 

1. Mobile-Responsive Design

A mobile-responsive design lets customers easily explore your website from desktop to mobile. It means your site fits into different screen sizes without any distorted or disproportionate on-page elements. 

A responsive web design: 

  • Creates a flexible layout
  • Improves SEO
  • Boosts mobile traffic
  • Reduces bounce rate
  • Eases management and social media sharing
  • Enhances UI/UX

Here are tips for a mobile-friendly approach: 

  • Make it easy to navigate just by using the thumb or index finger. Consumers shouldn’t have to pinch to zoom in on content.
  • Create a unified buying experience. For example, customers who add items to their shopping cart on a desktop computer should be able to finish the checkout process on their smartphones later.  
  • Put visible CTAs, particularly a noticeable Add to Cart button. You can put a CTA below a reasonable amount of solid, persuasive copy for higher conversion rates.
  • Optimize images to show crystal-clear photos that load quickly and fit properly on all devices. 
  • Consider geolocation to personalize the experience of consumers. For example, if you’re selling clothes worldwide, your site would display winter-friendly items to customers living in cold countries. 

Pro Tip: Keep on testing the capabilities of your mobile-friendly ecommerce website on multiple devices and operating systems, including iPhone, Android, and Windows phones. You want to smoothen all kinks and ensure your design works properly on all devices. You can use mobile site testing tools or manually test your design on different devices.

2. User-Friendly Navigation 

First impressions are critical. So make the customer journey as smooth as possible by helping shoppers move effortlessly from page to page. 

Your goal is to ensure buyers have a seamless experience, whether they want to compare products, get in touch with customer service, or complete their purchase. 

Your homepage should tell visitors exactly what your online shop offers. 

Categorize products logically. 

List the most popular categories first, so shoppers immediately find what they want. Your ecommerce site should provide enough categories without overwhelming users. 

Keep your header concise, simple to use, and well-organized. 

It should include only the most essential items with proper categories and subcategories. You can add products and subcategories under multiple parent categories for better discoverability. Try mega menus for sizable inventories. 

Improve your header based on visitors’ onsite behavior. 

Your Google Analytics results and other data should tell you what matters the most. You could add a live chat link plus store locations, themed categories, or a special sales promotion like free shipping.

Use universally known symbols and icons. 

Widely accepted symbols, like the shopping cart icon, are easily recognizable. Consumers immediately understand the purpose of familiar icons, making navigation easier. 

Pro Tip: Add an extensive footer to every webpage. Improve your footer’s functionality by adding a sitemap. It’s an easily accessible tool to help users move freely around your website. 

3. Social One-Click Login 

With this convenient and time-saving option, shoppers no longer have to complete a registration form or remember one more password.  

Customers who browse your website through their smartphones and tablets can easily log in using their social accounts, such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.  

Social login allows you to gather valuable data, including verified email addresses, ages, and interests. 

Plus, it allows social sharing, which means you’re letting shoppers share your content, recommend your products to friends, and promote your brand. 

Keep in mind these best practices for ecommerce success: 

  • Choose the right social networks that fit your target audience. So if your shoppers are typically young people, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even Tiktok would make sense, whereas you should add LinkedIn if you’re focusing on working groups. 
  • Position the social login button in an attention-grabbing spot to get more clicks. 
  • Remember to ask for permission. Consumers get a sense of reassurance, increasing chances for engagement. 

Pro Tip: Remind returning customers of the social accounts they used to sign up for the first time. Some shoppers forget what socials they used to connect to online shops. Help them save time by letting them know which account they previously used to register. 

4. Optimized Shopping Cart

A vital part of this e-commerce features list is an optimized shopping cart. It lets you take customers to the finish line and turn them into paying customers without bumps or barriers. 

Choose the right approach after a customer adds a product to cart, depending on your industry and strategy. 

You can display a “cart add” confirmation and stay on the page. This allows shoppers to continue browsing more products. Or you can also directly transfer the customer to the cart page to shorten the checkout process. 

Display a mini cart.

With a visible mini cart, shoppers can easily add items to cart and review cart contents without being redirected to another page. Make sure to provide confirmation like a small text or a tiny animation whenever the customer adds items to the shopping cart.  

Keep the shopping cart accessible. 

Customers should be able to view the shopping cart contents until they click elsewhere. Auto-hiding the shopping cart after a while creates frustration, especially if the buyer is still reviewing the contents. 

Show valuable information on the cart page. 

That includes the product name, thumbnail, photos, and price. For better functionality, your cart page should allow shoppers to remove items, change product details, or save items for later. Display the price total, payment methods, a Checkout Now call-to-action, an upsell, and shipping options. 

Pro Tip: Add a unique thumbnail photo for every product variation. For example, customers who order a red shirt should see a red-shirt thumbnail. Accurate thumbnails help prevent return hassles and negative reviews from customers who unexpectedly got the wrong color or design. 

5. Frictionless Checkout Process

A complicated checkout system can confuse customers and make them back out from their purchase. 

Reduce cart abandonment and increase conversions with these guidelines: 

Provide the right payment options. 

Many consumers abandon their shopping carts because of limited payment options. Give your buyers the option to pay using a digital wallet in addition to debit cards, credit cards, and bank transfers. 

However, make sure your payment methods make sense for your target customers and business size. Paypal and Venmo are ideal for new online stores with a limited budget. Some ecommerce platforms feature express checkout options, letting users skip the hassle of typing out payment and billing details. 

Allow guest checkouts. 

Some shoppers, like one-time buyers, simply don’t want to register to buy what they want. So make the checkout experience frictionless by allowing them to complete an order without signing up for an account. 

Minimize distractions during checkout. 

That means providing only the interaction points your consumers absolutely need. Create an uncluttered checkout flow with limited menu options or a simple header with no footer. 

You should maintain the same overall look and feel of your website, so shoppers don’t feel they’ve been taken elsewhere. Test and tweak to discover what works best for your online shop. 

Set clear user expectations. 

Customers should understand how many steps the checkout process involves, what these steps are, and what clicking a button does. Display a progress indicator, like a bar with numbered steps, to encourage the completion of a transaction. Your button labels should be clear, explicit, and easy to understand, encouraging consumers to click through confidently. 

Boost trust and confidence in your ecommerce site. 

Make people feel secure about sharing their information on your website. You can add trust indicators, such as https in the URL bar to signify a secure site and recognizable seals like Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Norton. Additionally, show extra costs upfront to avoid unwanted surprises. 

Pro Tip: Capture a customer’s email address when they begin checking out. You can entice them later to complete the transaction if they leave their cart. 

6. Waiting List and Wishlist 

Notify your customers when the products they want are in stock through a waiting list. 

Shoppers will be glad to know they can finally buy what they want without manually checking.

A wishlist feature, which allows buyers to create a collection of their favorites, is an excellent addition to your ecommerce website modules list. Besides reducing cart abandonment, this tool helps you retarget customers who didn’t purchase items in their wishlists. 

Pro Tip: Integrate advanced coupons with wishlists. It means sending shoppers a discount on their desired products. You can also send automatic discounts to customers who abandoned their carts or offer special discounts, like birthday discounts. 

7. Site Search

A search bar helps customers easily find what they’re looking for. They want to search quickly, read helpful information, and purchase if the product meets their expectations. 

A robust internal search points customers in the right direction in less time. 

Design an effective search bar with these tips: 

  • Position your search bar on the screen’s top left or right corner to keep it highly visible. 
  • Use the magnifying glass icon, which is the standard design for search bars. 
  • Use autocomplete to help customers save time. 
  • Include synonymous words in your search suggestions, especially if your products have various names. Buyers sometimes phrase products differently. For example, shoppers looking for athletic shoes may use generic terms like “sneakers.” 
  • Include links to the most popular searches when users click on the search icon. 

Pro Tip: Optimize your onsite search capabilities to recognize common spelling errors and plural forms to avoid losing potential customers. 

8. Clear Shipping, Exchange, and Return Information

A transparent and easy-to-understand shipping policy can immediately gain customers’ trust. 

Provide everything an online shopper needs to know relevant to the shipping of items, including shipping options, costs, restrictions, processing times, and international shipping information. 

Additionally, share a detailed exchange and return policy, which explains a step-by-step process for returning, replacing, and refunding purchased items. This helps protect your business, build customer trust, and ease the process of returning items. 

Pro Tip: Regularly update your shipping and return policies as your business grows, ideally every six months. 

9. Easy Order Tracking 

Real-time order tracking is a valuable part of the online shopping experience and thus a must-have in any ecommerce website features list.

Your customers receive updates about their order status, allowing them to know when to expect their order, find out about delays, and plan ahead to receive parcels on time. 

Order tracking enhances customer experience, reduces post-purchase anxiety, and saves your customer support team from headaches due to unnecessary order status inquiries. 

Pro Tip: Show estimated delivery timelines during the early stages of the buying journey and during checkout to ease purchase decisions. Some customers need to receive products urgently, so knowing the expected delivery time is critical. 

10. Simple Contact Process

Consumers want to contact a business for many reasons. The easier it is for them to get in touch with you, the better their experience with your online shop. 

Keep your contact details clear and easily accessible. You can offer a live chat feature for immediate access to helpful information. Plus, add a live chat to your checkout page to assist shoppers with their questions.

Ecommerce Website Features FAQs 

Should I redesign my online shop? 

If you’re experiencing high bounce rates and low search engine rankings, it’s likely time for a website uplift. Other indicators that tell you it’s time to revamp your ecommerce website include a non-mobile-friendly site, slow load time, and declining sales. Review your entire online store thoroughly, and analyze what’s stopping your customers from making a purchase. 

What other special features can help boost sales? 

A language option is a nifty addition to your online store, especially if you cater to shoppers worldwide. Plus, a multilingual ecommerce website has SEO advantages. Ranking for keywords in other languages is easier, bringing more traffic to your site. 

Ensure a Memorable Shopping Experience Every Time 

With ecommerce sales skyrocketing, you must provide a superior and intuitive shopping experience to stay competitive and avoid missing out on sales. 

Apply our ecommerce website features list to make the buyer’s journey as seamless as possible. 

Optimize your website to boost the average time people spend on it and ultimately increase your conversion rate. 

Remember: Your website impacts the customer experience. Make it exceptional!

Written by Jane Pardo

Jane Pardo

Jane Pardo is a senior contributing writer who lends insight into digital marketing methods and business solutions. She regularly writes at Scalebloom to help business owners take their online marketing to the next level.