Like many web development firms, we searched and looked for the "best" eCommerce platform to service all customers. Why learn more than a half dozen systems when one could do it all. That was our thought. That thought process was completely wrong. Every eCommerce system will show products, categories, allow purchases, and purchase information; some abilities don't fit every scenario.
Now with years of eCommerce experience and over a dozen new eCommerce products built each year, we take a more strategic approach to help you achieve your business needs by asking questions that we've learned through our years of experience.
Below you will see some of the core features eCommerce systems offer to help jump-start your thought process.
More people are ordering online than ever before. More people are purchasing products and services using mobile devices. With 82% of SmartPhone users deciding to buy through mobile devices, having a responsive website is crucial.
You should be able to have the ability to create unique online stores for multiple brands, products, Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), affiliates, co-branded stores, and more. Launch micro-stores for promotional campaigns. Share a centralized database of products, marketing, users, and more to speed your company's growth.
Multi-vendor and drop shipping support enable you to sell online without having to stock inventory or ship orders.
Assign drop shipped products to a particular vendor. When orders come in, an email is automatically sent to the vendor to fulfill the order.
Provide vendors with the ability to manage their products, review sales reports, and order details regarding their products.
Storing attributes for your products as you need, such as size and color — each with its own SKU, price, weight, image and stock level. Store owners can add text options to products for shoppers to fill in, such as initials for monogrammed products. The shoppers can also upload files, for example, for custom prints on shirts.
Comparing products side by side removes the guesswork from your customers and facilitates their research, hence, improving the time spent on, and odds of, adding a product to the cart.
Our inventory management allows store owners to discern physical stock and available quantities. You can easily manage backorder and pre-order status for each product. Multiple warehouses, partial deliveries, and stock management by product attributes (such as color and size) are supported.
Have a generalized product price is excellent. Having the ability for customized prices for different groups of customers, hide prices for extra-valuable items, and make customers contact a sales team by enabling "call for price." Having an option for "enter your price" functionality for donations is helpful for not-for-profits.
Support for license and user agreement attachments for downloadable products, such as music files or ebooks. A store owner can choose a download activation type: "When order payment status is Paid" or "Manual activation".
Other key product attributes are:
- Rental products
- Recurring products
- Product tags
- Return management
- Multiple images per product
- Featured products, sale products, or new products
- Bundle (e.g., Build your computer) and grouped products
- Conditional product attributes
- Product specifications (e.g., processor, memory, graphic card)
- Security. ACL (access control list) on products, categories, and manufacturers
- Configurable measure weights and dimensions
- Import and export
- Bulk editing, etc.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the visibility of a website in search results. Everyone can pay to play on the search engines. Only when you have a good setup can you rank for organic traffic to your online store and spend less on paid ads.
Your eCommerce site should create search engine friendly URLs to make store pages more search engine-friendly. A store owner should have full access to keyword tags and customized URLs management sections.
For good organic search results, you need to have an XML sitemap. This structured format of a site that a visitor doesn't need to see. The sitemap gives information about the pages on site to search engines: their relative importance to each other, and how often they are updated.
Microdata is a specification to embed machine-readable data on your website to provide better search results. Integrating microdata into your website's code offers several potential advantages. First, microdata can give the search engine spiders more context for the type of information on the website and how the site should be indexed and ranked. Another benefit of microdata is the creation of "rich snippets," which display more information on search result pages than traditional listings. Support Twitter and Open Graph (Facebook) META tags.
Localizing your website URLs based on a specific language helps you with international SEO. URL localization increases the chance of matching search results in other cultures/languages.
Breadcrumbs are a great way to allow your site visitors to navigate back to a primary category without having to go back to the homepage or producing a new site search.
Integration with Google Analytics allows the eCommerce transaction tracking tool to automatically connects your Google Analytics data with customer transactions.
Anonymous checkout allows customers to checkout without creating an account. Many customers prefer this option as it will enable them to finish the purchase quicker.
One-page checkout dramatically reduces the steps required in the checkout process and increases revenue and conversion rates by making the checkout easier for customers.
Checkout attributes. At the checkout, you can provide customers with various options. For example, you can gift wrap products or personalize them with messages.
Other checkout features include:
- Phone order support
- Multilingual and multi-currency support
- Configurable measure weights and dimensions
- SSL support (secure browsing and checkout)
- PDF order receipts
- Mini shopping cart
Marketing should never be an afterthought. Digital marketing allows you to increase your sales further and grow your business. Here are several core features we look to include:
- Reward Points System - Reward programs allow you to offer points earned on the money spent at your store. A customer can then redeem the points for additional products at your store.
- Related products - Displaying associated products is a great tool to upsell while customers browse a product page or before they check out.
- Discounts and coupons - The discount amount can either be a fixed value or a percent off, e.g., $10.00 off or 20% off. You can specify a start date and an end date when a coupon is valid. Assign discounts to products, entire categories, shipping, order totals, and more. Assign savings to specific customer roles. Supports quantity discounts (tier prices), "N times only" and "N times per customer" discounts, and other various discount requirements (e.g., "Has one of these products in the cart" or "Spent XX amount").
- Newsletter and emails - Sending newsletters to customers is a great way to let them know about your products and upcoming sales. They sent out to inform your audience of the latest news, tips, or updates about your products or company.
- Gift cards - Gift card functionality is something that every merchant needs, no matter if running an online or offline business. Support for gift cards delivered via email (virtual) and classic gift cards sent via post (physical).
- Product reviews and ratings - Product reviews are one of the best forms of marketing. Asking for feedback on products gives customers a voice, and at the same time lets potential customers know what other people think about your products.
- Integrate with all major product feeds - Google Shopping, PriceGrabber and Yahoo Shopping, and become.com.
- Affiliate program - Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a store owner rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's marketing efforts.
Accept all major credit and debit cards. Authorize only or auth-capture credit card modes: support full, partial refund, and void functionality. Every country has its payment preferences. Limit payment methods per country.
Support one, or more, payment gateways:
- Cash on delivery or Pay in store
- Purchase order
- Check/money order
- First Data GGE4
- G2A Pay
Support various shipping requirements and settings. Key items to look for are:
- Calculation - Supports flexible calculation mechanisms: a store can be configured for free shipping over $X, shipping rates can be based on order weight or order totals, additional shipping charges can be specified per product, and shipping discounts (percent or fixed amount) can be created. Certain customer groups can be marked for free shipping. Limit available shipping methods per country, or apply "no shipping required" (e.g., for services).
- Addresses - Different addresses for billing and shipping, so they can easily send items as gifts.
- Estimate shipping - Estimate shipping cost before the checkout process starts. Customers just enter country, state and zip code information - available shipping options and their estimated costs will be shown.
- Pickup Points - Supports in-store pickup. This feature allows a store owner to configure pickup locations where customers can receive parcels.
- Packaging slips - Multiple shipments per order and tracking numbers are supported. Customers can easily track where their shipments are right now.
- Shipping methods - A store owner can define custom shipping methods (e.g., Ground, Next Day, 2nd Day, etc) or use popular shipping carriers (e.g., UPS, USPS, FedEx, etc). Integrated with major shipping carriers. Your customers can choose their preferred carrier based on experience, price, or destination.
Tax calculations offer a considerable amount of flexibility to meet your store's legal requirements, preferences, and expectations of your customers. Store owners can easily manage all settings and details in the administration panel.
Tax features list:
- Configuration of taxes by country, state, zip.
- Individual products can be marked taxable or tax-exempt.
- Tax classes for different products (e.g., goods, services, alcohol, etc.)
- Mark customers as tax-exempt.
- European Union Value Added Tax (EU VAT) support (Company VAT Number).
- Store owners can specify "tax based on".
- billing/shipping/default/shipping origin address setting.
- Prices can be displayed, including or excluding tax.
- Store owners can specify whether shipping is taxable.
- Tax automation services integration.
Customer service in your eCommerce site should include:
- GDPR support - Compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- External authentication - Allows your customers to register and log in using such services as OpenID, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Wishlist - Wishlist enables customers to store products for purchasing at a later time.
- RTL support - RTL means Right-To-Left and is for users who use an alphabet that is read & written from another direction, such as Persian, Arabic, and Hebrew.
- EU cookie law - Effective from May 2012, the EU (European Union) cookie law requires websites to gain users' permission before planting cookies.
- Customer attributes - Any built-in customer attribute (e.g., Country or Address fields) can be disabled or enabled. A store owner can also create additional attributes if required.
- Security and permissions - A store owner can configure specific rules and permissions for different categories of users.
- And a lot of other features:
- Web Services API
- Allow customers to register/login by email or by username
- Customers can view their order history and order statuses
- Customer has an address book
- Customer roles (groups)
- Live chat integration
- Customizable order emails
- Private messages
- Time zone support
- Password recovery
- Several account registration types such as automatic registration, email validation, or admin approval.
- reCAPTCHA support
- Contact Us form
- Customer activity log, etc.
Security & Compliance
Security is essential in today's world to need the following features:
- GDPR support - meets all the requirements of the European Union Laws. We track all the legislative changes and make updates to the platform accordingly.
- PCI DSS compliance - Meets all PCI Compliance requirements. 50+ integrated payment methods and gateways to transmit credit card data securely.
- Built on secure technologies
- SSL support to provide secure browsing and checkout
- Honeypot support to prevent spam
- Flexible and robust customer password policy