Importance of an Online Presence:

The e-commerce market is growing rapidly, with global sales expected to reach 5.4 trillion USD in 2023. This growth is being driven by several factors, including the increasing popularity of online shopping and the growing availability of Internet facilities. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic was a major contributor to this growth, people still prefer to shop online even after the pandemic is controlled.

To succeed in this competitive market, businesses need to have a strong online presence. One of the best ways to do this is to create a successful e-commerce app. A well-designed and user-friendly e-commerce app can make it easy for customers to find and purchase products, regardless of where they are.

Here are 5 must-have features to build a successful e-commerce app in 2024:

1. User-Friendly Interface:

An e-commerce app should be easy to use and navigate, with clear and concise language throughout the app, and avoid using technical terms that the user may not understand for example, instead of “product specification”, use “package includes”.

Use visual cues such as icons and labels to help customers navigate. for example, use icons to represent product categories. Make sure the app is responsive and works well on all screen sizes, especially for mobile apps as most users prefer mobile phones to shop online. 

2. Search and Filter:

A good search and filter functionality is essential for any e-commerce application. It allows customers to quickly and easily find the products they are looking for, irrespective of their device and location.

Make it easy to find what the customers are looking for, The search bar should be prominently displayed and the results should be relevant and up-to-date. For example, Amazon’s search results are relevant, and up-to-date, with the most popular products appearing at the top.

Offer a variety of filters so that customers can narrow down their search results by different criteria, this can include product, name, category, price, availability, etc.  

According to a study by Baymard Institute, 44% of online shoppers abandon their cart because they cannot find the product they are looking for. A good search and filter functionality can help increase sales.

3. Secure Checkout and Payment Process:

Customers need to feel confident that their personal and financial information is secure while making purchases online. According to a study by PwC, 63% of online shoppers are more likely to shop with a retailer that offers a secure checkout process. 

A secure checkout process should use a secure payment gateway, A secure payment gateway is a service that encrypts data and protects it from unauthorized access.

Use SSL/TLS encryption to protect the customer’s data when it is being transmitted between the website and the customer’s browser. 

Customers should be required to create a strong password for their account, it should be at least 8 characters long, and it should have a combination of special characters, mixed case alphabets, and numbers.

Test your app with real users for vulnerabilities and usability issues to fix any problems. For example, Amazon regularly tests its checkout process with real users to identify and fix problems.

4. Personalization and Recommendations:

Personalization and recommendations allow you to show customers the products that they are likely to be interested in, which can increase sales and improve customers’ experience.

According to a survey by Retail Touchpoints, 70% of shoppers are more likely to purchase from a retailer that recommends products based on their purchase history.

There are many ways to personalize and recommend products to customers, 

  • Based on behavior, products viewed, added to the cart, or purchased in the past.
  • Based on browsing history, pages they have visited on your app.
  • Based on purchase patterns, products they have purchased from other retailers. 
  • Based on demographics, such as their age, gender, location, etc.
  • Based on interests, Products they have liked or shared on social media.

Personalization and recommendations can be implemented using machine learning algorithms on users’ data.  Some customers may not be comfortable with you collecting and using their data. Make it easy for them to opt-out.

5. Order Tracking and Notifications

Order tracking and notifications allow customers to stay informed about the status of their orders, which can help reduce the risk of customer turnover. According to a study by Salesforce, 70% of online shoppers are more likely to shop with a retailer that offers order tracking and notifications. Hence, it can be a robust tool for increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

There are numerous ways to provide order tracking and notifications, Some popular methods are:

Email: Email is a popular way to send order tracking and notifications, it is easy to set up and can be sent to a large number of customers at once. 

Text messages: They are more immediate than email and are less likely to be ignored,

Real-time tracking: Many apps and websites have features that allow customers to track their orders in real time. This can be a convenient way for customers to stay informed about their order status.

For example, Daraz provides real-time order tracking information to customers, including estimated delivery date and location of the order.

By providing order tracking and notifications, you can improve the customer experience on your e-commerce website or app and increase customer satisfaction.

As the e-commerce market continues to grow, Businesses should recognize the importance of a strong online presence to thrive in the market. Developing a successful e-commerce app is a crucial step toward achieving this goal. The five features discussed above are vital to creating an app that exceeds customers’ expectations. 

However, depending on the target audience and nature of the business, you can incorporate as many features as needed, such as ratings and reviews, easy returns and refunding processes, etc. Regularly analyzing user behavior and feedback can help you refine and optimize the app's features over time.

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