6 Functionalities You Must Consider For a Digital Commerce Platform

There's a large number of technologies for building digital commerce platforms. The choices can be overwhelming and confusing.

Instead of chasing bright shiny objects, let's get back to basics and consider what you want your eCommerce website to do for your business:

The ultimate goal of a digital commerce platform is to get your customers to make a purchase. That means you need to include functionalities that put your customers on the fastest path to placing their orders.

To do so, you need to consider the user experience of your digital commerce platform. This includes the user flow, content, and visual design that'd lead your visitors to proceed to the next step in the purchasing process, whether it's adding an item to the cart or completing a transaction.

Here are 6 functionalities that most digital commerce platforms should include:

1. Product Display

Your products need to be showcased in an appealing manner to entice visitors to add them to cart and make a purchase.

There are many functionalities that can enhance the shopping experience -- e.g. 360-degree view, hover-zoom and video demo. Make sure to choose one that works best for the nature of your merchandises.

Product Images

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Optimize the images so they are of high-quality yet not so large that they affect the load time of the page -- which could have negative impacts on user experience and SEO ranking.

You may need to display additional product information and attributes that are text-based, e.g. shipping info, detail specs, or configuration options. To minimize clutter on the product page and make it easy for visitors to find what they need without having to parse through a large amount of copy, use a tabbed navigation box on the product page to organize your content:

Digital Commerce Product Page

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2. Product Reviews

61% of consumers read product reviews to help them make their purchasing decisions.

Product reviews are powerful social proofs and they're found to produce an average 18% uplift in sales:

Reviews increase online conversions

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Your digital commerce platform should support a product review function so visitors can rate a product and leave a review. Some brands take this further and encourage customers to write a review by giving them reward points for doing so.

ecommerce reviews

3. Live Chat

With the rise of omnichannel customer care, website visitors expect real-time support from brands and merchants. Live chat is one of the most popular technologies installed on digital commerce platforms to allow customer care representatives to provide support and answer questions.

In fact, an emarketer.com survey found that 63% customers are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.

Live chat isn't just convenient for visitors, it helps increase conversions. By addressing customer concerns and objections right away it helps you cut down on customer support expenses while giving you the opportunities to listen to your customers to help you improve your product page to address the most common questions.

Digital commerce live chat

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4. Support Mulitple Payment Options

There are many ways to accept payment, and your digital commerce platform needs to support various options so customers can choose what's most convenient for them, thus reducing the friction to completing an order.

Besides taking credit or debit cards, you can include payment gateways such as Google Wallet, PayPal and Amazon Payment:

Payment portals for online storesImage source

In addition, if you sell higher-priced products, consider offering payment plan options so your customers can finance their purchase. 

5. Product Recommendation

To get more dollar value per customer, use a product recommendation functionality that displays related items to cross-sell or upsell to your customers (e.g. "You may also like" or "customer who bought this also like" sections on a product page.)

Bundled selling

You can also offer bundles on the item your visitors are considering so they'd increase their spending by purchasing more products.

6. On-Site Search

To help your customers find exactly what they need as quickly as possible, include a robust search functionality on your eCommerce website. 

Prominently displaying the search box is just the first step. Improve the user experience with intelligent autocomplete, which provides product suggestions when a customer types into the search box. Your search functionality should also support long tail semantic searches so visitors can find specific products quickly:

digital search

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If you have a large selection of merchandises, you can help customers find what they want by adding a filtering function to your search results page:

Search Online Store

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B2B eCommerce Marketing 

Your turn -- What functionalities on your digital commerce platform are most effective in improving user experience and increasing sales? Leave a comment below and share your insights:

Posted in B2B eCommerce, B2B Sales, Sales & Marketing