What Makes An E-Commerce Sites Successful?

What Makes An eCommerce Sites Successful?

When it comes to selling online, the user experience is just as important as the products you stock and the prices you charge. If you want your eCommerce sites to meet user expectations and compete with your rivals, there are certain features which it has to have. Features that make shopping quicker, easier, safer and more convenient are, therefore, essential for today’s eCommerce sites. Here, we’ll look at what they are.

1. Clear menus

What Makes An eCommerce Sites Successful?

People visit eCommerce stores looking for specific items and one of the main ways they do this is through the menu. This is where they’ll expect to see the main product categories and their subcategories. Get the menu right and finding the right link will be quick and easy; get it wrong and the visitor will give up searching, perhaps so irritated by the menu that they never visit the site again.

Making the menu work on an eCommerce site, especially one selling a large variety of products, can be a challenge. You need to put it in the most convenient place, choose the right design and configure it to display in a way that customers can find what they want easily. There will also be a need to consider the titles for each category as this can be useful not just for SEO but for making sure you are using the same terms that a visitor would use.

You may also have to consider how you structure the actual website as a subcategory or individual product may need to be included in more than one main category. A pair of trainers, for example, might need putting in both sports and casual footwear categories.

2. Filtering search

What Makes An eCommerce Sites Successful?

Some users prefer using a search bar to the menu and a good website will make sure this preference is catered for. Indeed, search bars and filters are one of the most useful features on any store, enabling the visitor to type in the kind of product they are looking for and then filter the results to find the best one.

Today, there is a selection of plugins and add-ons that will provide this function, letting customers narrow down the range of products displayed by filtering attributes such as brand, price, colour, size, weight, age, condition, etc.

These features are found on many websites, usually with the search bar at the top and the filters at the left. As this has become the expected norm when visiting an eCommerce store, it’s a good idea to use the same layout on your site so that visitors are instantly familiar with how it works.

3. Product appropriate visuals

What Makes An E-Commerce Sites Successful?

As shoppers cannot see the actual product, the images you display play a vital role in helping them decide. For many types of product, however, a single image won’t cut the mustard. While one photo might be ideal for a tin of beans on a supermarket store, for other products you may need to provide much more.

If you sell clothing, for example, customers will want a 360-degree view and the ability to zoom in and see fabric, stitching and pattern details. If you sell white goods, electrical items and similar, people often want to see videos that show them how the product is used. Other products may require images that give instructions, such as an illustration of how a device you’re selling is easily connected to a home wi-fi network.

4. FAQs

What Makes An E-Commerce Sites Successful?

Customers may love your products and prices but if they can’t get an answer to a question, they’ll shop elsewhere. FAQ sections are essential because they allow you to answer those frequently asked questions that are key to helping customers make a purchasing decision.

For eCommerce sites, there are two types of FAQs you need to display: those for specific products and those relating to the services your business offers. The ones relating to the products need to be on the product page and the ones relating to the business, e.g. questions about delivery and returns, need to go on a dedicated FAQ page that is clearly linked to on all pages, such as in the footer.

Sites like Amazon, which have so many products that it would be impractical to write FAQs for all of them, get around this by enabling previous customers to answer questions posed by others.

5. Product recommendations

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Personalised shopping is one of the most effective ways to improve the user experience and generate more sales. More advanced sites, like Amazon, use artificial intelligence powered product recommendation engines that analyse individual user behaviour to recommend products a customer is more likely to want. This type of technology is becoming increasingly more available and there are even WordPress plugins that provide it.

For visitors who are not logged in, other features, like ‘related products’, can help them find better items or even entice them to buy additional goods.

6. Mobile-first site

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Mobile shopping is the fastest growing area of UK retail and over the next four years will be worth over £30 billion and account for 40% of all UK internet spending. More customers will visit your site from mobiles and will expect your site to be optimised to work on their device. If it does not, they’ll quickly go elsewhere.

Catering for today’s mobile users means going beyond using a responsive theme and making sure that when you develop your site, you use a mobile-first approach: i.e. you prioritise how the design will work for mobile users.

7. Trust, security and reputation

What Makes An eCommerce Sites Successful?

Trust, security and reputation are vital attributes when trying to convince visitors that your website is the best place to make a purchase. Vital features of such websites include making it easy for customers to get in touch by displaying addresses, phone numbers and contact details; installing an SSL certificate which encrypts users’ payment details and provides your site with the secure padlock icon on browsers; and reviews on sites like Trustpilot, which let new customers see independent and verifiable feedback from those who have purchased from your store in the past. Together, these provide customers with the confidence that your store is trustworthy, secure and has a track record for delivering great service.


E-Commerce stores are upping their game to meet the high expectations of the modern consumer and to ensure they provide a great user experience. The seven features mentioned here will help your website achieve these goals and make sure that your business remains competitive in today’s marketplace.

10 eCommerce Website Security Tips

How Much an eCommerce Website Costs in 2021 | eDesk

While all websites need to protect themselves from hacking and infection, eCommerce website that carry out online transactions and collect customers’ financial and personal details need to take extra special care. In this post, we’ll show you some essential tips to keep your online store safe.

1. Use a secure eCommerce platform

15 top tips for shopping safely online

All website platforms have their strengths and weaknesses but some are more secure than others or have security plugins that can make them more robust. Magento is a CMS specially designed for eCommerce website and with security features built around the needs of online stores. WordPress, the world’s leading CMS, has numerous plugins you can use to keep the site secure, including the well-established and respected Wordfence and Sucuri.

These defences can protect your site against a range of threats including malware infection, SQL injections, Denial of Service attacks, cross-site scripting and zero-day exploits.

2. Make sure you scan for malware

How to Remove Malware From Your PC | PCMag

Most web hosts offer a malware scanning service that detects and prevents the various types of malware infecting your files. Using such services can prevent these stealthy programs carrying out their malicious activities, such as ransoming your site, stealing your data, infecting your users’ computers and so forth. Ideally, choose a service that will notify you immediately if an infection has been found.

3. Install SSL certificates

How to Install SSL Certificate on Your WordPress Site

SSL is essential to online stores, as most payment gateways won’t allow you to undertake financial transactions on your site without it. Essentially, installing an SSL certificate enables the encryption of financial data as it is sent from the customer’s browser to your server, thus preventing it being stolen during the checkout process.

With an SSL certificate installed, your web address changes from ‘HTTP’ to ‘HTTPS’ (S standing for Secure) and this enables search engines to put a green padlock icon in your visitors’ browser, increasing the likelihood that they will trust and buy from you. It also increases your chances of ranking higher.

4. Better management of customer data

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Customer data is valuable to hackers as they use it to steal from people or sell it on the dark web to other criminals. If you collect customer data, this means you are a target for hackers. That said, a criminal can’t take information if you haven’t got it. The first rule of managing customer data, therefore, is to only collect the information you actually need. If that information can be taken anonymously, so it cannot be linked to individual users, even better. Encrypting data, such as with the SSL certificates mentioned above, also makes it more secure. Finally, consider where you store your personal data. If it is stored along with your website files it is more vulnerable than being stored remotely, perhaps in the same place where you would keep your remote backups.

5. Enforce strong passwords or use 2-step authentication

Why you need both Two-factor Authentication & strong passwords on WordPress sites - Security Boulevard

While strong passwords can be a pain to use and two step-authentication makes signing in take longer to do, both of them massively reduce the chances that you, your employees or your customers will fall foul of a brute-force attack.

As modern computers and phones securely store strong passwords for you, so that people don’t even have to know what they are, there is really no excuse for not using these measures.

6. Train your employees in security

Cyber Security Training for Employees | Travelers Insurance

Unwittingly, employees are a major cause of cybersecurity breaches. Using weak passwords, clicking on links in infected emails and sending valuable information to fake emails that pretend to come from their bosses are all common ways for eCommerce website to get caught out.

One simple solution is to train your employees so they know what the threats are and how to stop them. You can also put essential good practice into your IT policy to ensure that your staff know they are obliged to follow the rules you set.

7. Use authentic plugins and themes

Why You Need To Discontinue Using Nulled WordPress Plugins On Your Site - weDevs

There are tens of thousands of themes and plugins available for the various CMS platforms and these can be obtained from a variety of online sources. Not all of them, however, are guaranteed to be secure. It wouldn’t take very long for a criminal organisation to develop a theme or plugin with a built-in virus or spyware and make it available on a third-party website as a legitimate piece of software. Indeed, such a theme or plugin could function perfectly without you knowing it was infected.

To protect yourself, always use software from reputable sources and from a verified developer. The safest place is from the website of the actual CMS, such as installing a theme directly from the WordPress Repository. That’s not to say that there aren’t any reputable third-party developers, there are. You just need to be careful.

8. Monitor website activity for threats

Five Tools for User Activity Monitoring | Logz.io

Website monitoring can spot risks and help you to stop attacks. It can, for example, tell you if someone is making too many failed login attempts, a clear sign that there may be a brute force attack taking place. It can indicate if people are trying to log in from countries that you wouldn’t expect your visitors to come from or if they are using usernames which they shouldn’t be using, such as ‘Admin’. Monitoring can also discover the initial signs of a DDoS attack and put a stop to it before it takes your site offline.

9. Ensure software is updated as soon as possible

Cybercriminals intentionally search the internet looking for eCommerce website that run vulnerable software. Luckily, most developers will issue an update or a patch to fix a vulnerability as soon as it is discovered. Any website that uses automatic updates or which manually updates as soon as a patch is released is immediately protected once the new version is installed. It is those websites that delay updating that leave themselves wide open to attack. In essence, its no different to leaving a shop unlocked overnight when you know there’s a burglar working in the area.

10. Use remote backups

Remote Backup Solutions for Small Business in UK ?

60% of companies that experience a cyberattack go bust within 6 months. For many, the reason for going under is that it takes too long to recover. Losing their website files, content, customer data and sales orders means it would take months of work to get back online, by which point, the company is no longer viable.

Quite simply, by taking regular, up-to-date backups and storing them remotely, such disasters don’t need to happen. If your site goes down, whether from a cyberattack or any other reason, a backup means it can be restored very quickly and your business can be back online in no time.


As an eCommerce website , it is crucial that you keep your website as secure as a traditional retailer would their bricks and mortar store. Hopefully, the ten tips we have raised here will provide comprehensive guidance on how to prevent your online store suffering from a cyberattack and, should the worst happen, show you how to recover quickly enough to keep your business from going under.

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