With market places shifting from physical locations to virtual presence, so much so, that even your local grocer is accepting online orders for delivery, ecommerce websites are the order of the day. If you are also taking your business online, what you will need is an ecommerce website builder. To make sure you choose the best among the many options available, look out for the following features in the software you opt for:
1. Ease of designing – The software should have an easy drag and drop design interface without any involvement of HTML coding because not every person who wants to launch an online store will have knowledge of website designing technologies or be familiar with coding and designing languages. So the user interface must be simple and let you merely drag and drop pictures and text to create your online store and many website builders for ecommerce offers to their users drag&drop website editors for creating their websites.
2. Multiple design elements – There should be several font options, design templates and colour scheme available to choose from. You should be able to create different looks for different for different sections of your website keeping in mind the appropriate target audience. For example: In case of a fashion and clothing website, the men’s section should have a masculine rugged appearance while the women’s should be bent more towards classy and soft while the children’s section should be the interplay of cheerful colours.
3. Secure payment gateway – This is perhaps the most important feature to keep in mind while choosing an ecommerce website designer. You need to have a secure payment system so that none of your customers suffer from the horrors of online theft of banking details, leading to loses of thousands of rupees. Theft of banking details while carrying out online transactions is a common problem these days and you must ensure that your website has the necessary security and encryption levels to protect your patrons.
4. Unlimited product hosting – The website designing software should also let you host as many products and goods as you want under as many categories necessary to properly organise them without imposing any restrictions whatsoever. Because you will definitely want to increase the number of products available on your site with time and are sure to have quite a vast collection to begin with, so any restriction will affect your long term growth and you should steer clear of that.
5. Similar product listings – There should be provisions for cross references in the sense that your website designing software lets a consumer look at similar products available across the site when he or she is looking for a particular product. For example say someone wants to purchase men’s formal shirts in blue colour by a specific brand. Not only should they be able to see that particular variety of shirt, but also be able to see reference of similar products on the same page.
6. Use of filters to narrow searches – The ecommerce website designing software should let you provide your website with a lot of filtering options to narrow down buyers’ choices to the exact products that they are looking for. Filtering options should include parameters like brands, size, pattern, fabric, design, occasion, etc for a clothing site. Similarly for other products, it should have a vast variety of applicable filtering options.
7. Optimization for mobile devices – Most of internet usage in today’s world happens on handheld and mobile devices like tablets and smart phones. If you own an ecommerce website, chances are most people will be browsing it through their personal mobile devices. In such a scenario you must ensure that the website designer you utilise optimises your website for usage on a small mobile screen besides making a website that is best viewed on proper computer screens.
8. Inventory management facility – Besides letting you design the website for your consumers, the site builder should also have features that are of use to you, the merchant. The first and foremost of these facilities would be a proper system for inventory management so that you are at all times able to keep a close eye on stocks and replenish them before anything runs out. Nothing disappoints buyers more than an Out of Stock sign next to a product they would like to pick up.
9. Streamlined management of orders – Because you will have multiple users making purchases from various sections on your site at the same time, the site builder should have features that let you keep track of the purchases made and helps you organise your orders so they can be handled properly and delivered on time without any hitches because you do not want jumbled up orders to mar your reputation in any way.
10. Sales trackers – Along with inventory management and order sorting features, the website builder should also incorporate another key backend feature on to your site and that is the sales tracker. This feature would allow you to get an idea of the purchases being made and the kinds of goods that are flying off the shelves so that you can stock them in excess to meet demand.
11. Prompt shipping notifications – Another feature your website should have for customers’ benefits is an efficient, prompt and accurate up to the minute system of tracking their orders, and this is something your website builder should essentially provide. Because a person who has placed an order would definitely want to know where their purchases have reached and by when would they be delivered.
12. Newsletter generation – Newsletters are an effective way of keeping in touch with your patrons without going too overboard with publicity programs. Newsletters can contain details of the new products on offer, sales and discounts going on at the site, exclusive previews of yet to be launched products to maintain a constant contact with your loyal clientele. Hence your ecommerce website builder should have a feature that enables automatic newsletter generation and delivery.
13. Efficient analytics tool – The website developer should also provide you with an inbuilt analytics tool that lets you monitor the traffic on your site and understand trends like the age group of your recurring customers, their tastes and preferences depending upon which sections of the site has most views, time of day when traffic is highest so that you can launch new products or offers accordingly, etc. Data analytics is almost akin to market surveys for physical stores and without it, you will not be able to get a clear idea of what your patrons require and want.
14. SEO tools – Traffic to your site will also be largely dependent on how high up on a search result list your site is placed and this can be improved solely by search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques. Your website builder should thus provide some basic SEO optimisation tools as part of its service.
15. Multiple language options – With the web breaking down barriers, your site is bound to have traffic from not just your immediate geographical vicinity but from other countries as well. So your site must be able to support multiple languages and this is a key feature your ecommerce site builder must provide you with.
Author Bio: Lesley Haught is a designer, web developer and at the same time owner of WebBuildersGuide.com. Having a huge experience in website development niche at the moment Lesley write articles for different popular online magazines about web development as well as about marketing and design. Follow Lesley on Google+