App Development

Top e-Commerce Features

Are you planning an e-commerce app? Here are several key features you should consider for your build.


Are you planning an e-commerce app? Here are several key features you should consider for your build. Which one is most important to your customers? Which one is most important to your business?

 

Full Transcript Below:

Cody:

High accessibility, ease of use.

Cris:

There are some avenues that I can grow in ways that I'm going to have the best eCommerce experience for my users.

Cody:

Number one, if you're in the Olympics, this is the first hurdle. They have to be able to find the products they're actually looking for.

Cris:

We are going to talk about building eCommerce apps.

Cody:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Cris:

So when you're putting it together an application, and you're obviously doing that kind of online sales process, there's a lot of features. And I would like to say the caveat that you don't have to have all of these features.

Cody:

Yeah.

Cris:

Especially if you're trying to be very agile and go with an MVP type of a build, but these are things that you should consider, so considerations of, how am I going to expand my app? Where are some avenues that I can grow in ways that I'm going to have the best eCommerce experience for my users?

Cody:

Yeah.

1. Easy Signup

Cris:

First and foremost, I would say it's pretty self-explanatory, but you need to have an easy signup process.

Cody:

Usually the signup process is genuinely the first barrier to entry to actually purchase something on an eCommerce site of any sort.

Cris:

Right.

Cody:

It's number one, if you're in the Olympics, this is the first hurdle.

Cris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Cody:

A lot of users will just bounce on hard signups and that's kind of the goal with an easy signup of just making it so they can either use social media, Apple ID, Google sign in, Twitter, Facebook, all the different networks.

Cris:

Yeah.

Cody:

Something like that. A lot of the time it is a little overbearing when you have so many different authentication providers, because you have just, "Here's an email or password," and like 20 different providers at the bottom, which is pretty common. But just being able to go through that process quickly in an accessible way, which that's another important thing is the most likely people to purchase products online are also people who tend to have a reason to not shop in a store.

Cris:

So what do you think is another important thing?

2. Advanced Search

Cody:

Having a very good search feature to find your products.

Cris:

Hmm. Okay.

Cody:

You want customers to be purchasing what you have on offer and the only way you're going to be able to do that is if they can find what they're actually looking for. It's kind of like an analogy of going into a store that's gigantic and no one's around to ask questions. How are you going to find and there's no maps on the wall.

Cris:

Yeah.

Cody:

They have to be able to find the products they're actually looking for and because of that, a search feature, an advanced search feature is really quite necessary. It's an early investment and also a thing that's on offer for a lot of off the shelf solutions as well.

Cris:

Right.

Cody:

It's a very important part of pretty much any eCommerce solution. You want your customers to be able to find what they want to buy.

Cris:

Yeah.

3. Voice Recognition

Cody:

Another big trend as well, actually, that often relates to search is voice recognition.

Cris:

Okay.

Cody:

Especially for mobile experience. A lot of the time people just don't really like typing in stuff into really any form at all that they can get away with and voice recognition is a somewhat simple solution nowadays that allows people to just actually speak what they want to find much as if using the same analogy of finding a store employee to ask where something is, asking your phone or even your laptop, but more commonly mobile devices for the product you're looking for is becoming increasingly common. The nice part about that is a lot of the time it's actually just built into the phone, so it's very cheap integration to add to a lot of eCommerce sites for support. A lot of the time, it's just making sure that the button is showing and then the phone takes care of the rest.

Cris:

Gotcha. It's a-

Cody:

Yep.

Cris:

... Just because I have Siri on my phone doesn't necessarily mean that it integrates with Siri for me to just start talking to it and be like, "Hey, look up this thing." As a development team, you have to actually keep in mind that it's easy to do potentially, but you got to enable it.

Cody:

Yeah. It's the answer sort of, kind of.

Cris:

Sort of, kind of, good. I like those answers.

Cody:

Yeah, of course there's so many sort of kind ofs in our industry, but you can use Siri or the Google assistant on any form you want. Any single one, if you have the keyboard open, there's a button for it.

Cris:

Right.

Cody:

It'll just work.

Cris:

Yep. Yep. Yep.

Cody:

That said, there are ways to make the integration more tight-

Cris:

Okay.

Cody:

... in the sense of making it more accessible, more obvious to a user who may be unfamiliar with voice recognition, that that is a feature that's available. There are ways to make it basically more accessible. That's more what I'm talking about, encouraging its use instead of just letting the user decide is a little bit more of like, "Yeah, this is an easier way to do the same thing you've been doing."

Cris:

That's cool.

Cody:

Yeah.

4. AR Integration

Cris:

One thing that I've seen a lot on sites in the last probably five years is augmented reality integration type stuff.

Cody:

Yeah.

Cris:

So the whole idea that we've all, well, assuming you probably have at some point, shopped around for a couch or a bed or a speaker stand or something and you pop it up and usually Amazon because that's where we all are and you pop it up and you're like, "Hey, let me just pull my camera and ooh, let me, ooh, that looks nice there. Ooh, what about here in the room?" Having those kind of AR integration type stuff is starting to become much more standard on a lot of eCommerce sites.

Cody:

Absolutely. Yeah. Not only that, but AR and VR too.

Cris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Cody:

There's some massive players betting the whole family's fortune on that working out. I'm looking at you, Meta. I think that we haven't reached maturity with the tech, to be honest.

Cris:

Okay.

Cody:

A lot of the time, you can ... I think it's Wayfair has an AR integration.

Cris:

They do, yeah.

Cody:

Yeah and you can, you can take your phone, you can point it in a corner where you want your couch to be and it will just kind of put it there. That's cool but seeing what you want to buy through a five inch screen is not genuinely ideal.

Cris:

Sure.

Cody:

So I think there's a lot of maturity to come with the AR glasses and things that are showing up that it might be good to get invested into that technology pretty early, especially because it's not that difficult to actually do so.

Cris:

Yeah.

Cody:

I think the biggest trouble's just simply having three dimensional models of all the products you want to have on offer for your AR integration.

Cris:

Sure.

Cody:

But the good news is that typically the way those 3D models are generated is by literally just going around the product itself and taking pictures of it. They do it automatically nowadays thanks to 3D photogrammetry, which is a whole nother topic, but ...

Cris:

Yeah.

Cody:

Yeah, AR is really interesting and I think we're going to see a lot more coming out of it. It depends on how future proofed you want to be for that marketplace. I don't know necessarily how much heat is there right now, but I think it's one of those speculative ... I think people are going to want this someday. I think they're going to want it a lot.

Cris:

It's a neat thing.

Cody:

Yeah.

Cris:

That's happening in the space right now.

Cody:

Yeah.

5. Personalized Recommendations

Cris:

Personalized recommendations. This is something that we all love when we go to the site.

Cody:

Oh yeah.

Cris:

And we're looking at something and then they're showing us something else related to it that is actually related to it because we've all also been on the sites where they're recommending things and you're like, "What is this? I don't, no. Stop."

Cody:

Yeah.

Cris:

Then of course you buy it a week later. Like, "I really did need that potato peeler."

Cody:

But yeah. I never knew I'd want corn flakes while buying a fishing pole.

Cris:

Exactly.

Cody:

Yeah.

Cris:

So with personalized recommendations, yeah, how does that, again, continue to expand on that eCommerce experience and make people want to come back to your site?

Cody:

Yeah, well I think there's two sides to it. Obviously there's the consumer side of it's nice having products that are similar to what you're buying, like nice accessories, some sort of a complimentary experience to be offered. I think that that's really nice as a consumer of a good example would be Amazon. The way they do the recommendation engine, as far as I can tell from the top down, is that it seems like they're just tracking what other users looked at this product and then bought this other thing and then correlating that. That makes really nice bundles and deals and just a good experience for the consumer. The plus side of that too, is obviously it's a massive sales opportunity on the eCommerce providers side, because you obviously want to sell your products and people are more likely to buy products that complement each other.

Cris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Cody:

That's just the name of the game. There's a lot to it. They're usually called recommendation engines. There's a lot of ways to get around. I've seen ones that are done in machine learning, I've seen ones that are done in a correlation standpoint, much like how Amazon is doing it from what I can tell. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some machine learning going on back there too.

Cris:

Sure.

Cody:

It tends to be a large feature, but I think it's one of those ones that really does give back a substantial ROI, especially if you have an already large user base.

Cris:

Perfect.

Cody:

Yeah.

6. Product Reviews

Cris:

Product ratings, reviews. I love obviously being able to go and check all the three stars. I'm a huge proponent of the three star reviews because fives and ones are liars, as I always say.

Cody:

It's the bots.

Cris:

You go check out those three stars because they're telling you the truth, so being able to rate products, review products, go look at those is, for me, is an important feature. How important is that if you're looking to do a slim MVP style solution? Do you care about that? Do you not?

Cody:

I think you do.

Cris:

Okay.

Cody:

I think the reason you do is because for any eCommerce, provider ratings and reviews have pretty much become ubiquitous, but there's an asterisk to that. That is that ratings and reviews on your own site where it's just your store or something of that sort are typically not really trusted because it's so easy to manipulate what they actually are. We've probably been to any random marketing site and it'll be like 3000 five star reviews and you're like, "Yeah, right buddy."

Cris:

"Right, sure."

Cody:

This product's been out for minutes.

Cris:

Yeah.

Cody:

But I think that especially is more true if you're integrating with a marketplace Like on Amazon or ...

Cris:

Got it.

Cody:

... another one would be newegg.com. There's lots of marketplaces out there where products are aggregated from different eCommerce providers and that's where those reviews and ratings really matter. I would say it is important for an MVP if you're integrating into a marketplace and if you are, well, guess what? You don't really have to develop that feature, you just have to honor it.

7. Secure payment, shipping, and returns

Cris:

I want to cut through these last three points pretty quick, because I think they're all sort of some way related to basically the shopping cart how do I feel about experience? It's secure payments, I think is extremely important. We want to talk about shipping options and easy return policies.

Cody:

Oh yes.

Cris:

Secure payment. It just seems obvious. How are people quickly getting secure payment opportunities out of the box and on their site?

Cody:

I think that there's two sides to this, much like a few of the other things we talked about, and that is something that is actually secure and something that is perceived as secure.

Cris:

Mm.

Cody:

Because you can have a secure solution to collect payment from your users but if it's through a provider, they don't recognize, they're just not going to trust it.

Cris:

Okay.

Cody:

That is something that will bounce a certain amount of users that are concerned over such thing, especially in this day and age with so many scams and other crazy things going on.

Cris:

Yeah. Your name matters.

Cody:

Yeah. You got to use really well recognized names. That's just the security of payment is a lot of times just the clout of the name of the provider. A good example, be if you're using some sort of a third party payment provider that isn't PayPal, people are going to be like, "I don't know."

Cris:

Yeah. Yeah. Do I trust Cody Source for my payment?

Cody:

Yeah, exactly.

Cris:

I don't know if I do.

Cody:

There's obviously some other ones out there that do have a bit of a name to them, but I think they're industry specific and realistically you're secure payment is, yeah, it needs to be secure, but it also needs to be recognized as secure.

Cris:

I like that perception versus reality situation there of, yeah, reality is this could be as secure, but if it's not perceived as that, how secure is it? So yeah. Useful when shopping around.

Cris:

Shipping options.

Cody:

Shipping options are really quite interesting actually, because obviously users care about being able to pay more, to get something quicker or get that accurately and be able to type in-

Cris:

Or pay the same and get it today.

Cody:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Pay the same and get today, Amazon. But the other part of that is being able to get estimations and know how much things are actually going to cost, not just a flat rate, but it's complex because you, as an eCommerce provider also need to know how much it's really going to take to ship. Because of that, that means you need a lot of product metadata, like their dimensions, their weight, any type of weird other facts of it like is it a restricted hazmat item? Are you selling something that has batteries or something of that sort? Getting a really just super tight integration with a shipping provider will actually really help your bottom line because you won't be over or undercharging your own shipping options.

Cris:

That makes sense.

Cody:

That's a big thing I've seen actually a lot of times with a lot of eCommerce sites is that they really don't have that great of an idea of how much it's actually going to cost to ship something so they're just overcharging on shipping a little bit to throw that margin off a little bit.

Cris:

Yeah. Or undercharging and they're-

Cody:

Yeah, and that's a worse scenario.

Cris:

Letting profits go. When integrating those shipping options, it's not only about the consumer and giving them all these options, but it's making sure that you on the back end have an understanding of how to actually properly integrate and not over or under. Cool.

Cody:

Yeah.

Cris:

Be ready to plan and we'll help you when you're ready.

Cody:

Yeah, absolutely.

Alexandra:

Thank you for joining us for this episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday. I hope you enjoyed that conversation between Cris and Cody, as they talked all about different features you can have in your eCommerce app. If you have any questions at all, go ahead and leave them in the comment section and we will get right back to you. And don't forget to check out the description box down below. We have a bunch of really helpful links in there, including a link to our free custom software guide, which walks you all the way through the process of developing your own app idea and getting it ready for development. You can also check us out at bixly.com and right at the top, there's a button that says, "Start my roadmap," and that gets you a free 60-minute call with Cris to talk about your next app idea. Until next time, this has been an episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

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