You’ll find hundreds of articles detailing customer-facing features you should have on your e-commerce site. But when you search “the key management features of e-commerce sites,” you’ll find very little on the subject. Many people have focused on the customer experience (and rightfully so), but overlooked the day-to-day operations you’ll need to manage the business efficiently.
With that in mind, here are some back-end features you’ll want to make sure your e-commerce site runs smoothly.
The site should track customer history so you can glean information regarding shopping habits to tailor offers to customers’ specific wants and needs. It should give you the capability to categorize and export customer lists, based upon a variety of parameters.
Meanwhile, buyers should have the option of creating an account so they can check out faster on subsequent visits. Your platform should provide the ability to give partial and full refunds, no matter the customer’s original payment method. It should also update inventory levels automatically before and after returns. Single and/or multiple orders should be capable of being processed with one click. Updating your store, managing inventory, fulfilling orders and communicating with customers should be doable via a smartphone application.
You’ll need the ability to set up your site the way you want—whether you custom build it or employ one of the readily available free website themes from a company like Shopify. You’ll want to be able to change pricing at will, either globally or on a product-by-product basis when you offer clearance sales and discounts.
Bottom line: You should have the ability to tell the CMS how you want it to behave in terms of the presentation of your products as opposed to being locked into a specific mode of presentation.
An effective e-commerce website supports SEO best practices like customizable H1, title and meta tags. Sitemaps should generate automatically for products, webpages and blog posts. Social media integration for all popular sites is a must, and customers should have the ability to post SEO-friendly product reviews. Email marketing should be integrated as well as the capability of selling on Facebook.
Keeping track of inventory to avoid offering out of stock items is a must. The platform should offer the capability of organizing your products in a number of different ways, including by SKU, size, color, weight, price and inventory level. Product tags for SEO should be supported as well, along with product specific meta tags, titles, and URL handles. Further, the number and type of products supported should be infinite.
A dashboard helps with monitoring sales, orders and traffic, giving you the ability to take action on each data point. The platform should provide product reports, which can be exported for offline analysis by your accounting team. Sales, referrals and visits should be captured as well through Google Analytics. Traffic and referral reports should also be offered to help inform your marketing efforts.
What if something malfunctions on your site? What if you have a question about a feature or process? To back up all these functions, you’ll need ways to access product support—including live chat, email and telephone.
A vibrant forum community is another plus, meant to help you solve ongoing issues or offer implementation ideas you may have not considered. The best platform providers also put forward ongoing education and a panel of experts—including e-commerce designers, developers and marketers who can assist you.
These key management features of e-commerce sites will help you keep a handle on your business. Arming you with the information and flexibility you need to respond to every possible scenario gives a heightened chance of succeeding.