Ecommerce Digital Capabilities and Their Definitions
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As shoppers are becoming more demanding, retailers are feeling the pain of having to transform their customer-facing and back-end infrastructure at record speeds. A website’s digital capabilities that were once impressive are now considered basic. Overhauling online features from time to time is important for the attractiveness and trustworthiness of the website to consumers. Today, websites need to combine functionality with inspiration for retailers to tailor-fit experiences on a personal scale.
Below, we compiled a comprehensive list of digital retail capabilities that enable retailers to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market. At the same time, these features will empower the customers to get closer to retailers and greatly impact the outcome of every engagement.
Comprehensive List of Digital Retail Capabilities
Social Media “Follow” Icons/Links
Ability to direct users to the company’s social media properties including, among others, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn pages, to develop a loyal fan base and promote the business.
Social Media “Share” Icons/Links
The ability of online users to directly share content (e.g., blog posts, videos, pictures) in their online social and business networks including, among others, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, without having to leave the website.
Branded Social Pages
Customized company pages (e.g., color, pics, language) in online social and business networks including, among others, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, to reflect the company’s branding.
Paid Advertising (aka Search Engine Marketing)
Purchased or “rented” traffic through online ads shown next to search engine results to raise awareness and generate inbound traffic.
Social Media Integrated into Website
Social media “live streams” are directly embedded into a website.
Social Login (aka social sign-in)
Form of single sign-on that gives online users the ability to access their accounts in a third-party website using their existing credentials from a social networking service such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google+
Search Engine Optimization
The ability to maximize the number of visitors to a website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
The ability of online users to access search queries that are popular based on what they have already typed into the search box. Usually, a drop-down list pops up immediately while typing and you don’t need to hit on “search” button to see common search queries.
Virtual Dressing Rooms
The ability of online users to dynamically visualize different combinations of outfits using digital wardrobes.
Filterable Product Search
The ability of online users to limit search results based on item size, quantity, manufacturer, or any other related parameter.
Product to Store Matching
The ability of online users to determine which store(s) carries a specified product that is listed online.
The ability of online users to confirm if a product sold across different stores is, in fact, the same or not, using signals such as classification, image, title, brand, and universal product code.
Online Store Locator (aka location finder, store finder)
The ability of online users to find locations of the business within proximity of an address or postal code, or within a selected region.
Wish Lists/Shopping Cart
The ability of online users to save a collection of desired products (often dynamically, as users browse online), signifying interest without immediate intent to purchase.
Intelligent Product Recommendations
Ability to provide product recommendations based on a combination of a customer’s purchase history and personal profile (e.g., age, gender, interests, location, etc.).
Social Product Recommendations
The ability of online users to share products they consider purchasing and obtain opinions from their contacts in social networks (e.g., Facebook).
Ability to deliver individualized messages and product offerings to current or prospective customers based on known information (e.g., location, past visits).
QR Code Reader
The ability of in-store shoppers to scan a product’s QR code on a smartphone (requires apps with QR reader capability) and obtain product information and special promotions.
The ability of online users to directly contact company representatives in live mode (via websites or mobile apps) and ask questions, troubleshoot issues and finalize purchases.
The ability of in-store employees to access product information and inventory and assist in-store shoppers throughout the in-store experience.
The ability of online users to set up shopping carts that allow products to be promoted directly to friends and family within any of their social networks.
The ability of online users to receive electronic receipts of any goods or services that they have purchased, via digital channels (e.g., email, text).
The ability of in-store shoppers to purchase products using their smartphones, whether the transactions are enabled by the Internet or via Near-Field Communication (NFC).
The ability of online users to track where their order is at any given point in time, from when an order is placed until it is delivered.
The ability of shoppers to set up and receive automatic notifications in the form of an email and/or text message, triggered by a change in order status, a new product release, or other key events.
The ability of online shoppers to contact company representatives and receive assistance directly from within their social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Proactive Customer Engagement
Ability to engage online shoppers and cater to their needs before they ask for assistance (based on a combination of purchase history and known personal preferences).
The ability of online users to order items from home and have them delivered within the same day.
Digital Shopping Assistants
The ability of online users to receive product information, promotions, product comparisons, and help to contact sales or service representatives, via voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Ok Google, and Amazon’s Alexa.
The ability of online users to visualize how a product (e.g., shoes) would look in a physical environment before purchasing it.
The ability of online users to dynamically access product information and place an order by simply clicking on a product shown in a video.
The ability of online users to obtain answers to common questions, concerns, or objections they have in a dedicated section of a website or mobile app.
The ability of online users to access quantitative ratings (e.g., star system) and qualitative feedback (e.g., reviews, opinions) on products they are interested in or consider purchasing.
The ability of online users to watch a short video of a specific product (e.g., clothes, accessories, shoes) walking down a runway to get a real feel of the product.
The ability of online users to confirm if a product is available for immediate dispatch, for pre-order, or out of stock.
The ability of online users to zoom in product photos to spot the small details.
Interactive Product Display
The ability of online users to access a 360° display of a product to view it from different angles.
The ability of online users to obtain product information and place an order from within their texting/chatting apps.
Grid-less Ecommerce Interface
Next-generation user interfaces that display product information (e.g., text, images, videos) in a grid-less interface environment.
The ability of online users to dynamically expand any of the top navigation links to access more navigational options.
Jump to Section
The ability of online users to “jump” a specific section of a website (e.g., top of the page, contact us) via a “persisting” (i.e., stays on the screen as users navigate) text link or icon.
The ability of online users to add a product in a single click from the homepage rather than having to navigate to specific product sections of the website.
The ability of online users to navigate through product pictures grouped in Pinterest Boards that serve as virtual storefronts.
The ability of users to upload an image and find similar/complementary products based on numerous criteria including color, shape, size, fabric, and brand.
Shopping Cart Reminders
Online users are reminded to finalize their transactions if the shopping cart stays idle for prolonged periods or users tend to leave the website.
Educational Videos / Video Demos
The ability of online users to obtain product information via short videos (usually embedded YouTube videos).
The ability of online users to place repeatable orders and receive shipments on a scheduled basis.
Online Product Registry
The ability of online users to register the products they would like for special events such as weddings, baby showers, birthdays, and anniversaries.
The ability of online users to register in programs that offer early access to new products, special sales coupons, or free merchandise.
Online Returns Management Portal
The ability of online users to customize their product returns (e.g., shipping labels) in a dedicated section of the website.