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.

  1. 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, with the intention of developing a loyal fan base and promoting the business

  2. Social Media “Share” Icons/Links

    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

  3. 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

  4. Paid Advertising (aka Search Engine Marketing)

    Purchased or “rented” traffic through online ads shown next to search engine results with the intention of raising awareness and generating inbound traffic

  5. Social Media Integrated into Website

    Social media “live streams” directly embedded into a website

  6. Social Login (aka social sign-in)

    Form of single sign-on that gives online users the ability to access their personal accounts in a third-party website using their existing credentials from a social networking service such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+

  7. Search Engine Optimization

    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

  8. Predictive Search

    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

  9. Virtual Dressing Rooms

    Ability of online users to dynamically visualize different combinations of outfits using digital wardrobes

  10. Filterable Product Search

    Ability of online users to limit search results based on item size, quantity, manufacturer, or any other related parameter

  11. Product to Store Matching

    Ability of online users to determine which store(s) carries a specified product that is listed online

  12. Product Matching

    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

  13. Online Store Locator (aka location finder, store finder)

    Ability of online users to find locations of the business within proximity of an address or postal code, or within a selected region

  14. Wish Lists/Shopping Cart

    Ability of online users to save a collection of desired products (often dynamically, as users browse online), signifying interest without immediate intent to purchase

  15. 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)

  16. Social Product Recommendations

    Ability of online users to share products they consider purchasing and obtain opinions from their contacts in social networks (e.g. Facebook)

  17. Personalized Promotion

    Ability to deliver individualized messages and product offerings to current or prospective customers based on known information (e.g. location, past visitations)

  18. QR Code Reader

    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

  19. Online/Mobile Chat

    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

  20. Mobile Assisted Selling

    Ability of in-store employees to access product information and inventory, and assist in-store shoppers throughout the in-store experience

  21. Social Cart

    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

  22. E-receipt

    Ability of online users to receive electronic receipts of any goods or services that they have purchased, via digital channels (e.g. email, text)

  23. Mobile Payments

    Ability of in-store shoppers to purchase products using their smartphones, whether the transactions are enabled by Internet or via Near-Field Communication (NFC)

  24. Order/Shipment Tracking

    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

  25. Status Notifications

    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

  26. Social Care

    Ability of online shoppers to contact company representatives and receive assistance directly from within their social networks such as Facebook and Twitter

  27. 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)

  28. Same-day Delivery

    Ability of online users to order items from home and have them delivered within the same day

  29. Digital Shopping Assistants

    Ability of online users to receive product information, promotions, product comparisons, and help contacting sales or service representatives, via voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Ok Google and Amazon’s Alexa

  30. Augmented Reality

    Ability of online users to visualize how a product (e.g. shoes) would look in a physical environment before purchasing it

  31. Shoppable Videos

    Ability of online users to dynamically access product information and place an order by simply clicking on a product shown in a video

  32. FAQs

    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 where

  33. User Generated Reviews

    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

  34. Catwalk Video

    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

  35. Stock Availability

    Ability of online users to confirm if a product is available for immediate dispatch, for pre-order or out of stock

  36. Image Zoom

    Ability of online users to zoom in product photos to spot the small details

  37. Interactive Product Display

    Ability of online users to access a 360° display of a product to view it from different angles

  38. Chat Shopping

    Ability of online users to obtain product information and place an order from within their texting/chatting apps

  39. Grid-less Ecommerce Interface

    Next-generation User Interfaces that display product information (e.g. text, images, videos) in a gridless interface environment

  40. Expansive Navigation

    Ability of online users to dynamically expand any of the top navigation links to access more navigational options

  41. Jump to Section

    Ability of online users to “jump” a specific section of a website (e.g. top of page, contact us) via a “persisting” (i.e. stays on screen as users navigate) text link or icon

  42. Quickshop

    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

  43. PinBoards

    Ability of online users to navigate through product pictures grouped in Pinterest Boards that serve as virtual store fronts

  44. Visual Search

    Ability of users to upload an image and find similar/complementary products based on numerous criteria including color, shape, size, fabric and brand

  45. Shopping Cart Reminders

    Online users are reminded to finalize their transaction if the shopping cart stays idle for prolonged periods of time or users tend to leave the website

  46. Educational Videos / Video Demos

    Ability of online users to obtain product information via short videos (usually embedded YouTube videos)

  47. Order Refill/Subscription

    Ability of online users to place repeatable orders and receive shipments on a scheduled basis

  48. Online Product Registry

    Ability of online users to register the products they would like for special events such as weddings, baby showers, birthdays and anniversaries

  49. Loyalty Programs

    Ability of online users to register in programs that offer early access to new products, special sales coupons or free merchandise

  50. Online Returns Management Portal

    Ability of online users to customize their product returns (e.g. shipping labels) in a dedicated section of the website

AUTHOR
Silky Sinha

Silky Sinha

She is the customer experience analyst at Compunnel Digital. A digital native with a global mandate, Silky is always on the search for industry best practices across multiple verticals. She identifies companies with superior customer experience based on the Compunnel Digital Customer Journey Framework. Her research helps our clients and informs the market at large.

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