What if you walked into an offline retail store and were not greeted well or did not find anyone who could help you out with your search? Worse, if the products are kept in a disorganized way and the store looks cluttered! All this would certainly prompt you to leave the store.
Likewise, if your site visitors don’t like what they see when they come to your online store, it will only lead to an increase in the bounce rate.
So how can you prompt your users to check out your entire store and take the desired actions?
The answer lies in your Homepage.
If it were to be one page that can drive the most traffic on an ecommerce site and has the most impact on the audience, it is the Homepage.
A Good Ecommerce Homepage :
- Introduces visitors to the site,
- Lets users discover if they will find what they’re looking for,
- Positions the brand in a way that suits both the new and repeat customers,
- Guides users to visit select pages for more information on the brand, products or services
- Builds trust among your users, encouraging them to recommend your brand and revisit your store
So what do you need to fully optimize your Homepage? Here’s a checklist for you to gauge if your Homepage fulfils the purpose it is meant to:
Use enticing Hero Images & Videos
As studies suggest, a visitor forms an opinion about your site in just a span of 50 milliseconds or 0.05 seconds. Your homepage design serves as an attractive gateway to your site and there’s none a better way to make First Impressions Last than with an impactful hero banner pinned to the header.
An effective hero image ensures that your site is interesting, easily relatable and attention-grabbing.
The best way to know if your Hero banner works for your site is by checking if it’s relevant to the user, adds value and represents your brand’s unique value proposition (UVP) without distracting the audience.
Here is an example of how a Hero Image can help you engage and convert.
This Hero Banner for Everlane comes to life on screen with an image that showcases what the brand is known for — a diverse collection of stylish footwear. The text has a flow to it that naturally leads the audience towards the Call to Action.
To create an even stronger impact, many ecommerce brands use Hero videos with real people in relevant spaces. Johnnie-o is one such example.
2. Use a modern site search
Research indicates that up to 30% of visitors use the site search box to find the products they’re looking for on an online store. In fact, visitors using search have contributed to about 13.8% of the total revenues.
Records further maintain that conversions are better when potential buyers use search options. This is because customers who are searching for certain products with their names or codes already know that these products are available on your site and are searching for these products with the intent to purchase them.
a) Suggest relevant products
A search field promises chances of improved conversions with an intuitive search bar or search icon as it makes products easy to discover. Auto-complete for site search further suggests the relevant products when the site visitor starts typing something on the search field.
Images that appear along with product suggestions make the user experience simpler and more fun. These search queries can also be prompted using search suggestions.
Just like this:
b) Filter searches
Narrow down your visitor’s search by filtering your search result page so the visitor can choose by size, color, length, dimensions, price and other sub-categories.
c) Track user searches
Platforms like Google Analytics and a few keyword searches can also help you track the most searched products on your site and understand search behavior. Use these to plan which of your products should be placed at the top of search results or optimize searches that have few or no results.
d) Optimize Search Load Times
While you’re at it, don’t forget to check for search load times on all devices as every second counts when it comes to search. You could lose billions of dollars every second the search results are delayed.
3. Feature a user-friendly navigation bar
Your homepage may have all the design elements integrated at the right places but if it does not help users navigate easily from one section of the page to the other or to the other pages of the site, they will abandon your site, and there will be a lesser chance of having returning visitors.
SoYoung is a great example of how your Navigation bar can be user-friendly. All the product categories and subcategories have been clearly mentioned in an intuitive interface, making products easier to discover.
4. Boast your USPs
A guaranteed way that you can stand out among your competitors in the digital landscape is by establishing a clear USP of your brand. But establishing your brand’s unique selling point is not enough, it needs to be communicated to your target audience as well.
A clearly articulated USP determines your unique brand identity and reflects your business persona.
Brooklinen, a bedsheet brand, effectively highlights their specialities with clear points about their product quality, warranty, user experience and pricing.
Here’s another interactive example from UNTUCKit. The brand has presented two different looks with their shirts on the homepage right below the banner. Using identifiable markers and half sliders, they urge audiences to check out both the looks and clearly mark the distinct elements of their products.
5. Promote your product offers and deals
Launched a new product? Want to drive more traffic to your store during the festive seasons? A method that never fails to generate traffic; facilitate new customer acquisitions and build customer loyalty is running product/service offers.
Highlight your Free Shipping offers, Buy One Get One (BOGO) deals, % off, discounts on a certain quantity, giveaway contests, referral programs, reward points and more right on your homepage. You can do this either at the top bar on your header, the Hero banner or in opt-in forms such as the Newsletter sign up form.
Rebecca Minkoff is big on discount codes and highlights it right on their homepage banner.
On the other hand, some ecommerce brands like Natural Baby Shower showcase their limited time offers and clearance sale as a separate section on their homepage, just before the footer.
6. Feature testimonials that build trust
Testimonials are a great way to build and enhance trust among your site visitors. They also help your new site visitors make purchase decisions easily and this is how they guarantee better chances at conversions.
Testimonials humanize your brand, provide social proof and build the brand’s credibility, helping your site visitors believe that you sell an epic experience. Nothing can have a more positive impact on your users. In fact, recent studies show that customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating, to the tune of 89%.
While Marucci has incorporated video testimonials close to the footer section of their homepage, Birchbox created a separate section for testimonials on the homepage with images of their customers, their names and occupation, their reviews and their Birchbox Finds.
7. Showcase your best-selling Collections and Products
Since your Homepage is your storefront, it needs to look every bit as glamorous and appealing as it can possibly be. Some of your visitors would clearly know what they’re looking for on your site while others won’t. It always works to showcase your best-selling products right at the beginning, just after the visitor scrolls down the homepage a bit. Particularly when you have a large list of products or too many product categories!
Bliss showcases their bestseller products in its natural skincare range in an interactive carousel on their homepage with product labels like ‘Exclusive’ and easy buy options like a ‘Quick View’ button and ‘Add to Bag’ CTA button to initiate instant user action.
The bright and summery feel of the homepage design of Bliss sets the brand tone and voice and also gives an idea about how the entire site looks like.
You can also showcase your bestseller collections on your homepage just like how the brand, Mountains has done:
8) Personalize the User Experience
To keep your customers happy and wanting to come back to your store again and again, you need to offer them something exclusive, both through your products and the user experience. Personalized promotional offers on homepage have influenced 85% of customers to make a purchase.
Track, monitor and study user data and behaviour to identify your valuable traffic segments by narrowing down your target audience and understanding different types of visitors on your site and their preferred mode for interaction with your site. This will help you create personalized, engaging experiences for these users.
Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Make every returning site visitor feel special and upsell your products to them by listing their recently viewed products on your homepage or addressing them by their name with personalized messages.
We all know how Amazon shows personalized recommendations and related products based on the browsing history of their visitors:
- Personalize the site content basis the geo-location of the site visitor. You can change the currency value and shipping costs depending on the location of the buyer or offer dynamic pricing if the buyer is a student, for example.
Rosemunde prompts its US buyers by simply asking them if they are from the States and presenting their special offers catering to the US market.
- If your users mostly visit your site using their mobile devices, your site content needs to be tailored based on the device type and/or the location of the device.
- Pair your related product recommendations on the homepage and remind your customers if they have left any products in their cart. This will also help you reduce cart abandonment as well. 92% of shoppers respond well to personalized cart recommendations.
A clever and proven way to boost checkouts is through cart recovery emails with product images and a personal message like this one below from Away. This makes the users think that they are missing out on something if they don’t take the desired action.
Meanwhile, sites like Charlotte Russe offer recommendations each time the user adds a product to the cart.
- Offer personalized style guides by first asking your site visitors simple questions to know their interests, choices, size, budget and more through quizzes.
9) Connect Social Feed for Social Proof
To engage your customers at this hour, you have to meet them where they are!
Social media boosts community engagement and prompts more network connections. With increased engagement, your website ranking improves too.
Integrating your Instagram feed to your homepage not only enhances the look of your storefront but it also makes the user interface friendlier.
Turn your site into a hub where your Instagram followers can find the products they like right on your homepage and those who visit your site may even become your Instagram followers. So the engagement becomes far more interactive as users socialize and connect with your brand via likes, shares and comments on your social media pages.
Here’s how Forever 21 nudges site visitors to shop their products on Instagram:
10) Communicate your policies well
A very effective way in building and enhancing the trust of your site visitors on your brand is by integrating the privacy policies, terms of service, return policies and FAQ pages as clickable texts with your homepage. Not only does this help you establish credibility for your brand, but it also urges you to stay committed to your legal obligations.
While you’re at it, integrate your social sharing buttons for all the social media channels for your brand at the footer. This helps users find you on social media easily.
Besides, add a few security trust badges such as Verified and trusted by Trust Lock, McAfree Secure, PayPal and others to mark your authenticity and trustworthiness as a brand.
11) Use opt-ins to build your email list
A magnanimous struggle in the ecommerce industry is to have returning buyers. A header or footer opt-in with a strong call-to-action button that influences site visitors to enter their required information on a checkout form and subscribe to newsletters is one major way to start the interaction with your customers and build your database.
In fact, reports suggest that 57% are fine with providing personalized information on a website provided it benefits them and is used responsibly.
This can also be done by offering attractive discounts and valuable/interesting content like product pre-launch notifications, company event news and other such updates only for subscribers.
Adidas highlights their opt-in section in a different colour to drive attention:
You can also offer coupon codes, automatic discounts, free downloads, a chance to enter Sweepstakes or giveaways as incentives to drive more opt-ins.
John Henric shows a pop up on their homepage, giving a chance to avail a 15% discount on their products with a discount code.
Below is an example of an ecommerce brand offering giveaways to those who subscribe for their newsletter.
Or this –
Seems like quite the steal, doesn’t it?
This works on a simple reciprocity concept, where people would want to give something in return for a valuable item or info that they get. Present your offer either on the header, side widget, footer, body copy or as a popup.
12) Make sure it’s optimized for mobile
Did you know? 85% of people think that a company’s website, when viewed on mobile, should be as good or better than its desktop version.
Shopping has become a much more personal affair than ever. People love to shop on mobiles as it offers them certain privacy and freedom. With a mobile-first site, you have a greater chance at improved traffic and conversions as more and more people find it easier to shop from your site on their preferred device.
Also, the loading speed of your website on mobile should be optimized to make sure that it loads faster on mobile as a delay of 100 milliseconds can reduce your conversions by 7%.
To check if your website is mobile-friendly, take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
This checklist will help you learn and follow the best practices to redefine your homepage design. No brownie points for guessing that when all the design elements for your homepage are in place, your conversion rate will automatically increase.
Now, browse our Shopify homepage optimization task catalog to get started.