Your homepage is the most important page on your website.
That might sound like an obvious statement, but all too often it gets overlooked for the flashier allure of the product page.
You can optimize your product pages all day long, but you won’t feel the impact if your homepage isn’t doing its job. After all, how will your visitors get to your product pages if they can’t get past your homepage?
We spoke to some eCommerce design and conversion experts to get their advice on what makes a killer eCommerce homepage. Here’s what they said:
Understand Your Customer’s Emotional Needs
When designing an eCommerce homepage I always ask myself: What are my customer’s emotional needs?
Rather than focusing on your goals as a company, for a homepage to convert and deliver results it needs to be designed as the first path in our customer’s journey. For most eCommerce stores the homepage gets the majority of traffic which is why you have to carefully research and dig into two elements:
- Data – What are your visitors doing on the homepage right now? where are they clicking? where do they go to from here? Analyze Google Analytics data, use heatmaps to see your visitor’s behavior. Find the leak. Understand what people are looking for.
- Strategy – Once you’ve identified the key behaviors of visitors you can move on to building a strategy for your homepage that addresses their behavioral and emotional needs. Make it about the customer – what’s in it for them? It’s not about pricing or features, it’s about your customer’s emotional gain – how is purchasing your product going to better their life? Hypothesis, how can you make this page better for your customers?
The next step: Design and A/B test. Don’t just launch a new homepage, test it.
Bonus Tip: Always think mobile
Mobile visitors behave differently than desktop visitors and responsive design, does NOT convert. It may make the site look nicer and it definitely is better than pinching and zooming, but if you would really like to turn mobile visitors into customers, you need to identify their behavior and create a different user experience for them. Using Banana Splash’s real-time personalization mobile tool, TheNextWeb saw more mobile newsletter signups than desktop ones. It’s all about addressing your mobile customer’s needs and unique behavior.
Be Crystal Clear
The most important thing to keep in mind about your homepage is that it’s meant to get people further into your website, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Too many stores load their homepage with various products and slide banners with little thought as to what people are actually looking for on your site.
If your homepage has a bounce rate of over 70%, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Is your navigation bar confusing or does it get lost in your design? Are your homepage sliders really worthy of taking up all that precious real estate? Are people being prompted to shop in a way that works for them e.g. Category names, brands, collections, etc?
A successful homepage doesn’t just present information viewers; it also stimulates them to take specific actions. Does your homepage make it clear what your visitors should do next? If not, then don’t expect them to do it!
Evil Pop-ups Are Not So Evil
Create a killer homepage design, and then complete it with a well-designed pop-up!
Yes, we all seem to complain about them, but the stats indicate a well-designed lightbox popup can increase your email marketing subscriptions ten fold! It’s easy to design, apply and split-test. And if you reward your new, boosted subscribers with a welcome coupon code or discount you’ll have a simple but highly effective automated sales process that will increase your conversion rate. It’s an inexpensive way to increase engagement while at the same time growing your distribution list for continued sales and returning customers through email marketing.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
When it comes to homepage design in the context of eCommerce the general rule of thumb is to put your best foot forward. Your home page is most likely the highest trafficked page in your store; so ensure that your business’ value proposition, its key differentiators and your brand promise to customers are all effectively communicated in an as easy to grasp format as possible.
The core purpose of the home page (being top of the funnel and start of most customer journeys), is to funnel shoppers down to category pages or better still, to specific product pages. If you have a large product catalog, the prominence of your search bar is paramount as you want to help shoppers find what they are after as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
Your home page should also have direct links to your:
- Most popular and/or top level category pages
- Bestselling products
- New arrival products
- Most viewed products
- Featured products
By making these pages easily accessible from your homepage, you help guide shoppers down your funnel to product pages quicker and finally to the checkout page.
Treat Your Homepage As Your Storefront
The home page is essentially the storefront – it needs to be inviting and clearly identify the product offering through navigation, imagery and content. Both the creative and technical presentation have to work seamlessly together to create a great first impression. Of all of the elements involved, high-quality product images are the most effective design element you can use to communicate the quality, experience, and value of your products. Great images that are clear and constant in photographic style – across your product line – are key to converting site visitors into paying customers and are also an opportunity to differentiate your store from your competitors. For products that can’t be viewed in a traditional retail environment – images are everything.
How Does Your Homepage Stack Up?
I hope these experts have inspired you to prioritize your homepage in 2016.
If you’re considering a move to a new eCommerce platform and want to implement these practices, check out LemonStand. Our themes were created with each of these best practices in mind, and can be further customized to meet your complex design requirements.
Did our experts miss anything? Do you have an eCommerce homepage best practice that you would like to add? Now’s your chance! Leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you.