Each page of your ecommerce site has value, but for organic visitors—a group we marketers strive to attract—nothing is more important than your homepage. This is especially true for new visitors who may have seen your ad on TV or heard about your brand from a friend, because they’re probably not yet familiar with your full product offering or what your brand represents.
There are many different tactics you can put into play on your homepage to make a great first impression—and turn visitors into shoppers. For ecommerce homepages, the best approach is to look at what your data is telling you, using best practices only as a loose guideline.
Small or large, ecommerce sites cater to different audiences. We’ve compiled some of the most interesting tips for improving ecommerce homepages, many of which you can test, which is a tactic we always recommend.
Homepage Tips From The Experts
1. First Impressions: Milliseconds Count
FreightCenter just released a totally redesigned website and a lot of thought went into the new user experience (UX). One of the things I’ve learned along the way is that the home page has the most impact on a user’s first impression. You basically have only milliseconds to make that impression. The hero area and anything else above the fold (what you can see without scrolling down) is prime real estate on the home page. It’s like the window to your store, showing the user what you’re all about. It’s best to keep this area simple and uncluttered with a prominent call to action. For example, FreightCenter provides online freight shipping solutions, so our CTA is a big orange button in the center of the hero that says “calculate your freight rates.” To simplify things, we kept the content in this area to a minimum and focused on three core areas of service: residential, commercial and enterprise.
FreightCenter Marketing Professional Danielle Hutchins
2. Consumer Confidence: Reviews Work
As soon as possible, you want to display glowing customer reviews. Ideally, these reviews will include some anecdote or language that signifies the review as original and therefore trustworthy (rather than some generic compliment that could be applied to any product or service). This helps the customer know that real people (like them) really like this product and got some real benefit from it.
Fit Small Business Staff Writer Ian Atkins
3. Stand Out While Fitting In
Prominently display shipping rates and returns policies. Shipping rates have an enormous influence on whether customers will purchase from you. Consider offering free shipping if possible and prominently display your shipping rates in the header of your site along with all other steps throughout the checkout funnel. Show shipping costs upfront to ensure you’re not surprising customers right before they place their order.
Two, having a responsive or mobile-friendly site isn’t enough. Don’t just make your mobile version a pared-down version of the desktop experience. Consider reprioritizing components or the hierarchy of your mobile homepage to cater to mobile-specific users based on your customers’ most common paths. For example, your phone number, search, and contact information should be a core focus on mobile.
Readers.com Growth Manager Jon Corwin
4. Appealing To Virtual Window Shoppers
As an eCommerce business, your homepage is your window display. It needs to set a tone for your brand and entice customers to come in and shop. Just like you’d do with a shop window at the mall, it’s a good idea to showcase your new or best-selling items on your homepage—and to update this display once a month to every six months. On Clothing Shop Online’s homepage, the first thing our customers see are banners of our best-sellers, new items, and promotions. We’ve noticed a powerful click-through rate on these elements.
Clothing Shop Online Marketing Director Marc Vitulli
5. A Clear Value Proposition
As an online business owner, I have given a lot of thought to and still tweak our homepage on a regular basis. Many new websites don’t offer a clear proposition right away.When someone lands on a website’s homepage, they should be able to tell what it is they’re offering in seconds as well as the benefits of using that website or company versus another one. Whether it is better pricing or great customer service, make it very clear from the get-go so you can keep visitors on your site longer and see more purchases.
iTestCash CEO Alex Reichmann
6. Optimize For Speed
Optimize your images and photos to make your page’s loading speed faster. Not only does this help reduce your page’s bounce rate, but it also helps you improve your SEO. All you have to do is compress your images to reduce their size, whilst maintaining their quality.
7. Reduce Steps, Improve The Journey
The key elements you need on an ecommerce homepage revolve around a single idea. You want as few steps as possible for the customer who wants to purchase. You need logic that showcases your most popular items above the fold, across a wide range of categories so you can entice a larger audience into the right sub-set of products. We found that many shoppers wanted specific brands so we opened up our search to include brands, and we make sure there is always an incentive to grab a customer’s email. The best ROI is always on a competition that gets shared organically. When we were just getting started we gave away everything from gold bars to cars to entice shoppers within specific campaigns.
Studio Digita Founder Travis Bennett
8. Listen To Your Data: Track Events
Tag all of your homepage elements with analytics tracking code (i.e. Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, CrazyEgg, etc.) so that you can understand how visitors are interacting with your site. Web analytics tools do not do this automatically; you’ll need to create custom code or work with a company that can do it for you. A few examples of elements to track:
- Navigation: top, right rail, footer, sub-menu, etc.
- Call to action buttons
- Audio/video elements
- Internal search
- Hero/carousel images including advance buttons
- Scrolling: How far down did the visitor get to?
- Social media likes and shares
- Exit links
- Chat interaction
- Account login
Once you have all of these elements tagged and tracked, you can begin collecting data to understand what is and what isn’t working on your homepage. With this data, you can begin to develop theories on how to improve site performance.
Example: No one is clicking on your homepage hero. Is it because of the imagery? Or because they’re not interested in the products being offered? Or maybe you have a video that no one wants to watch?
Once you have a few theories about what is working and what isn’t, you can begin testing the content on your homepage. Otherwise you’ll just be shooting in the dark and making guesses based upon hunches.
MaassMedia Director of Digital Analytics Gregory Kaminski
What Does Your Data Say About Your Visitors?
If you want to better understand who your visitors and customers are, Blue Acorn can help. For more details about how we can support your goals and KPIs, contact us here or subscribe to our newsletter for more content like this.