Your home page is your first chance at creating an impression on your target audience. Now this could work in two ways – it could either convert the visitor or drive him away for good.
While we say that no customers are alike, the one thing common between them is the fact that they are interested in knowing more about your business and what you offer. They want be able to browse through information without being bothered and make the choice of purchasing without being nudged.
Despite being aware of their intentions, businesses tend to put up so many obstructions for them, that the idea of a seamless experience doesn’t even come close. And they start losing conversions even before the visitor has gone through what they offer.
Here are the 25 steps you need to check off for increasing your eCommerce homepage conversions:
1. Offer a clear value proposition
The homepage should instantly give away the company’s value proposition and competitive advantage in its industry. So apart from including a clear business logo, it is important include a crisp tagline that explains the business is about.
2. Add a search box along with an autofill feature
If your ecommerce website doesn’t have a search functionality, you’re probably going to lose out on possible conversions simply because navigating from one category to another hassled them. After consuming what the home page has to offer them, potential customers tend to directly ‘search’ for what they need. According to Econsultancy, up to 30% of ecommerce visitors use internal site search.
For example, Snapdeal doesn’t use a search box on its homepage, but also makes the most of it by displaying the trending searches on the platform:
3. Use images to depict a few categories
A number of first visitors to an ecommerce website determine what type of products are sold by the business by their home page content and navigation. While some might take the time to explore your website, some might leave after not seeing what they were looking for. Hence, the homepage must display all the top products and categories along with a few images that depict the same.
For example, Snapdeal here uses some general images to depict the few categories of products it displays on the homepage, making it a lot more scannable and consumable:
4. Include product recommendations
Most ecommerce websites have multiple product categories on offer. But not all of them display the diversity of their products to the website visitors. It is important that, apart from the popular products, other related range of products also get some space on the home page. The visitor should basically come to know that it’s not just one kind of product that sells from your business. Not sure how to use product recommendations? Here are the 10 types of product recommendations that increase conversions.
For example, Snapdeal displays a section called ‘trending now’ to display products from different categories that have seen a considerable number of purchases:
5. Make use of smart categorisation
Yes, you have a wide range of products (categories of products) available on your ecommerce website. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you display it all on your homepage and overwhelm the visitor. Instead, club similar products together to form a modest number of main categories – which can then be displayed horizontally across the top of your page or at the left hand corner.
If a main category has subcategories to make searching for products on your website a more streamlined process, include a drop down menu from the category bar. This drop down menu should be activated when the user either hovers over it or clicks on it.
For example, Snapdeal uses a collapsible menu at the left hand corner of its website, which when hovered on expands to display all the product categories – which have one general image to depict what they are:
6. Highlight special offers/deals
According to a study, about 47% of online shoppers are interested in bagging good deals on products and services they are interested in – discounts and offers. Hence, the homepage must highlight any sale, discount or offer they are running on their product ranges.
7. Feature popular products/most sold items
A lot of people don’t believe in the quality of a product till then they see it on other people or know that there are others have also invested in it. Featuring popular products or most sold items on the homepage gives them exactly that reassurance. It helps the visitor make purchase decisions faster.
For example, Birchbox displays its best sellers on the homepage, which are from different categories:
8. Promote new arrivals
If your ecommerce website recently added a new category of products or a brand in an existing category, ensure that your website visitors know about it. Highlighting new products on the homepage is a must to keep the recurring customers engaged and coming back to check for more additions frequently.
For example, Fab Bag simply displays the new products it has added on their ecommerce store along with their prices:
9. Offer personalized recommendations
Make use of personalization engines like Wigzo, Gravity and Nosto to make personalized product recommendations based on a visitor’s online activity, location, search, recent purchases, etc. The higher the level of relevance to his interests, the greater are the conversions. For example, a woman who has previously purchased a dress from your website, could be suggested similar dresses, accessories or footwear to complement her last purchase.
10. Place the main products above the fold
Accordingly to a study, 80% of users spend their time looking for information above the fold. For an ecommerce website, the page fold is the area where the user can consume information without having to take any action. A good practice to follow is to place all your main product categories above the fold – this lets the visitor know what’s being offered on the website straight off.
11. Be clear about shipping charges and return policies
A lot of online shoppers don’t make a purchase from an ecommerce site they haven’t heard of before because they are not sure about the shipping charges and return policies. It is important to let them know both the things so they can spend their time browsing and shopping, rather than worrying about them. Placing the information at the top, right hand corner or left hand corner of the homepage – above the fold, is a good idea.
For example, MSM Box displays its shipping information right at the top of their homepage:
12. Display your contact information
Most first time purchases are skeptical about whether the ecommerce site they make a purchase from will be reachable or not if the need be – for instance, when a product is faulty. Display your contact information like phone number and email address clearly on the home page.
For example, Fab Bag displays its phone number right at the top of their homepage:
Alternatively, you can also include a short form that the visitors can fill in to contact you with suggestions or feedback. For example, Sugarbox has a quick submission form at the end of their homepage:
13. Use trust seals/elements
According to a study, about 61% did not proceed to purchasing a product from a site due to lack of trust elements. Adding trust seals or badges to your home page reassure the visitor that the website is secure for him to browse as well as transact on.
14. Use entry overlays
If you’re targeting your prospect customers via paid promotions, it is a good idea to include an entry overlay on your home page/landing page. This overlay must talk about first time offers or discounts that you’re running. But remember to make this overlay easy to exit for those who aren’t interested in the deal yet and prefer browsing through your products first.
Alternatively, you can also make use of trigger based overlays on the home page by deciding when you want a visitor to view a certain message or offer – for eg, based on his scroll point or time spent on the home page.
For example, here’s how Sugarbox welcomes its website visitors:
15. Use dynamic banners or carousels
Carousels or dynamic images are a great way to display multiple marketing messages or product categories in a limited space. But to improve their effective, remember not to include any more than 5 – this will give the visitor ample time to consume what’s written on each banner instead of getting overwhelmed. And don’t forget to optimize the scroll speed – you don’t want to go too fast nor too slow.
For example, Fab Bag uses carousels to promote multiple ranges of their products to suit what’s trending in their audience’s circles. This carousel changes automatically, but also gives you the option to go back or move forward with a simple arrow functionality provided on each banner:
16. Display social profiles
Letting your customers know that you’re present on social media, gives them another channel to connect with you on and build relations. Social sharing is known to be a conversion booster. It also adds to ‘social proof’ to make people feel more reassured about your business.
17. Encourage social sharing
People share what they like or if they’re getting something in return for doing so. Encourage social sharing on an incentivised basis. You can run a referral campaign that encourages them to share something about your business in their social circles, and gives them a custom offer every time one of his signup or make a purchase from you.
18. Make use of high quality visuals
Most website visitors are more likely to ‘scan’ through your homepage to consume the information they were looking for about your business. There are very few who have the time or patience to move line by line. Therefore use high quality visuals to make your homepage content more scannable. Ensure that none of the product line images are of poor quality, as people tend to associate what you depict with the actual product quality.
19. Display customer testimonials
Knowing that others have made purchases from your website and are extremely happy with them, nudges the first time visitors towards conversions. People trust other people more than brand names.
For example, Jaypore displays its customer testimonials in a carousel form below the products it features on the homepage:
20. Include a press section
While some might think press coverage isn’t an important element to display on the homepage, the truth is that it helps build your credibility in the eyes of your customers – especially first time visitors. So if you’ve been featured on a few websites or magazines, don’t forget to add even as small a section as: ‘As seen on..’ with the logos of those sites and magazines.
For example, here’s how Sugarbox displays its features on the homepage:
21. Country specific communication
If you’re selling your products or services globally, it is a wise idea to make use of country specific communication. Once you know a visitor’s location, you can let him choose if he wants to browse your website in English or his native language. This helps avoid any kind of confusion in understanding the product details, shipping and return policies, etc. And it also makes your prospect customers feel that their experience was personalized by you.
22. Accepted payment solutions
A lot many online shoppers don’t complete their purchases because they couldn’t find a payment option that suited them. Instead of having them to discover the payment options only at the time of checkout, displaying accepted payment solutions on the homepage will help steer clear of all ambiguity and improve your conversions.
23. Include an about us section
While you might have a separate section to talk about who you are, what you do and how your business started, it is a good idea to include a line or two about yourself at the end of the homepage. This gives the visitor a brief view about you without having to navigate to another page. Remember to keep this section crisp and clear.
For example, Koovs makes use of a collapsible about us section at the end of their homepage. If the visitor is interested in knowing more about them, he simply needs to click on ‘Expand’ and when he’s done, he can ‘Close’ the same:
24. Use an exit intent overlay
Remember, when a first time visitor lands on your website, he might or might not have the intention to convert. Sometimes they come back later and at others, they become some other ecommerce site’s customers. Use an exit intent overlay using Exit Bee to retarget these visitors right before they leave with a custom message. This could be a small reminder of the offer you’re running, a signup to your newsletter request for deals or more.
For example, The House of Folklore retargets its exiting visitors with a message to sign up for their newsletter to get notified of the latest deals they run:
Even though the above mentioned are the important elements of a homepage, there are some others as well that you must not miss out on – signup/register/login options, link to blog, store locator, shopping cart, link to a corporate website (if any), etc.
What goes on your homepage might vary from business to business. It is important to optimize its design to display what needs attention at all times. Slight changes on the go and A/B testing should definitely be a part of your CRO efforts for the homepage.
Another tip before sign off – Keep a close tab on what your competitors are doing and how their target audience is responding to it. This will help you save time on understanding sales triggers – what works and what doesn’t, without having to spend time and resources of your own.
What else do you think makes for a converting home page?