Your homepage is often the first time customers have an opportunity to judge your brand. It will likely be the first place customers land after clicking an ad or searching for a specific product. Therefore, you must make a lasting and positive impression.
A good homepage can establish trust and help to drive sales from your online store. But how exactly does a homepage design affect user experience? And what can you do to optimize your homepage design for the best results?
Homepage design and how it affects user experience
Those familiar with online marketing in the field of eCommerce will know the effect a landing page can have. However, homepages are just as important, if not more so. This is because most of your traffic will not hit specific landing pages but will land on your homepage.
This is even more vital if you are an established brand or good at generating brand awareness. Loyal customers who already know about your company are likely to go straight to your home page. Therefore, the experience they have on your homepage will shape the success of your store.
Should a user find your homepage practical and easy to use, they will have a positive experience. This will lead to continued loyalty, as well as increasing the likelihood of them spending more time and money on your website. Slow loading speeds, complex interfaces, or other issues can force shoppers to head to a competitor’s store.
In short, your homepage design affects the practicality and enjoyment a user has when shopping with you. A good homepage can instantly create a positive impression and experience. It is the ideal start to building a relationship with any customer.
How to perfect your eCommerce homepage design – best practices
Make sure the load speed of the homepage is good
The first essential element of any homepage is its load speed. If your homepage doesn’t load quickly, customers will start to lose patience and be deterred from using the website. This will cause you to lose out on important conversions.
A few things can slow your website down, including a poor server and too much clutter. For example, excess images or flashy graphics. Therefore, you should try to keep your homepage simple in design. Also, ensure you have a server that can meet your demands. You can always A/B test your homepage’s load speed to find the guilty variable if you are unsure what is slowing it down.
A homepage that is optimized and loads quickly will ensure your site is actually judged on its quality. This allows you to enhance other elements of your homepage.
Highlight your site security
When buying online, customers want to feel secure. If you do not show your website’s security, customers worried about their safety will shop elsewhere.
To avoid this, make sure you have an SSL certificate visible on your homepage (and ideally throughout your website). You can do this by adding a trust seal to your homepage, which clarifies the safety of your store to any potential buyers. SSL certificate reassures your customers even more.
Have a clear and easy to use the navigation
Clear and easy-to-use navigation will make a significant difference to your online sales. This is because it will help customers to find what they are looking for with a few clicks. Without an effective navigation bar, customers will often leave their efforts to buy from your store.
The best navigations have descriptive categories and subcategories. It allows customers to find products in their area of interest quickly. They also usually include a search bar option for customers who know exactly what they want. Navigation bars also encourage customers to browse due to the experience being more convenient easily. This can help add to the average order value of your store.
Optimize for mobile and tablet
Mobile and tablet sales are constantly growing in the eCommerce sector. Therefore, you must cater to users buying on those devices. By optimizing for mobile and tablet, you create a seamless user experience that makes buying on such machines as easy as on the desktop.
Just like on a desktop, you will need to include both navigation and search bars. However, they cannot be as large as on desktop, so they will need to be in the form of a drop-down menu. You will also need an uncluttered page with a large and clear CTA. All of this helps to make the mobile experience more responsive.
Ensure the page isn’t cluttered
A clear, uncluttered homepage has numerous advantages. Firstly, it helps your site to load at a better speed. It also makes it easier for customers to navigate their way around your website. Finally, it makes the remaining content on the page much more impactful, as CTA’s and images are not fighting for the user’s attention.
In contrast, a cluttered homepage can drastically increase the bounce rate on your homepage. This is because it will load much slower, and it will be overwhelming to many consumers. It can also make it incredibly difficult for customers to find their way around your store and make a purchase, thus decreasing your sales.
When creating your homepage, it is best to stick to a minimalistic design. Try to eliminate white space, and have a clear direction to send your potential customers. This will help to avoid any confusion about where to find products and help you maximize your sales.
Feature your best selling products
As an eCommerce site, selling products online is your main focus. So why not put some of the best sellers on the homepage, and take advantage of all the views it gets. You can even adapt these products to items that customers have shown interest in through browsing or past purchases.
Using A/B testing, you can even check whether personalized featured products or best sellers worked better for you by using A/B testing. Just ensure that any products you do feature are well displayed and do not clutter the page unnecessarily.
Use high-resolution images
If you feature images on your homepage, you should ensure that they are of the best quality. This means using high-resolution images that highlight the product clearly. You should focus on easily visible images on any device, so mobile users don’t have to zoom in to see features.
Both product and lifestyle images can be just as effective, depending on what you are selling. So you should consider trialing both image types. Check which is the most successful in terms of creating conversions for your business.
Make your branding visible without being overbearing
In many cases, a brand brings association, trust, and reliability. Therefore, it is worth displaying your branding on your homepage, even if you’re fairly new to the eCommerce industry. Established brands will use their brand to create a sense of safety and generate loyalty to their site. For new brands, this factor will not appear immediately. However, branding on the homepage allows them to build that same presence over time.
It is important to note that you should ensure it isn’t overbearing when including your branding on your homepage. Keep things simple, and use branding as a reminder rather than a sales technique.
Use social proofing
f you’re looking to generate trust with potential customers, there’s no better place to start than on your website’s homepage. Building trust with potential customers can be done in some ways, but one of the most effective is using social proofing.
In essence, social proofing is using customer-generated information about your company. It highlights to new potential customers that your brand is honest and of high quality. This information commonly comes in the form of things like customer reviews or social media posts. By using social proofing, you offer potential customers an unfiltered view of your brand and its products. This, in turn, generates trust and makes new customers more comfortable buying from you when they can see those reviews or posts on your homepage.
Make contacting you easy
Being easy to reach also helps to generate trust with consumers. This is because customers feel like they can resolve any issues that may arise with a potential order. It also adds an air of authenticity to the store.
Ideally, you should try to take a customer-focused approach to be contacted. Therefore, it is best to offer customers several ways of getting in touch with you. That way, customers can opt for their preferred method of contact, which they are most comfortable with or most convenient for them. Email, social media, etc. – most of which you can add to the top or bottom of your homepage in the form of icons.
A/B test variations
There is no perfect homepage design that fits every company. Therefore, it is important to test which designs work best for you. By using A/B testing, you can compare two different variations of your homepage against each other. By making small, incremental changes, you can design the ideal homepage to maximize conversions and sales.
However, it is important to note that one design isn’t perfect forever. Customers need and won’t change, as does any sector of business. For that reason, it is important to A/B test regularly to stay on top of any potential changes in your market.
Your homepage is a vital element in the success of your online store. It is at the forefront of your business and its branding and the first point of contact for many customers. This means taking the time to optimize it is essential. By following these tips and patiently tweaking your page over time, you can be sure your homepage will have a lasting impact on customers.
Author’s bio: Jacques van der Wilt is the founder and CEO of DataFeedWatch, a leading global feed management and optimization solution that helps online merchants optimize their product listings for 1,000+ eCommerce channels in more than 50 countries.