Table of Contents
E-commerce is a visual world, where customers come to your site expecting beautiful images of your product, simple navigation and easy to find information about your company. An impressive homepage is the first step to conversion.
Aesthetics and First Impressions
Every visitor to your site is a potential customer, so we don’t need to tell you how important first impressions are. A homepage that seamlessly combines design and functionality will be the first step to transforming visitors to customers.
The first thing visitors see should intrigue them enough to either scroll through or click elsewhere your site. So, whether you are refreshing an existing site or starting from scratch, here are some things to consider during those crucial first few seconds of a visitor’s time to your site.
Remember to ask yourself the ever-important question “What do I want customers to feel when they come to my site?”
Homepage Image. This can be a static image, a carousel or even a short video. If you’re putting in a carousel, make sure it doesn’t switch between images too quickly and consider giving the user control by allowing them to switch between images themselves.
Initial Message. This is a short sentence that represents your brand and is usually immediately visible across your homepage image. It should be more inspiring than sales-y and clearly state your brand identity.
Calls to Action. These are buttons encouraging site visitors to do something. They can be dispersed throughout the homepage, starting with the main image. Some classic examples of calls to action include messaging like “Shop Now” or “Browse New Arrivals”. They must be short and snappy, persuading the visitor to click through.
Simplicity. Resist the urge to over-design your homepage and leave breathing room. Whitespace is important because it makes your website look simple and uncluttered.
Color Theory. There is a theory in advertising, that different colors evoke different emotions. Black, for example, can be associated with power, mystery, and elegance, while green is often associated with health and harmony. Use them accordingly to communicate subtle messages about your brand.
Typography. The larger the font, the faster the reading speed. The most important message should be the biggest while supporting communications can decrease in size.
Optional: Although this bucks the trend, some store owners eschew scrolling altogether. Instead, customers can navigate to products and other parts of the website using a header and drop-down menus.
Functionality and Responsive Design
Visitors to your online store should be equally impressed by both the visual design and how well your website functions. After seeing a beautiful homepage image or video, customers will intuitively start scrolling and see your product. These are some sections and functions to consider when they start their inevitable journey towards the bottom.
Sticky Header. The psychology behind a sticky header is that it creates trust by giving the visitor control over navigation. The deeper they scroll, the more subconscious anxiety there is about navigating back to the top. A sticky header lets them know they can get back to the top anytime.
Responsive Design. Mobile shopping is on the rise. In our busy world, customers don’t always have the time to sit down with their laptop to browse products. Making sure your site works perfectly across all browsers, and devices is critical. Whether they are viewing your site on their desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone, their experience should be the same.
Sections. As customers scroll below the homepage image, they will encounter other sections of your site. Shopify recently announced that sections will be available across all pages of your site, so you can customize to your heart’s content.
It’s entirely up to you and what you want to communicate to your visitors once they get past the main image, but some common sections include:
- New product
- Sale Items
- Featured Products
Paragraph about your brand. Many e-commerce sites will have a small section where they solidify their brand identity with the power of words. The intention here is to communicate what your brand represents, evoke emotion and create interest.
Social Media. Social proof is “…evidence that other people have made your product their choice or have encouraged others to do so.” Encourage your customers to share images of them using your product and then incorporate those images into your homepage. Seeing non-professional photos of your product being used by real people is a powerful way to build trust.
Need for Speed. Optimize your site and images to reduce loading times. An incredible 40% of polled internet users said they left if a site took longer than 3 seconds to load! Learn more
Optional: Pop-ups and slide-ins. Many e-commerce sites give visitors value by offering discounts in pop-ups in return for signing up to a newsletter and providing their email address. However, site owners are divided on this type of content. While they have been shown to improve conversions, pop-ups are often considered annoying and disruptive.
Remember to ask yourself the ever-important question:
“What do I want customers to feel when they come to my site?”
Your Homepage is Your Online Business Card
According to Shopify, visitors will an average of 10-20 seconds on your homepage. During that time, your homepage should direct them to where they want to go and make it easy to do so.
All the components of a homepage, including the image, copy and call to action should give information and inspire, while remaining simple and to the point. A well-designed homepage is a balance between being able to stand out from your competitors while adhering to design trends that consumers expect.
Did you know we have a specific category just for the homepage in our task catalog? Check it out to see how you can improve your homepage and turn visitors into customers.