What makes a great homepage design for your e-commerce business? And should you base your decisions on aesthetics, branding choices, or, perhaps, look to standardised practices?
As with any type of development, these questions can be hard to answer off the bat. After all, there's no such thing as absolute right or wrong when it comes to user experience and visual appeal. So, instead of looking for step-by-step guides for e-commerce homepage design, perhaps you should choose options that will best serve your business.
Fortunately, that's easy enough. All you need to do is look at the data. This way, you'll have exact information about what works and what doesn't.
If you're ready to take your e-commerce homepage design to the next level (and boost your conversions), these are the best tips to try and implement.
1. Prioritise User Experience
The most important consideration you need to have regarding effective homepage design is that UX (user experience) is going to be one of the primary determiners of how well you do.
Statistics show that 88% of web users won't return to your store due to poor UX. What's more, by investing in this aspect of your consumers' experience, you can boost conversions by up to 400%.
These are some straightforward facts, sending a clear signal that you need to consider this aspect of your e-commerce store.
Fortunately enough, good UX isn't that difficult to do.
Avoid spamming your users with ads, and aim to make your website easy to use. Opt for simple menus, make sure that your website structure is logical, and, of course, try to play to people's expectations where you can.
Make your CTA buttons clear and attractive, and place each element in its expected position. If a standard layout is illogical in your case, make sure that your UX choices still play to people's expectations and don't involve a steep learning curve. For a great example of such a website, look to James Avery, whose design is original but still easy to use.
Don't forget about the technical characteristics of your website as well, like responsiveness and loading speeds. As we know that both of these factors influence bounce rates, it's highly recommended that you address any issues ahead of time and prevent them from appearing in the first place.
2. Stay True to Branding
Whether you're strictly e-commerce or have brick-and-mortar locations as well, remember that branding is going to be one of the main drivers of your success. So, when designing your e-commerce homepage, make sure to keep this in mind.
In addition to proudly displaying your name, logo, and mission statement, your website also needs to reflect the core values of your business. If you know that consistently representing your brand increases revenue by 33%, then the logical solution is to pay attention to this aspect of your e-commerce homepage design.
Before you launch your website, carefully comb through all the copy. See whether there's room to improve in terms of expectation management. Finally, identify any elements that seem to be out of place.
You want to present a cohesive image of your products, as seen in this example by KIWI bikes, and stay true to your brand's voice on all other platforms, including social media and customer service communications.
3. Use Engaging Visuals
Experience has shown time and again that most web users tend to make shopping-related decisions based on aesthetic impressions. So why not ensure that the elements you use on your e-commerce homepage appeal to people's preferences?
While text content is a definite must, you need to keep in mind that most people prefer visuals. And that's no surprise. After all, 93% of all human communication is non-verbal. Plus, we process images 60,000 times faster than words, which means a host of opportunities, as long as you choose the best pictures for your website.
When picking out a show-stopping photo for your website's hero section, you want it to be original and 100% true to your brand. As you can see from Bar None's homepage, the brand chose to shoot their own photos (instead of going with stock), and they've embedded their brand identity in every visual they display.
Moreover, it's not just header images and product pictures you can display on your homepage. You can also create a social media grid, like the one below used by Orizaba Original, and combine the power of visuals with that of social proof. This can be a particularly beneficial strategy if you consider the fact that 92% of people trust user-generated content over paid advertising.
4. Offer Help
One of the deciding factors for the success of your e-commerce store is going to be the customer experience you offer. Fast shipping, a satisfaction guarantee, and friendly customer service agents can make the difference between a person buying from you once or becoming a brand ambassador. What's more, your homepage design can contribute to (or take away from) the impression you leave on potential buyers.
When designing your e-commerce website, keep in mind that people will expect above and beyond service. And, according to research, there are several preferred ways to communicate with brand representatives:
• 62% want to use email
• 48% will call
• 42% would be willing to use live chat or chatbots
• 36% look for a "Contact us" form on the homepage
• 21% turn to Facebook Messenger to resolve issues
• 10% use Twitter
• 5% prefer Slack
With such concrete information at hand, you can make small design adjustments to your homepage and reap the benefits.
For example, if you take a look at the Anytime Baseball Supply website, you'll see that their homepage covers three of the seven communication methods listed above. Furthermore, once they click on the "Contact us" button, potential customers get additional ways to get in touch with the store's representatives, as well as a promise that their inquiry will be answered within an allotted time period.
Of course, don't forget the fact that with customer support, you can't fully rely on design to boost your conversions. Effectively applying this strategy will also require a dedicated team who will take a customer-first approach and ensure as high a satisfaction rate as possible.
5. Be More than Just a Seller
Last but not least, know that standing out from your competition requires a commitment to becoming an invaluable resource, not just when it comes to products and services, but information as well.
Your content marketing strategy will, obviously, play a significant role in that matter. However, your homepage design will ensure that your efforts are shown and presented in a way that is going to yield the best results.
Along with making sure that your blog or insights section is clearly visible, you'll also want to design it according to the same principles you applied to your homepage. A great blog is going to be logically structured, will utilise a user-friendly layout, and will include visual information to break up the monotony of text.
Once you've done all that, you can choose the pillar content to display on your homepage. Whether that's going to be a buying guide or a how-to video that shows the best ways to use your products, rest assured that it'll be an element of your homepage that offers value to customers in all stages of the sales funnel.
When it comes to e-commerce, it's always best to remember that first impressions matter in business. The way your homepage is designed is surely going to impact the way your potential customers perceive you.
So, whenever possible, do your absolute best to predict, meet, and exceed user expectations. Fortunately, design can not only help you do that, but it will also be an effective way to manage those expectations and to ensure you are able to deliver as much as you promised, if not more.