Virtual Storefront: Designing a Winning Ecommerce Homepage

When it comes to online shopping, you only have a few seconds to make an impression on potential customers before they bounce and head to the next search engine result-your direct competitor. It’s important to have a good-looking homepage to pique shoppers’ interests and promote your brand ideals at first glance. However, it’s also important to optimize your homepage for quick and easy navigation so consumers can find exactly what they want and need. Here are some tips to help you design a winning ecommerce homepage- the virtual storefront of your online shop.

Speedy Load Times

In addition to being visually appealing, your homepage must load instantly. Even a delay of a few seconds can make shoppers second-guess their intentions and bounce. On average, 47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40 percent abandon a site that takes over three seconds to load.

How can you speed up load times and overall user experience?

  • Trim and clean your code
  • Compress images (large images take longer to load)
  • Implement responsive design across devices (desktop and mobile)

Avoid Carousels

Many ecommerce websites stick with a formula and greet customers with a rotating carousel of images right off the bat. Here’s why you may want to rethink that method: Auto-sliding panels usually just annoy and confuse online users. A Nielsen Norman Group study carousels made it difficult for users to determine if a store was having a sale. Many shoppers felt they couldn’t read and absorb the new information each time the carousel changed.

Carousels also reduce SEO. It’s better to use a high-impact, high-definition static photograph instead. If you do decide to use a carousel, make sure it’s user-controlled so they can click when they want to see the next panel.

Easy Navigation

Customers have made it to your web store, but can they find what they came for (and more)? Global navigation should be immediately evident, complete with product categories across the top and left-hand side of the homepage. Including a search bar in plain sight  to help customers cut to the chase and find relevant product pages.

Streamlining your site’s navigation is often just a matter of doing a cloud ecommerce platform comparison to find the most usable interface, both for shoppers and for your implementation team.

Sometimes customers will need a little nudge in the right direction, either to find a product they’re looking for or to clarify details before they buy. A live chat feature displayed prominently is a useful tool for this purpose. Adding this human touch can also boost conversions and customer loyalty.

Straightforward Value Proposition

What unique value does your company offer its customers? Do you offer free international shipping? Hassle-free returns? A daily deal? A loyalty club? A unique backstory? One-of-a-kind items? Post your company’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP) right on the homepage. Customers should be able to get your USP within five seconds; if they can’t, it’s too complicated. Customers who’ve just entered your store shouldn’t be subjected to your life story on your homepage (that’s what the About Us page is for) but they do need some context for why they should buy from you.

Designing a winning ecommerce homepage-a virtual storefront, if you will-is all about making it highly navigable, easily understandable and intriguing. You have only a few seconds to put your best foot forward when it comes to customer impressions. Use these tips to make your homepage as sticky as possible so customers give you the time you need to convert their visits into sales.