Experience Design

How to create a winning ecommerce homepage

Sarah Holcombe

It’s safe to say the homepage gains some of the highest traffic of any page of any ecommerce store, and for this reason it absolutely has to create the right first impression.

It should show a good understanding of your customers, clearly reveal what the store has to offer, and encourage visitors to explore your products.

Person working on laptop

Here’s our pick of the key elements to include in your ecommerce homepage:

A clear search box

There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to find what you want in an online store. An obvious search box can speed up this process, and predictive search results are particularly helpful. Bear in mind that results should be quick to load – as we’ve explored in our article on performance, 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with a website’s performance are less likely to return to buy from the same site. It’s also good practice to feature your most sought-after products.

Hunter Website

Hunter has mastered the art of search with full page search and predictive suggestions. Conversion rates through search are 50% higher than other routes, probably because customers are in late stage buying mode and are trying to find something specific.

Get visitors off the homepage

Yup, despite the homepage being one of – if not, the - most visited page of most ecommerce stores, the idea is certainly not to keep visitors on there. It’s all about reducing the exit rate by encouraging movement throughout your online store to explore products. For this reason, it should have clear navigation and fluidity. Entice your visitors in – make it simple for them to go on and learn more about your products.

Beats Website

Take a look at what Beats by Dre has achieved – there’s little other choice but to click through to their products and categories to find out more.

79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with a website’s performance are less likely to return to buy from the same site.

Advertise offers

Who doesn’t love a bargain? With online sales projected to account for 9% of all US retail sales in 2016, it’s a given that they attract attention and increase conversion from visitors. Feature your sales on the homepage to ensure visitors are aware of your offering, create a sense of urgency, and make it appealing to explore. If you don’t, you’re in danger of missing big opportunities.

HMV website offer

HMV’s ecommerce store regularly features timely promotions and sales with hero images that visitors simply can’t miss.

Calls to action should ‘pop’ 

If you want visitors to achieve particular actions in your store, it’s really important that it’s obvious what they need to do, whether that’s reading your blog or browsing a specific range. With less than 8 seconds to create an impression, simplifying the content on your homepage can help, and clearly signposting where they will be taken makes sure they reach the right place. Hover effects can help to draw attention to the call to action and make it as obvious as possible to visitors.

Office website

Office has used simplicity and hover effects to enable the call to action to ‘pop’ – when you hover over the call to action, the rest of the homepage goes out of focus to give prominence to exploring their products.

Captivating imagery

The ecommerce homepage is your physical storefront display, so careful consideration must be made about the design you want to show. Large, attention-grabbing, dramatic imagery of your products can really capture the eye of visitors to your store and encourage them to find out more about what you have to offer. A/B testing of the imagery or products displayed on the homepage is a good idea to see what works best for your customers and their preferences.

Ugg Website

UGG uses powerful hero imagery of its iconic boots to encourage visitors to click through, and the dramatic effect of water splashing across them reveals their waterproof USP.

Large, attention-grabbing, dramatic imagery of your products can really capture the eye of visitors to your store.

Focus on the customer

The most important thing about your ecommerce store is your customers – without them, it won’t work. Therefore, you must consider how you can best service them. Does the homepage create the impression of a customer journey that’s intuitive and enjoyable? Consider adding live support chat, FAQs, and clearly display contact information to show that you’re there to support them.

Ted Baker website

Ted Baker features live support chat from the outset on their homepage, and makes its delivery information, FAQs, and customer services a prominent feature of its footer. 

Keep it fresh

Nothing’s good stale, so regularly updating your homepage means that new content, products, and promotions can be shared. Return visitors will notice change and are more likely to engage with fresh content, whether that’s headlines, imagery or campaigns. Don’t forget, search engines love new and unique content too. Personalisation of homepages for customers from their buying or browsing history is a great way of boosting engagement and is an increasingly popular tool.

Twinings website

Twinings website

Twinings regularly updates its homepage to freshen up content and introduce new products, messages, and promotions through the seasons.

Clear value proposition

The last thing you want to do is confuse visitors to your online store with mixed messages – so keep it simple. Present a strong, unified message that quickly helps visitors to define your brand, and show how you’re different to your competitors. Simple pages are more likely to increase conversion rates and make your ecommerce store more memorable to customers.

Hello Fresh website

Hello Fresh has made its value proposition pretty clear by summarising what they’re all about in just four simple words.

Make your communications prominent

We all want to nurture new visitors to our ecommerce stores into loyal customers. A key way to achieve this is through communicating with them via newsletters. For this reason, newsletter sign-up should be prominent and straightforward, asking for a minimal amount of data. Using modal boxes upon loading the homepage is a great way to encourage customers to quickly enter their details.

Reiss email sign up

Reiss encourages customers to sign up to its newsletter by promising the latest fashion news in this modal box which takes prominent position over the rest of its homepage.

It’s all about the shopping cart

Let’s be real - yes, we want to tell our brand stories, dazzle visitors with our products, and boast the best promotions – but ultimately we want to sell. Therefore, the shopping cart (a wishlist is a good idea too) should constantly be prominent for the shopper, as well as their account. This way, they can easily access their selected items and progress with the transaction process. Et voilà!

Screw Fix website

Screwfix lends prominence to the large checkout icon in its header, positioned next to the account area and store locator to ensure customers fulfil their transactions smoothly and efficiently.

There you have it – ten straightforward ways to create a successful ecommerce homepage. If you’d like to improve your ecommerce site, our specialist ecommerce consultants would be more than happy to help.

Get in touch and find out more about the ecommerce sites we’ve created for clients including Twinings and HMV