The home page of your eCommerce website design site may be the first interaction your customers have with your brand. It’s important to make shoppers comfortable doing business with you and ensure they can find your products easily. Your home page should give them all the information they need at first glance. To ensure you’re employing eCommerce home page design best practices, ask yourself if the main page of your site answers the following questions:
Can a visitor tell from your home page they’ve reached the right place? Do you effectively communicate who you are as a company? Is your brand memorable and easily visible?
A visitor to your home page should immediately understand the broad sense of your corporate mission. Your home page should resonate with your target market and fulfill their needs, to make your potential customers feel comfortable shopping there.
Your eCommerce website design home page should allow visitors to quickly identify what you’re offering. Make sure your page presents a sample of your core products and examples of categories to make it clear to customers exactly what you sell.
Even if you offer exactly what your customers are shopping for, they’ll never buy if the process is complicated or unclear. Does your site provide easily accessible and understandable categories? Is it simple for customers to navigate, search and purchase your products? Do you provide links to information on shipping, or return policies, or customer service contact information?
With these requirements in mind, let us provide you with some eCommerce ecommerce website design home page best practices. This will conclude in your website is providing what your customer needs. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to create a more productive brand and site.
1. Display the Products Your Company Sells on the Home Page
A visitor to your home page should immediately be able to understand what your company is selling. It’s helpful to think of your home page as the entry to a physical store, with images on the site taking the place of window displays. Ensure your home page clearly depicts products that will engage your visitors and encourage them to explore your site.
It’s important to remember that many visitors will come to your site via search engine results. They may skip the home page altogether when they click a link that goes directly to a product, category page or your FAQs. Pay close attention to your header bar. Ensure it offers easy access to your home page. It must also clearly communicate who your company is and what you sell. Make sure you’re not wasting shoppers’ time making them search for products you don’t carry.
If you’re a small or lesser-known site, it’s even more vital to immediately communicate who you are to site visitors. Larger or more popular sites will have lower pricing, but you will win customers by conveying your expertise in niche markets.
D’Artagnan.com (below) is a great example of a site that immediately conveys what they sell. The header navigation links and footer help complete the company’s marketing efforts.
2. Beware of Presenting Items That Don’t Represent Your Catalog
The product images a visitor sees when they arrive at your home page will guide their perception of your company. Promotional items, especially accessory products, can work against you. They may give the customer the impression you may have much less merchandise they’re looking for. For example, a shoe company running a promotion on belts should still make it clear on their home page that they are a shoe company, not a belt company.
ECommerce home page best practices can help you ensure your site clearly communicates to your customers exactly what types of products you sell. This is especially important so you don’t lose valuable sales because customers didn’t realize you had what they needed.
3. Keep Your Content Simple, but Effective
It’s important to walk the fine line between engaging site visitors and overwhelming them. Try to find a balance that allows you to offer content that will interest potential customers without distracting them from your products. Ensure home page information, animations, layout, navigation and product images all work together to provide a positive shopping experience. Visitors who find your site busy or confusing are not likely to make a purchase.
Patagonia‘s site (below) is confusing at first glance. The catalog is not apparent and the primary image does nothing to convey what the company does or sells.
4. Keep Transitions Between Informational and ECommerce Sites Seamless
In some cases, it may be useful to maintain an informational site (using static HTML) that is separate from your eCommerce shopping cart. To maintain eCommerce home page best practices, you must keep the transition between the two parts of the site as seamless as possible.
If you’re using a domain.com and sub.domain.com layout for your marketing, ensure that both sites have a similar look and feel. Also that the transition between the two is smooth. In the best-case scenario, a user shouldn’t even notice there is a transition. In the worst case, they must still be able to understand the connection between the two sites. Keeping the same brand, logo, color scheme and navigational structure is important to keep customers feeling secure and comfortable shopping with you.
These suggestions still apply even if your site’s main goal is not eCommerce. If you are offering products for sale through your website, you must make it easy for shoppers to locate and purchase your products.
Georgetown Cupcake (below) does a good job maintaining continuity with their entry HTML site and their AbleCommerce shopping cart.
5. Don’t Hide Your Catalog: Enable Shopping From the Home Page
If your site’s home page is a static HTML site and a bridge to your eCommerce shopping cart, be sure to provide a clear, noticeable button or call to action to help visitors locate your catalog. A well-placed link that simply says “Shop Now” or “Browse Products” will make it easily understood that you have a range of products for sale.
If your home page is the front page of your catalog, make navigation elements obvious and easy to use. You wouldn’t design a physical storefront filled with displays and no obvious way to enter, would you? Make it simple for shoppers to access main product categories. Ensure that any space used for promotional items does not interfere with their ability to navigate your site.
6. Don’t Go Overboard With Home Page Animation
It’s popular among eCommerce sites to use animations like jQuery slideshows to engage visitors and display promotions, products or other information in a dynamic way. A simple animation used well can add interest and encourage users to explore your site. Too much movement, can be distracting and annoying for users looking for something specific.
In keeping with eCommerce website design home page best practices, ensure your visitors can change any slides or scrolling you include. Provide obvious controls like arrows, triangles or radio buttons. It’s wonderful to introduce your site visitors to a new product with a slideshow on your home page. But as result, they may become annoyed or frustrated if the slide then disappears and they can’t get back to it. We also recommend avoiding Adobe Flash for animated content. Apple’s iOS and mobile platforms don’t display Flash. With mobile commerce transactions on the rise, using Flash can prove more of a detriment to your eCommerce website design than an enhancement.
Jo-Ann Fabrics (below) uses Flash on their site. The user here is interrupted to update Flash for their browser. The slideshow is fast and distracting.
7. Directly Link to Product Detail Pages
Do not include images of products on your eCommerce website design without providing direct links to their individual product detail pages. If a site visitor is interested in a product that’s presented on your home page, it should be easy for them to buy.
It should not take users more than one click to get to the detail page of a product they see on your home or category page, and it should not take more than one additional click for them to add it to their cart.
8. Use Navigation to Make It Clear What Product Categories Are Available
There are a number of different types of navigation elements. Whether you choose left sidebar categories, top-bar mega-menus or fly-down methods, keep them clear and consistent throughout your site. Wherever possible, show the user the path they are taking to get to the product they choose.
Keeping product display and hierarchy intuitive and easily understood ensures your visitors will have no difficulty purchasing. Well-organized sets of links in product categories make it simple for site visitors to identify what you have to offer and locate the items they’re looking for.
9. Provide Easy Access to Customer Service Information and FAQ Pages
Sometimes users need answers to important questions or guidance from your team before they will feel comfortable shopping on your site. Keep information on shipping and return policies, privacy policies and customer service contact information easy to locate. This offers assurance to potential customers and lends credibility to your business.
If a visitor can’t find contact information or clear communication about your policies, they may suspect you are trying to hide something, and are significantly less likely to make a purchase.
Medibadge (Kids Love Stickers) (below) provides clear links to shipping policies and contact information in the footer of their home page.
10. Always Make It Easy to Get Back to the eCommerce website design Home Page
Your site users should always be able to navigate back to the home page from any point on the site. Yes, even the checkout process. Whether your user remembers they need a promo code or wants to double check a shipping policy, they should always have a way to access the home page. For those leaving the checkout process, ensure you also provide a clear way to resume the process with a basket or checkout link.
eCommerce home page design best practices suggest that your company name or logo should always link to your eCommerce website design home page. You can also include a home page link in the header or navigation to ensure your shoppers have a clear way to get to your home page.
Never forget that your company’s eCommerce website design home page is the facade for your online store. It represents you, your company, your sales team and your customer service reps. Most online transactions occur without any human communication. As a result, it’s vital that your home page makes shoppers feel welcome. This will assure them you can provide the service and products they’re expecting.
Measure your own site against these eCommerce home page design best practices. Therefore ensuring your website effectively communicates your willingness to serve their needs. It also provides them with a superior shopping experience.
Finally, want to find out if your eCommerce website is providing what your customers need? Check out our free report on current trends in the eCommerce world and get insights into what your customers want in an online shopping experience. There is no signup required, simply download your copy today and stay a step ahead of the competition.