Over the past two years, ecommerce has become the way to shop. Even for those who had been skeptical about it before the pandemic.
With a 16.2% increase in online sales between 2020 and 2021 and an estimated 12-24 million ecommerce stores operating globally, it’s clear to see that in such a rapidly growing industry, entrepreneurs must adopt an agile approach to running their business and develop a zeal for following the latest marketing trends. To reach target audiences, grab their attention, and, ultimately, encourage them to shop, this also necessitates the creation of a killer ecommerce homepage.
But what exactly goes into the making of such a site? Are there any rules that owners and designers must follow to inspire consumer trust and secure conversions?
This guide explores the anatomy of a killer ecommerce homepage, looking over the elements that contribute to the smooth operation of an online store that attracts customers and sells. So, without further ado, the following are the must-haves for any small or medium-sized business ready to enter the business of selling online.
An Engaging Header Image
Online, as in real life, first impressions mean a great deal. And, it turns out that with a website, you have less than one second to elicit a positive reaction from your target audience. That’s why it’s essential to consider those elements that are most likely to be noticed by website visitors when they land on your homepage.
Scientific research suggests that the human brain is wired to prioritize visual information over text. Consequently, a killer ecommerce homepage must feature a stunning header image.
The basis of a well-made homepage is an engaging visual element that:
- seizes web visitors’ attention
- shows off your brand in a positive light
- elicits an emotional response by appealing to consumer pain points
Take a look at the image used by Naturopathica for a fantastic example.
A Logical Layout & User Interface
On website homepages, they usually start with the upper left corner. Then, they continue looking at the content in a Z-pattern, paying a varying degree of attention to different elements. Knowing how strong this attention is can help designers position value propositions and CTAs in parts of the screen where they’re most likely to contribute to a predetermined goal – a conversion or a sale.
For example, something as simple as placing a CTA button in the terminal area of the Gutenberg diagram (lower right corner of the screen) can exponentially increase the chances of a web visitor choosing to make a purchase. Check out how Oui the People did it.
Similarly, a logical layout and intuitive user interface also help web visitors navigate a website. A well-organized homepage should direct user attention, with images and text, towards content and products that answer consumer needs.
This is particularly important for large stores with many product types, like DockATot, whose goods are divided into categories according to the type of use they’re intended for. By using elements that represent logical entries into these categories, this brand makes it easier for web visitors to find what they’re after, consequently minimizing the chances of a bounce and maximizing those of a sale.
A Clear, Meaningful Value Proposition
Another element of an ecommerce homepage that sells is a well-worded value proposition. And, based on the latest consumer research, the absolute best way to connect with audiences is to address the issues they care about.
According to the Outbrain 2021 Holiday Shopping Season report, the top three values that drive purchases include:
- Price, with 54% of consumers prioritizing it
- Sustainability, which is important for 47% of consumers
- Local support, which is the top priority for 43% of shoppers
This signals that the ideal value proposition should address one of these points. It could be the value for money your brand offers, the benefits it promises, or how it supports the same causes your audience cares about. Orizaba Original, for example, points out how its products are “100% authentic Mexican textile products made with recycled materials by 40+ year old family-run operations.”
If you’re not going to address consumer priorities, you can still optimize your value proposition to result in conversions.
LastPass does it by focusing on the benefits consumers get by investing in its products – getting all their passwords stored online and available anywhere without risking security.
And Orbit, understanding that the best way to appeal to consumers is through a combination of text, visuals, and emotions, organizes its hero section in a way that grabs web visitor attention with a stunning image. Then, it positions the value proposition in a place where it’s guaranteed to be seen and carefully chooses the wording to appeal to people’s need to feel safe. The result is a homepage hero section with the greatest chance of convincing web visitors to convert.
Another super-important aspect of designing a high-converting ecommerce homepage is ensuring that it does a solid job of differentiating your brand from others in your industry.
As we know, the field of ecommerce is developing more and more by the year. With this rapid growth, it’s only natural that smaller businesses will have to work harder to beat well-established brands or break into competitive niches.
To do this, they must become well-versed at identifying and communicating the things that make them better than others.
To achieve this on your ecommerce homepage, try to give detailed info about what you do and the things that set you apart. June, for example, does it with visual sections that address its main benefits of being seamless, helpful, comprehensive, and secure.
Zoho, on the other hand, takes a step further. Knowing that Evernote is one of its biggest competitors, it adds a homepage section and dedicated landing page that speak directly to the people looking for an Evernote alternative. This just goes to show how well Zoho’s design and marketing teams did their research before approaching the homepage design process. As a result, they managed to zoom in on the element most likely to bring in conversions.
Brand Social Proof & Testimonials
You’re likely to already understand the positive impact social proof has on consumer behavior. According to the latest data, nearly 70% of consumers read between one and six online reviews before making a purchase decision.
But while your initial reaction to this fact may be to focus on optimizing your product pages, you have to remember that testimonials can play a significant role in supporting your branding as well. For this reason, it’s an excellent idea to enrich your homepage with social proof that speaks specifically about your brand.
One excellent method is to pull third-party reviews from trusted sites like Google, Trustpilot, or G2. It’s what Malwarebytes does with a “Trusted by” homepage section that displays a variety of trust badges.
You can also go a more personal route, like what Homestead Supplier did. This brand chose to source feedback from satisfied customers who pointed out benefits like superior customer service, a better than expected buying experience, and clear instructions.
When discussing the elements of a high-converting ecommerce homepage, we can’t overlook contact options.
In today’s fast-paced world, consumers expect seamless communication with brands. In fact, a survey conducted by HubSpot reveals that 82% of consumers expect an immediate (10 minutes or less) response to sales and marketing questions, and 90% expect the same for customer service-related inquiries.
Moreover, a 2019 Statista survey revealed that consumers have different communication channel preferences, with 42% prioritizing phone, 38% digital channels, and just 20% listing email as the best way to communicate with brands.
Considering this, ecommerce brands must provide easy ways for potential buyers to get in touch. Live chat software and chatbots are both excellent solutions as they are geared towards young consumers. However, if your brand’s target audience isn’t a young age group, a more versatile solution may be required.
US Fireplace Store clearly understands this, which is why its homepage design includes a floating section with many contact avenues. These include phone, SMS, email, and live chat.
Credible Trust Badges
In its 2019 Trust Barometer Special Report, Edelman discovered that only 34% of consumers trust most brands they buy or use. Seeing that trust is a significant driver of conversions on ecommerce sites, it’s not a bad idea to explore the different ways you can encourage it on your homepage.
Trust badges can be a good solution. Especially when there are certain benefits and guarantees you want to emphasize.
For example, knowing that 66% of US consumers expect free shipping on all orders, you can design and include trust badges for your ecommerce homepage that communicate this benefit. L’Objet, for example, does it with a banner at the top of its homepage, effectively informing visitors that standard shipping is complimentary for orders over $300.
If you have more to offer, you can go with slightly more elaborate trust badges, like the ones Patagonia uses. This brand chose to communicate its quality guarantee, eco-footprint, and 1% for the Planet commitment, all with simple pictograms that do a solid job of explaining the concepts.
Industry Recognition & Accreditation
In addition to trust badges, consider whether there are any additional ways you can convince potential customers to convert.
For example, a 2008 research study revealed that third-party certification shown on websites had the potential to increase the probability of purchase. And, more recently, the Forest Stewardship Council found that 8 out of 10 shoppers believed that sustainability product information needed to be supplied by an independent organization.
Considering this, it’s not a bad idea to display industry recognition, accreditation, and certifications.
Future Kind, for example, uses this knowledge to position itself as an organization that doesn’t just work for a profit but puts equal emphasis on purpose as well. So, it proudly displays that it’s a Certified B corporation, right on its homepage hero section.
When putting together a high-performing ecommerce website, business owners should consider what products they want to display on the homepage. After all, showcasing popular items, discounted goods, or in-demand products on your homepage exponentially increases the chances of making a sale and maximizing AOV.
Le Labo, for instance, uses its homepage hero section to call attention to newly released products. There are short descriptions for each release intended to pique consumer interest.
Le Creuset, on the other hand, includes a section dedicated to its most popular products. It allows first-time site visitors to go directly to the products they’re most likely to end up purchasing.
This is an excellent strategy, considering how efficiently it guides consumers through the different stages of the sales funnel. It helps them move from the awareness to the consideration stage over a single website visit. Now, that’s an excellent way to minimize marketing costs and drive sales with fewer consumer touchpoints.
There are plenty of elements that make up the anatomy of a killer ecommerce homepage.
But just like with any other organism that has to deliver prime performance and function despite adverse conditions, a well-made ecommerce site has to allow for changes. In other words, the best ecommerce homepage design is stable enough to provide an exceptional user experience but still has the required flexibility to change according to consumer sentiment.
So don’t fall into the trap of thinking that an ecommerce homepage is ever finished. Instead, strive for consistent improvements. Base them on industry developments, analytical data regarding the performance of your site, or, best of all, a combination of the two. That way, you’ll be sure that the changes you’re making will lead to positive outcomes. Most ideally, they’ll bring a boost in sales and a growing base of satisfied customers.