Your homepage is the display window for your e-shop. It plays a crucial role in encouraging customers to continue browsing your site. Remember that the homepage is the first thing that your customers see, and so is the first impression that they have of your shop. In addition, an attractive homepage will significantly increase your conversion rate.
Your homepage can persuade customers both by being visually appealing and by giving them the information they’re looking for right away. Here are a few more suggestions on getting the most from your homepage:
1. State your business!
According to the Journal du Net, internet users are spending less and less time on each website (in 2011, the average time spent on a website decreased by 26 seconds!1). Save users’ time by ensuring they can tell at a glance what your company does. Here are some ways to make your business clear:
a) Display product images on the homepage!
For example, you could display pictures of your products in a slideshow across the top of the page. Your customers can quickly look through your star products or a particular range of products that you want to highlight. Fosco, a Spanish shoes and accessories retailer, used this technique on their e-shop with a slideshow of large pictures of its products. Visitors to the Fosco site can tell right away what they are selling.
b) Highlight your special offers!
Adding “special offer” or “bestseller” call-outs to a product selection on the homepage encourages your visitors to buy. Monsieur Bière uses this idea on their site with a weekly special offer on a particular product. And as an added incentive, there’s a little counter showing how long customers have left to take advantage of the deal!
Monsieur Bière homepage
2. Don’t forget to add the details that make your site trustworthy!
Make sure that you clearly show the information that makes you a trustworthy site – secure payment details, customer service information, etc. Displaying this information will help retain visitors and convince them that your e-shop can be trusted.
To show an example, at the bottom of e-retailer Archiduchesse’s homepage, they show all the information that tells customers that this is a shop that can be taken seriously.
The Archiduchesse homepage shows all the information necessary to reassure customers
This ‘trustworthy’ information will vary from one e-shop to another, but certain details are common to all:
a) Secure payment
Displaying logos from the likes of PayPal, CB, or MasterCard on your homepage has a lot more impact than putting them elsewhere: customers can see how reliable your site is even before starting to shop. A good way of convincing them to buy with you!
b) Customer services
Establishing a link with the “Contact” page will save time for those site visitors who want to contact you. A phone number and an email address have more impact than a contact form and your customers will be happy to know that they’ll get a quick answer from you.
c) Delivery terms & conditions
Do you offer free delivery above a certain amount? Guarantee delivery under 48 hours? Say so on the homepage!
3. Get straight to the point!
One last tip for a great homepage: don’t overload it with too much text or too many product images. Think about what your customers want to see or find on your site.
And make sure that you have a well-designed menu so they can easily and intuitively access the different categories of your site.
Follow this advice and you’ll be able to make the most of your homepage. But how will you know if it’s appealing to customers? By analysing your bounce rate: this is the number of visitors that leave the site right after landing (the lower it is, the better). There are 2 possible reasons for an immediate departure: your homepage is not appealing enough or your visitors were looking for a different site. It’s up to you now to persuade your visitors to become your customers!
- 1 Le Journal du net, The number of pages per visit is down, 2011: http://www.journaldunet.com/ebusiness/le-net/statistiques-sites-web/pages-par-visite.shtml