Your homepage is a launchpad for the entire customer journey. Every detail should be considered and drive towards an intended action. Get clear and specific about whether the goal of your homepage is to sell your products, capture email subscribers or to announce a new drop.
There's no singular formula for Homepage design, as recommendations and advice will vary depending on what your goals are. However, there are some universal best practices that you can keep in mind – no matter if you're building out the content strategy for your Homepage for the first time or if you're looking to optimize for a better conversion rate.
Tip #1: Clarify Your Offering
Your Homepage must immediately capture a customer's attention so they can quickly find what they're looking for. It's likely your customer ended up on your site via an organic search or an ad on socials. Ensure that what got them onto your site is reflected across your homepage.
Beyond that, we're all victim to the psychological phenomenon that is "decision avoidance" – which is our tendency to avert a decision that takes too long to make. This is the same reason you scroll through Netflix for hours only to settle on watching The Office for the 467th time.
On a Homepage, our job is to prevent the customer from feeling overwhelmed by decision paralysis and making sure everything is clear and that wayfinding towards different products or categories is intuitive.
Tip #2: Think Like a Couch Potato
Speaking of Netflix, I always think a great way to introduce Pact's clients to the concept of user experience is to invite them to think about how they interact with digital products they know and love outside of a retail context. Think about how you explore things to watch – you may want to browse new arrivals or top-rated shows, but you may also be in the mood for something more specific – like a drama or a comedy.
A customer navigating your website might feel the same way. If they are a returning customer, they might care most about new products – whereas a new customer might want to get a categorical overview of all items you sell to get a sense of your offering.
Tip #3: Do No Harm. Solicit No Emails.
While emails are a vital and valuable means of connection with your customers, it is extremely distracting to be greeted with a pop-up soliciting your email before you even have a chance to understand what the brand is about.
Consider triggering your email pop-ups further in the customer journey – once the customer has had a chance to explore your offering more broadly.
Tip #4: Show and Tell
Images play a powerful role in helping customers decide how to proceed. Appreciate the limits of customer attention, and use this to priortize and emphasize what you want to highlight when designing your homepage.
Consider a mix of contextual imagery that shows how your product might be used or styled, as well as product images. Added points for the showcase of contextual imagery that leads right into the product funnel. Layer in different types of images for big, beautiful lifestyle photography, product photography and categorical photography – painting a rich story about your brand and the breadth of its offering.
Videos and GIFs can also be impactful options to showcase a range of ideas – whether it's how the products can be implemented into a customer's daily routine or showcasing a variety of body types for a certain garment. Certain brands stand to benefit from a homepage visual that tells their story. For some products, especially innovative or complex ones, it may be necessary to illustrate how to use the product before you can get visitors interested.
You can also use graphic illustrated animations or animated GIFs featuring real images and videos to depict instructions, processes, or brand attributes (for example, an athletic brand might showcase how moisture wicking works).
Tip #5: Make Mobile the Main Priority
Mobile web traffic makes up more than half of global site traffic. A good portion of your customers are likely to be browsing on mobile, so every decision you make should prioritize how customers will see this on a smaller device. This fact also serves to reinforce why simplification and curation is so important. You want customers to get a clear sense of your value propositions and products quickly before driving them towards the sales funnel.
With Shopify, you can easily preview your homepage design on different devices in the Shopify theme editor by using the view toggle options at the top of your preview.
Tip #6: Consider the Curb Appeal
You may hear folks talk about "above the fold" real estate being a vital part of your ecommerce strategy. The term "above the fold" is a holdover from the newspaper days of yore where the day's biggest stories would be above the proverbial fold of the newspaper – it was the first thing people saw when deciding to pick up the paper in the morning.
Your website functions similarly – this is what visitors see before they decide to scroll or take action. You can think about it like your Homepage's front door, so it's important to consider the "curb appeal" or how prospective customers "driving by" might interpret your messaging.
When considering what lies above and below the fold, focus on the actions you want your visitors to take when they arrive on your site. What information is mission critical? What themes is your brand looking to highlight? What stories may connect you with a new audience?
Tip #7: Consult Our Checklist
It's easy to get overwhelmed by the decisions outlined above, but above all else, remember that the purpose of your homepage is to invite customers to browse your products and ultimately make a purchase. Keep the following points in mind as you consider how to structure your Homepage:
- How easy is it for users to get from your homepage to your online store?
- What do you want the visitor to do? (e.g., make a purchase, join your email list, etc.)
- How simple is it for them to take this action? How many steps does it take to complete your goal?
- How much information do they need to proceed to the next step?
- Can you eliminate any steps?
Visitors sometimes land on homepages knowing what they want, and other times they don’t. You have to design your homepage with both in mind while ensuring your decisions align with your primary goals.
A good homepage should accommodate visitors looking for a specific outcome, while directing the attention of the ones who aren’t – all while telling your unique brand story.
Pact is here to help
Whether you're looking for a performance audit on your site or help considering merchandisation, curation, site speed and user experience, Pact is here to help. Get in touch today.