Conversion Optimization

14 must-have elements for your eCommerce homepage

Is your eComm store bounce rate too high for your comfort? Time to relook at your homepage elements: here are 14 must-haves to make customers stay.

14 must-have elements for your eCommerce homepage

According to research by Nielsen Norman Group, you have 10–30 seconds to convince your visitors to stay on your webpage.

report by NN group on visitor attention

This is why it’s crucial to provide value to users at the first instance because if they don’t find what they are looking for, they’ll leave immediately. To avoid customers from bouncing off your website, it’s essential to encourage conversions from the get-go.

This is where building a high-converting eCommerce homepage can help.  

Your homepage is the soul of your eCommerce website. The visual hierarchy in your eCommerce homepage design is crucial in hooking visitors to stay and explore more.

In this post, we’ll explore 14 critical elements your eCommerce homepage should have to ensure steady conversions.

14 components to include on your eCommerce homepage 

1. Signals that convey trust 

There are tons of misleading images, videos, phishing emails, and fraudulent payment methods that can harm your customers. Plus, the most vulnerable situation for customers is when they’re giving out personal information. If mishandled, customers get exposed to identity theft, credit card data fraud, and other dishonest practices, creating stress and costing them millions yearly.

Due to numerous insecurities surrounding online shopping, eCommerce brands must employ ways to build customer trust. This is where using trust badges on the homepage of your eCommerce website can help.

A trust badge is a symbol placed on a website that helps promote people’s trust in your brand, encourages customers to engage with your store and complete purchases.

Here are a few examples:

Examples of trust badges

You can often find trust badges during the checkout process. But, placing them right on your homepage — especially above the fold — can start building customer trust immediately. With just a glance, customers know that you’re taking safety measures to protect their private information, which makes your brand appear more trustworthy.

Make sure your trust badge matches your front page design and doesn’t ruin the overall feel. Too many seals on one page can make customers question your site’s legitimacy. Further, A/B testing them can help you determine the best place on your homepage where badges convert best. 

Check out how WakeFit displays the trust seals on the footer of their homepage: 

Trust badges by WakeFit

‍2. Visuals that make them stop

Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, customers can’t see, touch, or try your products when they purchase online. Instead, they have to rely on product photos and descriptions and decide whether or not they should buy them.

This means that the quality of your images plays a significant role in making a good impression on website visitors. It’s also important to thoroughly describe the products, covering all aspects, such as size, material, uses, colors available, etc.

Placing professional quality images of your products from multiple angles and contexts can help customers make the right choice. You can also include a 360° video that shows customers trying out different product features. Further, avoid using too many stock images on your homepage as they lack authenticity. Instead, use original images wherever necessary.

While poorly-written product information or low-quality images can directly affect sales, relevant and valuable product descriptions can nudge them towards checkout.

Lunya provides a great example of how to showcase high-quality visuals on the site’s homepage: 

high-quality visuals on homepage

3. Simple navigation that helps customers find what they’re looking for 

Customers need to browse different pages quickly and easily. So, brands must build websites that guide them to the checkout process. Poor navigation is one of the major reasons for high bounce rates — if people don’t find your products easily, they’re more likely to abandon your website, thinking you don’t have the product they’re looking for.

Therefore, your homepage navigation must be simple and clear.

Make sure the navigation menu doesn’t have too many options — we recommend using a maximum of 7 items on the menu. Place the most important items either at the beginning or at the end of the menu since that’s where users’ attention is the highest. And, place your main menu at the top of the page so that visitors can discover it quickly.

Mention clear product categories and subcategories as they are descriptive and easy to follow. For example, if you’re a footwear brand, you can use labels like “Men,” “Women,” and “Kids” to categorize your collection. And don’t forget to make the destination of each link clear using breadcrumbs.

This way, visitors will stay on your eCommerce website because there is no confusion.

Here’s a great example from SoYoung:

Clear product categories and subcategories

4. The value customers can expect 

With endless eCommerce brands to choose from, consumers often wonder what makes your store different from others. This answer lies in your value proposition.

A value proposition is a statement that defines the value your product(s) brings to the table. In other words, it demonstrates the benefits your potential customers get from your products or services.

Displaying your value proposition on your eCommerce site can tell customers why they should buy your products over the million of others out there. Without it, you can’t convince them to move down your sales funnel.

Since it takes a few seconds for visitors to form a first impression of your online store, you want your value proposition to be the first thing they notice once they land on your website. So, make sure to display it on your site’s homepage, especially above the fold.

For example, when you land on the Joy + Glee homepage, an online store that offers shaving products, its value proposition is, “We take care of your body hair situation.”

value proposition by Joy + Glee

‍5. The action customers can take 

Your customers visit your website to get something — be it information, products, or services. So, make sure to lead them through your eCommerce website with clear CTAs.

A call-to-action (CTA) button guides your customers to the next step in their buying journey. The recommended actions could be — buy this product, sign up to a subscription, etc. Placing these buttons on the right pages can keep your customers engaged without compromising your relationship with them. 

On the homepage, you’re telling the visitors what to expect from the rest of your website. So, inserting a CTA on the homepage above the fold is not only quick to find but also takes visitors further into exploring the details about your site.

It can be tempting to include multiple CTAs to increase click-throughs. But, each CTA increases the complexity of your homepage, making it harder to browse. So, it’s better to craft a primary CTA that gets maximum attention. And if you can’t avoid using more than one CTA, consider having a subtle secondary CTA(s) that doesn't clash with the primary one.

In the example below, Simple uses “Shop Now” to drive customers to product pages from the homepage.

Example of CTA by Simple

6. Recommendations that simplify the customer’s browsing experience 

A timely product recommendation on an eCommerce website can lead to a massive boost in sales. In fact, a study found that product recommendations account for 35% of purchases on Amazon. However, placing them in the wrong location can be a huge turn-off — and cost you a potential sale. 

Your homepage is one of the best places for product recommendations as it provides a welcoming experience to the visitors. And since it gets the most views, it makes sense to display your top-selling products or new arrivals. Further, the items you showcase on your homepage provide an idea to visitors about what your store sells. 

The product recommendations should be personalized according to each shopper. However, if you don’t have enough behavioral data to offer a personalized recommendation to new visitors, it’s best to display items with the highest conversion rates. 

Also, don’t bombard your customers with too many product recommendations on the homepage. Instead, showcase just a few best-sellers or trending products to catch the attention of potential customers.

Lululemon, for instance, displays its best-sellers on the homepage: 

Example of product recommendations by Lululemon

7. An easily visible search option 

You might think an eCommerce website's overall success and failure depends on product quality and order fulfillment speed. But there's one thing that can impact the user's shopping experience — the search bar. 

No online store is complete without a search bar. 43% of customers on eCommerce websites go directly to the search bar. However, most sites don't return relevant results when users misspell a search term. 

Hence, it's important to consider the performance of site search to help customers find what they're looking for. Your search box should not only provide correct results but also have an autocomplete feature to minimize errors and save visitors time. 

To improve results, your search software should recommend related products. And also have an autocomplete feature to save users time and help. Further, the right size and placement of the search box can make people see it and consider using it. 

PrettyLittleThing's search box is an excellent example. 

Example of site search by PrettyLittleThing

8. Product categories to choose from

Imagine going to a grocery store and finding apples in the bread section and milk in the pasta aisle, making it difficult to shop at the store. Since you cannot find what you’re looking for, you would feel annoyed and want to visit a more organized store near you.

The same thing happens when you don’t set up product categories in your eCommerce website correctly. This is where a product category navigation bar comes in. Without an organized category navigation bar, your visitors will struggle to browse your site and find what they’re interested in.  

A category navigation bar is just like the table of contents for your website. You can place it either horizontally across the top or vertically on the left side, where it’s easily visible. It shows your customers which products they’ll find under each category without having them browse the whole website.

When building a category bar, use drop-down menus to let browsers go straight to the category or subcategory of their choice. However, make sure these menus don’t have more than two levels as this can confuse the users, especially those browsing your site on mobiles. You can also add thumbnail images that represent each main category.

Take a look at how Sephora lists down categories and subcategories: 

Product categories by Sephora

9. Incentives to motivate the customer to purchase 

Let’s face it, everybody loves a bargain, whether in the form of discounts, coupons, or cashback. In fact, more than 70% of internet users claim that offers and discounts have a significant impact on purchase decisions during the holidays. 

Deals and offers can strengthen your brand, help you connect with your customers, and ultimately increase revenue during a sluggish period.

Therefore, it’s best to display special offers and discounts on your website’s homepage right above the fold. You can put a big banner or carousel on your site if your offer is the most crucial campaign at the time. Or be subtle to attract regular discount-loving customers to buy your products or services. Either way, make sure your visitors can access it quickly and easily.

Check out how Famous Footwear has a sliding carousel their website’s homepage, which showcases various discounts and offers:

discount section on homepage

10. Company policies to offer transparency 

Trust is the cornerstone of a successful eCommerce business, and your company policies help promote it. 

There are certain things that customers want to know before making any purchase — the information that will influence whether or not they buy from you. Such information includes: 

  • A shipping policy that outlines crucial details about the shipping of a product, such as shipping charges, delivery time, method, and more. 
  • A return and exchange policy mentions under what conditions the customers can return or exchange products they’ve purchased from your store and whether or not you will provide them a refund. 

Shipping, return, and exchange policies should be displayed clearly on the top of the homepage — especially if you provide free shipping or your return policy is better than that of your competitors. 

Your customers are more likely to buy from your store if you’re transparent from the beginning and have set clear expectations. This can significantly boost conversions and make you appear trustworthy in consumers’ eyes. 

Check out how Pottery Barn has placed a clear message about shipping at the top of their homepage:

shipping information on homepage

‍11. Contact information for customers to reach out easily 

Customers want an easy and quick way to contact you in case of queries. That’s why displaying your basic contact details prominently on the homepage helps them find the information faster, improving interactions. Plus, it boosts conversions as customers can immediately reach out to you for answers to questions related to their purchase decision. 

Place your basic contact details like phone number, email, and store location on both top and bottom. You can also integrate live chat into your website for fast and real-time interactions. Plus, they minimize the time needed to contact your new and existing customers. Instead of writing an email or calling sales reps, customers can reach out to you directly with their questions about delivery, products, or order. 

Check out how Guitar Center places its contact information at the top right corner of its homepage.

contact information on homepage

‍12. Social channels for communication and community

If you want to make your customers aware of your social media channels, then inserting clickable social media icons can be the best bet.

Displaying social media handles on your eCommerce homepage can help build a community of like-minded people and create connections with your new and existing customers. Plus, they serve as additional communication channels your customers can use to reach out to you.

The best practice is to mention your social media handles on the top, bottom, or along the side of your eCommerce homepage. Also, make sure your social media links open in new windows to avoid users exiting your website altogether.

Further, you don’t have to display all the social media handles you’ve created. For example, if you’re active on Twitter but haven’t used your Instagram account for a long time, it doesn’t make sense to mention your Instagram channel link.

Take a look at how ColourPop displays its various social media handles on the homepage: 

Social media handles on homepage
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‍13. Social proof to build brand credibility 

If you were to choose between two similar products — one with positive feedback and the one that nobody’s showing interest in — which one would you go for? 

Obviously, the first one. That’s the power of social proof. 

People are more likely to buy your products or services when they see social proof of other happy customers on your eCommerce website. In fact, 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Therefore, implementing social proof on your website homepage can add credibility to your brand and show your visitors all the good things your existing customers have to say about your products — which can skyrocket your conversions. 

There are numerous types of social proof you can start using on your eCommerce website, such as customer testimonials, product reviews, user-generated content (images or videos of customers using your products), and more. 

Take a look at how Sugru displays their Trustpilot reviews on the homepage:

Example of social proof on homepage

14. Personalization elements for a customized shopping experience 

In today’s overly-crowded online space, capturing the customers’ attention is one of the major challenges. Offering discounts can work wonders in attracting new and existing customers. But, if you want to make the most out of an interested visitor, offering personalized product recommendations must be your go-to.

Personalized product recommendations is an eCommerce tactic that leverages machine learning to display product suggestions based on the visitors’ browsing and purchase history, location, demographics, pages viewed, and more.

Your homepage is the most viewed page on your website. In fact, it offers an excellent opportunity to welcome new visitors with your best-selling products, new arrivals, or most popular products. 

Placing these recommendations on the homepage can make it easier for customers to discover new products, which can help boost conversion rates. Plus, it can persuade them to return to your online store because they believe you understand their needs.

For example, Star Wars Fine Jewelry brand showcases their best-selling products to guide their customers to their top-selling collection. 

personalization on the homepage

Summing up 

The homepage is your storefront. It’s often the first page a visitor will explore when they land on your website, where they expect to find key information about your business and explore your offerings. 

So, make sure every element on your eCommerce homepage brings them closer to a purchase and provides a positive shopping experience. 

Remember: If your customers can navigate your homepage quickly and easily, they’re more likely to return and make a purchase.

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