Ecommerce Growth

9 Critical eCommerce Homepage mistakes (and Creative solutions)

Too many online eCommerce websites make the same homepage mistakes. We list out the top 9 in this post + share creative ways to solve them.

9 Critical eCommerce Homepage mistakes (and Creative solutions)

If there’s a VIP (Very Important Page) on your eCommerce website, then your homepage is the one. The reason is that all your visitors will come across it at one point or the other—even if it’s not the first page they visit.

The front page of your website is like a compass: it directs users to the other important sections, helps them complete the tasks they set out for, and know more about your brand.

All this is fueled by a compelling front-page design.

It’s time to buckle up and hook your customers with everything you’ve got. This means doing away with just ‘beautiful’ eCommerce website homepage designs, and going for ‘conversion friendly’ ones.

Confusing navigation, uncreative copy, non-responsive design (yes, it still exists), heavy images—all these (and more) have to go. Only then will you be able to be a step ahead of your competitors and create a unique niche for your business.

9 Critical Homepage Mistakes that you should do away with (& creative solutions)

1. Audience Mismatch

When it comes to marketing, a big and well-defined audience is crucial for your business growth.

However — with the world being as big as it is — sometimes, defining this audience becomes tricky.

Even more so when you have a certain audience in your mind but not in your pocket.

When there’s a mismatch between the target audience and the actual audience, things can get messy.

Take, for example, Victoria’s Secret. After years of defining a certain set standard for their lingerie collection, they eventually had to wake up from this ideal to a diverse audience made of all kinds of women.

What did they do? Update their brand. Have these diverse women represent the company.

The response? Phenomenal.

Victoria's Secret new brand ambassadors

💡Creative Solutions

Use Google Analytics to know your REAL Customers

Google Analytics offers an arsenal of tools you can use to understand your audience.

With web insights that track user behavior and demographics, GA offers an excellent resource for keeping track of your customers’ age, gender, location, and even psychographic tendencies.

Research your audience and collect information on how they engage with your homepage, how they behave when using it, what they like or dislike, where they come from, etc. Go one step further and implement custom event tracking to define these buyer personas in real-time.

Pro Tip: Use Heatmaps to identify the elements of your homepage they engage with most. See whether any areas are underserviced or even not performing optimally.

Identify trends in customer feedback

Customer feedback is one of the best ways to know your customers better. In most cases, people will tell you when something went wrong or right but it's the candid comments that are truly helpful.

To make sense of all these, you have to get creative and learn how to handle the good, bad, and ugly comments. Pay close attention to them and try to identify trends.

For example, is a certain type of feedback more common among one gender? Or, does a particular group feel undervalued stemming from location disparities?

You may also want to observe the words they use and the way they talk. Urban Gen-Z will likely talk differently from towny millennials.

Pro Tip: Use your homepage to distribute content among newer audiences. Pay attention to what they have to say. By browsing through several pieces of user feedback, you’ll be able to identify trends and determine their correlating demographics. This will help you understand what kinds of audiences resonate best with your content.

2. Unoptimized Content

If you've been observing the Search Engine trends, you'll realize that SERPs are becoming more and more content-centric.

User intent is changing from pure information-seeking behavior to content discovery. If you're not optimizing your homepage for discovery, you may be missing out.

Remember: content strategy is GREAT. It's the battle plan for winning new customers and turning on qualified traffic.

However, not optimizing your content can cause it to miss its mark, undermining even the best-laid plans for generating traffic and sales.

Be it through giving it a query targeted title and optimizing your image alt text to earn you more traffic and conversions, optimizing your content is probably the most important aspect of digital marketing.

The purpose of optimized content isn't just to win search rankings but also to target the keywords that matter to provide value to your users.

💡Creative Solutions

Optimize with CRO

When optimizing your content for CRO, you have to think about what gets a customer to perform what comes next.

Got a form that needs to be filled out? Keep 3 - 5 steps so customers can quickly move on.

Want more CTA clicks? Include a button with high contrast so the customer can quickly move to the next page.

When you think about the next step, you’re more likely to build a high-converting homepage.

Plus, you can always use A/B testing to ensure you’re on the right path.

Want a cheat code? Use CRO360. A full-scale platform, it’ll help you build conversion pathways, optimize for sales, and eat your competition for dinner.
Optimize for Google

Despite the ever-evolving nature of Google, one thing that has always remained constant is the need for unique, well-researched, and formatted content consistently.

As Matt Cuts, WebSpam, put it, the Google algorithm “work(s) to find quality diverse results that help solve problems for users.”

By optimizing your content to help serve this purpose, you’re more likely to be featured on the first page.

Pro Tip: Pay careful attention to Content Compliance with Google’s guidelines, product specifications, and tailored touchpoints. Read more about it here.

3. Not Appearing Genuine

The eCommerce effect is still in its infancy, with core brands now embracing digital.

However, not everyone feels safe just yet — especially not with brands they aren’t familiar with yet.

And it’s a real problem.

For customers, they want to feel connected to (& be able to trust) a brand before they divulge their personal information.

When it comes to finding a quality website, the consensus is that customers want to see elements of trust — reviews and ratings from real customers, accreditations, social channels, etc.

But what if your website doesn't have them?

How does your potential customer know it's safe to give their credit card information and make that purchase?

How do customers know their data won't be misused and their privacy won't be breached?

That’s exactly why you have to go the extra mile and ensure your customers (both new and old) feel safe while using your website.

💡Creative Solutions

Show off the Trust Seals

Trust seals are a way to show your customers that you are a trusted brand.

In a sea of eCommerce websites, trust seals can be the difference between a visitor selecting you or another site.

When used correctly, trust seals can be an extremely powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.

Some of the most popular Trust Seals are:

  • SSL certificate (Offers security in digital communication)
  • Payment partners (VISA, PayPal, Norton, etc)
  • Endorsements (from third parties that back your industry)
  • Brand appeals (free shipping, money-back guarantee, easy exchange & returns, etc)

Pro Tip: Be mindful of the placement. While the payment partner seals are best reserved for the checkout page, endorsements and brand appeals work very well on the homepage.

Have fun with Video Testimonials

We all understand the importance of social proof.

Potential customers are more likely to purchase when they feel assured that others have also bought from the brand and have been happy with their experience.

Social proof is a major influencer in consumer behavior online.

However, most brands restrict themselves to text reviews, star-based ratings, and user-generated images.

Beyond lies the potential of Video Testimonials. These are a great way to bridge that human connection and make the new customer feel entirely at home.

According to this research, visitors are 174% more likely to purchase from you after seeing a video.

Here’s a cool example from Roku:

Want more? Check out eCommerce product videos: 30 brand examples to learn from

4. Unintuitive Navigation

Think of your website as a park.

Navigation comprises all those roads that connect spanning the length of the park.

If these roads are distorted, under construction, and badly connected, it’ll be a frustrating park experience.

Shopping works the same way. For a lot of customers, it’s their happy space.

With bad navigation, they’ll soon exit and possibly never return to your website. They may even go to a competitor and purchase the same product.

Poor navigation only helps a small group of super-determined customers. But good navigation helps ALL types of customers complete what they set out to do. 

Here’s an example. If your navigation menu just has a broad category ‘Bags’, it may help customers who’re not yet sure of what they want to buy. But what about those, who are explicitly looking for totes? How will they find them from the menu? 

The solution: thematic product browsing.

Segmenting your categories according to common thematic patterns, such as satchels, totes, minis, backpacks, etc. can bring users closer to the exact product they’re looking for. 

Like what Mulberry does in this example.

Mulberry example of thematic product browsing

💡Creative Solutions

Use Google Analytics to optimize navigation flow

Google Analytics is a great way to interpret and understand user behavior.

It offers information on where they're coming from, how long they stay, and even which pages cause them to drop off.

Reports like Behavior Flow and Site Search help you understand user preferences and how to optimize the navigation for a more pleasing journey.

These insights can be used to improve their experience by directing them toward the content you know they will find useful as well as building categories on the most relevant search terms.

Pro Tip: Be sure to include ‘Whats New’ and ‘Whats Hot’ categories to engage both new as well as returning users.

DON’T Hover

We get it: the opposite advice is all over the internet.

And we understand why — Hover is a great feature when it performs optimally.

BUT what about when it doesn’t?

In a lot of cases, Hover ruins the customer experience by not syncing with the mouse movement properly.

In such cases, it’s best to avoid Hover altogether. Instead, see if you can implement some form of hidden hamburger menus, card-style navigation, or sticky menus.

There’s more where that came from. Check out 11 navigation changes (across the funnel) to improve conversions

5. Hidden Policies

Purchase anxiety is a thing, and you as a business owner should always be ready to allay it. One way to do that is by making your company policies easily visible.

One constant fear for customers is that the purchased products won’t meet their expectations. This especially happens in the case of online shopping.

Moreover, they also feel anxious about the possibility of returning a product they don’t like or one with defects.

💡Creative Solutions

Be smart with Placements

To alleviate this purchase anxiety, you can make your return and exchange policies easily discoverable. This way, customers can rest assured they have a backup to rely on in case of wrong decisions in the heat of the moment.

Hebe neatly places its return, shipping, and privacy policy in the footer — a common practice for most retailers.

Policies in footer

Another cool idea can be placing them next to the image of a product

Policy next to product
Get creative with Side Hamburger Menus

A side hamburger menu is a great way to keep information easily accessible without affecting the design of your homepage.

With its uncluttered interface and clean navigation, customers would feel a lot more comfortable having a side hamburger menu that lists the policies.

What's also helpful is that a hamburger menu offers a simple and direct form of navigation (hence easy to use).

Here’s a cool example of the side hamburger menu from Black Diamond Equipment:

Side Hamburger menu

6. Ambiguous CTAs

When talking about the most important click on the most important page of your website, it needs to be equipped to drive conversions.

Ambiguous CTAs only confuse visitors; it makes them unsure of what they’ll receive if they click on the button.

Very often, they don’t even encourage visitors to check out the next step.

Such as:

  • Get grooving
  • Follow the magic
  • Join the adventure

They fail to convey what’s required from the customer and why they should care about it.

On the other hand, short, specific, action-oriented CTAs result in more clicks and conversions.

💡Creative Solutions

Know the Difference between Good & Bad

For those just getting started with copy, there may not be a big difference between “Get grooving” and “Sign up and Groove” but there is a world of a difference.

Why? Because the second one matches two of the three elements of a powerful CTA.

These three elements are:

  • Short: Keep your CTAs between 2 and 5 words. 
  • Specific: Leave out all extraneous words to retain the essence of your message; reshuffle your words to find the best fit.
  • Action-oriented: There’s a reason why it’s called a call-to-action. Communicate a specific action the customer can take and convey what benefit they can expect from it.

See the difference?

  • Newsletter? Count me in (short + action)
  • Sign up and save (action + benefit)
  • Shop the lookbook (action + benefit)

Check out this CTA from Hygge Box.

Example of a good CTA

It can improve its CTA from a bit vague ‘Get Started’ to something more benefit-oriented like ‘Choose your Hygge Box’ or ‘Build your Hygge Box’

Here’s a great example from Lulus.

Example of a good CTA

See how it pairs an action along with a product for their CTA and keeps them short, to-the-point and action-driven. 

A/B Test & Optimize

A CTA button is possibly one of the most unpredictable ones.

The colors, size, placement, words, movement, and information all make a huge difference.

From colors like orange & blue making big bets to words like ‘now’ and ‘get’ nailing customer behavior, it’s important to know exactly what does the trick for your unique set of customers.

How do you do that? A/B Testing.

A/B testing is a brilliant way of measuring the effectiveness of your CTAs. By comparing different versions of the same CTA, you can understand which one brings the best results.

Want to know more? Check out Convertcart. Experiment at scale across devices and deliver impeccable experiences.
Email CTA ebook by Convertcart

7. Insufficient Contact Information

Check any eCommerce website’s front page design and you’ll find at least one contact option within the first scroll. That’s how important it is to offer your visitors a communication channel. 

However, there are eCommerce websites that leave their contact options in the footer, waiting for when visitors will scroll down to find them.

In most cases, this does more harm than good leaving customers confused and frustrated.

💡Creative Solutions

Prominent Placements

A website’s front or homepage should include 2–3 different contact options. Displaying your phone or email id in the top right corner is a no-brainer. 

You can also play around with multiple elements in the footer. You can add a map link that can enlarge in a new window. This works especially well if your visitors are using a mobile device. 

Adding a clickable call is also another great mobile-responsive feature you should incorporate on your homepage.

You can also use your footer section to offer multiple communication options such as an address, contact information, contact form, as well as a FAQ section.

Like Ryder does. 

Contact info on footer
Have fun with Live Chat

Over 79% of customers prefer live chats for the instant response advantage.

So adding a live chat can work wonders for your homepage layout. make sure not to drown the benefits of live chat with poor execution.

Pro Tip: Long wait times are never pleasant for the visitors, keep it within 3 minutes.

Jackie Smith adds a warm and inviting live chat option. They also go a step forward with a hint of personalization by adding the names of team members who’ll help you out.

Example of eCommerce live chat

8. Half-Baked Search

There’s another area where retailers miss the opportunity to personalize - search

A generic search fails to lead the visitor right where they need to be and instead makes them do the guesswork to find out.

This often creates an underutilized pool of potential.

Instead, brands that do optimize Search seem to reap the benefits. With stuff like smart categories or rich content, search results offer a great platform for product discovery, cross-sell, and sales opportunities.

💡Creative Solutions

Optimize with Categories

An optimized search guides visitors through the entire process and doesn't assume that the visitors will find their way.

Let’s look at a real-life example. Suppose a user searches for LED lights. You can show the results and segment them under ‘All Departments’ (for users who are not sure about which type they’re looking for), and specific categories such as ‘Living Room’ or ‘Dining Room’ (for users who want something more specific). 

This way, you can save your new visitors time to wade through the entire product list and makes their search experience simpler.

For visitors who already know what they want, you’re simply adding a subtle cross-sell nudge that may induce them to check out the other categories. 

ASOS has a highly equipped search function. 

ASOS categories

A search for ‘Summer dresses’ not only allows options to choose from multiple product categories but also several other filters such as gender, body fit, discount, etc. 

Opt for Rich Content Search Results

Search results that contain more than just text are here to stay.

Especially with search engines as well as eCommerce brands picking it up, having Rich Content search results is now a rite of passage.

Also known as Enhanced Results, these contain images, quick information, links, and other media that offer a detailed look into the products.

And consumers LOVE it.

Here’s a brilliant example from IKEA:

Rich content search results IKEA

9. Missing the Human Touch

The people have spoken: they appreciate human experiences even when dealing with brands.

Customers like knowing there's a real person behind the scenes who cares about them and is more than just a website – it's what makes consumers return time and again.

However, many online retailers believe their products speak for themselves, deviating from the human factor.

This stops them in their tracks, leaving them unable to connect with the customer. After all, there is only so far that product descriptions and product content will take you.

Being personal is what defines a truly good eCommerce experience.

💡Creative Solutions

Get Loyalty with Loyalty

Loyalty programs are one of the most popular ways to exponentially increase customer retention and sales, especially in eCommerce.

By giving customers the opportunity to earn points, collect rewards and receive discounts, you can retain recurring customers and even encourage new customers to make larger purchases.

Want proof? Evy’s Tree is a fashion-forward brand entirely driven by a customer-centric approach. Naturally, they brought in a loyalty program to benefit these customers.

When they did, their customer retention rate increased by 58%.

Example of eCommerce loyalty program
Bring in the Customer Salesforce

There's a reason why referral marketing is so common in the eCommerce world: it's a true goldmine.

By encouraging and activating your own customers to make recommendations and promotions, you can not only accelerate customer loyalty but also increase sales.

Here’s a simple yet effective referral campaign:

Example of referral marketing program

Wrapping up

Now that you’ve mastered the art of creating high-converting eCommerce homepages, you’d want to recreate the success every time. You’d want a larger number of visitors who land up on your homepage to convert.

The best way to do that is to keep testing.

A/B testing is a great way to analyze what works and what doesn’t work. Try out adding and subtracting various elements on your homepage to see what clicks with your audience and what doesn’t.

To help you on your conversion journey, ConvertCart can help you with an unmatched optimization suite of 21 tools. Along with our A/B testing tool, you also get dedicated team support to optimize the tool to boost your homepage conversion rate.

Learn more about ConvertCart and how we can help you step up your conversion rates when you visit our website.

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