Your eCommerce homepage is one of the best places to drive engagement, boost conversions, and reduce bounce rates.
But how do you build a high-converting eCommerce homepage—one that attracts customers to purchase?
The answer is a simple one - by offering what your visitors are looking for.
From a visitor's perspective, conversions happen when they take a desired course of action.
This ONLY happens when they find what they're looking for.
However, balancing your eCommerce business goals and customer needs is easier said than done.
In the era of eCommerce personalization, taking a customer-focused approach is your safest bet.
Time is also of essence here.
Once a visitor lands on your homepage, 15 seconds is all you have to convince them that your homepage is where they want to be.
It’s time to stop thinking like a company and start thinking like a customer.
Cracking the Code to a High-Converting eCommerce Homepage
Your eCommerce homepage is one of the most crucial pages on your website.
This is because there are so many things your homepage can accomplish for your eCommerce store. However, your homepage conversions will not see a difference unless they provide tangible value to the end-user. To tie all of these to the final user benefit, you’ll need to get into the minds of your visitors.
Hey, you'll love this: The Psychology of an Online Shopper
Here’s food for thought - all customers, irrespective of what they’re looking for, have these essential questions in mind when they’re landing on your homepage.
Next step: use these 8 pillars for a successful eCommerce homepage to build a conversion-focused homepage based on your visitor’s needs (and land more sales).
8 PILLARS OF A HIGH-CONVERTING ECOMMERCE HOMEPAGE
The secret to creating a high-converting eCommerce homepage is knowing what’s in your visitors’ minds. Once you overcome that— you've won half the battle.
In this section, we’ll cover the following points:
- How to map the answers to the key questions around specific homepage tweaks
- Examples from other brands that are driving better conversions with these changes
1. FAMILIARITY (help your customers make QUICKER decisions)
Imagine visitors at a brick-and-mortar store. What they will essentially be looking for are signals to find the products they are keen to try on or explore.
Now, imagine repeat visitors and imagine their dismay if everything about the store organization changes overnight.
With familiar signals and signposts gone, they will have to (mostly, unwillingly) spend as much time rediscovering the space and its orientation.
The scenario isn’t all that different for an eCommerce homepage.
And because shoppers would rather scan, it’s necessary that you place homepage elements in their most familiar placements.
Follow the design standards that have been established for the typical eCommerce website.
The idea is to offer your (potential) customers the option of using the least amount of effort to make decisions. (Yes, this comes a step before they’d even want to click that CTA!)
- The top nav bar shows “shop” and “about” on the left and displays the symbols for “search”, “cart” and “account” on the right
- Their above-the-fold image is actually a GIF that plays on loop and showcases their hero products
- The product ranges are introduced in categorical sections one by one as one keeps scrolling
- Very predictably, their footer displays company information like “about us”, “shop policies” and “refund policy”
- The brand logo takes the usual place on the top left along the primary nav bar
- “Shop” and “bestsellers” find a place more towards the left, while like the previous example, note that “search”, “account” and “cart” are on the right
- The hero image is towards the right above-the-fold while the accompanying copy and CTA flank it on the left
- The “rewards” CTA has a familiar left placement
Keep the logo ideally to the top left
This is supported by how web users typically scan a web page. The part they scan first is invariably the top left.
This is their first contact with your brand online, whether they have been aware of its existence or not.
When the Nielsen Norman Group conducted a study across 120+ participants to find out how logo placement changes user perception, they found that participants who saw the logo to the top left actually had better recall.
Remember the following three aspects that need to be honored apart from the placement - legibility, originality and messaging - if you’re designing a new logo or redesigning an old one.
Have the hero visual on the right & hero message to the left
Let’s get this straight - in most countries, people read left to right. So the most intuitive (read: instinctively familiar) placement of above-the-fold copy is to the left.
And the hero banner has to do the heavy-lifting of sending across a relevant message that the shopper can act upon.
This means that the visual and the flanking copy can’t be at war with each other.
By separating these elements for visual relief, you bring greater focus to each of them.
See what we mean in the example below?
To ensure more brand recall, keep your hero copy and visuals in line with your brand elements like typography, use of language etc.
2. BRAND (make your customers feel AT HOME)
Most visitors form an opinion about your website and make a decision about whether to stay or leave - in just 0.05 seconds.
The way they perceive your brand is paramount here.
Relevance and trust are the key factors that play a role in this phase.
- Do your headline and subheadings convey what your visitor wants to hear?
- Are they using the right terms that can hold the shopper’s attention?
- Do they communicate things that may be useful for the visitor?
- Does the ‘About Us’ adequately convey the brand philosophy?
- Is the SSL certificate in place & operational?
- Are trust seals placed at relevant intervals?
These are some of the questions you may want to ask yourself at this point.
If your homepage is targeting customers in the awareness stage of the conversion funnel, adding a customized value proposition may make sense.
With a strong and compelling headline and attractive visual content, you can compel readers to spend more time on your site.
Adding the unique benefits your product and/or services offer your customers can help them browse more, and improve conversion rates, on your homepage.
The banner on this skincare product website is surely going to catch your eye. It adequately conveys the brand's value proposition and offers an aesthetically pleasing addition to the homepage.
- Succinct copy that clearly explains what benefits you, as a user, will get from using the product. They also have an accompanying CTA “Shop Now” that induces a conversion plug right away.
- The visual elements complement the copy perfectly. The vibrant pastel tones are soothing yet immediately stand out, creating a pleasant visual sense. Keeping the product line visible ensures that you get an idea of the look and feel of the product and browse for more.
Example 2: Biotique
This homepage takes on a carousel format instead of a banner approach.
- When trying to convey a strong value proposition, a carousel format can be a valuable addition. This is because information can be segregated without confusing the visitors.
- The tagline “Advanced Ayurveda” is a part of the logo and communicates the segment of the brand. However, the specific benefits are not qualified on the homepage which can be a disadvantage for first-time visitors.
Bring a customer-first approach to your value proposition
When you create a value proposition with the customer in mind, it’ll seldom go wrong. Understand how your products and/or services offer value to your customers, and convey this on your homepage.
Use this template from Harvard Business Review:
What is my brand offering?
What job does the customer hire my brand to do?
What companies and products compete with my brand to do this job for the customer?
What sets my brand apart from competitors?
Design a unique value proposition to serve each of the buyer personas, or customer groups, you service.
Pay attention to the little things in your headline
A good headline is one that is crisp, to-the-point, conveys value, and is super convincing.
But a truly good headline does this:
- Includes a number (according to Debra Jason, these work as “brain candy”)
- Addresses customer pain points (goes the mile while creating relatability)
- Pays attention to SEO (what good is a website if it doesn’t rank?)
Use contrasting colors, such as Orange, Blue, Red, Green, for your headline. They’re known to bring in at least double the conversions.
3. NARRATIVE (tell customers why you are the RIGHT choice)
In most brandspeak, there’s a whole lot of talk around the USP.
And yes, the USP IS fundamentally the most important piece of messaging on which a brand and its products stand.
However, in our run to create differentiation for clients across industries, we’ve found that there’s something beyond the USP that brings the elements of the big picture together:
And the narrative is more than what a shopper gleans out of one message here and another there.
It represents the story the brand has created and believes in will change your life - one product at a time.
- The brand clearly takes pride in their “certified organic” status (as against many companies loosely using the word organic)
- The brand also relays a trustworthy sense by conveying ease of ordering and picking up, and even to attract interested shoppers to become subscribers they say “meet me at the inbox”
- To offer a flow to the homepage narrative they even use these simple action words on the left - “sip”, “subscribe”, “find” etc.
Example: Girlfriend Collective
- They maintain the narrative of ecologically sustainable throughout - in fact, to support their statements, they even bring forth relevant numbers
- They create awareness for those who are trying to and willing to connect with the sustainability quotient of the brand
- They drive the uniqueness of their products - made from old water bottles - into the narrative
Achieve a balance between selling and telling a story
People tend to believe less in a brand that blows its own trumpet.
But with a slight tweak you can change this:
Generate curiosity and awe in the potential customer by telling them how your brand became what it is - the reasons for its existence and what keeps it going.
A good story can always ease people into taking the next steps.
Talk about the impact your brand and products are creating - remember, most people feel the need to belong to a movement or a phenomenon aimed at the greater good.
Help people imagine more than they would on their own
That’s the only way you can have your narrative push them towards action.
Shoppers need a logical buildup of why they should consider you or even trust you.
One way is to help them think beyond buying the product (refer to the Girlfriend Collective example a bit back) and take them into the realm of possibilities.
Tell your shoppers the future they can anticipate when they engage with your brand or buy your products. After all, most shoppers buy products to ease their lives in what they think is the foreseeable future.
4. Inspiration (make your customers WANT to act)
Even if you have a great homepage to start with, you have to compete with a factor you’d not usually think of as an opponent:
Flagging attention spans of users.
Even if they’re serious about exploring.
Even if they are considering adding that product from your shop.
Is it any wonder that the eCommerce industry sees bounce rates anywhere between 20% and 45%?
This is why, how inspiring you make your homepage, can make a world of difference.
Example: Hill Wild
- The top nav bar features certain unique categories that instantly makes the shopper interested to explore/act.
- The entire homepage from top to bottom have limited sections so that shoppers don’t experience choice paralysis
- Their fat footer is split into two parts - the first features all their products and the second, company info. This inspires exploration and action even if someone has scrolled down.
- The placement of elements feels engaging, which is achieved through the use of unique images and intelligent copy - both of which also convey the brand
- Their copy is a real treat for shoppers - from “the fair alternative to luxury perfumes” to “fragrance for all”, they make shoppers feel warm, invited and inspired to act
- They entice shoppers to subscribe by making loyalty seem attractive - when you join, you “Join the Dossier Club”.
Get rid of unnecessary visual clutter
Because the first step to creating inspiration is generating comprehension, visual clutter on the homepage is a no-no.
It may not be instantly obvious but visual clutter could occur in a number of ways:
Too many offers with flanking images
Too many sections with product features ( and each section features countless choices)
Too many CTAs showing the way to many different actions
The truth is: the more you cram in terms of visuals and complementary messages (and even sub-messages), the more shoppers are likely to give it a miss altogether.
Include minimal elements for each fold. This will instantly improve scannability, readability and in turn inspire shoppers to take action.
Make the scrolling action short and relevant
Most of us have heard the quote:
Inspiration is like lightning. You never know when it will strike.
And like we said before, when it comes to the eCommerce homepage, inspiration has to fight with super short attention spans.
Our suggestion is: turn the short attention span into an advantage.
Feature only four to five aspects of interest (based on what your target audience prefers) across the homepage. These would have to cover both transactional and non-transactional aspects of user engagement.
Need some inspiration to get your buyers inspired? Read The Founder's Guide to Customer Journey Map (eCommerce)
5. PRODUCT (prove to customers that they can trust you)
Perhaps one of the most important steps in increasing conversions with your homepage: instilling trust among customers about your product.
To do that, bring on the not-so-secret weapon: social proof.
This is because your visitors will need some justification to invest their hard-earned money in your product and/or service.
If it was a brick and mortar business, you could have easily caught their attention with excellent staff or an attractive storefront.
Virtually, you can do the same with testimonials, success stories, badges, and awards. This adds the final layer of trust and ensures better conversions for your eCommerce homepage.
Know what gives your brand an even better boost?
When a celebrity (or/and fellow customer) endorses your product and/or service.
Example: Nature Valley
Even if you’ve never bought an energy bar from this brand, their homepage will surely entice you to give it a try.
- Celebrity endorsement. When you see a popular face like Daveed Diggs associated with the brand, who wouldn’t be interested?
- They use numbers in their social proof. This is GREAT because it not only hooks the audience, it also leads them to a more powerful message that actually gets them engaged with the brand.
This outdoor accessories brand nails the technique by flaunting its #NatureisWaiting campaign on its homepage.
- A great way to build trust is by showcasing your product and/or service in action. When your visitor sees a large group of people already using your brand, they are more likely to make a purchase.
- The brand not only shows how professionals are already using their products but also urges their visitors to share their experiences, creating a healthy social proof cycle.
Use numbers in your social proof
Did you know? There are six different types of social proof:
Influencer | Celebrity | User | Wisdom of the crowd | Wisdom of your friends | Certification
If you’re not using either, you’re truly missing out. Social proof goes a long way, no matter how you use it: whether it’s a celebrity-endorsed product line, influencer-backed banner image, or even simply the customer reviews on your homepage.
Display numbers. As we’d discussed earlier, numbers get customers to pay attention — even more so when it's for data-backed arguments. They’re more digestible, enhance scanability, and can even build trust.
Fun fact: odd numbers are considered to be more authentic than even ones.
Hook your audience with video
More than your promises, your visitors will be able to relate to your customers’ guarantee. That’s why customer testimonials are a necessary addition to validate your claims.
If they're in the form of videos, nothing like it.
Research says that your visitors are 174% more likely to purchase from you after seeing a video.
Start your video with a question. It’ll hook your audience, even if it’s not a subject they’re particularly curious about. Why? Humans have a natural tendency to solve problems. Use it in your favor.
6. MAPPING (make your customers' lives easier)
Once you have your customer's attention, the next step is to showcase your product and/to services to them.
The goal is to make them choose your brand over others'.
Make their search easier with an easy-to-find product range, simple navigation, and convincing CTAs.
This skin and body care brand stays RELEVANT at leading customers to their products the right way.
The drop-down menu on their homepage categorizes their products into new arrivals, body care, skincare, and the entire range if you want. It further classifies the products by category, collection, and skin type.
This gives visitors enough cues to find their preferred products. The extensive product display compensates for the small search button on the top left corner.
The best part is once you land on any of the specific product pages, there are filters that further help you distill down.
Moreover, on the homepage, they showcase all their range and collection of products with a CTA to go to their individual product pages.
The clean interface and light tones help make navigation easy without overwhelming the visitor.
The final icing on the cake is the search button which auto-fills the products based on what you type. This makes it easier for you to select the right product.
Once you move over to the mobile version of the site, you’ll find that they excel in the responsiveness factor as well. The search bar remains fixed on the top to make finding the products easier.
Tweak website navigation to your audience’s needs
Visitors always land on your homepage with a certain purpose. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave.
Focus on usability while allocating menu bars since 38% of visitors are prone to leave your site if they’re not happy with the layout or content.
You can also gather insights from your Google Analytics to understand the behavior flow of your visitors.
By noticing these patterns, you can devise relevant recommendations and suggestions to display at crucial touchpoints.
With these measures, you can create a user-friendly experience and nudge them to stay more, explore more, and even buy more.
Go beyond the product-based categories and build categories built on use cases i.e situations in which customers are likely to use those products (such as 4th July weekend, date night in, or festive dressing). This will not only help with cross-selling, but it’ll also help build a salience between the products.
Hey, have you seen this? 11 navigation changes (across the funnel) to improve conversions
Optimize your Search Bar for high-intent visitors
AND these visitors are 2 - 3 times more likely to convert.
Why? Intent. Match intent with a GREAT search bar that helps them check out asap.
One thing that’ll go a long way: autocomplete.
This not only helps save visitors’ time from typing and gives ready results but also shows suggested products and/or services thereby increasing their chances of conversion.
Another thing that works well: rich content search results.
By offering detailed information on the search query, you can prompt users to go ahead with the most valuable offering without having them go through each one individually.
Use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to build a human-like approach with the search bar. This neat trick will help customers feel like they’re interacting with sales personnel themselves.
Use smart tech to build a mobile-first experience
Here’s the thing: customers expect your mobile website to be just as good or even better than the desktop site. At least 85% of adults do.
So, it’s important to focus on mobile responsiveness when considering usability.
The best way to do that is to pay attention to how your visitors interact with your website through tools like Heatmaps and then devise a wireframe that is suitable for their needs.
You can also use hamburger menus to offer accessibility to the various sections of your website while also keeping it neatly tucked away.
However, be sure to make this prominent or even keep your main links as a part of your main navigation so as to avoid customers feeling lost and confused.
Look into tools like Adobe Edge Reflow, Wirefy, and InVision. They go a long way in helping you improve your website responsiveness.
7. CONNECT (show your customers how you can HELP them)
If your visitors truly consider your brand as a viable option, then they’ll want to be 100% sure before making a purchase.
In that case, they may come back to you with questions.
This is good news since this means that your visitors are genuinely interested in your business and taking it forward with specific questions.
These can be basic ones like “do you deliver in my area” or “what’s the duration of the free trial”.
When visitors get into deeper questions, then you know they’re serious about closing the deal.
This is the best stage to instill trust in their minds and communicate that your brand and team are there to extend any sort of help to them.
Adding diverse communication options such as a phone number, email address, contact form, live chat, and FAQ section will make it easy for your visitors to reach out.
Example: Jackie Smith
The Jackie Smith website is a lovely example of eCommerce done well.
- This website adds a warm and inviting live chat option that encourages visitors to engage.
- They also go a step forward with a hint of personalization by adding the names of team members who’ll help you out.
- They’ve also included contact information in the footer along with the social links.
The Ryder website displays the contact information in an optimized manner.
- They’ve included a whole host of information that addresses the most common queries such as Shipping & Returns, FAQs, Afterpay, etc.
- They’ve also accounted for multiple communication options such as an address, contact information, store details, and contact form.
Be available, above the fold
Contact information is one of the most important elements of a high-converting eCommerce homepage.
It adds an immense amount of trust to your business.
Keeping at least one contact option above the fold puts your visitors’ minds at ease as they know they can reach out in case of anything.
Use a sticky menu to have your contact information visible at all times.
So, in a panic-driven situation where customers need to get in touch, they’ll know exactly where to go.
Optimize for mobile
It’s important to optimize even your contact information for responsive design.
Make sure you 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.
Be sure to integrate your contact information with the supporting browser so customers can click on the number on their laptop to generate a phone call.
Use your contact forms as gateways to conversions
Contact forms are great for homepage conversions since they give you the option to analyze form submissions. They also open up more communication channels for you.
- You can send the visitors to thank you pages where you can add targeted messaging and CTA.
- You can also send automated emails in response to the contact forms, again with more targeted CTAs.
You can either keep the contact form in the footer or place a hyperlink taking the visitor to the contact form.
While you are using this form, be sure to also account for usable information through which they can contact you directly. While some customers prefer a non-interactive approach, others need to be able to talk to someone to address their queries.
Limit your form to 5 - 7 fields. Any more and there’s a chance your customer may feel overwhelmed and entirely avoid filling the form.
Enable smart chat with AI (but keep people handy)
Offer a live chat option with specific representatives available to attend to your customers.
This is crucial since around 79% of customers prefer live chats for the instant response advantage.
But make sure not to drown the benefits of live chat with poor execution.
Long wait times are never pleasant for the visitors, keep it within 3 minutes.
If you’re using a bot, make sure it’s well programmed and doesn’t offer generic answers.
The last thing your visitor will want is to repeat the same questions and get vague answers.
You can opt for AI support to ease this communication on your team.
Set up a “self-serve” chat by having AI drive solutions to the most common queries. However, be sure to also have an option for the customer to speak with the team directly in case of any more concerning queries.
8. UX (make your customers LOVE your website)
Do you know why some eCommerce websites do SO well? Simplicity.
When customers are acquainted with the simple features of a website that is easy to use, they’re far more likely to place multiple orders.
Gone are the days when flashy animation did the trick, today customers just want me to be able to close the case.
So, cater to this. Make your website simple but easily lovable.
Example: Big Haat
- They’ve made clever use of colors to contrast the CTA button and get users interested.
- They’ve ensured visual hierarchy is maintained with the eyes taking a natural flow and viewing all the information without being overwhelmed.
- They’ve used high-converting words such as “sale”, “buy”, and “free” to prompt users to actually seize the opportunity.
- Additionally, they’ve added their accreditations in the top left corner of the banners. This can easily put to rest any doubts your visitors may have about the quality.
Protect against information overload
Keeping the visual aesthetic clean and simple offers the visitor the space to consider your brand.
Information or design fatigue can easily drive away a potential customer.
A unique and catchy design will definitely imprint in your visitor’s minds so they’ll be able to recall your brand later.
Again, an intuitive interface will act as an incentive to the customer to take the next step towards conversion.
There are plenty of homepage design examples out there to take inspiration from.
Want something cool? Check out 21 Inspiring eCommerce Homepage Examples (not your usual brands)
Pro Tip: Make the process easier by offering quizzes that will help the customer get a personalized recommendation without having to go through the entire catalog of products.
Prompt action with your CTAs
To prompt your users to take decisive action, use simple and clear-cut CTAs.
Remember: the objective is not to be smart or flashy, but to prompt user behavior.
So, optimize your CTAs in such a way that they elicit the desired response. Keep them short, snappy, and simple.
Also, pay attention to the placement of your CTAs. 80% of businesses have at least one CTA above the fold.
Why? It serves an immediate purpose.
For high-intent customers, it encourages them to immediately find the right product and check out.
So, be sure to use your CTAs in a manner that leads your visitors to respond.
BUT don’t forget to use them sparingly since too many of them can easily distract your visitors.
Pro Tip: Use action words in your CTAs. Stuff like “now”, “get”, and “register” are known to show greater conversions.
Ensure page load time < 4 seconds
One of the first things that put off potential customers is slow-loading pages. Your page load speed directly impacts the bounce rate.
Research shows that if your page load speed exceeds 4 seconds, you can expect around 38% of your visitors to leave.
The shorter the page load time, the better the homepage conversion rates.
On the contrary, the longer the load time, the higher the bounce rate—as shown in this research by Google.
You can make performance-related improvements (such as caching web pages or leveraging AMPs) or content-related improvements (such as reducing image size) to ensure better page load times.
Final Word: Build a Long Term Homepage Conversion Strategy
Now that you’ve mastered the art of creating high-converting eCommerce homepages, you’d want to recreate this 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.