5 Essential Traits of Effective Ecommerce Homepages

Liam Burns
Written by Liam Burns
February 05, 2021

The past decade has seen the retail industry surrender to the world of ecommerce, where shoppers conduct transactions online instead of in brick-and-mortar stores. And with a new wave of online shoppers sparked by a tumultuous 2020, these ecommerce experiences have matter more now than ever before.

Last year, more than 15,500 stores shut down, while online purchases made up 14.3% of total sales in the third quarter of 2020. With so much emphasis on the ease of online shopping, how do businesses set themselves apart from the growing competition?

The key is to create a positive first impression through an effective ecommerce homepage.

A website homepage is more than a simple gateway to your products and services, your ecommerce homepage sets a level of expectation for your customers. It lets them know what kind of experience and service they should anticipate, and can be the deciding factor in whether they choose to do business with you.

When executed well, top-notch ecommerce homepages can help develop brand identity, solidify consumer loyalty, drive sales, and generate revenue. For ultimate ecommerce success, it’s essential that businesses design a stunning and well-functioning homepage.

5 Examples of Traits for Effective Ecommerce Homepages

If you’re focused on lead generation, you want your homepage to welcome new users with ‘open arms.’ By incorporating these 5 traits into your homepage design, you can increase engagement, improve the user journey, and provide a positive digital experience that converts visitors into customers.

1. Double down on a simple layout

If a shopper enters a store and is met with cluttered shelves, crammed clothing racks, and no signage to direct their path, they’re likely to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and uncomfortable. Moreover, they’ll probably leave before even making a purchase. An ecommerce homepage is the same way. A clean, simplified homepage layout is integral to creating a seamless customer experience.

38% of people will stop interacting with a website if it isn’t appealing. By eliminating clutter and excess information, you help improve the ease of navigation. Users can focus on the most important features on your homepage, and easily locate the information they seek.

Target’s homepage is a great example of a simplified ecommerce layout. There are only a few main tabs across the top, so customers can easily navigate to their area of interest. A prominent search bar makes it easy for people to look up specific needs. A large photo serves as a focal point, drawing the eye to current products. Clickable images appear below in a linear grid to provide organized resources for customers to shop.

This ecommerce homepage is welcoming, relaxing, and easy to navigate, all of which provide a positive customer experience.

2. Commit to distinct and aesthetic branding

Your brand helps connect your audience to your products. A homepage that aligns with your company’s story adds authenticity to your business. By branding your ecommerce homepage the right way, you develop an identity and recognition among your following.

Branding doesn’t just mean displaying your company logo on the page. It’s the colors you incorporate into your layout, the fonts you use for content, and the tone you set with your language. All of these things reveal your identity to your customer base and can influence whether they want to do business with you.

Best Buy uses branding effectively, both in-store and on their ecommerce homepage. Their corporate colors of royal blue and yellow are instantly recognizable. Staff members even wear their signature blue as part of their uniform so customers can easily identify them for assistance. The electronics retailer has succeeded in transitioning this branding to their website.

From the header bar to the color of clickable links, they accent their homepage with royal blue. Ads use the same bold font found in their logo. They even include an image of an employee in their official blue uniform to further solidify their brand identity.

This branding is highly effective because, no matter where an online customer is in their journey, they’ll always know they’re on the Best Buy website.

3. Include engaging product visuals and descriptions

One downside to online shopping is the inability to browse products in person. That’s why it’s crucial for ecommerce homepages to showcase high-quality product photos with eye-catching descriptions.

Shoppers want to be sure your products meet their needs and expectations. If a consumer receives your item and discovers you posted misleading information, you won’t just lose future sales from that customer. You’ll receive negative reviews that may deter other prospects from buying your goods.

Product photos should be high-quality, clear images that display alternate views and zoom in on any special features customers would find beneficial. And in many cases looping videos provide a dynamic way to do this on your homepage.

The more details a user can see, the more confidence they’ll have in making a purchase. Be consistent in formatting. When you give all your photos the same or similarly themed backgrounds, viewers can easily scan the page to look for the items that best meet their needs.

Renowned jeweler James Avery presents their products with high-resolution images. Items on their homepage are all displayed at the same size, with the same background, and are clickable for more details. Shoppers searching their page know what to expect when making their purchase.

4. Ensure your every element is mobile friendly

Technology has changed the way consumers conduct business. No longer tethered to a stationary computer, people are now shopping from tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. In fact, by the end of 2021, it’s expected that more than 53.9% of all ecommerce transactions will take place on mobile devices. That’s why ecommerce homepages need to be mobile-friendly.

Creating a mobile-friendly homepage helps to build trust with your following. It shows you value them as customers, want to earn their business, and are willing to meet them wherever they are as they browse your products. Additionally, mobile-friendliness makes it easy for people to share your information with their contacts via social media networks. This broadens your audience and extends your reach.

To ensure a mobile-friendly homepage, minimize or embed product photos so they don’t bog download times. Format content so it isn’t cut off or misaligned when read on handheld devices. The goal is to make the shopping experience simpler and more convenient for your audience.

A site that isn’t formatted correctly for multiple devices can be frustrating to the consumer, and they won’t want to do business with you.

Bass Pro Shops understand their mobile customers and have developed a homepage that’s easy to navigate from any device. Content is scaled appropriately, images are quick to load, and there’s no disruption in the layout/design regardless of screen size.

Their website is easy to navigate for consumers on the go, provides access to the same features, and delivers the same positive experience someone shopping from their desktop would expect.

5.Use clear and direct call-to-actions

One of the most important elements of an ecommerce homepage is the call-to-action (CTA). It’s one thing to drive traffic to your site and gain some page views.

But if people aren’t drawn to take action, their visit doesn’t do much good. A CTA helps guide the user in their next steps and further develops their relationship with your company.

An effective ecommerce homepage prominently displays a clear button or link at the top of the homepage. To stand out from other content, the CTA should appear in contrasting colors that draw the attention of the visitor. The CTA ought to create a sense of urgency to encourage users to act quickly. Whether it’s a signal to make a purchase, register for an account, or share content on social media networks, the CTA is an important tool for increased conversion rates and sales growth.

Online cookie delivery service, Tiff’s Treats, grabs viewers’ attention immediately with their Order Now CTA. The button is unmistakable, posted in a large blue box on the top half of the homepage where people are sure to see it. The button directs users not only to purchase their products but also leads them to a menu where they can see a full listing of their offerings. The process is extremely simple, increasing the chances that visitors will commit to a purchase.

Perfect your ecommerce homepage with a simple and effective process

The combination of technological advancements and the spread of a global pandemic has culminated in an increased focus on the use of ecommerce shopping. To stand apart from the competition, ecommerce businesses must create engaging homepages that meet visitors’ needs and entice them to convert to customers.

Often times, the most successfully built homepages are a byproduct of team’s with access to digital experience analytics, a few key forensic tools like heatmaps and session replay, along with a must-have foolproof process to roll out fixes and improvements.

Discover an easily repeatable and effective strategy your team can use to optimize your homepage with The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Digital Experiences for Enterprise.

Topics: Conversion Optimization, Ecommerce, User experience
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