The pandemic-driven shutdown has been incredibly challenging for businesses of all kinds, but one enormous exception has been e-commerce. Prior to COVID, online purchasing was already on a fast growth track. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that between 2011 and 2019, e-commerce sales rose from just under 5% to about 11% of total retail sales. But in Q1-2020, as lockdowns began taking hold, that percentage surged to over 16%. And that was just the beginning: As has been widely reported, 25% of total retail sales between April and June were online orders.
This pattern makes e-commerce a winning strategy for both existing online retailers and brick-and-mortar operations looking for a way to accelerate revenue growth. Whether your business needs to refine its e-commerce website or create one from scratch, the infographic below, E-commerce Home Page Features to Boost Conversions, is a superb starting point.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HOME PAGE
E-commerce websites have many features that can make you or break you. Product pages that do a poor job of selling the product, checkout experiences that confuse the shopper, and lack of security that make shoppers reluctant to share information — to name just a few — will have a devastating effect on conversions.
However, if the home page is poorly crafted, excellence in all other areas of the website probably won’t achieve the desired results. Consider:
- The home page is where buyers go to assess the credibility of the seller. For smaller online retailers, establishing rock-solid credibility is essential, because their brands are seldom household names. A poorly crafted home page, one that has the feel of something created in haste or by amateurs, signals danger to potential customers.
- The home page is the most common entry page for visitors coming from Google search or links and mentions they see online. Thus, the home page is where the buyer’s first impression is formed. If the home page takes forever to load, if the buyer can’t find the needed information in a few seconds, a potential customer will instead click off the site and order somewhere else.
VALUABLE TIPS TO MAKE YOUR HOME PAGE CONVERT
What makes the infographic below unusual — and unusually helpful — is that its entire focus is on the home page. This is important, because the techniques required to produce an effective home page are not necessarily the same as those needed for interior pages. The infographic starts at the very top of the page, in the browser address bar, and works all the way down to the fine (but important) print at the bottom of the page footer.
In addition, the infographic incorporates SEO tips, something also rare for content devoted to website design. Even if you are not doing SEO, you still want your website, and your home page in particular, to be SEO-friendly — otherwise, Google and other search engines may completely ignore or not even be able to see your website when people are looking for the products or services you sell.
On the other hand, if your home page is built in a way to help Google understand what it’s all about, you have an opportunity to attract visitors who would otherwise never know your company exists. Take note of the infographic tips that touch on these SEO issues, such as using an HTTPS domain, placement of keywords and treatment of the header and subheads.
GET YOUR WEBSITE VISITORS OFF TO A GREAT START
The page format seen in the infographic need not be followed to the letter, obviously — a touch of creativity is exactly what prevents your website from looking like everybody else’s. Nevertheless, key design points such as ample white space, positioning of navigation labels, highlighting of featured products and specials should be incorporated using the techniques shown in the infographic. Visitors are used to seeing things in certain places, and if you don’t meet those expectations, visitors will vanish. On the other hand, if you give visitors what they want on the home page, they will give you something in return — orders.