eCommerce Checklist – Homepage Key Elements

The Problem/Opportunity:

Your website’s homepage is the gateway to your online store. It’s one of the most important page because it’s the most visited page of a website. You need to grab your visitors’ attention in eight seconds or less. Most ecommerce store owners struggle and make the mistake of cluttering the homepage with too many products, images and text, trying to put as much information on the homepage and see what sticks. The problem with this approach is that visitors get lost. A busy home page without good navigation does not help with overall site conversion.

The Solution:

Determine the most important information you want your visitors to know about your company. If you are selling products, be sure to categorize products so they are easily searched, found and added to the cart. Your homepage needs to explain clearly what your company does and why it’s important to the visitor.

  • Organize Navigational Structure
    It is very common to see top and left side navigation filled with everything that a site sells. But be warned that unorganized information can overwhelm visitors enough to leave your site. It is important to feature your most profitable and most popular categories. Help your visitors by shortening their search by making the navigation effortless and intuitive (the fewer clicks away, the better).
  • Good Content
    You must provide good content for both your visitors and search engines alike. Your content must include your company’s value position. Why they should buy from you? What’s in it for them? And why they should trust your site. Focus on the benefits for the visitor and less about why you’re the best. One of the ways to achieve trust is by having useful and helpful content, pleasing graphics and photos, and a professional looking site.
  • Clear Call to Action
    You can help your visitor by focusing on what you want them to do on your home page.  Ensure that all links that you want them to click are obvious.  Ensure that email opt-ins are visible and above the fold.  If you want them to make a purchase, make sure that the “add to cart” buttons are obvious and clearly marked.
  • Visible Customer Service and Contact Info
    Customers feel at ease when they have a sense of who they are doing business with. Provide detailed information about your company in your “about us” and “customer service” sections. Make these pages easy to access from any page. Include company photos whenever appropriate.
  • Visible 800 Number
    One of the easiest and most overlooked information to include is the 800 number. The mistaken thought of “I do not want the customer to call us” is the culprit. With every call, your company has the opportunity to get to know your customer better, thus figuring out how better to market to them. NOTE: A vanity 800 number can be cute and easy to remember, but be sure to list out the corresponding numbers. Blackberry users can attest to the frustration of trying to dial “letters” in an 800 number (1-800-ECO-MERC).
  • Visible Search Box    

The search box on the homepage is one of the highest used features on an ecommerce site. Visitors short on time are now trained to zero in on the search box to save time and to quickly find what they need. Ensure that your search box is above the fold. Size matters. The larger the search box, the more likely your visitor will find and use it.  Ensure that your search box works and produces good results, even if an item is incorrectly spelled.

In The Long Run:

Your customers are busy people. They want to be able to count on a company to fulfill their personal and professional needs. Creating a professional website using good tactics will not only reward you by converting visitors into customers, but they also help turn your one-time customer into life-long loyal supporters of your brand.

Getting to “eCommerce heaven” is a marathon, not a sprint – but you can get better every week.

By: Shirley Tan

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eCommerce Checklist – Homepage Key Elements

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