There is much ado about “selling” an e-commerce website within that initial millisecond when a shopper lands on a homepage, because losing a shopper in that moment will yield high bounce rates that shoot off red flags for web analysts. Immediately, designers are set off in a tizzy trying to figure out what could possibly be turning customers off from their efficient page design. Every company wants the visitor to feel as if he/she has stumbled into the fairy tale of all e-commerce websites, awestruck by the quality and selection of the products and also welcomed by the captivating site environ. An online business seeks to be the fairest maiden in the land, if you will, and companies should make this a big picture priority.
Essentially, the objective of any homepage is to get the visitor off the homepage. This means the visitor needs incentive to continue trekking through the forest. A recent method of ecommerce sites has been to embed a large scrolling banner above the fold on the homepage, exposing the shopper to the wide world of products that are only a click away. Though this method follows logically, many shoppers actually see these scrolling banners as picture commercials. Shoppers don’t visit your site to watch commercials. They come to shop, and it’s likely they’ll change the channel if your site is just another money-grubbing commercial.
Promotions are necessary on the homepage, but they’re most inviting when disguised as possible paths. Let the shoppers feel as though they have discovered the deals and made the accomplished bargains themselves. Streamline and clarify top navigation and/or sidebar navigation to make this process simple and available for shoppers. Show your featured sale lines above the fold, but dress them up as more avenues to explore, not promotions to ignore. Speak the language of your shoppers in true “choose your own adventure” form. The shopping adventure is first and foremost meant to fulfill the customer’s dreams, not the company’s quota.
If shoppers keep bouncing off your homepage, give this a thought. Put yourself in the shopper’s shoes and imagine the adventure that you, the shopper not the businessperson, would desire. You’ll see a difference in attitude once you’ve made your house a home.