Browse. Click. Buy. All the benefits of a day long shopping spree, from the comforts of your own home, office or even smartphone! No wonder ecommerce platforms have been gaining steady upward traction for such a long, long time.
In a face-to-face setting, the seller can win over their prospective customer simply by conversing with them, and any queries, questions or opinions can be exchanged and resolved on the spot. In an online setting, a potential customer could visit and leave your site unsatisfied within the first ten seconds itself – and this time you don’t have a physical, personal method of making them stay.As a business owner it is very important to make sure you are taking the correct steps, when building your ecommerce site.
Thus, if you want your ecommerce brand to be next internet shopping sensation, you need to ensure that your first interaction with your potential customers goes flawlessly. And in order to make the best, and lasting, first impression, you need to pay careful attention to the features you will add to your ecommerce website homepage design! Here are some features your website needs to make your brand a success!
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1. Easy access and navigation
Like a shopping mall, your ecommerce site is also bound to have “aisles” proportional to your product range. If your range is really large, your product categories might get overwhelming and cluttered on a single page. Utilise fly-out or drop down menus to provide easy navigation, much like a site map of all the goods you offer. The drop down menu need not be the most prettily designed, but one thing it does need is to be straight forward, informative, and with minimal space usage and clutter.
2. Make searching easy
Most people visit ecommerce sites with a specific purchase in mind, and if they cannot find it on the homepage, they do the next best thing…search! When finalising your ecommerce website homepage design, ensure that your search bar is clearly visible in a prominent part of your Homepage. This eases the shopping experience and ensures you do not lose a customer simply because they couldn’t find something on your site.
3. Complete the shopping experience with a cart
The shopping cart or basket goes hand in hand with the search bar. It has to be clearly visible – but at the same time unobtrusive, so as not to intrude in the customer’s further shopping experience. Most online shoppers require specific features within the website in order to use it effectively. Customers use the “Add to cart” feature to get one particular item out of the way and search for the next. This feature should not lead to a shopping cart page directly – rather it should be visible in a section of the page on every single page visited. You can also include thumbnail images within the cart, so a cursory check of the cart can give the users a complete picture of their purchase.
4. Create a socially savvy website
Social media sharing is an integral part of your marketing strategy. Include social media sharing options strategically alongside your product offerings. Include popups or hover texts that encourage your users to share their purchases with their friends and followers. A ‘share-worthy’ product becomes a marketable one. Optimizing your website for social media increases its ‘viral’ factor, and also helps build trust among its users.
5. Provide easy product previews
Most shoppers are in a hurry, browsing through products when they are on a break, or when they are commuting. Whether it is due to lack of time, slow internet connections or even inability to use the site correctly, many a times users do not click on the product to view it in its entirety. Include an easy and informative preview in your ecommerce website homepage design - preferably when hovering over the product. A good preview can retain user attention, and even increase sales. Your preview can include a larger image, further details of the product, or even a description of its use.
6. Announce your Contact Details
A first-time shopper on your website is highly likely to view your site with doubts or wariness. Keeping your contact information like your phone number and email address prominently can ease the visitor’s mind, increase the trust factor and give them an avenue to contact you with any further queries.
7. Talk to your customers via Live Chat
Investing in a Live Chat Widget has a myriad of benefits. Your visitors can talk to your customer care team to clear doubts, make enquiries etc. This way your team can also instil a sense of trust and care in the customers.
8. Display your discounted products
Many shoppers only buy online for their sales and discounts – in fact, according to a study by E-tailing Group, this number amounts to a staggering 47% of online shoppers. The study also shows that 62% of buyers specifically search for products on sale. Hence your website should definitely have a section that is dedicated to just that!
9. Use imagery to your advantage
Ever heard of the concept of a ‘hero image’? The hero image is the image or banner that takes up the most space on your site. This image helps you build your brand and make a connection with your customers by displaying key information, discounts and offers or even beautiful imagery that will educate the viewers about your brand story. Your hero image should also include powerful copy and a call to action that calls upon the viewers to follow, shop and more!
10. Showcase the discounted prices
Make sure your viewers know an item is on discount by showing both the original and discounted price. This puts the viewer in the “this is how much money I will save” mindset, which has proven to increase sales as well as repeat purchases.
11. Keep a separate tab for offers
A page dedicate to offers will cater directly to those viewers who are only interested in discounts, making the shopping experience more enjoyable and fruitful for them.
12. Shipping, Returns and Security
Once the purchase has been made, the customer has a new worry. When will I receive the product? Is my online payment secure? What are the return policies? Provide your users with regular updates on the same, and don’t forget to include a “make secure payment” tab during checkout. And don’t forget to offer free shipping! According to a study by Marketing Land, 9 out of 10 consumers say free shipping is the No 1 incentive to shop more online.
13. Tis the season!
Nothing drives viewership, brand recall and sales like seasonal promotional campaigns. Make inventive banners and hero images for your seasonal promotions including offers, combos and discounts.
14. A section for the newest stock
A key part of your ecommerce website homepage design is a prominent section dedicated to the newest items in your inventory. People are always looking for something new – and keeping a separate section for the same will boost up your sales. Repeat customers especially will peruse this section.
15. Keep track of their interests
When customers are browsing, they can open too many tabs, or get distracted and may need to back track to a product they were previously looking at. A ‘Recently viewed’ section will help users navigate their choices better, and can also lead to increased multiple purchases and increase the total number of buyers.
16. Give your viewers the statistics
Displaying a total number of products on sale, the total amount they could be discounted upto – can increase interest in viewers and lead to longer sessions on site.
17. A website is as good as its app
A majority of online shoppers make their purchases through their smartphones. According to Hosting Facts, 97% of users abandon mobile shopping carts as compared to 70-75% for desktop users. Most ecommerce sites are too heavy to be mobile friendly, and thus it is always important to keep an app version ready. Display download links to these apps to give your customers a better experience.
18. A newsletter increases traffic
Dedicate a section towards signing up for your website’s newsletter. The newsletter is a handy tool in increasing interest as well as traffic. The newsletter can also be used to promote content, offers and discounts.
Every year, thousands of Ecommerce sites come and go, barely making a splash in the market, while the great players of the age like Amazon and Ebay remain reigning champs. The ecommerce website hompage design features mentioned above are sure to make your online business a marketable success, but remember to always do the research and find out what makes their brand tick.