As we enter 2013, we begin a series of tips on how to maximise your online sales. Some of these tips will be drawn from our Mastering eCommerce course, others will be inspired by new thoughts and articles that we come across online.
Our first tip, brought to mind by this article on “7 Unlucky Things You Can Do To Your Ecommerce Site in 2013”, is simply:
Don’t Waste Your Home Page Space
There are a number of ways to waste your home page’s potential: hero shots and distracting rotating banners, unclear value propositions (or none at all), irrelevant merchandising or even annoying country-selector splash pages when geolocation tools can do the job.
To put the home page in context: it’s the single most important part of your ecommerce site, the page that draws the most eyeballs. Think of it as the equivalent of the front page of a printed catalogue. In the days when we worked (during our time in ad agencies) with some of New Zealand’s largest retailers, we saw first hand that the front page is solid gold — items featured on the front page were expected to be the biggest sellers of all products in the catalogue. If they didn’t have that potential, they simply weren’t featured on the front page.
Similarly, the home page of your website needs to lead to more sales than anywhere else on your site. If it doesn’t it, change it immediately.
Let’s look at the front pages of some of NZ’s leading online retailers:
Nothing tentative about The Warehouse’s home page — and the top product panel rotates through a number of offers, in case the first three you see don’t attract you.
Another hard-selling front page, this time in the form of one-day-only deals from EziBuy.
Our leading electronics retailer, Dick Smith, similarly devotes its home page to hot product offerings.
And, unsurprisingly, we see a similar sales-centric home page approach from Farmers.
We could go on, but we think you get the idea.
Essential Home Page Components
What else should you include on your home page, apart from your latest offers and promotions?
Econsultancy editor Graham Charlton suggests 27 essential elements of an effective ecommerce homepage. In our view the ten most important are:
- Search box
- Store finder
- Telephone number
- Contact details
- My account / sign in
- Shopping basket / checkout link
- Email sign up
- Delivery information
- Accepted payment methods