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Store Optimization

11 Reasons Why your E-commerce Home Page is Making our Designers Cry

By
Isha Mandloi

The front page of your dropshipping store could look like this:

The copy got to us.

Or like this:

But instead, it manages to look like this:



This site is difficult to process due to the amount of information it puts out in one go.


And if you’re wondering what kills your sales, the answer is obvious. The homepage is a dead giveaway to customers about the reliability and ease of your brand. This homepage above screams ‘scam’ or ‘inaccessibility’, both of which are bad news for your brand.

If you think a customer will simply checkout a product right from the product page and never go to your front desk-- let me tell you: 30% of all sessions end up at your landing page. While a product page is extremely important to your online store, DO NOT underestimate your homepage.

A site’s homepage has four major functions:


1. Orient the new visitor.

2. Establish your brand’s identity.

3. Provide easy navigation to all parts of your site.

4. Attract return visitors with new content.

Before you add any element to your front page, ask yourself: Is this consistent with my brand image? Does it help with the purpose of the homepage ie. getting people to move further down the conversion funnel? Does it confuse your visitors?

If you think a customer will simply checkout a product right from the product page and never go to your front desk-- let me tell you: 30% of all sessions end up at your landing page. While a product page is extremely important to your online store, DO NOT underestimate your homepage. "You better use web design tools that help you create the best homepage and user experience."

More likely than not, there are elements on your homepage that do not work in your favour.

Here are 13 reasons why your front page sucks and what you can do to improve it.

It is cluttered with hundreds of products.

Why would you do that? Your online store is not a garage sale or a flea market. Sure you can add a few of your best products a little lower on your front page--but the entire catalogue at display with no mystery?

Nope.

Make it clean--give an overview of your brand. Introduce yourself, engage, and show the visitors what kind of products your site hosts.

Make visual tiles of product categories. Give context.

Sure, you have great products and it may seem like showing those products upfront is the way to sell them.


However, asking visitors to spend their hard-earned money on the front page itself is too big a request.

Margaux, the shoe brand, introduces us to their shoes by first explaining what they stand for, and what makes their products different. I gotta say, it is quite convincing.

Clean, elegant design that speaks to you before it sells the product.

And then, they give you the option to take a size quiz and a style quiz. EVERYONE loves quizzes. At the end of the quiz, you are given a personalized set of products that you can buy or save for later.

How cool is that?

No wonder Buzzfeed is so popular. I want to know what sort of pan I am, any day.

Now that is engagement.

While you do not have to go to such lengths to engage your visitors, you can start by saying Hi and showing an overview of what you sell. Do you sell apparel? Go on about the types of apparel you sell, and why your products are special.

Here is how you can display your categories and a few products at the same time!

Those graphics and colours just burned our eyes.

Why the shocking pink background? Why the red text?

We love colours as much as the next person, but coloured backgrounds make text difficult to read and information more difficult to process.


I am 100% more likely to bounce off a site if it has a horrific background colour.

Would you buy anything from a site that looks like this?


Whiplash.

While this may get you on many ‘Worst e-commerce sites’ lists, you will have great trouble generating trust from your visitors. 46% visitors are judging your credibility by looking at your homepage.

If you must use colours other than white or black, go for pastels. Avoid crowding the site with too many elements--use white space well!

Femme & Fierce use the pastel pink/peach colour effectively:

Colours that don't blind are our favourites.

Another thing to note here is the Call to Action: make it stand out! Use a differentiator for it: make sure it contrasts with the rest of the background. Every category tile should be clickable as well.

The bar is set too low.

‘Hunting around for ages for that specific product I found on social media and have now lost should be fun’, said no one ever.


No one has the time to scroll down and check your entire store for that one product they are looking for. If a visitor is searching for black headphones, there should be an easy way for them to find it on your store.

Surprisingly, an invention has been made to make it easy: the search bar.

Although most stores do have search bars to facilitate easy type-in searches, the searches are often inaccurate or ineffective. If you are losing sales just because your search function did not yield flasks just because your visitor typed in bottles, that is somewhat of an issue.

Tag your products well, so that searches slightly out of the box can also show up when visitors are looking for them.

The New Craftsman has a search function that is completely on-point:



Perfectly ordered search that started with vases and ended at jars.



The navigation bar is messy (or does not exist).



Online retailers often include a navigation bar, but it is either too cluttered or does not take the visitor to the information they require.

The 6 basic elements of a navigation bar are:


  • Shop
  • Blog
  • About Us
  • FAQ
  • Search
  • Shopping Cart

A drop-down menu for the shop section is an excellent choice.

Let’s go back to The New Craftsmen’s home page, and check out their nav bar and subsequent menu.



The navigation bar is the map to your site!

This is the perfect combination of informative and clean. Too many menu items, and visitors will be overwhelmed. Too few--they will not have a clear path to follow.

The About Us section is incredibly beneficial to any dropshipping business seeking to build a brand identity, and the blog provides extra value to visitors at no cost, making you seem like a trustworthy helpful friend!

Online shopping does not allow you the freedom to converse with your target audience, and lend them a helping hand when they are confused. Do not let that dampen your sales: simply provide the customers with a navigation bar useful enough to allow self-service.



You do not have categories. Needle in a haystack, much?

This ties in with a previous concern we had: products lying around, uncategorized, unsorted. Paving one’s way through a bunch of products that do not cater to one’s needs is a waste of time and effort. The process of buying and selling online needs to be streamlined if you want to be successful as a retailer.

Create categories for your products: even in a small niche, there are products that are incredibly different from each other and thus, need to be segregated for ease of use.

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If you sell shirts, separate them into categories based on the cloth they are manufactured with: your customers will appreciate the attention you have paid to the products you sell, and this will mark you as someone who genuinely knows what they’re selling.

The drop ship business is flooded with merchants who do not invest enough effort to understand the product and the customer. Be different.

In fact, I recommend that you create curated collections that revolve around a singular season or colour.

The Horse.com has collections specially created for ‘Gifts for him’ and ‘Gifts for your favourite person’ and we love it:

Spoon-feeding, yes.

Your copy made us fall asleep.

Competition is fierce, and you have to put your best foot forward: lazy writing or poor grammar is not going to cut it.

If you are catering to the US market, your syntax and grammar have to be impeccable to be viewed as a trustworthy, legitimate business. If you have products on your front page, and you are still using product descriptions that the dropshipping supplier provided, that is going to be a hard no for most customers.

But grammar is just the bare minimum. You have to write copy that incits action: words that elicit a response and practically invite the visitor to click on the CTA.

Optimizing your landing page is about cleaning up every element and extracting its full potential: your copy is your conversation with the audience, so you cannot afford to be dull. This is your chance to start selling them on the benefits of your product.

For example, here’s how Buffy, the comforter company hooks us in:

Give me that soft warm comforter NOW!

The headline uses vivid imagery, and coupled with the photo that exudes comfort, visitors are tempted to at least try the product.



Your live chat bot is impatient.

Customer support. Yep. It runs the electronic commerce industry, and bad customer support experiences have a supremely terrible impact on the company. No doubts there.

Buuuut, when your support bot constantly pops up at no request by the visitor, it soon turns into a distraction.

Have you ever gone into one of those stores where an employee constantly follows your around as you browse through the aisles? You’re almost nose-to-nose with them when you turn, and they will not leave you alone.

If yes, you know what I am talking about. If no, IMAGINE that.

Sounds unpleasant, right?

Exactly.

Your visitors are smart enough to recognize the chat icon--they do not need reminders at every moment. Take it easy. Let the bot make its presence felt, and then lie low!

Pop-ups. Please stop.

This is in continuation with our previous complaint with your store: your chat box might just end up being another pop-up.

Then there’s a ‘Kathy from New Zealand just bought..’ pop-up and a ‘Give us your email address’ pop-up and a ‘Here’s a 50% discount coupon’ pop-up and suddenly you have way too many pop-ups.

Whhaaaat?


When your site starts looking like this, you’ve got a problem.

Actually, erase that. If you have more than two pop-ups going live, shake it up.

The first pop-up should be triggered at least a few seconds after a customer has landed on your site--as they would need time to orient themselves to your store and get to know you before handing you information about themselves.

We have no idea what you are selling or who you are.

Your landing page should not be shrouded in mystery; it should give a clear statement of what your brand sells and why it fairs better than the competition. Most general dropshipping stores have a collection of products on the front page with no thread tying them together.

Even when a store is a general one, there must be a cohesive principle that it stands for.

Second, the lack of an about page prevents the visitor from understanding your story and the motive behind the store. In the age of influencers and personal brands, you do not want to remain faceless. People want to connect to shops on a level above basic consumerism, and you, as a retailer are better off providing the means to do so.

FEED’s About Page forges a relationship between the audience and the brand, which makes a purchase more likely:

We love a good story.



Keep it simple. Keep it accessible.

Third, where does the visitor find essential information such as shipping costs and time and where your products are from and other questions that might crop up before giving you money?

Have a page dedicated to FAQs and general inquiries, so you can keep customer support to a minimum!

The images take FOREVER to load.

And they’re just bad stock photos.

Images are key to making a visitor hang on to your site. If the first image they see is simply your product against a white background, they are not going to be impressed. There are a number of free high definition photo sites that allow you to use images for free--here are a few, listed below:

People want to see real humans interacting with a product. They want to see something new.

It is also relatively easy to make sure your images are compressed and resized to avoid 15 hour loading times. If your images never load, you can be sure that your bounce rate is going to be high, and your conversion rate low.

I get it. Not all of us can afford photoshoots with models to showcase our products, but what you can do is create a snazzy mix of the photos you download from the sites stated above and awesome copy.

This is what you can go for:

Quirky, eye-grabbing images and videos--that's what we say!



You have not optimised for mobile.

If you want to optimise the landing page for your visitors, let me tell you: by 2021, 54% of all ecommerce is predicted to shift to mobile.

Now mobile optimisation does not mean making things look great on mobile (although that would be excellent). The real optimisation we are speaking about requires answering the following questions:

Is your navigation bar accessible on mobile devices, and if yes, does it collapse into a fixed header? You certainly do not want it taking up half of your screen space.

Do your images resize to fit mobile screens, or does the user have to do a series of aerobatics to view your products?
Is it possible for the user to view the entirety of their cart, complete with the prices and the product on mobile, or do they have to slide across to get the full picture?

Just say no to pop-ups. Pop-ups and mobile devices do not gel well together.
Are your buttons big enough for fat thumbs?
Flash-native videos and audios do not work on mobile devices--you sure you aren’t relying on those for your website?

With these in mind, your ecommerce home-page will be as optimized as it gets! Let us know if there are other annoying things that homepages of online stores often do that kill your vibe: we’d love to include them in our next article!

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Isha Mandloi

Isha is a content creator at Spocket. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs build and scale their businesses. She creates insightful content focussed on ecommerce, marketing and growth.

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