Did you know that homepages typically receive more than 50% of all visitor traffic to a website?
Given this, it is time to start thinking of your ecommerce homepage more like a landing page, and if you are having a hard time turning visitor traffic into sales, it is possible that your high homepage’s bounce rate is one of the reasons.
Bounce rate is the percentage of visits where a person leaves the website from the landing page without doing any further action. Small ecommerce sites typically have an average of 34% bounce rate while large ones have 9.4%.
There are many reasons why people leave an ecommerce site and not buy anything – slow page loading speeds, people see things that are unrelated to what they are looking for or there are too much attention-grabbing images everywhere.
Listed below are 13 best ecommerce homepage practices proven to reduce bounce rate and improve ecommerce site conversions. Read on!
Make a good first impression with your design
Did you know that it only takes less than two-tenths of a second for a visitor to make an impression about your business and another 2.6 seconds to concentrate on your site to reinforce that first impression?
That’s why between these two stores…
You are more likely to choose the second store. It’s organized, spacious, and feels like a lot of thought was put into its design compared to the first one, which is untidy and just uninviting.
Like in a physical store, ecommerce homepage design matters. People are more likely to “enter” a site that is visually pleasing and “spend time” in it than a site where the design can be distracting.
Every image and word you put in your site matters. If it does not impress your visitors, it’s an indication that your design still needs work.
Make your ecommerce site easy to navigate
Good navigation starts by finding out how your visitors will search for a specific product on your site.
Make your navigation simple and easy to understand, just like Chicnova.
Have your parent categories in bold and make sure that the subcategories are listed well once the visitor hovers over it.
Make the navigation menu easy to look for whether horizontally on top of your ecommerce homepage or vertically on the left. Run a split test to know which placement is higher converting.
Chicnova’s navigation menu also remains fixed on top of the page. If your visitors are already all the way down the bottom of a page, they don’t need to scroll back up just to find the navigation menu again. Ultimately, this makes the site quicker to navigate.
Help your visitors find what they are looking for with a search box
Whether your visitors already know what to look for in your site, they will definitely use the search box to arrive on the specific product page they need to be.
- Make it large and high contrast so it is easy to find just like how Barnes and Noble’s search box is.
- Have an auto-complete feature to maximize your search box’s effectiveness. This eliminates wrong spellings that yield inaccurate results.
- Like your navigation menu, keep your search box fixed on top of the page. Let it tag along with your visitors as they explore your site just like how Flipkart does it.
- Offer suggestions. Help your visitors get started with their search by suggesting some keywords.
Make your loading speed super fast
A site that takes its precious time to load is what marketers call a bounce rate paradise. 40% of visitors won’t think twice of closing a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Obviously, page load speed is critical and you should do everything it takes to make it faster. How?
Loading speed is affected by the different elements of a page, such as images, content, style sheets, and scripts. An HTTP request is made for each, and if your page has a lot of these elements, your loading speed will definitely be slower.
Minimizing the amount of loaded resources is the best way to solve this. Choose only the essential elements, and instead of images, use CSS everywhere possible. You should also combine your CSS stylesheet into a single one and use magnification to reduce its speed.
Also, implement Gzip server side compression and enable browser caching. The next time your visitors load your page, it won’t send another set of HTTP requests.
Ensure your design is fully responsive
And by responsive we mean mobile-friendly.
We live in a mobile age where customers are not only behind a computer screen making purchases. It is just a matter of time that your site displays perfectly on smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
We published a great blog on how mobile ecommerce websites boost sales. Approximately 2.6 devices are used before a purchase is made over a course of 6.2 visits.
Ensuring a responsive design is crucial given the multi-device path consumers take before making a purchase.
And aside from responsiveness, ensure mobile usability as well. Bounce rates can increase if your site is not intuitive and not usable on a mobile device.
Create a visually-attractive banner
92% of online shoppers attribute visual presentation in their purchase decisions.
And in the name of reducing bounce rates, catching your visitors’ attention with a visually-attractive banner is important. Use your banners if you have new products to sell or if you have top deals, limited time offers, and discounts to offer.
Check out these ecommerce sites with visually-attractive banners:
Make personalized product recommendations
Aside from making them feel welcome in your site, presenting your visitors with options that reflect their needs and preferences is a fantastic way of making them spend more time on your site and (hopefully) make them repeat customers.
Personalization is already happening, and you might have experienced this already with Amazon.
The other day, we checked out Amazon for jewelry and watches. Opening the Amazon website today and these personalized recommendations greeted us. These recommendations are based on the items viewed the previous day and by our browsing history.
You might have noticed that the execution is quite sophisticated and expensive, but small ecommerce sites can personalize their shoppers’ experience too simply by thinking through some relevant parameters, such as location, keywords, types of device that visitors use, and types of pages and products that visitors viewed.
Considering these parameters can help make your site move from one that seems to cater to a typical customer to one that has been optimized to cater to just one.
Throw in special deals
We mentioned earlier that it takes less than two-tenths of a second for a visitor to make an impression about your store. If you want to strike a good one, having special deals on your ecommerce homepage is a good tactic.
Nothing attracts visitors faster than the certainty of saving money if they buy from you.
Ideally, bring all the different ways they can save money – free shipping, discounted items and items on sale – all in one page.
Use the urgency and scarcity technique to urge visitors to move faster, just like Amazon’s Today’s Deals page.
Have a persistent shopping cart
It is a common behavior for people to abandon shopping carts, at least temporarily, to compare prices and shipping rates.
56% of visitors also use a shopping cart as an ongoing shopping list and return once they are ready to purchase.
If they discover that the items in their shopping cart were not saved, they won’t likely do the process all over again.
A solution to this is to have a persistent shopping cart.
A persistent shopping cart uses persistent cookies, which stay on a visitor’s browser even after they have already left a site.
Most persistent cookies have a 30-day window, which is extremely helpful for visitors who tend to forget which products they have added to their shopping carts.
Declare your unique value proposition
What is it that sets you apart from your competitors?
Not having an answer to this might make you lose a lot of potential customers. After all, they won’t invest time trying to figure it out for you.
While it’s easy to resort to common value ads, such as fast shipping, 100% return policy, and live chat 24/7, you know you can offer much more than that.
To find your winning difference, answer the following questions:
- What’s your brand’s remarkable startup story?
- What materials do you use for your products and what are the hidden benefits of these materials?
- How are your products made?
- Who makes them and who assembles it?
- What are the benefits your product offers that no other brand can?
Take time to build your unique value proposition and make it a part of your ecommerce homepage content. This will have a major role in making your business thrive.
Check out these sites and how they package their unique value propositions in their design, which is usually under their logos or on top of their page.
1800 Flowers‘s unique value proposition: Let us arrange a smile for you; allows customers to buy flower arrangements and gifts and 1800 Flowers will deliver it to the customer’s intended recipient.
Zappos‘s Unique value proposition: Holiday shipping hoopla; gives customers free 2-business day shipping.
Implement exit-intent popups
Exit-intent popups are messages that display on a visitor’s screen just as they are about to hit the back button or close their browser.
14% of Top 1000 ecommerce sites in the United States are using exit-intent popups and you should too. After all, it is your second chance to convert a fleeing prospective customer, which works effectively 10 to 15% of the time.
What exactly can you do with an exit-intent popup?
- Display a time-bound offer, like this one from Get Rooster. This is another wise application of the urgency and scarcity technique.
- Offer free shipping and discount coupon if they complete their orders in their shopping cart, such as this one. This type of exit-intent popup can convert around 10% and can increase to 15% if the email capture is turned off.
- Grow your email marketing list, like this one from Finch Goods. You can convert 9 to 10% of people who are part of your monthly email marketing campaign into customers by offering incentives.
Unlike normal popups, exit-intent popups do not interrupt your visitors as they browse your site. It’s not “annoying” as it will only appear once your visitors start to leave your site.
Show quick contact details
Especially if it’s their first time to visit your site, visitors have a tendency to leave if they feel suspicious about you.
To build on trust and to address the bounce rate issue, make it easy for them to call you by showing your contact details on your site, which ideally should be at the top of your page.
This is to assure them that you are a legitimate ecommerce site and you won’t misuse their banking details, share their personal details with others, and so on.
And for other ways to increase your site’s trust signals, we wrote a blog on that, too.
Use heat map analytics and on-page tracking
Heat maps are essential tools in visualizing exactly what visitors are doing on your site.
Insights derived from heat map tracking are used in identifying conversion problems and adjusting visual qualities of the homepage and other landing pages.
Ultimately, heat map tracking is done to ensure whether a visitor’s eye is drawn to the calls-to-action of the site. Eye movements are predicted either by mouse tracking or page scrolling.
Heat map tracking is helpful in reducing bounce rates. It guides how the calls-to-action on the page should be redesigned, where it should be placed, and it also helps marketers understand what visitors are looking before they leave the site.
We have just discussed ecommerce best practices on reducing bounce rate. If you noticed, these best practices are not only practical, but easy to implement.
Remember, your ecommerce homepage is just the beginning of the funnel. Ensure that your visitors are able to find their way to your product pages and proceed all the way to checkout.
Make sure that you are not losing visitors on the very first page of your site, too. This will be very helpful in increasing your conversion rate in the long run.
And as we always say, keep checking for the industry’s best practices. For every bit of information that you find, test it on your site and see how it will affect your bounce rate.