Best practices for mastering the eCommerce homepage (with examples)
This article was last updated on July 30th, 2023
It only takes 0.05 seconds for a shopper to decide whether they want to stay on your website or not.
That’s a snap of your fingers. A literal blink of an eye.
Needless to say, first impressions matter—and on an eCommerce site, that often begins with your homepage.
Below, we uncover the core elements of a high-performing eCommerce homepage and best practices for optimizing this critical part of your site. Consider these tips as you evaluate your own eCommerce website design.
The anatomy of a high-performing eCommerce homepage
A great homepage has several key features that work together to create a cohesive, appealing, and effective design.
Think of these elements as the online version of visual merchandising, a practice that physical stores have used for decades. In visual merchandising, retailers strategically arrange products in a store to encourage visitors to linger longer.
The same principles can be applied to an eCommerce homepage: by using a combination of images, video, headlines, and an intuitive layout, you can retain more customers on your site.
Below are eight core best practices for building a strong homepage.
01. Strong hero section
Given that it’s often the first thing that people see when landing on your homepage, your hero content should be clear, professional, and thoughtfully selected. It could highlight a best-selling product or a current sales campaign. Or, you could choose a more “evergreen” option that showcases your brand’s mission or personality.
For example, Wigs by Tiffani features a video that gives a behind-the-scenes look of a photoshoot. The video gives a face to the brand—showing its founder Tiffani interacting with models who are eager to try on their custom-fitted wigs.
Your hero content alone has the power to evoke strong emotions. Towards that end, think about the first thing you want your visitor to feel or do once landing on your site. Do you want them to identify with your brand? Jump on a limited-time deal? Learn more about the cause you support?
Be intentional about the visuals and messages you put front and center of your homepage.
Did you know: The Wix Editor includes tools for touching up your photos with filters, stickers, and other elements.
02. Clear calls-to-action (CTA)
A CTA is any element (e.g., link, button, hero text) that prompts visitors to perform a particular action on your page. It could invite visitors to browse your products, learn more about your brand, or sign up for your newsletter.
However you choose to use your CTAs, make sure that your CTAs stand out visually and are easy to understand. Avoid obscure button text and instead use strong, action-oriented words.
For example, Jule Dancewear begins every CTA with a command word like “shop.” Each command word is followed by a specific product category (“shop leotards”) so that customers know exactly which products they’re going to be served. Jule Dancewear even uses arrows and other symbols to draw visitors’ eyes to their CTAs.
This can be a very effective approach to web design, assuming you don’t overcrowd the page with too many icons. Similarly, you’ll want to prioritize the one or two actions that are most important to you. Avoid pulling your customers in too many directions, and place your primary CTA in various areas of your page to account for scrolling.
03. Organized menu of products
Your homepage should feature a clear and easy-to-navigate product category structure, plus a main menu that minimizes the amount of clicks it takes for your customers to find the products that they’re interested in.
The main menu serves as a primary entry point to your product pages. As with your CTAs, keep its structure and messaging simple and intuitive. A great place to start is by observing how your favorite retailers organize their sites. Observe elements worth mimicking, keeping in mind that many of your customers are likely in the habit of navigating eCommerce sites in a certain way.
Mirbeau Inns and Spas prefers a simple navigation bar, with just a single-column dropdown of products that customers can browse. Aside from featuring its main product categories (hair care, skin care, etc.), Mirbeau highlights a collection of “New Arrivals” and “Best Sellers.” Upon clicking on any option, customers are taken to a category page that includes additional filters and/or “search” functions.
04. Social proof
There’s no denying the power of customer reviews. Your homepage is a natural place to highlight some of your top reviews—plus any accolades, user-generated content (UGC), and other forms of social proof.
The ultimate goal: build trust. Rather than insisting that your brand is great, show your visitors what makes it great.
Wix users can add curated testimonials to their site, or sync social media content to showcase organic customer posts. For Instance, Planner Kate’s homepage includes a slideshow of written reviews. Each review draws attention to a certain benefit of shopping with Planner Kate, be it the variety of stickers, product quality, and/or shipping reliability.
05. Engaging ‘About Us’ section
While not a necessity, an ‘About Us’ section (and page) gives your brand an opportunity to tell visitors who you are, what you stand for, and why they should buy from you. It’s also a great place to feature something that’s unique about your business (e.g., locally sourced ingredients, sustainable packaging, etc.).
Izzy Wheels uses a vibrant, eye-catching ‘About Us’ section to educate first-time shoppers on the mission behind their business.
“Izzy Wheels was founded by the wonderfully colourful Irish sisters Aibhe and Izzy,” the team writes, “They now collaborate with artists and fashion designers all over the world to transform wheelchairs into fashion statements.”
The section additionally showcases some of the brand’s unique value props: “award-winning designer wheel covers” and “we ship worldwide!”
06. Free or reduced-cost shipping offers (if applicable)
Nearly 40% of global shoppers say that free or discounted shipping is a consideration when making a purchase, according to Statista. Deals on shipping are particularly impactful to U.S. consumers, with 90% of U.S. shoppers saying that the combination of free shipping and fast delivery motivates them to make a purchase.
If you're offering a shipping incentive, make sure you highlight it right on your home page. You can include a banner alerting visitors about any shipping deals and/or instructions for how they can activate the deal (e.g., free shipping with minimum purchase of $25, free shipping to members, etc.).
Timber & Jack notes that free shipping is included with DHL Express. They use an unobtrusive yet easy-to-spot banner to relay this messaging.
07. Cohesive branding
It goes without saying that your homepage should reflect your store’s overall branding. Here, you should use elements like colors, graphics, videos, and fonts to create a clear visual identity that shoppers can associate with your brand. So, whether your customers are visiting your site or receiving a package at their door, they should recognize consistent themes across each of your properties.
Mananalu’s homepage utilizes a blue color scheme and nature-inspired design to reflect its commitment to sustainability. At the top of its homepage, the company features a video starring Jason Mamoa (Mananalu’s founder) alongside people enjoying the beach, taking in a breathtaking view, or picking up litter from the ground.
The company uses minimal—yet powerful—text in this video to hit its message home, letting the visuals carry the story. The header video also matches the theme of Mananalu’s product packaging and branding, all of which play off the design of ocean waves.
08. Mobile optimized content
We would be remiss if we failed to highlight the importance of having full optimized content.
Globally, nearly 60% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices. This means that every page—from your homepage to your product pages—needs to look and function well on smaller screens. More specifically, it should load quickly, be easy to navigate, and ultimately offer a good user experience on mobile devices.
Did you know: Wix users can easily customize the mobile experience from Wix’s built-in mobile editor.
For example, Sticky Lemon’s mobile site is clean and clutter-free. It offers a lot of breathing room without requiring too much scrolling for the user to reach the “meat and potatoes” of the page (read: products). Key information is shown above the fold, and the text, images, and other elements of the page are sized appropriately for small devices.
Mastering the eCommerce homepage
While it’s just one page of your site, your homepage has the power to engage and convert your site visitors. By following these guidelines and taking inspiration from some of your favorite eCommerce sites, you can improve the shopping experience for your customers and ultimately boost your website's sales.
Editor, Wix for eCommerce
Allison is the editor for the Wix eCommerce blog, with several years of experience reporting on eCommerce news, strategies, and founder stories.