If you think of the Internet as a real place. Websites would be like buildings, huge companies like Ebay or Amazon would be skyscrapers, but what about smaller websites? How do they compete for people’s attention against the Internet giants? Think of your website’s homepage as a shop’s storefront. Like a storefront competing with a megachain, your homepage must excite and intrigue the customer. To develop a great storefront, the following tips and information will help you revamp your digital presence in a way that will generate brand loyal and keep customers coming back for more.

Homepage

Your homepage is your business’ first impression to potential customers. A well-executed homepage nails several important areas: aesthetics, information and legitimacy. Brick-n-mortar storefronts have capitalized on window shopping for years and the same concept applies to your digital space. When your homepage is well designed, sticky and trustworthy, you’re on the right path.

  • Well-designed: For an optimal user experience, place key information in easy to find places. Users want to quickly navigate to information like deals, sales, pricing and clear purchasing instructions.
  • Sticky: You want your visitors to stick around (i.e. sticky pages). Helpful information needs to be laid out neatly and in a way that is intuitive for the visitor to find.
  • Trustworthy: You want customers to feel safe on your site. To impress a level of security, consider an SSL Certificateon your homepage. Having an SSL Certificate demonstrates to your customers that their information is safe.

Another important step to improve user experience is having a mobile-friendly layout. Since more and more online shopping is done via mobile devices, testing tools like BrowserStack are key to ensuring an optimal experience across devices. Try to view your homepage as if you were seeing it for the first time.

Promotion

After your homepage/storefront has caught a potential customer’s attention, the next objective is to get visitors to look around. It’s up to your homepage to draw users into your site. Promoting discounts, deals, products and services is a great way to get people to start exploring. Know what your customers are searching for and put it in high visibility locations (a banner on the homepage of your website).

While your homepage does the heavy lifting of drawing customers in, e-mails and social media are powerful tools for creating excitement. Limited-time deals are a great way of gaining attention and building excitement. A sale with an expiration date will get more attention than a blanket 10% off offer. Plus, your customers will check back frequently for more deals and offers.

Social media platforms offer word-of-mouth marketing. Try hosting contests for products or services that require fans to share and tag their friends on social media. It helps speed up how fast word spreads on your deals and grows brand awareness to new demographics. One important factor to consider is choosing the correct hashtag to accompany your social media contest so that it trends online.

During your promotion phase, interact with your customers on your website or social media pages as often as possible. Reply to fans’ comments and use response emojis to convey the personality of your brand. Promote testimonials as a way to build trust for new customers. It’s the equivalent of a happy customer chatting in the checkout line with others.

Social Media

Use social media as an extension of your website and brand. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have modes that can engage your followers. Real-time live video chats and interactive conversations allows brands to attach a face to the page and connect on a personal level. Some great starter ideas for live video include showing followers behind-the-scenes footage of how products or merchandise is made or giving shout-outs to company staff and founders. Invite guest experts to discuss trends and ideas. Use “going live” to make your brand stand out against your competitors.

Follow-up

You can, and should, still engage with your customers even after they have left your website or completed a purchase. Send customers a follow-up “thank you” email, either for a purchase or for just visiting your site. Think of it as your store welcoming and thanking a customer for “stopping by.” Post-purchase interactions also provide an opportunity to follow through on important user experience questions. Ask about the online shopping experience on your site/ would they recommend any changes? Do they have any ideas on how to improve the process? Just as importantly, follow-up on abandoned carts. Why was the purchase not completed? Was the customer frustrated with their experience? A follow-up email allows you to reengage customers who may be on the fence about a purchase. Consider offering discounts on future purchases, loyalty programs or more as an incentive to come back and continue to shop your brand.

When everything’s a click away, your website design must offer a streamlined, easy-to-use and engaging user experience. Your homepage offers a plethora of opportunities to engage your visitors, develop brand loyalty and convert “just looking” shoppers into loyal brand enthusiasts.