Home Page Design
Technote on how to optimize the home page of your StoreFront shops because the first impression is what counts
The saying ‘You only have one chance to make a good first impression’ also applies to websites. It makes the home page one of the most important pages of your web-to-print stores. When the home page looks great and inspires confidence, your online sales are off to a good start. This document provides tips and tricks for optimizing the home page of Apogee StoreFront and Asanti StoreFront web-2-print shops. It makes a clear distinction between public stores, which anyone can visit without the need to have an account, and private password-protected shops created for a specific business customer or market.
The relative importance of the home page
Twenty years ago the home page of a site was crucial because that was the page people typically visited first. On most websites as well as public e-commerce stores this is no longer true. People find a link on another website, click a search result or follow a link in their social media feed. As a result, they end up directly on a product page in your store.
For public stores, this means every single page must contain all the information that a shopper needs to confidently purchase products. You cannot afford to provide essential information only on the home page. If users have to look elsewhere to find out which credit cards are supported or find basic shipping information, you may already have lost them. That means you should use a banner, or better still a custom page footer, to make sure every page contains all the basics.
This basic information should include:
- Who you are: the company name, address, phone number, VAT registration number, etc.
- Payment information, such as the supported debit and credit cardsHow shipping is handled: duration, cost, available options, etc.
- Information on deals or promotions
- Trustmarks are small images or logos that show a security guarantee by an external party indicating that it is safe to shop on your site. Environmental icons that indicate you use sustainable FSC paper or take other measures to be climate neutral can also be important to customers.
It pays to spend time fine-tuning all this content. A well-designed footer is essential for the conversion rate of your store!
In private password-protected stores, the home page is still the main landing page. Given that you are the preferred supplier, there is less need to include information about your company on the home page. However, basic information about ordering and shipping should still be covered.
Promote your products and service
The home page provides easy access to all your product categories but it still makes sense to add extra, direct links to the most frequently ordered products or to special offers. The left-hand column is ideally suited for this.
You are not limited to showing links to products or product categories. You can also use links to so-called ‘saved searches’. Suppose your store contains a number of products that all have the tag ‘calendar’ associated with them. All of these products can be retrieved by searching for the keyword ‘calendar’. The URL for these search results looks like this: HTTP://<YourShopURL>/web-to-print/search.ep?keyWords=calendar. You can use a link to this URL to immediately show shoppers all of the calendars in your shop.
Even if your store offers a wide product range, customers might not find what they are looking for. So the store footer should invite prospects to get in touch with your sales people for a custom offer. Don’t use one of those generic ‘call center’ images to highlight your personal service. Use a real picture of one of your people or list their names to add a personal touch.
Engage your customers
In a private B-2-B store, your customers will use their store whenever they need to order products, but that doesn’t mean the store should be a static site that hardly changes over time. The easiest way to add some pizazz to such a store is by embedding a Twitter feed on the home page. Ideally it shows the tweets of the company for which you created the store. If they are not active on social media, ask the marketing team of your client if there is an industry specific Twitter feed that is relevant to their employees. Each time users visits the store, the Twitter stream shows new content, making the home page a more interesting page to visit.
Adding a Twitter feed is not recommended for public stores, unless the tweets only refer to products that can be ordered in the store. Any tweets that point to pages outside the store can cause your visitors to leave your shop. Instead we recommend that you use a service like AddThis or ShareThis to add social media buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other platforms to your store.
Since an e-mail newsletter is one of the most cost effective ways of reaching out to people and triggering interest in your products, you should also consider adding a sign-up form for your e-mail newsletter to the home page of public stores. MailChimp, among others, allow you to create a sign-up form in just a few minutes. That code can then be added to the StoreFront home page, either in the text area to the left or in the footer of the page.
You can allow store visitors to interact directly with your team using a chatbox. Services like ZenDesk Chat can easily be integrated into a store but implementing chat is something you have to consider carefully. Users rightfully expect an immediate reply when they type a question in the chat box. This can put a strain on your team or it can backfire if users don’t get instant feedback. Outsourcing chat might be an option.
Minimize the impact of non-essential information
One common mistake we see in many stores is the use of a huge hero image or oversized banner at the top of the page. While such images may be visually appealing they push the content that you want to promote – your products! – to the lower part of the page. We’ve seen stores where users have to scroll before they can even see what you have to offer. Using a banner or promotional image makes sense but don’t overdo it.
There are also way too many stores that show images that are relevant to a printer but not to their customers. Do not use images of presses, finishing equipment or a production hall in a banner unless you actually sell printing equipment or real estate. Show images of finished products and examples of how those products can be used by your customers instead.