How to Optimize Your Jewelry Ecommerce Homepage
One of the biggest mistakes that ecommerce jewelry entrepreneurs make is failing to consider the similarities between ecommerce and brick-and-mortar jewelry stores and then forgetting to implement important merchandising and technical best practices in their digital storefront. Even though a brick-and-mortar store requires physical space, while an ecommerce store does not, the two types of stores actually share a lot in common. Ecommerce entrepreneurs can actually learn a lot from brick-and-mortar store owners.
Yuri Iskhakov, CEO/Chief Strategist at digital agency NANO, once told me something about storefronts I’ll never forget. To paraphrase him, many jewelry brands with a brick-and-mortar presence invest significant amounts of money into prime real estate for their stores. Their goal is to gain coveted foot traffic and the brand awareness that comes with having a beautiful jewelry store and signage associated with their name. Think about Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan or David Yurman and Harry Winston’s stores on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. How much would it cost you to set up a brick-and-mortar jewelry store in a prime location where you live?
Unfortunately, many jewelry entrepreneurs view ecommerce as the cheap alternative to a brick-and-mortar jewelry store. Yes, it’s true that setting up a Shopify storefront probably won’t cost you as much as a Rodeo Drive address. However, the attitude that ecommerce is a budget sales channel is dangerous and damaging. With ecommerce, you may not be making a serious investment in real estate, but you should be making a serious investment in website development, ecommerce optimization, and marketing. If not, how can you expect your target customers to pay attention and take you seriously?
If you owned a brick-and-mortar jewelry store, you would likely do everything in your power to keep that store looking clean, fresh, and interesting. Let’s say you have a store window in a busy part of town, and the passersby are always looking in your window. If you never update the window, then the regulars probably won’t bother to look. In addition, if your window display isn’t immaculate and clean, then you’ll send the wrong message about your store. Your ecommerce homepage functions a lot like that store window.
What are the best practices for homepages, and which features and elements should your homepage definitely include? In this blog post, we’ll share some tips. As you think about the following features and elements, remember: the goal is to actually get your customers off your homepage, so they can shop products within your site.
The navigation of your ecommerce website is one of the most important aspects of your homepage, since most customers will want to quickly leave your homepage to either view your products or learn more about you. If your homepage is even the least bit complicated, then customers won’t have the patience to figure out how to navigate your site, and they’ll go to your competitors instead.
When building your website navigation, you should not be creative or fancy. Instead, you’ll want to emulate the navigation structure of other popular and successful ecommerce websites and follow their standardized formats, since your users will already be used to using them. For example, most ecommerce stores feature their navigation menu horizontally across the top of the page, and the navigation should move with the user while he or she scrolls.
The most difficult part about structuring a main navigation menu is to keep the main menu short and concise, including only the most important pages. As much as possible, minimize your use of dropdown menus. At the same time, you’re probably better off having a dropdown menu than showcasing all your jewelry categories across the top of the page. In addition to featuring an intuitive and streamlined navigation bar, you’ll also want to include a website search box, so customers can always search if they can’t immediately find what they need from your navigation.
A visual story
If you have professionally-shot editorial images of models wearing your jewelry, then your homepage is the ideal place to display them in such a way that helps you tell your brand story. The large banner image that stretches across your homepage “above the fold” (the part of your site that’s visible before you scroll) is known as the “hero” image.
As I mentioned earlier, your homepage is your shop window, which you should change and update regularly. The designated space for your hero image gives you the opportunity to showcase seasonal items, new products/collections, or even limited time promotions. Commit to updating it regularly. Alongside your images, use strong calls to action and copywriting that support your brand voice, your unique value proposition, and the lifestyle you represent. The visual story should unfold as the user scrolls further down the page.
Make it easy for the customer to shop
Where should your customer begin his or her journey, and how can you make the experience easy and seamless? Of course, if your customer is completely new to your brand and your products, then that person wouldn’t know where to begin. For this exercise, consider the in-store experience. An effective salesperson in a jewelry boutique might approach a new customer and say, “Welcome! Is this your first time shopping with us?” Followup questions may include, “What can I help you find today?” or “Would you like me to recommend some pieces?”
Similarly, you’ll want to consider how you can mimic this same in-store experience for your ecommerce customers. Would you like your customers to view your new products or bestsellers? If so, feature them clearly on the homepage. Would you like your customers to know about your sale items? If so, call them out on the homepage.
Ecommerce platforms are becoming more and more sophisticated, and jewelry brands are able to offer their customers personalized experiences, based on the source that brought them to the site, their location (based on their IP address), and even their shopping history. If you’re not making your customers feel welcome, then you’re missing out on opportunities for growth and loyalty.
Compelling calls to action and “shop” buttons
Are you inviting your customers to explore your site? Now that you’ve welcomed them to your “home”, you’ll want to take them on the journey of your brand. Where would you like your customers to go, and what would you like them to experience?
If you ever read “choose your own adventure” books as a child, you may remember that, at the end of each chapter, you could choose from two different options. The reader could continue to one page to experience one adventure or to another to experience a different adventure. The curious and motivated readers would continue turning the pages because they were invested in the story. Similarly, aim to engage your customers deeply in the experience.
Shoppers who are new to your brand and website will likely be scanning for trust signals like product reviews, customer service information, and trust badges (certificates confirming that your website is secure). Make sure that your customer service information is clearly displayed on your homepage and that it’s extremely easy for a user to contact customer service. You may even want to consider adding live chat functionality to your homepage, so a customer can always feel confident and supported while browsing your site. Success indicators like awards and other forms of recognition are also great elements to add to your homepage.
Shipping and promotions
If you offer free shipping, then you’ll definitely want to display this information front and center, since your shipping terms can make or break a shopper’s willingness to buy. In addition, you’ll want to display any promotions or specials you may be having at any given time.
Make sure your homepage is responsive
When a site is “responsive”, it means that it’s just as easy to navigate on a desktop computer as it is to use on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. To make your homepage responsive, you’ll want to optimize your images for speedy loading and make sure the navigation translates to a small screen. Ensure that your typography is easy to read on a mobile device and that anything clickable is optimized for touchscreens, not only for cursors. A web developer can help you check for these things.
Keep it simple
If you have a small product assortment, then curating your homepage will likely be easier than if you have a very large product assortment. Too many products can make your homepage feel unapproachable and even overwhelming.
Have you ever stood in a grocery store or drugstore and felt completely overwhelmed by the selection of products for any given category? For example, when you need to buy a new toothbrush, you may see about 30 different toothbrush options on the display rack. If you’re not loyal to any one brand, you may have no idea which one to buy. You scan quickly for any promotions or special features, or you might even look for your favorite color. If you’re in a rush, you’ll probably just settle for the first one that catches your eye.
A toothbrush is a low-priced purchase, so customers don’t risk very much when faced with the overwhelming decision of committing to one. However, jewelry can potentially be a very high-priced purchase, so the feeling of overwhelm will definitely turn off a customer who’s on the fence about buying. Keep your homepage simple and set the expectation that shopping your site will be fun and enjoyable, not a stressful burden.
How do you know that your homepage is effective and actually helping you make sales? Instead of committing to one homepage layout, you may want to test two versions using A/B testing (for more information about A/B testing, click here). You may have an idea about what your customers want, but you won’t actually know what they want until you see how they behave while shopping your site. A/B testing can provide you with insights about your overall layout, your choice of hero images, your email marketing pop-ups, your navigation, and more. A web developer can help you implement and then analyze a strategic A/B test.
Your homepage is your storefront; it can help establish trust and credibility, and it can sometimes make the first impression with your customers. However, some of your customers may actually be finding your site through your product pages and not your homepage.
If you consider how consumers seek products using search engines, most shoppers are probably searching for a specific piece of jewelry and then comparing the results from the various brands offering that product. They’re not searching for your brand name unless they know you and want to shop from you specifically. As a result, your product page – not your homepage – will likely be the search engine result, since the product page is ideally optimized for a specific search term like “18K gold diamond tennis bracelet”.
In addition, when you’re tagging products on Instagram, that tag will take your customers to a product page and not your homepage (though that will rapidly change as more consumers expect to shop within the social media apps themselves). Even though your homepage may not always be the first customer touchpoint, it’s still important, since your customer will refer to it for trust signals, product recommendations, promotions, customer service information, and more.