If you were to think of the Internet as a real place. Websites would be like shops or buildings, huge companies like Ebay and Amazon would be skyscrapers, and the smaller business would be your local shops. But, how do they compete for people’s attention against the big Internet giants?

If you think of your website’s homepage as a shop’s storefront competing with a megachain, your homepage should excite and intrigue the customer. To create a fantastic storefront, the following tips will assist you in updating your digital presence in a way that will generate brand loyal and keep customers coming back for more.

Homepage

Your homepage is your customer’s first impression of your business, a well-executed homepage has several important areas: design, content and legitimacy. Brick-n-mortar storefronts have capitalised on window shopping for years and the same concept applies to your website. When you have a well-designed home page consumers instantly know you are trust worthy and are likes to stay on your website longer.

  • Well-designed: For a great user experience (UX), place key information in easy to find and navigate places. Users should be able 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 intuitive for the visitor to find.
  • Trustworthy: Customers want to feel safe on your site. To impress a level of security, consider an SSL Certificate on your homepage. Having an SSL Certificate demonstrates that the information you capture is safe.

Another important step when designing a website is to ensure that you have a mobile-friendly layout. Since an increasing amount of online shopping is done via mobile devices, testing tools like BrowserStack are key to ensuring an optimal experience across mobile devices. When reviewing your site always analyze it 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. Your homepage needs to draw users into your site. Having discounts, deals, products and services is a great way to get people to start exploring. Have a think about 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 all the heavy lifting of drawing customers in, e-mails and social media are powerful tools for creating excitement and continued engagement with your customer. Limited-time deals build excitement as opposed a blanket 10% off offer. Plus, your customers will check back frequently for more deals and offers. You could even offer a discount for signing up and joining a mailing list, this way you can email people later with deals and new products.

Social media platforms offer word-of-mouth marketing, a promotion that require fans to share and tag their friends on social media is a great way to speed up how fast word spreads and grows brand awareness to new demographics. An important factor to consider is choosing the correct hashtag to accompany your social media contest so that it trends online.

During your promotion phase make it a habit to interact with your customers on your website and social media pages. 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. 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?  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 or inviting them to join your loyalty program as an incentive to come back and shop your brand.

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