Before merchandisers can truly assess the pros and cons of their website landing pages, Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners, says there is one key concept they must master: That their baby – their landing page creation – is in all actuality, ugly. It’s a hard thing for a concerned and loving parent to fully comprehend, but before you can make “your baby” the best it can be, know that it too has flaws.
In a recent Merch ’12 session on the 5 deadly sins of e-commerce landing pages, Ash shared his views on the major fails that take customers away from the main point of visiting: to buy. Are you committing one of these no-no’s?
Too many choices: How many clickable links do you have on your landing page? What exactly do you want your online visitor to actually do once he or she arrives? Don’t forget that the purpose of the homepage is to get your customer off the homepage – don’t confuse them with too many options. Clear the thicket. Have a small number of categories to make the options obvious.
Using technological gimmicks: Do you have a product zoom that takes over the page and covers up your pathway to purchase? If so, you’re missing the goal of a product page – to get the product in the cart. If the technology is not improving customer experience, don’t do it.
Beating the big drum: Is your current summer campaign taking over the whole homepage, like Godzilla stepping on everything else that matters? According to Ash, your homepage should not be about the campaign, it should be about clear categories. Is your branding team pushing hard for a full homepage takeover? Easy fix: Do a test with a only a giant campaign image and one with added easy-to-use navigation. See which works best.
Unclear call to action: Does your landing page contain ads, product shots, copy and buttons all with the same weight and in the same color? If so, it’s probably unclear what the process or call to action for your customer actually is. As Ash says, “If it’s not obvious, you’re losing money.” To get a better grip on how customers are traversing your site, don’t hesitate to use predictive technology to view hotspots of your page and then use the takeways to rework the current layout. A good point from Ash: “If everything is important, then nothing is important.”
Having multiple personalities: Does your homepage leverage a rotating banner? If so, it may be confusing to customers to figure out what your company is all about. These types of moving marketing tactics say: “I don’t know what people want, so I’m going to rotate a few options and see what sticks.” Rotating banners also show that you’ve advocated editorial responsibility – if something is truly important, figure out how much real estate it deserves and make it happen. Secondly, large files and flash add load time. Ash noted that Google found an extra .4 second load time will decrease conversion rate by 15%. Remember, large files are self-inflicted.