What Not to Do on the Homepage: UX Advice for Fashion Retail 

The homepage is often a key webpage for direct and organic search channels for players in the retail fashion industry. In addition to being a crucial step in the browsing process for users, it’s also an opportunity for businesses to introduce and showcase their brand identity through editorials and fashion trends.

However, according to the data we collected in Q1 of 2019, fashion retail homepage bounce rates were as high as 40% across all devices. Users also still spend an average session time of 7min on desktop and 3min 41s on mobile. (Remember, Contentsquare measures bounce rate as having only seen the single page and leaving the site). 

It can be difficult to know what kinds of design iterations will help prevent users from exiting without having viewed at least a few product pages. It’s also impossible to create the perfect homepage, but we have some great tips to follow if you’re looking to improve the design of your fashion eCommerce homepage. 

Don’t place text on cluttered areas of images

Although images and photography are crucial for communicating brand identity and editorial content, make sure you choose images that are text-friendly. Place text over emptier areas of the image, change the image, or place text on an overlay. Always use white text unless brand guidelines say otherwise. Users tend to skip over text that is too long, too small, or just difficult to read. Keep in mind: any information must be easy to digest at a fast pace, especially for mobile users.

Don’t make the hero image the full length of the page

If you’re showcasing your Fall/Winter looks, consider using a static banner —a prominent, single banner on the page that does not have rotating content, one that allows other content to be seen above the fold. We often find the exposure rate — how far down the page visitors scroll — drops drastically below the fold line. 

A hero image that spans the full length of the page could mislead users into thinking there is no other content. Because the average length of mobile pages is around 3,400px, we need to encourage users as much as possible to scroll past the fold line.

Don’t automate carousels

If you’re showcasing new collections or promoting sitewide discounts, avoid automatically rotating slides within the carousel. Instead, use static carousels that do not include more than three slides to allow users an opportunity to digest both the image and information in each slide. Users should be able to use arrows to easily move from one slide to another. 

Although there is a big debate in the design world over whether carousels are effective, we see much less exposure and engagement on the second and third slides. Automating carousels can rob users of control over the experience and as a result, they are more likely to ignore it if the slide moves too quickly for them to read.

Don’t hide primary CTAs or category links below the fold

Instead, make sure they are clearly above the fold line; try placing them on an uncluttered area of the image. You want to encourage users to immediately begin browsing, whether it leads them to a category page or list page for product catalogs that are currently being prioritized. 

Try placing a horizontal category slider at the top of the page and evaluate whether that improves your users’ browsing process. 

 

 

Showcase editorial content that is space-conscious and easy to interact with

Make sure that any editorial images on the homepage lead the users to specific categories, seasonal collections, or product pages. Giving them a purpose beyond aesthetics encourages users to explore beyond just the homepage and can help increase session time.

Here is a great example from Ralph Lauren:

 

 

The above image on the left showcases the bag as both aesthetic and functional, enticing users with beautiful photography, while leading them to the product page. The text is succinct, easy-to-read, and placed on an uncluttered area of the image. 

The carousel placed on the right provides even more options for the user to view additional products for the upcoming season. Both the image and carousel do not extend past the screen, making it easy to view. Part of the content of the next section is viewable, avoiding the false bottom and encouraging users to scroll further.

Making design iterations to your site never ends. As user behaviors continue to evolve faster than ever, it’s important to continuously evaluate and reassess the performance of individual elements on your pages. It’s important to make design changes based on the needs of your user base, not the general users of the industry. 

Don’t forget to regularly check on other players in your industry for inspiration, as there is much to learn from the digital experiences and websites you enjoy. But remember, just because a competitor does it, doesn’t mean they are improving the experience of their users. So be inspired, yes, but consult your own customer data before implementing changes.

 

Hero Image Via: Rawpixel.com, Adobe Stock

A Guide to Improving Landing Pages

Your offering is clear. Your site is live. Your PR and ad campaigns are in full swing. You’re actively monitoring sales and subscriptions. But you’re not seeing the results you were hoping to see, and conversions are not growing fast enough.

Have you thought of optimizing your site’s key pages in order to increase retention and achieve a healthier conversion rate?

For example, when a visitor clicks one of your ads, are they directed to a page that was built as an extension of that particular ad? That’s the idea behind landing pages. You probably already have some on your site. But are you sure they’re as impactful as they could be?

In the following post, we’ll try to help you master the delicate art of landing page creation, by answering three key questions:

Let’s get started!

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page (or destination page) is a web page that is intended to be part of a marketing or ad campaign. 

Its purpose is to encourage visitors who click on the link to convert.

It tends to be fairly simple and pragmatic.

Why the no-frills approach? Because the objective here is simply to grab your visitor’s attention and encourage them to take a course of action.

It’s different from traditional pages (think FAQ, About, Homepage in some cases) in that it is specially conceived for paid traffic. (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads…)

Nonetheless, it can still appear in the organic results generated by search engines, even if it is first and foremost commercial.

Why Do You Need Landing Pages?

We won’t keep you waiting any longer. The main objective of launching a landing page is to maximize conversions. While your homepage may be built around the needs and expectations of your largest audience, you can afford to focus your landing pages around a single message.

You might want to build a landing page to:

Here is an illustration comparing a homepage and an example of a traditional landing page with a form.

Source: Unbounce


A landing page is part of a wider
communications and marketing campaign designed to maximize its reach and impact.

It’s probably wise to start by analyzing the pages you currently have live. 

Landing pages are often associated with search engine or social media advertising campaigns, PR campaigns or events. Their impact often goes hand in hand with a simple design and clear messaging. 

By communicating a major piece of information in a relevant format, they minimize the risk of distraction often associated with traditional web pages and encourage a more focused consumption. It is therefore crucial to that your landing pages echo the messaging of the campaigns they are tied to.

Further reading: The Call to Action: 5 Tips to Increase Your Conversion Rate

Your landing pages should not be an afterthought

You now know what a landing page is and it’s important for you to have them on your site. But there are still some things you need to know before you can launch the perfect landing page!

So before you put in a request to your marketing and UX teams, make sure to analyze your visitors’ behavior and understand their unique customer journeys on your site.

Five Things To Consider When Building A Landing Page 

1. What is the offering?

The very first step is to make sure you have a concrete offering for your visitors, whether that’s a product or service, a white paper or a discount.

The offer needs to be relevant to the needs of your client, wherever they are in the sales funnel. For example, if a customer is in the early stage of the buying phase, you may want to give them information about the various options available to them.

You may also want to wait until your visitor is further down the funnel to promote the actual products or services.

2. What is my objective?

Once you’re clear about what it is you’re offering, it’s time to figure out what the objective of your landing page is going to be. This objective will help you set conversion targets, which in turn will allow for efficient monitoring. 

There could be several objectives:

3. Who are my competitors?

At this stage, you may want to make sure you have a pretty clear idea of the types of campaigns your competitors are already running. This might seem obvious but the whole point of good practices is they’re tried and tested! 

So, find out who your competitors are, determine the key to their success and see how you can leverage similar strategies to increase your own conversions.  

4. What are your targets?

Knowing your prospects and customers is not optional. The better you understand your visitors, their needs, habits and expectations, the better equipped you will be to respond to these needs in a relevant and impactful way.

This behavioral “mapping” will allow you to find the right words, to choose the best visuals and to create the most appropriate experience for your visitors’ segments. 

At Contentsquare, we call this deeper understanding of customers the Mindset approach. 

Read more about mindset.

5. Where is my target audience coming from?

Where your visitors come from should not be taken lightly. In fact, this factor can even help guide the messaging and design of your landing page.

Indeed, your visitors’ browsing patterns and mindset may vary depending on the acquisition source — whether that’s Google, a Facebook page, an Instagram story or their Twitter feed.

Another obvious reality: the more landing pages you have, the higher the chance of generating leads, since each page can be customized for a specific audience. If this sounds like a lot of work, start with one page per campaign, and then try to add pages for specific segments.

11 Key Elements to Include in Your Landing Page in 2019 

You now have everything you need to create a landing page that answers your visitors’ needs.

But wait, there’s more.

We’ve quizzed our UX-perts in London, New-York, Paris and Tel Aviv to get their top tips on the subject of landing pages, and put together a list of 11 must-haves that will help you save time and increase opportunities for conversion

Let’s jump in. 

1. A winning header and subheader

While all the copy on your landing page is important, there’s an awful lot riding on the header and subheader.

One way to keep visitors engaged is to be clear and to the point. You should be able to capture their attention and share the key product or service message in one sentence (no more than a dozen words).

The header and subheader must of course echo the messaging of whatever link your visitors clicked on. Airbnb gets straight to the point with its “Earn money as an Airbnb host” landing page.

Source: Airbnb

 

2. Be clear about the value you add

Does your product have standout qualities? Can it solve several problems? 

You should enumerate those succinctly, in bullet points perhaps. Add icons for a visual representation of this added value. 

Amazon, for example, clearly lists the benefits of its Prime membership for potential members. 

 

Source: Amazon


3. Make sure your CTA is visible

“Without a clear Call to Action, you can kiss conversions goodbye.” – Contentsquare’s UX Team.

We won’t go on and on about the perfect CTA here because we already did that in another blog post. 🙂

But if we had to summarize:

Spotify is good at distinguishing between its main CTA (free trial) and its secondary CTA (Google Home Mini)

Source: Shopify

 

4. Keep it simple

Here’s a piece of advice that never gets old. 

The search bar, menu, copy, forms — remember, every added in-page element could be a potential source of distraction

So be ready to kill your darlings, on the one hand, and showcase key elements, on the other. 

Hired: a form with 3 fields and 3 arguments to sign up — couldn’t be more to the point! 

Source: Hired


5. Carefully curate your landing page visuals

Because an image is worth a thousand words, be picky when it comes to images. Try and stick to a simple and clean design, and don’t be afraid of empty space.

At the same time, don’t forget to optimize images so they don’t negatively affect the performance of your landing page.

Teambit’s landing page is the perfect example of how you can create a “fun” landing page without necessarily promoting an inherently “fun” product or service.

Source: Teambit

6. Feature video content on your landing pages

If you had to choose between reading a paragraph with several sentences or watching a very short video, what would you pick? 

It’s likely that, like most consumers, you’d opt for the second. 

In 2019, video remains one of the most powerful, highest-converting marketing medium out there. Hubspot uses video to contextualize its product or service and to highlight what problems it can solve.

Source: Hubspot


7. Responsive design

Unless you’re working in a very niche industry, it’s to be expected that visitors will connect to your site via a variety of devices. 

Desktop, mobile, tablet — be sure to anticipate the various devices your visitors may be browsing on and make sure your CTA and header are visible without the need to scroll.

Source: Slack


8. Peer reviews

It’s no secret that consumers are often swayed by peer reviews. 

Make sure to feature testimonials and leverage social proof to reassure visitors who are not familiar with your product or services, or are perhaps hesitant to convert.

You can include:

Instapage proudly displays its top client logos above the fold. 

Source: Instapage


9. Transparency over price

Consumers respond well to clear pricing. If you can, try to clearly display your costs or to direct prospects to an understandable rates table. And why not offer a free trial?

Shopify’s landing page is simple and has a clear CTA to signup for a free trial.

10. What about SEO

A beautiful landing page is great. A landing page that comes up in search results is even better. 

Make sure your content is SEO friendly and be mindful of what your potential audience is searching for. Be sure to optimize:

Unbounce is a good example of a brand utilizing SEO to drive traffic to its landing page. 

11. Remember to say Thank You

You did it. Your visitor subscribed to your newsletter or completed a purchase. But it’s not over yet. 

Don’t forget to always follow up with a “thank you” page after a user makes a conversion — any type of conversion. It’s the opportunity to reassure your customer about their choice and to once again, point out the value. 

Use this page to guide your visitor towards the next steps — you could, for example, direct them to useful resources such as blogs, reports, etc. 

The Thank You page is also a good opportunity for you to ask consumers to share their experience on social media. 

Source: CXL

 

Test, test, test!

While this guide is intended to give you some basic tools and advice to build the strongest possible landing page, it’s important to remember that there are as many approaches to landing page-building as there are businesses… and customers.

Just like your homepage and your product pages, your landing pages need to be carefully tested to surface any missed opportunity

Here at Contentsquare, we help brands maximize the impact they’re getting from testing by adding a critical layer of customer behavior understanding to their experiments through A/B testing. 

Interested in finding out how you can improve the performance of your landing pages?

We’ll be more than happy to show you how we can help your team deliver the perfect Customer Experience (CX) for every customer, every time. 🙂  

UX Global Map Lessons: Comparing Online Customer Acquisition Marketing Channels

There’s a lot to learn from the way site visitors browse and interact with your website. Then there’s customer acquisition marketing, since before users navigate your site, they must be acquired, which is a digital marketing feat on its own. Much of what we cover is UX (user experience) — the environment and associated feelings users undergo on your website and other digital offerings.

But drawing users in is a major step, a push further down the sales funnel, bring them closer to conversion and certainly a crucial to brand awareness. Sometimes it involves perfecting the UX as well, except as an alternative to onsite behaviors, it deals with those on acquisition channels, some of which you can customize, i.e., social media.

As the final installment of our 3-part series covering the UX International Map, this iteration will edify you on what customer acquisition marketing channels look like through a global lens. After all, if you’re going to set up websites for different countries, acquiring the users of these countries and their distinct acquisition manners is key to be mindful of. 

Acquisition Channel Methodology 

In the past 2 UX map lessons, you’ve read that we parsed through over 35 million visitor sessions in January and February 2019 on 11 luxury websites — that’s 150 million page views and 3 billion clicks. 

The 7 countries we focused our analyses on were: the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, China and Japan. 

For each of the 7 countries we surveyed, we analyzed the performance of 12 acquisition channels — both paid and unpaid. For each country we scrutinized, we asked the following questions to get a deep read of how websites were gaining visitors: 

Free Vs Paid Acquisition Channels

The chief divide of digital acquisition channels is whether they are free or paid. Free acquisition channels, as their name suggests, are outlets that you can leverage for free. They encompass the following: 

Paid acquisition channels are cost-based and these costs are not unilateral. In other words, while PPC ads will cost you for each click on the keyword you bid on, affiliate marketing will cost you the amount agreed upon with your affiliate marketer. These channels include:

The Global Majority of Online Consumers Prefer Free Acquisition Channels

While it’s patently obvious that brands and marketers prefer to acquire consumers through free means, our analysis has found that even from a consumer standpoint, the preferred method of arriving at a new website is from a free traffic source. With a 61% global average share of traffic from free channels, this is something of a global consensus.

The customer audiences in Japan and Italy are at the higher ends of the free acquisition spectrum, as they reach websites through free channels at the respective rates of 69% and 65% of their total acquisition. The US comes in at third, with 62% of its site visitors springing from free acquisition channels.

France has the lowest share of traffic from free channels, at 55%. Germany and China come in second at the low end of the free channel spectrum with traffic rates of 58% from both countries. 

Global visitors mostly arrive at a site via free traffic acquisition, although France drives a large portion of paid traffic.


Acquisition through Consumer Research or Recommendation

Another way to gauge customer preferences and segment behaviors is by analyzing whether visitors land on your site from independent research or by following a product recommendation. It’s crucial to study this, since some consumers arrive at your website through their own due diligence from research, while some need to be marketed to concertedly, i.e., in a direct way, often involving recommendations. (Think targeted ads and sponsored social content).

Here are a few independent research channels: 

Here are a few recommendation research channels:

So which acquisition method, independent research or product recommendation takes the victory among our swath of global consumers? In this type of acquisition square-off, the emerging winner is independent research, which holds the majority across every country we surveyed.

In Italy, 92% of consumers reach a site through their own research, overshadowing the country’s 8% of consumers who reach a site by following a link. China is at the lowest end of the independent research gamut, with 54% of its users reaching websites through their own research, but even this lower rate shows a favorability among consumers to visit a website based on their own findings instead of recommendations made to them. 

Japan and the US follow Italy, with a respective 81% and 80% of users landing on a website through independent research.

Independent research drives most global visitors to a site, but has a varying traffic share per country.

 

Organic Search Traffic Dominates in the US, Italy and Japan

Organic search traffic (SEO) overshadows paid search, affiliate marketing and other acquisition sources in the US, Italy and Japan. This is due to the dominance of free acquisition in these 3 countries, raking in over 40% of user acquisition in these 3 countries, with a massive 70% in Japan.

Traffic from SEO has the highest influence in Japan, with 48% of traffic coming from organic search. Italy ranks in second on SEO acquisition, with 40% of consumers reaching websites this way and the US comes in at third, with 32%.

Reel in Traffic with Display Ads in China

Gaining site in traffic is heavily dependent on display ads, along with the Baidu Brand Zone technology. Procuring 28.2% of all traffic acquisition in China, this channel is a force to be reckoned with in order to increase site visitors. While globally, there is far less dependence on this channel (only 4.1%), in China it is a key player in obtaining traffic. Display ads go in tandem with this channel and also fall within the trend of using visuals to keep users interested.

Email Marketing and Social Reign Supreme in the UK

In the UK, customer acquisition is contingent on social marketing efforts. At 12.4%, social customer engagement spurs twice as much traffic in the UK as it does in any of the other countries surveyed. Aside from social, email campaigns are also drivers of successful traffic, raking in 6.7% on desktop and a heaping 18.4% on mobile. Organic search traffic lags behind in the UK, as far as traffic is concerned, accounting for only 23.1% of traffic, as opposed to the global 31.5% global ranking.

France is All About Paid Tactics 

Whether it’s coming from SEM, PPC or paid social, paid tactics are driving up traffic in France. Paid channels account for almost half of all French traffic at 45%. This traffic mainly comes from paid search, which rakes in 29% of the traffic. SEM in France brings in roughly a third more in traffic than in all the other countries we analyzed. A significant part of the traffic in France is wrought by paid social — 8.4%, as opposed to the global average of 4.7%.

German Traffic: Paid Search and Direct 

German traffic acquisition is dominated by two sources: paid search and direct traffic. Paid search yields 27.3% of all traffic in the country, while direct traffic is even more powerful in drawing in users, as it’s higher in Germany than any of the other 6 countries at 26.1%. The direct traffic average globally is at 21.9%. High direct traffic visitations suggest that visitors in this country have a vested interest and loyalty in big-name brands.

Optimizing The Landing Page — Whatever The Traffic Channel

Understanding how your site acquires visitors, who might later become customers, is as crucial as studying the UX of your website. After all, no matter how ideal your UX is, it won’t matter if little to no one arrives at your website. As such, acquisition channels provide a kind of hook, line and sinker approach where acquisition is concerned. 

Acquisition channels are markedly useful and necessary for drawing in customers, but you must remember their limited scope in your overall digital marketing strategy. As their name suggests, they are good for acquisition but have little to do with retention. These channels may even hurt your UX and thereby conversions if these channels redirect visitors to irrelevant pages.

This is why the landing page is a critical aspect of acquisition — and retention. A landing page that’s relevant and optimized for users will maintain a good UX and digital happiness. So make sure to study the elements of your landings pages and see which ones are detrimental to the customer journey. There’s no point in optimizing acquisition only to lose your customers later on.