Think about where you want your visitors to go from the homepage and test out different ways of organizing the page to effectively guide them to that destination.
Try focusing on a guided experience
Consider generating variations that present a simplified version of the homepage with a guided experience. Imagine, for instance, that your homepage was just the title and six image-rich tiles. Each tile thoughtfully groups your products by a common element, which leads customers down a structured path towards products they’re interested in.
For instance, the Dermalogica homepage has a promo section followed by four category tiles above the fold, which represents a different reason customers might have for visiting. Additional options are available in the navbar and below the fold, allowing customers to browse further.
Brainstorm different ways you might try to group your products to meet your customers’ needs and interests. Try different variations with different groupings to see what works best.
Sometimes products have a commonly known theme that lends well to form natural groups of products. These more obvious categories sort of make themselves. For instance:
- Games, Movies, Music
- Dairy, Meats, Vegetables
- Hammers, Screwdrivers, Saws, Drills
- Board Games, PC Games, Playstation Games, XBOX Games, Nintendo Games
For instance, a grocery store like Safeway offers products that naturally fit into different food categories that are commonly thought of by most shoppers:
You could also explore attributes that your products have in common, but this type of categorization may only be relevant to some products. The color of a car can be a big part of the buyer’s choice, for instance, but the color of chewing gum likely has no relevance to a buyer.
Reflect on your products and decide if there’s a subset of products that share common characteristics that would be important or relevant to your buyers. Examples may include:
- Customer behavior (e.g. best sellers, most wanted, highest rated, etc.)
For instance, Black Rifle Coffee Company can group their coffee by the type of roast (i.e. light, medium, dark) because this is something most coffee buyers are interested in.
Solutions or intentions
Finally, something you should consider is identifying what your products might solve or what the customer might intend to do with your products. This concept is perhaps the most difficult to brainstorm, but can often lead to real success.
Customers are often looking to buy a product with some use in mind. Perhaps they only know what they want to achieve and aren’t sure how to achieve it. When you present categories based on what the customers’ intent might be, you might open a new avenue to explore.
Some examples might include:
- Hardware store: In addition to grouping by tool type, you could group by what the tools are used for Woodworking, Decking, Plumbing, Roofing, etc.
- Toys: Could group by applicable age range or how the toy is used (e.g. field games, tabletop games, pool toys, rainy day activities, etc.)
- Skincare products: Could group by how the product is applied, the product’s consistency, what part of the body the product is designed for, or what skin condition the product is intended for.
For instance, one way Kate Somerville groups their products is by the condition that the product addresses.
Try focusing on search
Putting search front and center can be a good play to run if you have a lot of products, a complicated category tree, or great search functionality. In some cases, changing the homepage to focus solely on search can drive better results than carefully curated category pages.
If you’re considering this approach, here are some suggestions to think about:
- Make the page as clean as possible to draw visitors’ eyes to the search option.
- Perhaps you add more context below the fold for customers that are more into browsing.
- Offer a wide variety of search filters and sorting options to let customers refine results.
Example: Design By Humans
The content above the fold on the homepage offers a large search bar at the top for customers to look for different designs, while still offering browsing options in the navbar cleanly and unobtrusively. Below the fold are additional browsing options by curated categories.
Try focusing on browsing
You could showcase products on the homepage to encourage browsing for the casual shopper that isn’t sure what they’re looking for yet. A few options you might highlight products by include:
- What’s on sale
- Popular categories
- Best selling products
- Categories and products based on the customer’s behavior:
- Categories the customer previously viewed
- Products the customer abandoned in the cart
- Products the customer purchased before
- Products that are complementary to products they’ve purchased before
Amazon provides a mix of browsing options and categories to choose from on their homepage. In this example, you see two different ways to present “best sellers” by category to browse from. Each section presents large images of the products on carousels to flip through.
Try focusing on curated content
Another approach might be to curate some specific content or products and emphasize those items above all other content. You could add additional navigational options in the navbar or below the fold, but the focus would be on the content you’ve hand-picked.
Example: Stacy Adams
In this example, the focus is a large hero image that directs customers to new arrivals.