Category: UX advice / Ecommerce guides
This is part of my series explaining the core ecommerce experience funnel. Here’s the intro, landing pages are part two.
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In reality any page can be a landing page, as in web analytics terms it simply describes the location that users enter the site. However most websites create pages specifically designed for a user's introductory experience. In ecommerce it’s no different and that’s the type we’ll be focussing on here.
A good site thinks about where the users are coming from and presents them with a page that recognises they will have a few key questions that need answering. In the early days of a website the homepage will be the dominant landing page for the majority of users.
As websites grow and marketing effort intensifies it becomes useful to have specific landing pages for certain campaigns. This is particularly important for paid search where the page and headings need to match the keywords that people have been searching for, or users won't think the content is relevant for their needs.
Be it a homepage or a campaign landing page, the requirements are the same.
As this represents the top of your funnel—in traditional retail terms think of it as your shop window—you need to consider the first impression you give of your website and company.
You need to tell people what you offer and why you're different and you need to do it quickly. New users are fast to bounce if they don't see the benefit of what you offer: very few people have the patience to hang around when they don’t immediately understand it.
In particular they need to understand how buying from you is better than buying something similar from a site like Amazon, where they probably already have an account. Their commitment to you is low at this stage.
You also need to show and prove to your users that you are of sufficient quality to be trusted. Only the companies with big marketing budgets and well-established brands can dodge this requirement.
Landing pages have a very clear metric for success. They succeed by pushing people deeper into the site, usually onto listings pages, so this is the main conversion rate to watch.
Pretty much any other metric is a distraction. A low bounce rate is good for all landing pages as you don’t want users leaving but this comes second to users going to the next step in your funnel. Having a clarity of purpose makes designing easier as everything you do can be measured against a goal.
Having a clarity of purpose makes designing easier as everything you do can be measured against a goal. It means the link or button to search should be visually obvious.
The concept of attention ratio is useful here too. This ratio is defined by the number of links on the page against the number of primary actions you want them to take (which should always be one). An ideal page would have a ratio of 1:1 (one page with one link to the goal). Practical considerations mean you’ll almost certainly need a few more links, but the aim should be to keep that ratio as close to 1:1 as possible.
If you’re getting to a ratio of 30:1 or 40:1 this means there is big room for improvement. All these extra links are distractions from the main thing you want users to do, and add cognitive load to their visit.
If you want more advice on how to get your ecommerce site converting, take a look at my book Designing Ecommerce websites.
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