What is it about the perfect window display that makes a shopper want to enter a store? How can you translate that to the on-site experience? Everything from the trendy clothes on display to the warm smile of a sales associate by the door to the attention-grabbing signage combine to create a real-life version of homepage merchandising.
Done right, homepage merchandising enables brands to not only spark the interest of shoppers and lure them further into their website but also to make them see, trust, and interact with the products and content that are perfect for them.
Getting eyes on your entire inventory is a constant challenge for brands and retailers with thousands upon thousands of SKUs. Balancing this need with choosing the items to highlight on your homepage takes it to a whole new level of difficulty.
To get it right, it’s important to ask yourself: What entices shoppers to go beyond your homepage, shop around, and ultimately, make a purchase? How can you make that process faster, more intuitive, and even fun?
In this post, we’re sharing 10 ways to optimize your homepage merchandising strategy, so you can win more engagement, sales, and loyal customers.
1. Make Images More Relatable and Natural
Shopping online is fast and convenient. But when it comes to buying clothes, accessories, and shoes, one of the main concerns for shoppers is the fit—how the products will look on them. So, a better way to catch the attention of your website visitors is by using images they can relate to on your homepage.
Japanese retailer Baycrew’s does a great job of including images that are not overly edited or polished, and they even share the height of the models and customers posing. This way, shoppers can easily imagine how the product will fit them, plus it makes it even more seamless to go beyond the homepage and shop for items that suit their body type and style.
2. Build Social Connections With User-Generated Content
When shoppers can’t touch your products, building trust is a critical step along the path to purchase — this is especially true for high-value purchases such as furniture and jewelry. And waiting until shoppers get to product detail pages to start establishing confidence in your brand is a wasted opportunity. By introducing some of the confidence-building tactics often used deeper into eCommerce websites — like customer reviews and user-generated photos — you can make a shopper’s first touchpoint with your brand feel more trustworthy and inviting.
Jewelry brand Shane Co. introduced a creative and engaging way to build trust through social proof. They have a “Picture Perfect” gallery of customer photos on their homepage to give shoppers an alternate way to browse and get inspired while engaging with the positive experiences past customers have had.
3. Transform Wordy Categories Into Quick-to-Grasp Visual Icons
Not all shoppers know the name or type of the product they’re interested in, but they do know what it looks like. To help them navigate from your homepage to the rest of your website—instead of leaving in frustration when something is tough to find—you can use images or icons that represent your merchandise right in the menu.
Furniture retailer Mobly does a great job of this, showcasing minimalistic drawings alongside text to ensure shoppers can easily head to the right categories for their needs .
4. Attract Shoppers With Dynamic Collections
Whether consciously or unconsciously, shoppers look for “newness” when checking a brand’s website — that includes new products, page layouts, sale items, limited drops, and more. The more time consumers spend on constantly updated social feeds, the more powerful this behavior will become, so it’s important to keep your homepage fresh to maintain customer interest.
When you have a large inventory, you can expedite the process of refreshing featured collections on your homepage by creating automatic product groupings based on tags within your catalogue. This way, instead of hand-picking items to showcase, you can easily update to a fresh group of products based on common characteristics, from price to category to color, and more. Shoppers get the satisfaction of seeing new products each time they visit and you get to promote strategic collections within your inventory without wasting merchandising resources.
Boohoo does a great job of combining this strategy with key discounts, so shoppers can instantly see new, great deals in the category most relevant to them.
5. Drive Engagement Via Video
You already create videos for social media, and now shoppers have come to expect the same engaging content on-site. To draw in casual browsers on your homepage, give them something to watch. Video content allows shoppers to see how items look in the real world, while offering inspiration for styling and complementary purchasse. A good homepage video can turn low-intent shoppers into mission-driven customers seeking to recreate your latest looks.
Rinascimento created a seasonal video to get shoppers into in autumnal mood and to inspire them with an aspirational take on the brand’s aesthetic.
6. Make It Easy to Explore Similar Styles With Thematic Galleries
Homepage merchandising is your first opportunity to show shoppers that you “get them” and the way they think. The reality is that most shoppers don’t have specific items in mind on every visit. In fact, they’ll often have an activity or theme that put them in a shopping mood, like a hunt for a “beach vacation outfit,” “cozy living room decor,” or “gifts for a friend who loves TikTok.”
For your homepage merchandising strategy to be effective, you need to present products in the same way that shoppers think. Put together shoppable collections that are flexible enough to encompass occasion-based and even persona-based shopping, so shoppers don’t have to translate their beach vacation inspiration into a list of items to search for.
Fashion brand SHEIN covers every type of shopper with this strategy, displaying over 15 shoppable galleries for fashion personas from “shiny party queen” to “sophisticated style.”
7. Create Shoppable Editorial Content
When new shoppers get to know your brand, they often need more information before feeling ready to purchase. Editorial content like blog posts and photo stories are super effective for engaging new site visitors, but if you are going to give these assets valuable real estate on your homepage, making them shoppable is a must. Done right, these assets put products into a context that can serve as a gateway for inspiration-induced purchases.
Polish furniture retailer yestersen highlights home decor edits with bold, immaculately styled images. Once shoppers click, they are greeted with immersive content and products that they can instantly shop by clicking a link below the large images.
8. Create Interactive Product Discovery Experiences
To eliminate the decision paralysis that shoppers may feel when faced with a homepage full of product listings, help them zero in on items that best suit their tastes. Take shopabble galleries and editorial images one step further by not only letting people shop the exact items pictured but also making it easy for them to find similar items. This way you can help guide their shopping journey and prevent them from getting lost among thousands of irrelevant items.
Mobly has a ‘Decorated Rooms’ section on their homepage that shows products in a styled setting. When shoppers click one of these images, they are taken to an interactive product discovery page that allows them to easily identify each item in the room, get ideas for decor and styling, as well as click through to product pages that showcase similar items to the ones pictured.
9. Highlight Essentials Alongside Best-Sellers
Shoppers today have become conscious buyers, and they are prioritizing health and well-being. As a result, some brands and retailers are seeing success by mixing pandemic essentials like masks and hand sanitizers into their homepage offering. Post-pandemic, this trend may continue with other essential items, like basics collections for clothing brands or cleaning supplies and day-to-day necessities like batteries for larger retailers. This way, shoppers will have a reason to explore your website even if the trendier collections don’t speak to them.
French home decor and DIY brand Castorama has added everyday essentials such as wipes and face masks to their homepage offering.
10. Personalize Your Homepage Based on Shoppers’ Interests
Ultimately, the end goal of exceptional homepage merchandising is to deliver personalized customer experiences. Nothing can make shoppers engage with, buy from, and become loyal to a brand more than knowing that they are being seen and understood.
By adding a dynamic recommendation carousel with personalized product suggestions to your homepage, you can go beyond clever collections to surface the specific products that shoppers are most likely to buy based on their aesthetic tastes and browsing behavior. Going forward, the brands that win will be those that empower customers to seamlessly discover and purchase products that match their individual style and unique tastes—from the homepage, all the way to checkout.