There are a lot of design tactics you can use to wow potential customers coming to your website. You can employ a simple and familiar layout to maximize the user experience. Or you can go above and beyond to create an engaging homepage.
And no matter what design direction you choose to go in, your web design decisions must help position your brand as trustworthy, quality-oriented, and dedicated to delivering a great user experience.
But while you can employ multiple strategies to create a beautiful website, capturing your audience’s attention and improving their willingness to interact with your business requires knowing how web users interact with sites. And according to research, people spend 57% of their page-viewing time above the fold.
So, if you’re looking for ways to maximize shopper engagement, here are the above-the-fold design tactics you need to implement in 2023 and beyond.
Make It Super Obvious What You’re Selling
Getting consumers to click the “Buy” button on your ecommerce website depends on multiple factors.
According to research from Hubspot, up to 78% of people consider price before making a purchase decision. But other factors hold sway over your target audience too. Most shoppers will consider investing in a solution if it is of high quality, has advanced features and functions, the brand behind it has a positive image and a strong community, and if the reviews support the business’ claims.
In other words, when trying to convert web visitors into customers, you must convince them that you’re offering the best possible solution to their needs. And the only way to make that happen is to make it obvious what you’re selling.
In your hero section, feature unique sales propositions that are crystal clear. Directly address the user benefits you offer. And use every opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
For instance, if you check out a brand like Vivion, you’ll see that it uses above-the-fold copy to say it offers “safe, ethically sourced, and contaminate-free ingredients.” That’s a short USP. But seeing that it describes, in detail, what the brand sells and why the products differ from other options available on the market, the heading works.
Of course, for more complex products, you’ll have to go into more detail. However, in these cases, the best thing you can do is employ above-the-fold design tactics that deliver message clarity without relying on too much copy.
Using explainer videos will effectively solve the issue, as these can allow you to communicate a lot of complex info in a short time span, all the while keeping web visitors engaged. Survey data shows that 96% of marketers consider explainer videos to improve product understanding.
So, it’s no surprise that businesses like Forter use explainers in the hero sections of their sites to help web visitors get a better idea of what benefits their solutions offer.
Enticing Calls to Action
Not including a call to action on your homepage of the biggest conversion-killing mistake you can make. And while most sites have made progress over the past decade (in 2013, 70% of business websites didn’t include a CTA button on the homepage), there’s still room for improvement when it comes to calls to action.
Generally, your main priority with above-the-fold CTAs should be to make them as enticing as possible.
Adhere to the ground rules of CTA button design — using action-oriented text, choosing the right colors and contrast, prioritizing readability, creating a sense of urgency, employing microcopy where appropriate, and not including too many CTAs on the homepage.
But, when trying to maximize shopper engagement, also ensure that you consider your target audience’s unique pain points and use that information to design more appealing CTAs.
If you check out the Death Wish Coffee homepage, you’ll see an excellent example of a simple but effective CTA button design. On this site, the three featured CTAs are all colored bright red, which is a great color choice that ensures visibility against the (mostly) black background.
But, more importantly, the copy on these CTAs is kept simple. Why? Well, because people visiting the Death Wish Coffee homepage already know they’re in the right place to purchase a flavourful roast.
So, instead of trying to win them over, the brand jumps straight to business and invites people to buy the coffee beans and try them for themselves.
However, if you look at an ecommerce site like CARiD, you’ll notice that its offer is far more complex. With more than 16 million products for sale, this business must use its hero section to help visitors navigate a huge product database.
That’s why the main call to action invites visitors to select their vehicle based on the three main filters, then click the “Go” button to continue their shopping process.
And, sure, this design choice may be unconventional, but it’s super efficient. It shows just how tremendously a well-functioning above-the-fold section can influence conversions when fully customized to fit a business — and its customers’ — needs.
Invitations for High-Touch Sales
One method of maximizing shopper engagement on your website — particularly above the fold — is to empower them with the right self-service tools.
This can mean designing an advanced search bar, like the one shown in the example above. Or it can include adding an AI chatbot to your homepage to help customers search for product information and submit customer service tickets.
But here’s the deal, not all customers are ready to interact with chatbots. Especially when it comes to more personalized requests or complex product categories.
That’s why one of the most important design strategies you can employ is finding the right space to position invitations for high-touch sales. This is especially important when trying to make sales that may require you to provide your expert assistance to customers.
If you check out Anytime Baseball Supply’s Pitching Machines product category page, you’ll see that it includes several invitations for high-touch sales. These include a clickable phone number, which facilitates a conversation with a human representative.
There’s a direct link to the brand’s Contact page. And the page also includes a live chat feature that points out the customer service team’s work hours but invites web visitors to leave a message and get an email reply if they can’t wait.
Trustworthy Social Proof
Most business owners understand the importance of social proof in 2023. After all, how could they not, with data showing that 99.75% of shoppers read reviews and research brands before deciding what products to buy?
But even though social proof can help you position your brand as an industry authority and a reliable business to buy from, there’s one additional benefit you gain by including it in the hero section of your website.
Trustworthy social proof displayed above the fold puts your visitors in a positive, trusting frame of mind and makes them more likely to engage with your website.
With this in mind, explore opportunities to showcase ratings, reviews, or media mentions in the first screenful of your homepage.
A quick look at the Dress Forms USA website shows a handy Reviews flyout, where web visitors can see the numerous positive purchase reviews satisfied customers have left.
But, of course, if you have the opportunity, you should also experiment with displaying more advanced social proof formats.
The Klaviyo vs. Bloomreach page on the latter company’s website does just this, with a couple of powerful instances of social proof featured in the hero section.
Yes, there’s the traditional G2 rating, which invites visitors to read the positive reviews. But you’ll also notice that Bloomreach uses brand mentions — a superb design choice for building credibility via association.
Trigger Emotional Investment
A great design strategy to maximize shopper engagement on your website is to try and trigger emotional investment.
According to research, most people don’t make shopping decisions based solely on rational factors. Yes, they consider product quality, value for money, and convenience.
But when it comes down to the main reason why they opt for one brand over another is that their choice almost always reflects a feeling they have toward that brand or its solution.
With this in mind, one super-powerful engagement and conversion-boosting tactic you can employ is to use design to associate your product with a specific feeling that will trigger action.
For a great example of a business doing this, check out the Huel homepage. You’ll see that the section above the fold directly addresses visitors’ frustration with fast food being bad for their health.
So, by presenting them with an alternative — a no-prep meal option that doesn’t compromise on nutrition — Huel positions its products as the rational solution to solving one of life’s biggest annoyances.
Present a Compelling Content Summary
Finally, as you explore the best design tactics to implement on your site, don’t forget the importance of above-the-fold engagement on content pages and blog posts.
Research shows that most people don’t read online content word-for-word. Knowing that your web visitors are likely to skim blog pages to gauge value, consider adding compelling content summaries to the sections they are guaranteed to pay attention to.
This will ensure that they understand the importance of the information you offer. And it will encourage them to either read your long-form content or make an informed decision based on the summary provided in the topmost section of the page.
For example, on its Best Medical Alert Systems of 2023, Medical Alert Buyers Guide presents web visitors with a quick visual overview of the best solutions available for purchase. And, sure, readers in the mid and bottom stages of the buyer’s journey can choose to take a deep dive into the pros and cons of every reviewed system.
But those looking for quick info can also take a glance at the top-performing solutions and continue their shopping journey on the relevant product pages they can access by clicking the green CTA buttons.
Investing in web design that has the potential to maximize shopper engagement is always worth the effort. Nonetheless, if you want the biggest ROI (or have limited resources), focus your efforts on the above-the-fold sections of your web pages.
Yes, these are just small parts of your web visitors’ screens. However, knowing that your potential customers are likely to spend half or more of their browsing time looking at the hero section, you can rest assured that making (even small) positive changes in this area will result in big wins.