In this post, we will break down what a best-in-class eCommerce homepage looks like, according to our conversion optimization best practices research.

We compared the conversion optimization features and tactics used on over 20 of the top eCommerce sites out there, and put them into a matrix so marketers can easily identify best practices, emerging trends and fading tactics. Here’s what we found out about their homepages:

Shop by Category on Mobile (not within the menu)

14 merchants do it, 6 merchants don’t = Best Practice

What it is: Categories offered on the homepage in addition to what may be in the menu or header area.

Below Nordstrom and Room & Board show good examples of exposing shopping categories on a mobile homepage.

What we say: Category navigation from the homepage is becoming convention and has consistently tested well, particularly on mobile. It is ok for this experience on mobile to differ from the standard desktop experience.

Nordstrom and Room&Board are good examples of mobile navigation beyond the hamburger menu.


Hero Image Auto Slide (aka Carousel)

4 do it, 16 don’t = Not Conventional (on mobile)

What it is: Hero image automatically slides through images.

What we say: Zappos shows that rotation below category navigation works better than rotation above category navigation.

True, this is not in the Location, but it’s close (only and similar companies can get away with a carousel in the hero spot.)

Zappos puts navigation first, and lifestyle images second.

6 do it, 14 don’t = Don’t do this (on desktop).

What we say:  Wayfair has carousel and it works for them, possibly because of the large and varied product selection.  Chances are, you are not Wayfair, so it’s best to avoid hero carousels.

Wayfair’s Homepage is an exception to the convention due in part to a large, diverse product assortment.

Show Merchandise

8 do it, 10 don’t = Emerging Trend (on mobile)

What it is: Products are shown on the homepage so users can see examples.

What we say: Unless you have a good idea of what users are looking for on your site, showing specific products can be distracting on mobile homepages. This element should be tested to see how it impacts your own site.

Great Examples:

Mobile real estate above the fold is precious. What are the chances you can guess the right product to show to every visitor? If you’re going to do this, personalization is key — unless  there is a very limited product selection, as with Marshall Headphones.

20 do it, 0 don’t = No Brainer (on desktop)

What we say:  All sites here are showing merchandise that they sell on their homepage. In the near past, this was not the case, with some sites believing it was not possible to show just a few of their products when they sold so many.

Barney’s NewYork Homepage on Desktop

Scroll through Bestsellers/Featured Products/Etc. – Mobile

4 do it, 16 don’t = Emerging Trend

What it is: Expanding on “Show Merchandise”, does the mobile site make space-saving use of horizontal scrolling?

What we say: Again, we recommend testing whether or not to show specific product on the homepage.

JCPenney and Nordstrom below show how horizontal scrolling works on mobile.


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