In ecommerce, page real estate is everything. Ain’t nobody got time to tell a story.
Well, one should tell a story—but your home page or collections pages aren’t the place for it.
This rule might bend a bit if you’re a high-value products ecommerce shop, where romancing the product and justifying a purchase are factors.
But when it comes to down-and-dirty D2C, product is KING.
So, What About Above the Fold?
Okay, let’s talk about it. Everyone is obsessed with the fold, so what is it? Does it matter?
“Above the fold” is the first viewing window for the typical user on the typical screen. What do I think about the fold?
Well, I think the fold doesn’t exist. Ever since Facebook became the behemoth it is, the fold became a dinosaur in the context of scrolling.
A study by the Nielsen Norman Group reported that people spend 57% of their time above the fold and 74% of their time in the first two screenfuls.
So people inevitably scroll, and you don’t need to cram everything above the fold.
They just don’t scroll for very long, reaffirming that screen real estate is everything.
I will say that we can control what the viewer sees by forcing browser view elements, ensuring they see what you want them to in the first fold, no matter their screen size.
But making the assumption that people will not scroll is incorrect: Whether they scroll or not has more to do with the relation between who the audience is landing on your site and the content you serve them to get them to scroll.
To Fold or Not to Fold: Smart Screen Real Estate In Practice
Here’s what this all means for the design of your ecommerce store:
- Use your real estate intelligently: It’s crucial to place transactional calls to action and products in the first two screenfuls of your site—your “View Collection,” “Shop Now,” and “See Products” types of messaging. This area should be solely focused on conversions and selling through.
- Avoid web designs that create false floors: Designs should encourage scrolling. This can be done by cutting off content to give the appearance of more below the fold or using animations, indicators, or graphics that encourage scrolling.
- Use design and typography to encourage conversions: It might seem simple, but hierarchy of messaging can go a long way in letting a user understand what it is you want them to do without confusing them or giving them too many options to click. Conversion, conversion, conversion. It’s the name of the game.
Where to Tell Your Compelling Brand Story
To be clear, we’re not saying it isn’t important to tell your brand story.
We’re saying that these high-conversion pages are not the place to do it, but there are places where storytelling can and should happen.
Other Pages on Your Website
If it isn’t obvious, this type of content can live on other, more appropriate pages on your site.
REI, for example, does a great job of telling a brand story through images, advice pages, and travel resources. Joybird does it through an “Our Story” page.
The common thread here is that the brand story is located on non-transactional pages accessed through the footer or secondary navigation.
Product Images and Video
Good lifestyle photography and strategically executed product videos are a great way to subtly inject your brand’s personality into your store, bringing the experience together for your customers and telling your story.
Consider emails an asset that can be valuated and sold. Your audience is yours, and owning your audience allows you to determine when you talk to them and how, regardless of algorithms.
Having the right email strategy can go a long way to establishing your brand voice in the minds of your audience. (And that’s not all it can do.)
At this point, we all know how important it is to have a presence on social media. Through social media, you can tell your story in a way that paints a picture for your audience, have conversations with that audience, and create a loyal fan base.
Not only does blogging help your site overall, but a consistent content strategy keeps your audience engaged—especially if you’re writing content related to your products and providing value that connects with your audience.
Think of Your Online Store as a Physical One
It’s important to remember that your ecommerce site is akin to a brick-and-mortar store when it comes to screen real estate.
Just like you wouldn’t place decorative items that are not for sale on your shelves and racks, neither should you place non-transactional content and elements on the most important converting pages on your website.
It’s just silly. And silly don’t pay the bills.