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What You Need Above the Fold

Welcome to Ecommerce month! Through out September I’ll be posting every Wednesday with a new tip for Ecommerce businesses. If you’re a small business owner that sells online and is looking for help with your website or brand identity, this month is for you. 


As an Ecommerce site, I’m going to guess you have one main goal. To turn website visitors into customers. If that’s the case, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you’re above the fold is helping and not hindering that process. 

When someone first visits your Ecommerce website, what do they see? I mean right away, before they scroll down. In web designer terms, we call this bit of your website, above the fold. 

When potential customers see your above the fold do they feel excited, or overwhelmed? Do they feel zen, or bored? That first moment they come to your digital shopfront is utterly important. It sets the scene for each customers’ experience and journey. That first viewpoint into your shop decides whether they’ll even bother scrolling down. Whether they’ll click a button, or in real world terms, step inside your shop.

Above the fold should be all about delighting your potential customers, and giving them all the information they need in an instant, to know whether they should scroll down. You’ve done the first step, they’re on your website, they’re looking at you, so it's time to welcome them in! 

Here's my formula that guarantees you'll do just that.

You need...

A design that is visually easy to understand.

I love websites that break the mould, I really do. I recently was on a website that you had to navigate by spinning your phone, and it was really cool and joyful. However, I was just having fun on it, not trying to find out information, or shop. As an Ecommerce site, you need to make sure you’re welcoming customers in, in a way that they feel comfortable with. Before they can be receptive to any information or calls to action, they need to feel secure and comfortable. We’ve all been told to visit restaurants or shops before by friends, only to get outside and feel like… eh that’s not really my place. What we're really saying in that moment is, I’m not really comfortable there. So make sure that visually your website makes sense. It’s not confusing, there’s not too many pop ups, and that it feels like a legitimate place to shop.

This Kind Studio website is a good example. It’s so simple, and easy to follow. The navigation at the top makes sense paired with the full screen image, and the cart on the right hand side is what we're used to seeing. This site intuitively makes sense to us. 

A value proposition that is clear.

What value are you adding to that customer today? Your value proposition may stay static, or it may change seasonally. So say you’re a bottle shop selling beer. In summer it may be something like, beat the heat with an ice cold IPA, but at Christmas it might be, enjoy our selection of stouts with your family and friends this Christmas. Both are related to the overall value that you’re adding – providing your customers with exceptional bottles of beer. But they’re specific to that customer, at that time. It’s important websites live and breath, they have to make sense to a potential customer in that moment. So if your value proposition changes seasonally, make sure you’re keeping it up to date on your site. And either way, make sure it’s in an obvious place. You'll notice a lot of sites just use an image that is seasonal or relevant and no writing, you can communicate your value without copy.

See LACAUSA as an example, 'New Fall Arrivals' is front and center, and the images are very clearly communication that it’s  new fall arrivals for fashion.

Clear Brand Recognition.

This one’s simple, but as people are often more focused on the content and item they're selling, it's often left as a last thought on Ecommerce websites.

Is your logo somewhere clear and prominent? Does the style sit within your Brand Identity Guidelines? The correct fonts, colours, ect. You want people to recognise your brand because that builds trust and a relationship. So if they’ve been on your Instagram, they’ll already know that logo, they already feel more comfortable with you. It's like when you see a friend from across the room, you recognise them, and it feels good! Cool, huh? Build trust visually! 

Take a look at the Glossier website. Not only is there logo in their navigation bar, but their G mark is featured in the above the fold. It really makes a strong brand impact. 


Best case scenario – in a quick second, a potential customer has glanced your above the fold and they now know they want to see more, great! But now it's about making that transition for them, seamless.

Navigation needs to feel effortless so your customers. Here’s a little mall analogy, because I grew up in the naughties in suburban America, so I feel very at home in this anaology.  Think about this. When you’re walking around a shopping centre, you’re not thinking about what the signs are made out of, or who designed them. In fact, you may come home not even conscious of having looked at them. But they helped you to get around. Where as a bad experience, is when you spend so long looking for the signs, that you give up or can't be bothered, and don’t even get to where you wanted to go. Sure you know there's a shop you want to visit near by, but you're over the effort. That's bad. Make sure your customers can easily get where they want to go, without even thinking much about it.

See paper company extraordinaire, Rifle Paper Co. We immediately know where to go to find anything we're looking for. From picking a category to searching to visiting the shopping bag, it's simple and easy.

Now, take a moment to look at your website. Does you above the fold do all of these things? If not, maybe have a think about adding some of these in. Then go back to your Google Analytics and and see what's changed. Are people visiting more page, staying for longer? And the big question – have your sales increased? Have a go and let me know how you get on!