A lot of eyes are going to be on your website in the upcoming weeks. A National Retail Foundation survey found that more than 56% of holiday shoppers will purchase gifts online. What's more, almost 80% of shoppers are heading to the internet to research gifts, even if they end up actually purchasing the item in-store.
Those numbers are only going up. The smartest marketers will prepare for this not only by prepping their website for higher-than-normal traffic and optimizing it for mobile devices, but also by giving their website design a dose of holiday cheer.
It all starts with the homepage: The first page many people will see when they come to your website. How have other companies redesigned their homepages for the holidays? Let's take a look.
Note: Businesses change their homepages on a regular basis. The examples below may not be current.
15 Holiday Homepage Designs to Get You in the Spirit
1) Free People
When your business has a loud personality like American bohemian retail company Free People does, making a big first impression on your homepage can be a great thing. Free People's redesign is all-encompassing, starting with a large, high-definition image of models wearing some of its latest festive holiday apparel.
We especially love the whimsical, fun font it used in the headline, "The Gift Shop 2016." For certain brands, decorative fonts like these can be a great seasonal touch to the style of your homepage. (Get tips for using fonts in your web design in our free do-it-yourself design guide.)
Who ever said online money transfer websites can't have fun at the holidays?
PayPal's holiday homepage works because it still looks like PayPal -- just a little more festive. It's still easy to navigate but adds seasonal flair with a clever spin on a lyric from "Jingle Bells" as its holiday slogan. The whitespace encourages visitors to focus on the happy models in the image, putting human faces to an industry that's businesslike and technical.
Like PayPal, Sephora didn't make many changes to the overall look and feel of its website. What it did do was feature a holiday edition of its highest-rated products and editors' picks, specially curated for different gift recipients, price ranges, categories, and so on.
By putting editors' picks front and center, Sephora is reminding customers how much the company values customers' success. Plus, we love the sprinklings of gemstones throughout the page -- it's a cute, festive way to separate modules on the page.
While seasonal website redesign is often dominated by B2C companies, a few B2B businesses have been known to dress up websites a bit too. Baudville, an employee recognition solution, is one.
While some web designers like to add a ton of new elements to their holiday designs, Baudville shows you don't have to. Something as simple as adding a holiday gift shop slide to your homepage photo banner can be enough to warmly welcome users to your site during this time of year.
5) La Colombe
La Colombe's holiday homepage design features soft, wintry hues and festive lighting. Visitors are greeted with high-definition photography of people enjoying La Colombe coffee products around a shared table. This webpage is another example of a business staying true-to-brand with an added holiday touch.
6) L.L. Bean
For a U.S. outdoor retail company like L.L. Bean, the holidays mean winter ... which means cold. (For most of us, unfortunately.) It keeps the holidays out of the seasonal redesign completely: The featured photo on the homepage is a model wearing apparel in front of pine trees covered in show, which is in keeping with the brand's outdoorsy theme.
L.L. Bean shares a list of holiday gift ideas featuring some of its most popular and beloved products. The seasonal homepage slogan -- "Gifts That Last Beyond the Present" -- reminds visitors of L.L. Bean's amazing satisfaction guarantee.
If you're more attracted to a winter-themed seasonal redesign, consider using winter-themed stock photos for your homepage. You might also consider cooling down the color scheme of your whole site for the holiday season. This means using cooler tones like blues, purples, and greens to give it a more "wintry" feel. (You can read more about cool color schemes in this blog post about color theory.)
This homepage is a fantastic move for the holidays because it is chock-full of goodies for visitors. Every module on this homepage has something helpful to offer customers -- stocking stuffers, gift ideas, luggage for holiday travel, party favors, and DIY projects.
The various CTAs on the homepage are clear and tell visitors everything they need to know about what's on the rest of the site. The geometric shapes organize all of the content cleanly, so despite the fact that the homepage has several different offers on it, it's not cluttered.
Between sporting events, holiday movies, and making your family binge-watch your new favorite TV series, with holidays comes lots of screen time. This homepage reminds visitors to be prepared for fun with their families.
The primary CTA isn't just "Deals to save you money!" or "Deals to get you to buy from our website!" Instead, this homepage advertises its "Ready for the Holidays Sale" alongside images of families having fun spending time together, some with screens.
Thanks to this positioning, the message feels less like a way to make money, and more like an nod to holiday family time that includes a lot of togetherness, and probably some TV in between.
9) J. Crew
J. Crew's holiday homepage goes above and beyond expectations for a clothing store. The whitespace on the page is simple and lets the clothing and accessories stand out on the page to prospective shoppers while keeping the website true to brand.
Its homepage advertises "Present-Topia," a Gift Guide that breaks down J. Crew products by age, gender, and price for ease of shopping. The black callout box advertises a sale it's running that includes seasonal clothing. J. Crew also published curated looks that visitors can browse or directly shop from to make the shopping experience easier and more visual. This homepage redesign prioritizes the user experience while still keeping the site beautiful and on-brand.
We like Microsoft's minimalist holiday homepage because it stays true to brand and uses whitespace to showcase the new products it's promoting this season. The simple red banner draws attention to their holiday shopping CTA and reminds people to think about products their friends and families might want. Then, there's another CTA reading "Shop Now" that drives home the need to click around and start shopping.
The dark background of Fitbit's homepage lets the festive gold color scheme and the products shine. The photography styling positions Fitbits as a gift similar to jewelry in beautiful boxes, rather than a piece of sporting equipment, to make Fitbit products appeal to a wider variety of shoppers and not just athletes.
The primary CTA is to "Shop The Gift Guide," which leads visitors through all of the products with descriptions that suggest who they might purchase it for, making it easy for shoppers to imagine their family and friends using the product.
Additionally, the site has a neat feature where visitors can hint to someone that they themselves want to get a Fitbit as a gift.
12) John Lewis
British retailer John Lewis didn't give its homepage a holiday makeover, but by tailoring each module to the season, it makes it hard for site visitors to navigate away before looking at the brand's products and projects ideas.
The main module above the fold features festive holiday decorations with a suggestion to look into the kitchen and home goods to prepare for big family meals. Just below, John Lewis features helpful information about delivery dates for ordering holiday gifts and the bonus that it offers free shipping.
We also love the "Be Inspired" section featuring travel and style ideas that don't advertise John Lewis products outright but instead, provide helpful content in the true inbound marketing way.
We can't guarantee that HP's holiday homepage video won't make you cry, but we can say that it's a unique and heartfelt spin on traditional holiday marketing. HP's homepage is another example of a site keeping the page minimally decorated with only their featured video, "Reinvent Giving," above the fold.
The touching video features a brother using HP technology to come up with the perfect gift for his brother, who is hard of hearing -- a guitar set that displays flashing lights when played so his brother can see himself playing music, even if he can't hear it. Emotion in advertising is effective, especially around the holiday season -- everyone has a friend or family member they want to find the perfect gift for.
The image and header on Madewell's homepage are very much in line with the company's typical branding: a model wearing a gorgeous dress in front of a neutral background, accompanied by a holiday spin on their name in festive, embellished font.
This is both attractive to first-time visitors who are greeted with simple imagery and user experience, as well as returning users, who expect a design like this but still appreciate the added holiday touches. The #giftwell hashtag prompts visitors to start a conversation about their shopping experiences on social media, which fosters a sense of brand loyalty.
15) Warby Parker
Warby Parker stuck to the basics of beautifully simple design in its seasonal homepage redesign. "Winter 2016" is the simple headline, which showcases a man dressed in winter apparel, set with a whole lot of negative space to draw attention to the details of his outfit -- and namely, his glasses.
While the primary CTA is still its usual "Shop Now," you'll notice a secondary CTA as you scroll that introduces "We Like It, We Love It: Warby Parker Editions." This social proof compels visitors to click, leading them to a curated list of fun holiday gift ideas, such as dog toys and books, including one the brand published called "50 Ways to Lose Your Glasses." This section is unique because Warby Parker is selling items different from what it usually sells to help valued customers fulfill their holiday shopping lists, which is a neat way to foster brand loyalty.
Finally, Warby Parker's responsive design gives mobile users a pleasant holiday shopping experience. According to Google, 53% of people who shopped online in 2014 used smartphones or tablets, and mobile searches about products while shoppers are still in the store have increased 30%.
The numbers are expected to rise this year, especially now that more people are searching Google on their smartphones than on desktop, so be sure your website is mobile-friendly in time for the holidays.
(To see more examples of ways ecommerce businesses have redesigned their websites for the holidays, check out this library of examples on Crayon.co.)
Oh, and one more thing: As you plan your own website design strategy for the holidays, be sure to plan and prepare your site for higher-than-normal traffic. The last thing you want is for your site to go down during a time when you hope to be doing great business.
What great homepage redesigns have you see this holiday season? Share with us in the comments.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.