But if you don't use a rotating carousel, the heck are you supposed to put on the home page??!!
How about these approaches?
Put the user in control
Symantec uses a header, but not only allows the user to control it (it doesn't auto-scroll), there is context provided around what the other slides are about. The user can scan them like a navigation menu, vs. just showing numbers or bullet icons, like so many rotating carousels do.
Sephora's banner is static, and clearly shows arrows right and left, even indicating the position in the carousel (e.g. 1/3).
If you must use a carousel, put the user in control.
Use unusual geometry
Conversion optimization rock star Bryan Eisenberg spilled his secret of top converting calls to action - irregular shapes. The problem with most banners is banner blindness. Get "edgy" like REI, and you may get more eye fixations where you want them.
Vat19's unconventional arrangement may have a similar effect...
Urban Outfitters' home page features unique category images. The icons are not all the same size and shape, which creates visual interest. The things that make you go hmmmm.
Highlight content features
Why does everything have to be promotional? We are in the age of content and commerce. Mr. Porter highlights its editorial-style content instead of products. This brand sells lifestyle. And it's confident customers know how to use the navigation menu.
Highlight your value proposition
If you're a smaller brand and want to highlight your value proposition whilst boosting your SEO with relevant keywords, try the Coffee Company's approach.
ASOS pairs their value prop with an image that captures the suburban celebrity spirit of the brand.
Drs. Foster and Smith's home page value prop clearly (with bullet points) spells out why they're better than the vet, including a picture of the founders to "foster" trust (get it?) not to mention adorable animals, which is always a win.
Surprisingly, video is underleveraged on home pages. Dollar Shave Club is ballsy enough to autoplay its video (do this at your own risk).
Show a singular CTA
Though Manpacks as a subscription service requires you to sign up or log-in before you view product, this approach is testworthy - one. single. CTA.
You decide the CTA.
Creatively feature categories
Skinnyties gets graphic with its category options, paired with a stylish, simple tagline: Start dressing better.
Next time you feel your arm twisted to add or keep a rotating banner or hero shot on your home page, take a hero shot and try out one of these alternative home page designs.