An Ecommerce site’s navigation is one of the key components that contribute to it’s bottom-line. Navigation, if well done, can make a large contribution not only to a visitor’s shopping experience but also to the site’s conversions.
To get it right though, is a herculean task. Some of the biggest online retailers still make some crucial mistakes while designing their navigation (that’s the subject for another post 🙂 ). There are dozens of techniques and best practices to improve navigation and new techniques are constantly being tried and tested.
In this post I’ve detailed some amazing techniques, both standard and unique, that you can try to make your site’s navigation work for you.
A Persistent Category Menu
A persistent category menu is a great way to help your visitors quickly jump to other categories.
Ecommerce giant Fab.com, does this well. Their concise menu persists as visitors scroll and is available for them to quickly navigate to other category pages.
Faceted navigation is now considered essential for a good user experience but you’d be surprised at the number of online stores still getting by without facets or with inadequate filtering options.
Comprehensive facets and filters help visitors narrow down to the products they need and ultimately checkout faster. Now, isn’t that really the point?
As an ecommerce product discovery platform, we provide faceted navigation that helps online retailers not only implement facets and filters but also add a layer of personalization on top of it. The result? Dynamic category pages that personalize the way products are displayed based on a user’s preferences and past history.
Curated Pages for better Product Discovery:
Curated pages showcasing similar products or products catering to a particular demographic are a great way to aid product discovery.
In particular, such themed stores work well for holiday shopping or festivals, where online shoppers are looking for certain types of products. Specific themed pages also allow for theme-related design akin to an offline store’s holiday window displays.
Indian ecommerce giant, Flipkart, does this particularly well as can be seen with their recent introduction of a ‘Women’s Store’ and a ‘Valentine’s Day Store’.
The power of social proof is phenomenal and ecommerce stores worldwide are catching on to it. According to a CompUSA and an iPerceptions study, “63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.” Social proof in some form or the other is being implemented on a variety of online stores in a bid to incite visitors to convert.
As a navigation tactic, social proof can be used in a whole bunch of ways. A popular method is to include ratings as a facet on category pages.
Some retailers also include special pages/collections with pictures of customers using their products in real-life settings. Such pages can drastically improve conversions as visitors take into account the popularity of these products.
Lululemon, an American fashion retailer, does this with a dedicated page of their customers wearing their products. Clicking on any picture leads visitors to that product itself. Pretty neat!
Lookbooks or Collections
A lookbook or a product collection is a combination of products put together in a real setting. It could be an apparels store putting together current trends in a fashion lookbook or a home furnishing store using their products together to create a living space.
Collections are a remarkable way to showcase multiple products that go well together. It gives visitors a better idea of how they can match products together, leading to multiple purchases.
A clever navigation technique here is to provide a way to add single and multiple products to cart from the lookbook/collection itself. For instance, IKEA’s ‘galleries’ contain an option to add multiple products to cart simultaneously while showing visitors how easy it is to create beautiful decor using their products.
Another example is Myntra’s lookbook with an option to ‘Buy the look’.
Using visual cues to lead visitors towards the right products is another effective tactic.
Lenskart, an online eyewear retailer, does this well with thumbnails showing eyeglasses and sunglasses of different shapes and styles leading visitors to the appropriate category pages.
Another eyewear ecommerce store, Bonlook, does this with face shapes, encouraging visitors to narrow down to eyewear based on the shape of their face.
Sales and Offers
Discounts and offers form an integral part of the online shopping experience. Online shoppers have traditionally come to expect discounts while they’re shopping online.
Keeping this in mind, it simply makes sense to group your offers and discounts together and let users find the best deals on your site. This can be through a highlighted sale/discounts tab in your category menu or through a dedicated offers page as seen on lingerie site, Prettysecrets.
Highlighting certain products in category pages is another brilliant way to help visitors navigate to featured, top selling or new products. This can also help draw attention to low stock products, creating urgency in the visitor’s mind.
Modcloth, an American retailer selling vintage clothing, uses this technique to highlight their top rated products.
Highlight trust signals
First-time shoppers look for key trust signals before they consider placing an order. Important information like the Shipping & Returns Policy, Security, Payment Methods etc. should be bunched together and shown prominently on the homepage.
Visitors have now come to expect this information on the homepage, usually in the footer or the sidebar.
So there you have it – 9 excellent navigation techniques to give your visitors an amazing shopping experience. I’d also love to hear what techniques work best for you, so do comment below!