Ecommerce navigation best practices
Mirror on the wall, who’s superior to them all? Although an eye-candy site is one of the key factors that contribute to an overall positive user experience, one cannot guarantee how it really delivers to the visitors. Many online fashion brands nail the design of their shop but fail to consider how users will navigate their site to find what they're looking for, discover products they didn’t know they wanted, and learn about your brand.
What customers read, see, do, and experience while clicking through your shop will greatly affect the amount of time they spend there, how many of them visit again, and ultimately, what they buy. A clunky or annoying website can lose your customers and end up holding your brand back from its full potential in both sales and growth. Ideally, you want a website that functions as good as it looks. In this article, we’ll show you how you can have the best of both worlds, with a site navigation experience that is smart, polished, and of the highest standards.
Ecommerce navigation standards
Mastering or at least being aware of the basics, the obvious, and the rules of thumb are essential to crack this whole thing. The key elements to consider when creating an elite user experience don’t just come in the product categories and checkout section. Fine-tuning all the sides of user satisfaction will let your customers know they’re in the right place to be around and spend their money wisely and impulsively.
Believe it or not, even your brand logo’s placement on your storefront matters big time. StyleHub strongly recommends top left logo placement, as it’s where eyes are first naturally drawn to when landing on a website. Not only does it fulfill a natural reaction, but it also strategically emphasizes a brand recall for potential customers.
Studies have shown that logos that are positioned in the top center of the page are 6 times less likely to be clicked to return to the homepage.
A click on your brand logo should always refresh the website and return users to the homepage, regardless of where they are on the site when they click it. Any other way will create a confusing user experience.
"The hardest thing in fashion is not to be known for a logo, but to be known for a silhouette." —Giambattista Valli
One of the very first things your visitors should see are the categories for the products and services you offer. This helps users who know what they are looking for to navigate quickly to their specific interests. Familiar with the subcategory? Include it on your page if you’re lucky enough to have a large inventory. For example, an online fashion store with a broad range of products should have the following main categories listed front and center; women, men, and children. The subcategory for women’s wears might then look something like this; women>clothing>dresses>skirts>swimwear>pants, and so on. If you’re planning to promote new arrivals or sale items, it’s also a good idea to create separate categories that your customers could easily see.
If you haven’t read our blog yet on why on-site search engines matter, don’t waste the moment and inform yourself on how this functionality can save your business. Not exaggerating, but you should give it a look. For starters though, the search bar should always be noticeable and tactically placed, either in the top center or top right corner of every page. StyleHub has a built-in content and catalog search bar that is highly industry (fashion) optimized for your product catalog, articles, product categories, and more. As search plays a big role in driving sales and creating a superior user experience, you can never go wrong with the right provider.
Fancy a little flex? It’s showtime. An ‘about us’ page is necessary for your brand identity. This should be informative and cover the basics that customers will often want to know. The most common info to include in this section is your humble beginnings (from raw concepts to the actual founding date), location, and contact details. This part of your shop’s website allows you to reach out to curious customers with a narrative about your brand that creates a personal affinity and connection to the customers.
Having this information displayed can go a long way to instill trust, especially for visitors who have never bought from you before. Whether or not they need to see this, it’s still helpful to make shipping services by country available as it helps your webpage become an all-in-one place to shop. StyleHub supports reliable shipping services for domestic parcels through PostNord (areas within the Scandinavian region); and UPS, DPD, and GLS (Europe and worldwide) for both national and international shipping. Customers or plain visitors who can see a familiar name that speaks to their particular needs will make each of them feel more at home, which is a plus factor for engagement.
Trust is, indeed, a big word, so building this for your customers through your return policy and options is the way to go. If this information is buried on some back page in your shop, your customers will instantly feel that something might not be right. With us, your return procedure is automated using our pre-made return form, so there’s no room for the hassle of having to provide this standard. As much as possible, you want to let your customers know that if a product issue dissatisfied with their purchase experience, you can always act on it. This will eventually make them feel that they’re making safe online purchases with your store.
Ecommerce navigation best practices
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the best practices and site navigation features you can employ to your own brand’s website. These elements not only engage potential customers but even attract new ones.
Sticky top bar
The top bar which may contain the logo, search bar, and menu, should be made fixed so that it remains visible and accessible when users scroll down the page. This saves the visitors time and avoids an unintended return to the main page.
Responsive website - responsive navigation
A recent survey found that 67% of users said they are likely to buy from their handheld devices if websites are optimized for mobile. It’s important to test your site with all the most popular mobile operating systems and browsers to make sure your site functions and navigates properly.
You may be a part of this vast majority of customers out there who have mobile phones and use them to make online purchases.
It may sound like extra work, but you only have two choices, do it or lose prospects. So?
Depending on the uniqueness of your brand and product offerings, you should tailor the subcategory listing to be as specific as possible. You will want to keep some categories more general, such as new arrivals, seasonal sales, and the likes. No matter how precise this practice already sounds, there’s no regret in digging into the details. The ordering and hierarchy of your subcategories also eliminate confusion and give browsing customers a better sense of your page as a whole.
List, re-list categories
Sudden visitors seldom have much patience when browsing an online shop’s webpage. Most often, they would want to see the whole site content at a glance. One great way to do that is to make the categories for your entire shop viewable in one place. The sooner a customer can determine what your shop offers and doesn't, the sooner they’ll know that they’re not wasting their time on a sub-par website.
Imagine opening a box of chocolate and seeing every goodness in it. Wow. But the mega menu isn’t a chocolate brand, just so you know. Mega menu is a type of an expandable menu that allows users to explore your entire website with just one click (now do you understand why we compared it to it?). Mega menus pack your whole site navigation into a convenient dropdown menu that makes figuring it out a breeze. However, rather than just giving the customers all the info at once, your shop unfolds from an intuitive tree structure that lets users navigate past categories they aren’t interested in and zero in on what they’re looking for.
With mega menus, nothing is left out. The smart, compact menu tree organization of the categories lets you use images that can make the experience both easier and more appealing for users. This directly translates into profits—as the more of your products get seen, the more you are likely to sell.
Keys to an effective mega menu
Mega menus are great to have on just about any type of website that offers services or sells products. At StyleHub, we give navigation editor WYSIWYG to create mega menus (and simple, multiple column dropdown) without coding and leaving our CMS. They improve the user experience by dramatically reducing the amount of time spent scrolling and clicking. Good news for you and the customer. So here are some things to apply when designing your own mega menu.
- Structure your mega menus into groups of navigation options
- Menu options should expand on hover, click, or tap (mobile)
- If possible, use icons and imagery that are both pleasing to the eye and helpful
- Everything should be visible at once—no scrolling!
- Keep a medium level of detail in your categories. You don’t want so many options that it takes users forever to scan.
Well-developed site navigation keeps potential customers on your site browsing your products with the decision to purchase. You may have aesthetic designs, but clearly, after getting to this part of the blog, it’s not and never will be enough.
Optimized site navigation gives the impression that your webshop is trustworthy and of the highest standards of quality. Without providing smooth functionalities—which strengthens your brand’s identity and fosters loyalty—there’s no guarantee that your shop will thrive to the top.
Being on the move to be the best calls for devoted action. All of these translate into the one thing every ecommerce enterprise wants: an increase in sales.