Conversion Rate Optimization 7 min read
12 Oct 2020

The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Ecommerce Site Navigation For Higher Conversions

The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Ecommerce Site Navigation For Higher Conversions

First impressions matter. Yes, we know it’s a cliche. But in this case, it’s actually something that you should really have at the forefront when designing your online store.

When potential clients land on your website, they want to find an organized platform where they can easily find what they’re looking for.

If they run into too many hurdles, they can just as easily click off and try the next online store. And that’s something you don’t want to even cross their mind because in eCommerce, the next store is just a click or thumb swipe away.

Therefore, you need to ensure that your online store doesn’t replicate what our example showed. Your customers need to browse their way through the site, unaided because there’s usually no one to guide them.

The whole point of online shopping is to experience the convenience of doing everything ina few short finger movements.

When designing your online store, you need to ensure that your customers know where everything is. Even when they’ve never been to your store, your site’s features should make enough sense for them to find what they want without breaking a sweat.

In this guide, we’ll go deeper into the advantages of crafting a site that customers can easily navigate. More importantly, we’ll show you to improve ecommerce site navigation so that you can increase conversions on your site.

Debutify offers a ready-to-use Shopify theme that has a simple but highly effective layout. This allows your customers to breeze through your online store, enabling you to convert several visitors into buyers. Download the Debutify theme now for free!

What Are The Benefits Of Proper Ecommerce Site Navigation?

When you set up your online store just right, you make everything easy to understand. Not only do you improve eCommerce site navigation, but you also unlock a horde of other advantages.

Below, we take a look at what you stand to gain when you provide your potential visitors with an enjoyable online shopping experience.

The benefits include:

Proper Site Navigation Reduces Bounce Rate

The whole point of spending money on web design is to ensure that your visitors make sense of your site when they land on the homepage.

If they open the site and can’t quite make heads or tails of it, they’ll more than likely close it and find something else that works.

So, the bounce rate is the number of people who leave your site after only a few clicks on the page they landed on.

On average, nearly half of the people who visit online stores leave as soon as the site opens.

From this, you can see that the odds are already stacked against you.

If more people leave as soon as they land on your site, you’re losing out on potential customers. Additionally, this can hurt your SEO marketing strategy.

When too many people leave your site, Google takes note. It assumes people don’t find anything valuable on your site. Consequently, the search engine doesn’t recommend your online store to any of its other users.

This hurts your brand because fewer people get to know about it.

Therefore, you need to ensure that you have optimized eCommerce site navigation for higher conversions.

Optimized Ecommerce Site Navigation Improves Your Store’s Design

When you’re setting up your site navigation structure, you need to have your customers in mind.

Find out what they like and what they would naturally or logically do when they land on your store’s website.

If you incorporate all this, your optimized site navigation features will morph your platform into a well-designed online store.

When potential customers land on a well-designed and appealing site, they’ll likely spend more time looking around.

The more time they spend browsing your site, the higher your chances of converting them from mere visitors to actual buyers.

Therefore, having an excellently designed site is good for business. And you can only achieve excellent web design if you focus on improving your site’s navigation features.

Great Site Navigation Features Hold Your Audience’s Attention

Like we’ve alluded to above, improved eCommerce site navigation enables you to engage your potential customers.

Therefore, it makes sense to incorporate important information around your site’s navigation links.

Once a visitor lands on your website, their eye will land on the homepage’s top section. This is usually where you put most of your navigation features.

Therefore, if you add other page elements with information you wish to push on your audience, this is the right place to put it.

You can put banners announcing new stock or special offers. This catches potential customers’ attention, making them seek out those special offers.

If they do, you increase your chances of making a sale straight from the homepage.

A Seamless Online Shopping Experience

When you put all the above benefits together, what you notice is that you’re trying to give the customer the best online shopping experience.

With pleasant site design, potential customers are taken up with your brand. They’re engaged and feel compelled to look around more, enjoying the subtle features that make navigation a breeze.

Additionally, sensible eCommerce site navigation saves customers a lot of time. Several customers opt for online shopping because they don’t have time to go out to a physical store to look for items they want.

Therefore, you need to improve eCommerce site navigation so that you serve these people. Proper navigation features ensure that such customers easily find what they’re looking for, taking as little time as possible.

Additionally, this also helps you to keep your site organized. Not only does this help your customers to quickly find what they want, but it also enables you to keep an eye on your store’s various aspects.

This way, If you find any problems, you can quickly fix them to ensure that your customers still have a flawless experience dealing with your brand.

Now that you know why it’s vital to improve eCommerce site navigation, let’s see how you can refine movement around your online store.

How To Improve Navigation In Your Online Store

Reading through all that above, we’ve come to the conclusion that optimizing your eCommerce site navigation is the way to go to increase conversions.

After all, the easier it is for your clients to move through your site, the more time they can spend in the store. And if they do, you can convert them into subscribers or even repeat buyers.

Remember; design the site with the user in mind. It isn’t about what design and navigation element you find cool, but what helps the user.

Here are a few innovative ways you can improve eCommerce site navigation.

Work On Your Mobile Site’s Navigation

6 in 10 people who engage in online shopping do so using their mobile devices. So, they’re either using their smartphones or tablets.

This affects your online store’s design and navigation more than you know.

You might have poured the majority of your web design towards creating a sleek design. However, this design only looks good and makes sense to visitors when they open your site on their desktop computer or laptop.

When potential customers access your online store on their phones or tablets, they can’t make sense of it. Several features overlap each other, and the text is squashed on the relatively smaller screen.

Users can’t navigate such a site. Therefore, they’ll close your site and try something else.

Additionally, they’ll always avoid your brand when using their phones because they can just figure out the site.

This also has terrible consequences when it comes to SEO. One of the things Google looks at when ranking websites is mobile usability. So, if your site doesn’t perform on mobile devices, you’ll fall down the rankings on the result pages.

Therefore, you need to work on the mobile site design and navigation.

Try simplifying the navigation bar and other features. With mobile, you’re working with a smaller screen. In other words, all your cool features wouldn’t fit in the way you’d like them to.

The Debutify theme provides a fully-optimized and highly-responsive mobile version for your online store.

Give Separate Navigation Options To Your Different Target Audiences

If you offer vastly different products for different sections of your target market, it makes sense to provide separate menus.

Creating a single navigation bar to cater to all market sections will result in a cluttered design. And this clutter will turn away any potential customers, increasing your site’s bounce rate and all the associated disadvantages.

Therefore, you should handle each audience separately.

For instance, your online store offers fashion for both men and women. Since you’re running a large-ish operation, you need to have separate menus for each audience.

Otherwise, several customers would go through a lot of content that they don’t need to reach their desired product category pages.

On the homepage, your main navigation menu should have the general category links for women shoppers.

However, on the same navigation bar, you should add a link to the men’s section. The words “For Men” should be a different text color, setting them apart from the other page features.

This also ensures that men customers can easily see it and click.

When they click, the site should redirect them to an identical store format so that you maintain the brand theme. Of course, photography and imagery will be different, appealing more to men.

You can also have a “For Women” link on the main navigation menu on the men’s side.

So, regardless of which side your customer is, they can always go to the other section. After all, they might be buying something for themselves and someone else.

Stay Away From Drop-Down Menus

When designing your online store, you might be tempted to show off all your different product categories and features at the same time. One way to do this is by using drop-down menus.

In some cases, this might actually work out for you.

But for most online stores, this is just overkill. And if customers notice that they’re running around in circles, they’ll log off and try your competitor’s site.

Additionally, drop-down menus assume that the customer knows what they’re looking at. It assumes that they know how your site is set up.

Unfortunately, they don’t.

So, why not help them out and, instead, provide detailed pages for numerous links you would’ve added to the drop-down feature?

What makes this even better is that users will spend more time on your site as they look through the other pages you’ve created. That’s an opportunity for you to convert them into customers or subscribers.

Additionally, it’ll take a lot of brainpower on your part to figure out how to make all those links fit and look good.

Therefore, it’d make more sense to avoid them altogether.

Add A Prominent And Intuitive Search Function

In several instances, customers land on your site and browse through. They look at the different products you have to offer. If you’re lucky, they might spot something they fancy and add it to their cart.

And chances are, they might not clear that cart at checkout. So, sort of a tire-kicker situation there.

However, some potential customers get onto your site when they already know what they want. But still, they might not know how to move around your online store. Consequently, they can’t find what they want.

To solve this, you need to add a search bar to enable these customers to find what they want. They already show that they know the item they’re interested in, placing them further along the sales funnel.

To ensure that they come out at the end as buyers, you need to ensure that they can easily find your search bar.

An ideal place to put it is at the top of the page.

When they get onto your online store, the first thing they see is the search bar to type the item they want.

In some instances, a customer might not know the exact item they want. They only have an idea.

It’s a good idea to make your search function intuitive. In other words, as the customer types in the search bar, you can display suggestions.

This is likely to show them the item they had in mind or jog their memory. Another advantage is that the suggestions could show them something that they didn’t know they wanted.

All in all, adding a functional search feature is one way to use eCommerce site navigation for higher conversions.

Stick To Known Navigation Design Tradition

Now, we know new things always excite people. And they’ll definitely love them.

However, old things still have a certain charm; they’re familiar. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

You shouldn’t change certain navigation design elements for the sake of changing and leaving your own unique stamp.

For example, everyone who regularly uses the internet knows that the three-stack line (hamburger) icon stands for an expandable menu.

If you change to something totally different, you will leave a significant chunk of your site’s visitors confused. And if they’re confused to the point of failing to find what they’re looking for, you’re losing out on potential buyers.

Therefore, much as you want to showcase your creativity, you need to stick to what people know. This ensures that site visitors appreciate your clean design but still know what to do to move around.

Make Use Of Your Page Footer

The footer is that bottom-most part of the page. Because it comes after the meat of the homepage or e-commerce landing page, most sites don’t pay it much attention.

After all, most site visitors don’t scroll that far. And if they do, they don’t usually pay attention to it.

However, if a visitor to your site reaches that far on your page, they must have found your content very engaging.

Therefore, you can use the footer area to direct them to your online store’s other pages.

Add links to your blog, featured content, and more information about your brand. For example, this is an ideal spot to let potential customers know your brand story.

The footer is also a great way to improve eCommerce site navigation. This is because you can add a quick link feature that automatically takes the user back to the top of the page. And speaking of the page’s top…

Incorporate Floating Header Menus

As customers browse your site, they can often get lost. They might see something they like, something different from what brought them to your online store in the first place. After a while, they’ll want to move on with their original plan.

Therefore, you need to provide a way to lead customers out of the browsing rabbit hole.

The solution is a floating header menu.

When the customer scrolls down to explore other sections and features, the header is always present regardless of the part of the page the customer is viewing at that moment.

The header displays the main navigation menu, enabling the customers to jump to any section.

In Conclusion

To use eCommerce site navigation for higher conversions, you need to wisely apply the pointers we’ve gone through above. To improve eCommerce site navigation, you need to design your online store to ensure that your customers get the best shopping experience.

Debutify Theme allows you to craft an ecommerce store that appeals to your customers. It embodies all the excellent eCommerce site navigation features, ensuring that you reap profits from your operation. Download Debutify for free now!  

Ricky Hayes

Ricky Hayes

Ricky Hayes is the CEO at Debutify. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies, and mentoring programs.

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