Have E-Commerce Sites Forgotten the Rules of Site Navigation?

Must Read

Over 13.6 Crore Jobs in India Would Be Lost Due to Coronavirus Outbreak!

The 21-day lockdown induced by the deadly outbreak of the Covid-19 has completely dismantled and disrupted the...

Zomato Sets Eyes On $10.2 Billion Online Grocery Delivery Market in India

The 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed in India due to the Covid-19 outbreak fueled a massive change in...

Apple iPhone 9 Launch: Not The Date, The Price That Could Turn Heads!

The much-awaited launch of iPhone 9, aka iPhone SE 2, could take place on Sunday, April 5,...

When you log on to your favorite e-commerce website, can you easily find what you are looking for? Have you ever left a site because you couldn’t find what you were looking for, or because the site navigation was too difficult to manage?

If so, you aren’t alone. Two years ago, the Baymard Institute conducted a study of the top 50 consumer websites, including such behemoths as Walmart and Amazon, and found that there were more than 900 usability problems on these sites. Issues ranged from improper categorization to search problems to problems finding recently viewed items and more, but what they really boiled down to was this: Despite investing millions of dollars into site design, even the largest retailers weren’t following even the most basic rules of site navigation.

So what does that mean for smaller e-commerce retailers? Navigation should be your top priority. According to KissMetrics, bad site navigation is the number one reason that users leave your site, cutting into your retention and conversions. When customers can’t find what they are looking for, whether it is a particular product or contact information, they will get frustrated and leave — and most likely, head to your competition. Even when you use free website and hosting services to help you, you still need to remember the most basic rules of site navigation.


1. Keep Your Home Page Simple

When you land on the typical e-commerce home page, what do you see? Probably, tons of links. However, studies show that the optimum number of links on your home page is no more than seven. That’s right, seven. Any more, and the page is likely to feel cluttered, and users will be overwhelmed and likely to miss important information. The fewer links you have on the home page, the more they will stand out.

At the same time, don’t sacrifice usability in favor of simplicity. One trend that’s taken hold in Web design lately is the single-column design, which highlights your content, but makes it more difficult to find other information. When users need to scroll to the bottom of the page to find what they are looking for, they are likely to get frustrated. So while you should always remember the “three-click” rule — that is, everything that matters should be within three clicks of the home page — you don’t want to oversimplify to the point that users have to go hunting for information.

2. Focus on Search

In another Baymard Institute study of the top 50 e-commerce websites, researchers found that most sites don’t have the advanced search functions that user’s want. Among some of the top findings:

  • 70 percent of the sites require users to use exact names for searches in order to return results; in other words, searching for “blow dryer” returns results when “hair dryer” did not.
  • While autocomplete is present on 82 percent of the sites reviewed, it only worked well on 36 percent of the sites.
  • 18 percent of the sites tested did not tolerate misspellings in product names or types.
  • 16 percent of the sites did not support searching by product name or model — even when the information was present on the product page

These results reveal several potential problems that can stem from poor search results. For example, when a user tries to search by product name, and no results are returned, they will assume that you don’t carry the product. And when search does not support exact queries — accounting for misspellings or alternative queries — users may again feel believe you don’t have the product or get frustrated and leave.

The solution, then, is to spend time perfecting your search functions and use analytics to determine which queries your customers are using, to keep them from leaving your site prematurely.


3. Use Dropdown Menus Sparingly

On non-e-commerce websites, dropdown menus are detrimental to navigation, as they often encourage users to miss important top-level pages. However, when you are organizing a store, dropdown menus can help customers find what they want quickly — as long as the menus are labeled specifically (“Men’s Shirts” rather than “Clothing” or “Products” for example,) and there aren’t too many items in the list. The more product categories you have in the list, even if they are very specific, the more overwhelming it is to the user, and the more likely they will either rely on search or go elsewhere.

The bottom line is that your e-commerce site needs to be easy to navigate, meaning not overwhelming and easily searched. If you can accomplish that, you should see your time on site and conversion rates increase — as well as your sales.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Skype Trying To Replicate Zoom’s Success With Its New Feature!

It seems like the meteoric rise of the Zoom video conferencing app amid the work from the...

Should Apple Take Advantage Of Disney’s Stock Crash And Acquire It?

The Covid-19 outbreak caused Disney’s stock to fall below $100 for the first time in the last one and a half year...

Covid-19 Thrusts Graduating Students From IIM and IITs Towards Uncertain Future!

The mayhem of the COVID-19 outbreak has been affecting all parts of the economy and now it has finally arrived at the...

Will YouTube’s New Feature Kill TikTok?

After Facebook, it's Youtube that has been closely monitoring the exceptional growth of TikTok. And, the new feature of YouTube is a...

Facebook Messenger Desktop App: The Rise Of Zoom Has Caught The Attention Of Zuckerberg?

Facebook Messenger Desktop app is making waves, and all because of an unexpected and sudden rise of Zoom - a video conferencing...

A New Coronavirus Scam Is So Lucrative That People Are Falling Prey To Scammers Easily!

Fraudsters are out once again to steal your money and this time they are banking on a new Coronavirus scam.

In-Depth: Dprime

YouTube Should Have Bid Adieu To Dislike Button Much Earlier?

Online video sharing platform YouTube can be a ruthless place for content creators targeted by 'dislike mobs'. And the site owners totally understand that...

Facebook Has Pulled Off A Masterstroke By Integrating Its ‘Family Of Apps’?

It’s indeed hard to believe that ONE man sitting at Menlo Park, oversees how nearly a third of the world’s population interacts with each...

Facebook’s Crunch Conquest: By Relying Largely On The US Market, Is Facebook Running a Risk?

Two billion! That's Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) for you - Right when you thought that this social-media giant has already connected the entire world, it's...

More Articles Like This