On the Web: Secrets of Profitable Navigation Exposed
For successful navigation to lead to higher conversion rates, you must provide shoppers several different ways to shop your site. It's a paradigm shift for merchandisers accustomed to organizing a store or catalog by the type of product, which is the kind of one-dimensional navigation that will hinder your success online.
So let's look at all the options OfficeMax gives shoppers on its homepage (pictured). It does a great job offering many different ways to enter the site without cluttering the homepage.
1. Order by Number is ideal for shoppers who already know the product numbers of the items they're looking for and want to order quickly. It's also useful for customers who place frequent orders for consumable products, like office supplies, as well as mail order catalog orders.
2. Weekly Ad provides a clickable replica of the weekly flier with specials. This makes it easy for web shoppers to buy products from that ad.
3. My Favorites allows shoppers to create lists of items they want to order or, more typically, reorder in the future. A continuity offer is a great addition to your favorites section.
4. Shop by Product Type is the most common form of navigation, and its placement is where shoppers expect to find it — at the top of the page.
5. Search is what most shoppers use when a site's navigation fails to help them find the products they're looking for. It's best to place the search box in the upper right corner, as OfficeMax does. Most shoppers read a site from the top, down the left side, across the bottom, then up the right side. The upper right is the last place shoppers look before leaving a page or site. If the navigation hasn't helped, a search box offers the last chance for shoppers to find what they're looking for before leaving.