By Sue Chapman

In addition to site search best practices, retailers often ask me about navigation and categorization. Some of the most common questions include:

  • What are the best ways to improve or simplify navigation?
  • What are some ways others have increased conversion through unique navigation techniques?
  • What categories and sub-categories should we use to help improve the sales funnel?

Here are a few things I suggest exploring to enhance your navigation and categorization:London Drugs screenshot

  • Single click mega navigation – The easiest way to simplify navigation is to provide a link to all product categories with one click. Offer your customers the ability to go to any product grid page right from the top navigation.
  • Do research for top key words – Find out what shoppers are searching for most frequently in both organic and site search, and try to rename your categories to match these common search terms. Where relevant, it might make sense to split combination categories – such as “Skirts & Dresses” – for better search ranking.
  • Offer multiple ways to shop – Your customers are likely motivated by different things, so make it easy for your customers to navigate your site. Consider using categories like product type, brand, benefit or concern (i.e. “oily skin”), or special offers, such as new arrivals or sale. These various product paths help your customers quickly and easily find the perfect product to meet their needs.
  • Use of product finders – Many of our customers in the areas of apparel, beauty and electronics have found guided selling or product finders incredibly valuable. They have seen increased conversion and lower bounce rates compared to standard navigation. One great example of a product finder is from our client London Drugs, a Canadian retail store chain focused on pharmaceuticals, electronics, housewares and cosmetics; their Camera Finder (screenshot above) helps their customers choose the perfect camera for their needs. Another great example of a product finder is from our client Urban Decay, an American cosmetics company (screenshot to the left), which uses a Foundation Finder to help their shoppers find the right foundation shade or find an Urban Decay replacement for another brand they’re currently using. Product finders can also be used as part of holiday gift guides. I talked about product finders during our recent Get Holiday Ready blog series as it relates to finding the right gift.
  • Test top navigation changes – Always remember to test and fine tune every change made to site navigation and filters. Not only does this ensure usability, it’s also a great way to test out what features work best to generate greater revenue and time spent on the site.

Up next: merchandising on the grid page.