The ecommerce industry is gathering high momentum as the number of internet users is exploding and new platforms of business are getting popular day by day. The E-Marketer reports that the global online shopping index reached over 1.915 trillion US dollars in 2016, and 57% of Irish internet users are making their purchases online.
It’s easy to figure out why the industry is in overdrive. We are stepping into a smart world where people don’t have enough time or energy to spend on store to store purchasing. Saving time is key, the crucial reason behind the success of ecommerce.
But not all ecommerce stores become successful. The darker side of the industry reveals a reasonable number of e-stores fail to make the cut. These stores are forced shut down within a couple of months of opening. What are they missing? Let’s take a look at what successful stores such as eBay and Amazon do. These stores have the most user friendly filtered navigation.
Shopping on any e-store without proper navigation facility is similar to searching for a book in a library without an index. The shopper on such a store will either get lost or frustrated before making a purchase. Here are ten trending ways to optimize filtered navigation that leading stores are building and using.
1. Position Filtered Navigation Correctly
On many ecommerce sites, filtered navigation is placed on the left sidebar. Many experts believe, however, that it works differently on different sites. You therefore need to find the best position yourself depending upon the type and size of your store.
Vertical navigation is being used by the leading stores as it is convenient for listing a larger number of products classified in categories and sub categories. Horizontal navigation usually works well for websites that have fewer product filters. This way, shoppers are less likely to overlook the filters. However, a horizontal filtering and sorting toolbar is only appropriate for certain types of ecommerce sites.
2. Provide Relevant Filters
Relevant navigation filters bring the shopper closer to the product and increase the chances of purchasing. Fancy filters on certain websites are good, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll work all the time. There are no fixed criteria on adding filters, but some ecommerce sites overlook certain aspects that can be used to target customer interests.
Let’s take an example of a customer looking for shoes. This customer lands on a web store selling multiple products. He would have no problem using filters for size, style and color. Now imagine another customer is looking for a book on the same website, and is provided with similar filters. This customer is likely to get annoyed and even agitated. This may not only lead to drastic drops in sales, but will also affect your customer base.
3. Enable Manual Input
Empower the costumer. Let him select set filters manually, such as price input fields. Give you costumer the choice of the number of filters he wants to use. Also provide a simple search bar at the very top where the costumer will be able to enter keywords manually. Every costumer has a different way of approaching things, so we need to make things suitable for all of them.
4. Provide Auto-Complete Functionality
There is no question regarding the effectiveness of auto-complete functionality. An upgraded auto-complete function provides consumers with phrases and suggests product matches. Auto-complete functionality makes searches easy and leads the consumer directly to the relevant product page. Make sure your search has autocorrect for spelling mistakes and provides similar results to Google search as the user types.
5. Keep Category Names Simple
Simplicity is the key. Don’t fall into the trap of creativity or innovative category naming. They may be fascinating to some, but are widely discouraged because they tend to confuse and sometimes mislead customers. The tip is to make them discoverable by choosing descriptive words with a strong information scent, and avoid made-up words and phrases.
6. Display a Product Counter
Customers visiting online stores often come with a predefined number of products that they will check and compare before actually buying one. A product counter naturally creates a sense of confidence and trust and allows customers to make a wiser product selection. A product counter is also very important for a consumer to understand if the custom filter he set has actually narrowed the results. Customers will immediately realize if they set enough filters or need to rerun the query to find more relevant results.
7. Understand the Buyer’s Mindset
In order to set a perfect navigation chart, it is very important to get into the shoes of costumers and realize their concerns. Think of conducting a survey of your visitors to perfectly analyze your shortcomings. Have a look at the profile, age, gender, education and demographics of your visitors.
8. Introduce a “What’s New” Category
It’s a fact that most ecommerce visitors don’t have any intention of purchasing. “What’s New” pages help the genuine buyers who visit regularly to stay updated with recent stuff available in the marketplace. Amazon and eBay also allow this feature because they don’t want their customers to get lost in millions of products that they don’t want to buy.
9. Make it Mobile Friendly
The majority of British shoppers place their orders on mobile phones. Most online stores are only now working on developing mobile apps, and often overlook the need for mobile friendly filters. There is an equal chance of a costumer landing on a store and making a purchase via mobile and via desktop. Many stores lack this critical feature and their customers get irritated by the unsymmetrical pattern of filters that appear when they open a store on their smartphones.
10. Voice Search
The competition in ecommerce is getting tougher with each passing day, and every seller is doing their best to gain costumers. To overcome, you need to stand out from rest of the pack and come up with something unique. One way to do this is by introducing a voice search filter where your visitors are transported to their desired product page by speaking their desired search term. This adds an interesting component to a store and save them from the agony of ticking through multiple filters.
If you’re serious about taking your ecommerce conversions and sales to the next level, these 10 tips can help you by providing your customers with a better ecommerce website experience, leading to more sales and an improved revenue stream.
Asad Ali is an experienced Internet marketer who has been running successful campaigns for the past 7 years. Currently, he is leading the marketing team at Go-Gulf Dubai – a corporate web development company. He has vast experience in promoting eCommerce websites and conversion optimization.