Creating Effective Navigation for Your Ecommerce Store

Is your website costing you clients? Do customers bounce back quickly from your eCommerce store or don’t make it to the checkout page? That’s probably because your online store lacks an efficient navigation system! Effective navigation for your eCommerce store will definitely increase the number of visitors, time spent on the site, and, eventually, conversion rate.

No more to say… Let’s dig in together in the eCommerce techniques and marketing secrets towards better navigation on your online store?

Navigation techniques in a nutshell:

Use Simple Language

Although getting creative and playing with the words can sound tempting sometimes, using simple and clear language on the main navigation menu makes more sense. Your eCommerce store visitor should understand the items easily to be enticed to click them. The wording of the items also should reflect what is there in the drop menu. Meaningful, simple, and direct language on your primary navigation menu on the top of your page leaves little room for confusion and a big one for conversion.

Take this eCommerce store as an example. Cavaraty uses clear and simple wordings on its main navigation menu, which reflects a wonderful user experience on the site. An online shopper can predict what’s behind every item on the menu before clicking for the dropdown.

Cavaraty is also pretty aware of their customer’s needs and that’s shown in how each item is directly related to those needs. Customers can easily find what they’re looking for just by hovering over the top menu.

Navigation Ecommerce Store

Include a Search Box

No wonder that the search box is usually referred to as the “ Holy Search Box .” An internal search box is crucial to your eCommerce store; it’s the last resort for your customer to find what they’re looking for instead of bouncing back.

The bigger a search box is, the better. A user should be able to easily locate your search box when other navigation options have failed.

Take Zara’s online store as an example. Zara has installed a big search box right in the center of the page, and it is sticky; i.e., the search box will always be in its place in front of your eyes no matter how far down you go on the page.

Ecommerce Store search box

Tip? Installing an internal search function on your site lets you collect huge and beneficial data, which you can use then to optimize your website and the overall marketing strategy further.


Google search engine has got to be using autocompletion for a good reason: people are extremely satisfied with this option. Provide users of your eCommerce store with an autocomplete function to narrow down their searches, minimize the risk of misspelling, and speed up the process. When an online shopper finds the exact product they need with minimal effort, this leads to a boost to the conversion rates.

For example, Amazon’s autocomplete is very helpful and accurate. Not only that, but the search results return accurate results even for misspelled product names. Imagine how does this affects the store’s conversion rate!

Navigation autocomplete

Tip? Autosuggest plays a significant role in eCommerce conversion. If the store doesn’t return the correct results for misspelled product, the product is “not found” in the inventory, which means that the product will remain unsold even when people came looking for it.

You may like What is Copywriting? Types and Formulas of Copywriting

Follow the Standard Designs

It’s a good idea to put your navigation in a place where people expect to find it; avoid being creative when it comes to this. Studies have shown that people’s eyes tend to follow a certain track when they first land on an eCommerce store page.


So, we recommend keeping your primary navigation in the header, with the most important items being on the left side. Users also expect to find navigation in the footer and sidebar of the page; make sure to link there to return policy and terms, frequently asked questions, and relevant products or categories.

Include a Site-Wide Benefits Bar

Continuing on the eye-tracking patterns of users, we bet they’ll love to see a benefits bar on top of the page encouraging them to make a purchase decision from you over your competitors: what makes your offer unique, why should they trust you, and what benefits do you provide?

Adorebeauty online store is an excellent example of this. It features a site-wide bar just below the main header menu communicating their benefits and added value to the customers: free express post, 2 free samples, official retailer, and 90-day returns. How WOW is that!

Navigation Ecommerce Store

Make Top-Level Items Clickable (Tappable)

A survey of eCommerce sites indicated that online shoppers expected that the top level of a dropdown or flyout menu and any headings in that menu to be active links. Making the top-level labels and headers clickable (or tappable for mobile users) reflects in a simple and easy user experience and is good for conversion rates.

Cavaraty again does a good job at making top-level icons both clickable and shown when hovered over. When a user hovers over “Power,” a drop-down menu shows up and when they click it, they are taken to the category page (some users might have a problem clicking on one of the drop-down items on their devices; you don’t want to lose them).


You may like our Complete Guide for Affiliate Marketing with ExpandCart

Include a Mega Menu

Using a mega menu is a popular option for websites, especially eCommerce stores. Mega menus allow you to give your customers a lot of choices in your primary menu.

Bear in mind the importance of categorizing your products in the mega menu using parent categories, subcategories, and hierarchies in a way that groups relevant products. Otherwise, the mega menu could be even more confusing for customers than a standard navigation menu and you could lose potential buyers out of confusion.

Here’s a good example from an online store, game, that uses a mega menu to showcase all of its gaming products, correctly categorized into sub-categories for quicker navigation and a better shopping experience.

online Store

Include a Footer Menu

Since it’s displayed on every single page on your site, the footer menu is a valuable place to showcase your most important pages. Add the most important links to your footer menu to help people find what they’re looking for without scrolling back to the top.

Users expect to find certain links or information in the footer menu; give it to them: shipping and payment options, privacy policy, FAQs, contact info, social media links, and return & refund policy.

One successful online store in the Middle East is Mumzworld, which we picked for this example for including a footer menu that has got it all. Notice also the locked top menu that stuck with us while scrolling all the way down to the footer.

Navigation Ecommerce Store

Mention Sales and Special Offers

Draw people’s attention to any hot sales or timed offers on your eCommerce store, because some shoppers respond fast to discounts and deals. Mention these on your global navigation in the header or on the left side of the page.

Look how Souq dedicates a large space to banners of discounts and hot deals, and we all know how great Souq is doing in the market!

Souq store

Offer Useful Content

Studies have proven that shoppers are willing to pay more for a product or a service when they feel that the eCommerce store provides them with more than a product for sale: useful information, tutorial videos, how-to videos, or DIY step. Content marketing builds a lasting relationship with users and turns passers-by into loyal customers. Online shoppers hate to be spammed with sales offers and notifications that aim only to drain their money off.

A brilliant example is what a supermarket did to drive sales with useful content. Asda is an online food store that knew that no one would want to follow a “supermarket” online. The marketing team created a YouTube channel that posted videos of beauty tips, new mom’s advice, and life hacks, with a tiny Asda’s logo on the top. The channel turned to be a big hit in 2 weeks, and it also drove sales to the supermarket through the links (the links to Asda have a 1% click-through rate; more than 1,100 have clicked through on a ‘bunny lamp’ link and made a purchase).

 Online Store

Use Internationally Recognized Symbols for Icons

Our brains take longer to process text than icons, that’s why eCommerce stores use a lot of icons in a text place. The trick here is to use familiar icons that are known and accepted worldwide, so that users do not get confused, for example, a magnifying glass for search, a shopping cart, etc.

Here’s a store that uses the right icon, which cost it thousands of visitors over time who missed the correct navigation. Gertens used an outdated, unknown “flame” to link to a page with popular products, but actually, most users didn’t know they’re supposed to click it. How is that for the store’s conversion rate!

Ecommerce Store

Add Drop Down Indicators

Tell your store visitors that this item has a drop-down menu by adding a small arrow next to it. How else could users know that this menu item expands?

Take this site as a good example for navigating its users towards the next step. Absolute Antibodies uses small arrows next to each menu label to show that it expands into a full drop-down menu.

Navigation Ecommerce

Lock the Navigation Bar in Its Place

One simple, yet very effective, technique for easier navigation on your eCommerce store is to lock the main top menu in its place so that it doesn’t disappear on scrolling and it’s accessible no matter where a user is on the page.

A study conducted by Smashing Magazine has found that sticky menus were 22% quicker to navigate and online shoppers prefer stores with a sticky menu bar over those who don’t.

As an example, Cavaraty online store implements the sticky menu technique and it’s doing great regarding user’s experience and store’s design. No matter how we scroll down, the menu is right in front of our eyes for quicker navigation on the site.


You may like our Complete Guide to Google Shopping Ads

7 Eye-Opening Statistics That Will Make You Consider Navigation as Top Priority

  1. It takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave.
  2. 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
  3. It takes 2.6 seconds for a user’s eyes to land on the area of a website that most influences their first impression.
  4. 70% of small business websites lack a Call to Action (CTA) on their homepage.
  5. Users spend an average of 5.59 seconds looking at a website’s written content.
  6. Users spend an average of 5.94 seconds looking at a website’s main image.
  7. 94% of negative website feedback was design related.

To Sum Up

Navigation is what takes a user from one point to the next on your eCommerce store, so you gotta take good care of it. Following those techniques and tips on creating and optimizing your online store should guarantee your store a great user experience, which translates into an increased number of visitors and loyal customers and, hopefully, a better conversion rate.

ExpandCart has most of these features already built-in in each and every store created on its platform. On top of that, our support team is more than willing to assist store owners and merchants in adding and customizing their online stores to their taste and vision.

No credit card required and no hidden fees.


Comment Notes