Nobody likes being lost. When we are lost, we start to get panicky or frustrated. We will either blame ourselves for getting lost or blame (literally) anything else.
The negative emotions we feel when we are lost in real life are similar to those we feel when we are struggling to navigate a website. These feelings are uncomfortable, and so we naturally want to distance ourselves from them. This means leaving a difficult to navigate website (possibly never to return).
If you didn’t think navigation was a big deal before reading those two paragraphs, I hope you realise it is now. Navigation covers everything from your navigation menu and site search to the way users move around and interact with your website through CTAs and links.
Getting navigation right is a sure-fire way to improve your Shopify Conversion Rate as it helps users get to content quickly, making for a pleasant user experience.
Navigation menus should be intuitive.
Navigation menu headings are often a big culprit when it comes to poor website navigation. You must make sure that your navigation menu headings are intuitive and that the content beneath each heading is what the user would expect.
If your navigation headings are not intuitive, users may assume you do not stock the product they are looking for or cannot answer their questions. Both of these circumstances will result in users leaving your Shopify site.
To evaluate your existing navigation menu, you can ask a CRO expert to conduct an audit on your Shopify site to identify any problematic headings and categories. Alternatively, you could run user testing (where users attempt a standard user journey on your site) or conduct a tree test (where users are asked to locate specific products or pieces of information within your site).
Site search should be smart.
Site search is a crucial navigation method for many Shopify sites. But it is often under optimised and is therefore a great opportunity for improving navigation and increasing your Shopify Conversion Rate.
Having a fully optimised site search on a Shopify site with a fair amount of traffic will require the use of a paid plugin such as Doofinder. But for sites with many products, a good site search plugin is invaluable.
Good site search should:
- Autocorrect spelling mistakes,
- Make suggestions as the user types,
- Reveal images next to search suggestions (to increase recognition of the best search term),
- Load a filterable and searchable collection page (pre-ordered in terms of relevance),
- Maintain the term the user searched (so they can correct a typing mistake easily) and,
- Provide a suggestion for a different search if no items can be found which match the key terms typed.
Getting your site search working optimally will increase your Shopify Conversion Rate as the people using this navigation method are more likely to be ready to buy than those browsing via the navigation menu. Because search is more specific than looking through a broad collection, it suggests more targeted and primed shopping behaviour.
CTAs need to be obvious.
Clear Calls to Action (or CTAs) are crucial for helping users navigate. You wouldn’t build a real-world shop and then hide the merchandise or checkout desk, so neither should you forget to give clear direction online.
You should always be guiding your users so that they know which action they should be taking next. Every page on your website should have a clear CTA. Ideally, this CTA will guide the user towards the path of conversion. For example, you could encourage the user to navigate back to your collection pages after reading your about us section.
However, some pages will lend themselves to other courses of action, such as getting in touch or requesting a free sample. The primary action you wish users to take after reading a page should always be apparent to the user.
CTAs should be obvious. The user should intuitively know to click on a CTA because of the way it appears on the page. Large, button CTAs in a contrasting colour to the rest of the page typically perform very well as they are visually prominent and match the user’s expectation for what a CTA should look like.
The microcopy (or text) on or near the CTA should make it obvious what clicking the button will do. This is important because people are reluctant to click on a button without knowing the effect it will have (this is called the ambiguity aversion principle).
The microcopy on or near the CTA should also convey a benefit when the benefit of clicking the CTA is not self-explanatory. So, if you want people to sign up to your newsletter, you need to tell them how taking that action will benefit them (hint – the opportunity to read about your company news is probably not going to be a big enough motivator).
Links should be provided to relevant content.
Hyperlinks to more information can be seen differently to prominent CTAs. Links should be used for helping the user get to more information, but they should not be used for the primary action you want a user to take on a page. This is because compared to CTAs, links are difficult to see (or less visually prominent).
Appropriately placed links are useful for helping the user feel that a website is easy to navigate as they remove the need for the user to go searching the website for information they need. For example, placing a link to information about returns on a product page will help a user with questions about returns answer them much quicker than if they needed to find this information in a menu.
Additionally, presenting links at points where users may need access to more information can increase trust. Even if the user does not want to access the information when first reading, it is reassuring for the user to see that it would be easy to find the information if they were to need it later on.
Sorting out your site navigation is just one of many steps you can take to improve your Shopify Conversion Rate.
This article is number 3 in a series dedicated to CRO for Shopify.
If you haven’t already checked them out, I have covered these 2 topics below:
- Winning back lost customers with a basket abandonment plugin.
- De-Americanising your Shopify site to increase trust.
And the following topics are still to come:
- Improving your product pages.
- Collecting email addresses and nurturing the customer relationship.
Be sure to click through to any you haven’t read yet and to check back next week for the next instalment!