Menu for an online store, how to design it?

August 17 2022

Image showing a person sitting at a laptop working on a menu section layout in an online store

The menu is undoubtedly one of the most important elements in your store. What form it will take largely determines how your website will be perceived in terms of ease of navigation and navigation. If categorization is black magic for you, read this article to the end – get inspired!

What should the menu for an online store be like?
Transparent? That’s for sure!
Make it easy to reach individual product groups? Of course!

Categories should be named to match the content. Of course, you can afford a certain amount of creativity that suits your industry, but prioritize readability, not the word-forming drive of your copywriter. Avoid using names like “other” or “different”, as that means nothing to the users, let alone the robots visiting your store.

An example of a menu designed by the Click Leaders agency for the Makadamia clothing store
A well-designed menu is like a gateway to shopping in your store.
The content of the menu plays a very important role when it comes to positioning. It is worth paying special attention to the categorization of products in the store so that the navigation is both user-friendly and SEO-friendly.

There should be a contrast between the menu and other content on the page so that the bar attracts the eyes of users. If the page is extensive, the menu should move along with the traffic when scrolling – in this way you respect the user’s time and care for his comfort.

Find out how the giants do it – e.g. Google. It is worth using its taxonomy. What is this?

A taxonomy is nothing but the classification and categorization system used by Google to organize products in the purchasing channel. Take a look at the giants in your industry, check how the competition, which is “top of the top”, does it.

It will not be easy, but we can promise you that the results will exceed your expectations.

However, if you do not have time, let the professionals act. We are happy to work so that your store’s menu fulfills its role, just like the menu in the best restaurant.

What are the types of menus for an online store?

Horizontal menu

The most popular menu in the form of a horizontal bar at the top of the page. Remember to limit the number of tabs and name them appropriately to make navigation as intuitive as possible. “Contact” is usually placed on the right, and the most important elements on the left, because this is where the user’s eye is directed first. Ask yourself what your customer needs in the first place and put the answer in the form of an appropriate menu tab.

An example of a horizontal menu designed for the LaDiosa store
On the left, it's a good idea to list the most popular product categories.

Vertical menu

It works great when you want to put a lot of elements in it. It allows you to expand more categories without loss of readability. However, remember not to overload the page with too much information in this case.

An example of a menu in the form of a vertical, Zooapteka pet shop
If your store has many categories, consider using a vertical menu.

Hamburger menu

You’ve certainly seen the icon of three horizontal lines resembling this popular sandwich. This menu is most often used in mobile versions of the website, because the icon does not even require adding the name “menu”. However, it may be difficult for some users to locate.

An example of the use of the so-called hamburger menu, which works especially well in mobile versions of the website.
The menu hamburger looks advantageous especially in the mobile version.

How to design a good menu for the store?

A seemingly easy task can cause a lot of trouble. Below you will see a list of tips to consider when designing e-commerce navigation:

  • Place the main navigation horizontally at the top of the page or vertically down on the left side of the page.
  • The navigation bar should stick to the edge of the page when you slide down.
  • Limit the number of menu items to increase clarity and focus.
  • Avoid long vertical menu lists that appear below the fold line when expanded. Better to divide the longer menu into smaller, organized sections.
  • The use of category icons will help you explore the extensive menu.
  • Drop-down navigation should contain up to three levels of nesting.
  • Always have parent categories that should be clickable.
  • If a subcategory can relate to two different categories, put it in both (eg “coffee tables” under “tables” and “living room”).
  • Consider displaying major categories as content on your home page (depending on your industry and product scope, this could be e.g. banners, tiles)
  • Avoid unclear product categories (“more”, “different”, “other” and “other”)
  • Promoting subcategories on the home page speeds up the search journey – This is especially important during seasonal holidays, when thematic subcategories can attract more people and browse unknown products.
  • Showcase special categories such as “news” and groups “bestsellers” and “promotions” – Customers have different intentions. Some people need to see “what’s hot” while others only want to see what’s on sale.
An employee of the Click Leaders agency working on creating an online store
Contact a specialist who will help you choose the right menu for your store.

The purpose of the transaction menu is to direct customers to the product they are interested in as painlessly as possible. The sooner the customer reaches the product they are interested in, the more likely they are to buy it. Getting to the desired item by the user is crucial, however, many more elements increase the motivation to buy the user.

The store interface must be friendly and intuitive. It is not only the path of purchase, but also the transfer of information and the possibility of finding it in an easy way. The way you configure your website menu determines whether your brand is credible and trustworthy.

The menu for an online store still sounds like black magic?

Contact specialists who will explain what to do, step by step. The menu for an online store is an important topic that should be taken care of before your store is shown to the world. However, if you notice imperfections after some time, it is worth performing a professional audit that will help you estimate the elements to be changed.

Business portrait of a UX specialist from Click Leaders - Małgorzata Urbańczyk

Malgorzata Urbanczyk

UX specialist. She audits the websites of online stores. Carries out analyzes of user behavior with the help of qualitative data in order to optimize the conversion as much as possible.

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