You’ve done the hardest part: getting visitors to your website amidst an increasingly noisy and crowded marketplace.
Unfortunately, if your website navigation is less than top-notch, all that effort will be for nothing. The surge in traffic will only amount to higher bounce rates.
The good news is that you can borrow plenty of navigation ideas from well-performing online stores. For instance, hamburger buttons will make your store easy to navigate with small mobile devices while maintaining your aesthetic design for better engagement.
We’ve gathered four more examples from outdoor online stores to teach you about effective website navigation. As we delve into them, you’ll learn:
- Why top online store designs need dropdown menus
- Why less is more for horizontal navigation bars
- How to include social proof in your navigation design
1 - Mystery Ranch
Defining Feature: Minimalist Horizontal Navigation Bar
The horizontal bar is an effective navigational tool that instantly directs your visitors to the main pages of your website and strategically appears at the very top of your online store. This placement is the first place visitors look and the most visible area of a web page.
Even so, it’s important to keep your navigation bar minimal for maximum effectiveness. Too many links come off as distracting to your visitors and impact their browsing experience. Instead, focus on the most crucial web pages that offer the highest value to your clients.
In the example above, Mystery Ranch focuses on three pages most likely to resonate most with its audience. As such, it’s easy for visitors to this online store to zero in on the most relevant webpage of the three while glossing over the other two, if only for curiosity.
This minimalist approach by Mystery Ranch to navigation design encourages click-through and website exploration, improving the likelihood of conversions. A cluttered navigation design would likely be ignored, limiting chances of generating conversions.
Defining Feature: Categories and Contrasts
For better website navigation, Mystery Ranch also implements categories under each dropdown menu in a contrasting design.
If you open the first dropdown menu, “shop,” you’ll notice that it splits into categories of various niches, from hunting gear to fire-fighting equipment. These categories are in capital letters to draw clear distinctions between them and the items listed under them.
Also, the listings appear against a contrasting white background to enhance visibility and double as links to individual items for quick navigation.
Together, these features make it super quick and intuitive to find what you’re looking for; or to just explore the website’s latest offerings or products. You’ll barely notice the over-10 listings under each category with how well-organized they are.
2 - West Paw
Defining Feature: Space-Saving Dropdown Navigation
For content-rich online stores with numerous products, dropdown navigation helps them keep a clutter-free layout for a better user experience.
The dropdowns make it easy for visitors to go through most of a website’s listings without feeling overwhelmed or lost in the process. The dropdowns help limit your search to a handful of products based on a keyword (the category header).
Essentially, dropdowns help you summarize your navigation bars.
This is certainly the case with West Paw who summarize their navigation bar into four essential dropdown categories (excluding the “about” page).
This order makes it easy to:
- Identify your general area of interest through the four key areas
- Focus your search on a specific product under the key areas
- Keep track of your navigation throughout the whole search process
Also, notice how the dropdowns summarize the navigation bars without compromising on content in terms of the number of listings. You’re able to list several items under a dropdown menu without them becoming overbearing.
Defining Feature: Categories and Contrasts
Like Mystery Ranch, West Paw chooses to use capital letters for their categorizations and lower-cases for the individual items listed under them (for distinction).
The listings also appear against a contrasting white backdrop and double as links to more in-depth pages of the individual items. This shows just how effective these strategies are at creating an excellent navigation experience and why you must also use them.
The contrasting letter cases and backdrops will make your store easy on the eye while the quick links to individual pages provide convenience and enhance website navigation.
3 - Oboz Footwear
Defining Feature: The Hamburger Button
Just like navigation bars, hamburger buttons are space-savers with the added advantage of consistency throughout devices.
These buttons often occupy the top left or right corner of a website with their distinct icon of three parallel horizontal lines. Here’s an example from Oboz Footwear (red arrow below).
When clicked, the button animates to reveal more options and expand in a descending orientation. This layout occupies little horizontal space and is therefore more accommodating to smaller mobile devices than standard horizontal navigation bars.
Below is an example of this design from Oboz Footwear.
Horizontal bars with several dropdown menus need larger screen sizes to comfortably accommodate each button. As such, smaller mobile devices are forced to reposition some of your dropdowns below each other, distorting their aesthetic design and engagement.
Lower engagement means your visitors aren’t motivated to explore your website, limiting any chance of converting them into buyers.
Defining Feature: Categories and Pictured Items List
Similar to Mystery Ranch and West Paw, Oboz also uses categories and item listings for easy navigation. However, Oboz goes further and displays pictures of the listed items with a brief on their features such as “waterproof” and colors.
These strategies work well to enhance Oboz’s website navigation experience by making their web pages visually engaging for their audience, and decisively informative.
Oboz also includes star ratings in their item lists as a form of social proof that helps sell their products. This inclusion is an excellent way of using your website navigation design to boost conversions.
4 - Toad & Co
Defining Feature: Lifestyle Photos
Similar to Oboz Footwear, Toad & Co uses space-saving hamburger buttons (red arrow) and item lists for easy navigation but with one extra feature: lifestyle images.
Their product lists feature candid lifestyle images to give a wider context. At a glance, you instantly understand Toad & Co’s audience who, from the images above, are young and outdoor-loving.
These customer traits explain why one of the categories under the Toad & Co website is “sustainability” with links delving into their eco-materials and designs.
The lifestyle images and sustainability information evoke a sense of community and relatability that makes them more engaging. As such, they’re much more effective at generating click-throughs and conversions than solely text-based designs.
Definitive Feature: Sorting Tools and Filters
Toad & Co also include sorting and filtering tools in their navigation design to make it easier to sift through their large catalog without feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices.
These tools cut across price ranges, product ratings, and even fabrics. So, you can easily single out their top-rated bargain Tencel shirts, for example, without even going through the whole list. This ability for quick decision-making increases the number of impulse purchases, building your conversion rates.
Meanwhile, the filtered searches are listed by pages (red arrow below) to help you keep track of your navigation as you gloss over them. This design creates a pleasant navigation experience that further improves your conversion rates.
The following table summarizes the ideas above on effective website navigation for outdoor online stores.
Leverage Your Data to Increase Conversions With Tadpull
So, there are four examples of effective website navigation to help grow your outdoor online store. Why not take it a step further with data insights from Tadpull?
Our ecommerce analytics software, The Pond, unifies your customer, catalog, and ad campaign data. This will help you make smarter business decisions using AI and predictive analytics.
“We’ve worked with Tadpull to attract new customers online and hone our digital strategy across channels to deliver an exceptional web experience.”
Ned Wonson, Director of Marketing, Jackson Hole Resort
Reach out today and book a free consultation for your ecommerce growth plan.