Navigating the Virtual Aisles: Crafting an Intuitive and Engaging Online Shopping Experience

Ollie
Shopify Staff

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Imagine you're running a cool online store instead of a brick-and-mortar one. You want your customers to have fun exploring your site just like they would if they were strolling through a physical store, right? Making sure they can easily move from browsing to buying is super important. And guess what? The experience they have while checking out your products can make a big difference!

 

Now, let's think about this: Do you have a main menu on your site? Is everything on your home page, or do they have to scroll forever to find what they want? Having a main menu is like giving your customers a handy map of your store. If you only sell one thing, a single home page might be okay. But if you've got more to offer, you don't want your site to feel like a never-ending scroll. That might make your customers feel lost, like they're wandering down an endless aisle.

 

Your main menu should be like a simple, easy-to-read map of your awesome store. It needs to be organized so that your customers can easily find what they're after. After all, we don't want to lose any explorers on their shopping journey!

 

Before we dive in, I'd like to address the impact of unintuitive navigation on your store's user experience. User experience (UX) refers to the overall experience a person has when visiting your store.

 

UX is measured by how easy it is for visitors to navigate your store, find what they're looking for, and make a purchase, as well as how user-friendly the experience is. This is an important point to focus on in order to attract, keep, and then convert your visitors. With a good experience, they will come back to you for sure.

 

Store Content

 

Add your products, pages, and collections

 

You know what's cool about having an online store? You can create as many collections and pages as you want! You get to decide how they appear in your menu, and you can even have a drop-down menu if you like. Sounds a bit tricky? Don't worry, I'll break it down for you.

 

First, you need to create your products. Done that? Awesome! Next, you head over to the 'Products' section and then 'Collections'. Here, you can create collections in two ways - manual, where you pick the products yourself, or automated, where the collection is made based on rules you set.

 

Getting your products and collections organized is like step one in setting up your store. It's really key to get this right. There are some great resources out there that can help you understand how to set up collections and pages. I'd definitely recommend checking them out!

 

 

Shop navigation

 

Add content as menu items.

 

Once the content is created, it must appear on your store, in the form of elements in your main menu. To do this, go to the Online Store > Navigation section. If you want to display them on the main menu, select the Main Menu menu. Here is an example from my store:

 

 

 

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  1. Click "Add menu item".
  2. Go to the "Link" section.
  3. Select your preferred category.
  4. The title will auto-fill.
  5. Click "Add".
  6. Click "Save" to confirm.

 

 

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You can follow these steps to add as many pages and collections as you'd like to your site. Here is our documentation on the steps so you can save them.

 

To be able to change the display order of menu items in your main menu, navigate to your Online Store > Navigation > Main Menu section and make a drag and drop gesture for each item by clicking and holding the cursor on the icon (⠿) to arrange items in the order you want. From there, click Save.

 

You will notice that by dragging and dropping the icon (⠿), you will be able to nest the elements that you consider to be “subcategories” under the main category. Drag the item a little to the right and drop it by releasing the mouse.

 

 

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Feedback from trusted people

 

Ask for reviews - observe visitor behavior.

 

Ever wondered where your visitors hang out the most on your site? Or why some folks leave without buying anything? Here's a fun exercise I like to do when I'm starting a new store. I ask my friends and family to check out my site and tell me what they think about things like how it's set up, how easy it is to find stuff, and so on. You could try this too before you officially open your store. It might help you spot things you didn't notice before.

 

Another cool trick is to use an app that shows you a heat map of your site. It's like a weather map, but instead of showing hot and cold spots, it shows where people spend time on your site and when they leave. It's up to you to figure out why they leave, but the heat map can give you some clues. One app I like is called Lucky Orange. It gives you heat maps and even videos of what people do on your site. It's a great way to see where people stop and why they might not be buying.

 

Let's make sure your visitors feel like they're on a fun treasure hunt, not lost in a maze. We want them to enjoy browsing your virtual store and keep coming back because it's so easy and fun to shop there.

 

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