Magento Layered Navigation - 4 Methods That Work

Magento Layered Navigation

Magento layered navigation is like a guide which helps your potential customers to find what they need. Very often it never occurs to online store visitors that they use the navigation process. If it is convenient they take it for granted.

One of our clients, who use GoMage Advanced Navigation ®, told us that after implementation of the solution he decided to make a poll for his online store customers. He asked only one question: “Do you like how the navigation works?”

The results of the poll were very interesting - 99% of respondents found the question very difficult.

He sent e-mails to some clients to ask why it was difficult. He was surprised but the answers were approximately the same – “I don’t use navigation. I just search, find what I want and buy it. I don’t know what this question is about.”

After this clarification, it became clear that the navigation worked perfectly and the customers did not perceive it as a separate process implemented in the online store.

By the way, this client increased sales by 5% after implementation of Advanced Navigation module.

4 Ways To Use Magento Layered Navigation

Based on our experience in e-commerce, we’d like to provide some tips on how to improve navigation and make it more convenient for your buyers.  But first, our you wondering...

What Is Layered Navigation?

Have you seen those selection options that typically exist on the left panel of most websites?  They provide you will the ability to make selections based on your own personal interest.  Perhaps you want your purchased item to be purple rather than black or gree.  Layered navigation provides you with the ability to make this selection so you receive only product matches that are purple.

Or, maybe you need to be sure that the item is available in extra large and can be shipped to Australia.  Again, it is layered navigation that allows you to select these attributes from the online eCommerce store that you are visiting.

To use Magento layered navigation with your eCommerce solution you need to decide several important factors prior to setting it up.  For example, you need to identify how you are going to use it as well as what attributes it will contain.  These will be customizable answers based on the products or services that you are offering from your Magento ® store solution.

Following are 4 ways of using layered navigation that you will want to dive into as you decide which options do and do not make the best sense for you and your own Magento ® storefront.

Magento Layered Navigation & Categories

If your online store includes several categories of products, they have to be separated. Also, it is important to create appropriate titles for category names. It is a huge mistake to use the sitemap as your navigation focal point.

To determine the category, you should think about what keywords potential customers are using when they search for a product. For example, for a man who tries to find tires for his vehicle the general category is not so interesting. Most likely he put in the details of his request such as make, model, size - BMW tires 205/50r17, and so on.

Layered Navigation Example of the structure of Advanced Navigation for Magento ®

If the product page is a sub-category but it is more popular than most of the root categories, it should be in the main navigation. Customers are not so concerned with the logic of the structure.

An Attribute or a Category

The layered navigation is used in Magento ® online stores and it is based on product categories and/or attributes like filters. Sometimes it is really difficult to decide what needs to be a category and what is an attribute. A very easy approach can be used in this case. If it should be a separate landing page, and you are going to optimize it for search engines or to promote it - it’s a category. If not, it’s an attribute.

Back to the previous example, the brand (make) is a category because it is convenient for users to have information on one landing page, and the store owner can also promote similar categories as "wheels for all BMW models" or something like this.

If you have multiple categories in the store this approach helps to organize clickable links for necessary segments. Of course, drop-down menus can also be implemented and your visitors will be able to find and click on the desired sub-category link.

Color Navigation

Colors are used both as attributes and as categories in many online stores.

The general recommendation is to make the navigation easier, but sometimes there are cases when you need to make it a little bit more complicated. One of our clients told us that he increased sales when he changed the names of color attributes and also started to use more colors.

There is a popular joke in the Internet with the table of colors for men and women, which shows a difference in color perception. And it really works. This online store specializes in scarves, kerchiefs and other similar accessories. Simple colors like red, blue, green and yellow were not enough for women who are the main audience of this online store.

 

Magento Navigation Example of the color attributes for male and female target audiences

Navigation by Reviews

A recent report shows that about 85% of customers prefer to read reviews before making a decision on what to buy. So, reviews can also be used as a navigational point, and visitors may be shown only those items which have feedback and recommendations from other shoppers.

Search Feature

We should not forget about the importance of the search option. It is also a part of navigation, and if visitors get an answer such as “No Results Found”, it is a huge mistake. In-site search functionality must work correctly and provide relevant search results with an array of products. It is also the opportunity to increase sales.

Mobile Version

The segment of online users who buy online and use tablets show increased growth every year. Nowadays, it is absolutely essential that online stores are mobile friendly and easy to access on a small screen. In most cases, mobile online stores use vertical navigation because it is most convenient for touchscreens. But it depends on the web design. The navigation process should be tested and made operational on a mobile version.

Why You Might Not Want To Use Layered Navigation

With all the positives about this type of navigation, it is difficult to understand why you might not want to opt for it.  However, there are some significant reasons why this could be the case.  We've seen other articles suggest that this solution can actually be a double-edged sword and here's why.

On one side you have the advantage of customer convenience which is unquestionable.  Providing an increasingly positive experience for your customers will unquestionably lead to increased sales.

But, if you do not set this up correctly your customers will be confused, frustrated and irritated because they are unable to find exactly what they are looking for.  If you make the process difficult for your viewers they will reward you by shopping from your competitor's stores rather than your own.

Therefore, before you opt into layered navigation with your Magento ® Why You Might Not Want To Use Layered Navigation
With all the positives about this type of navigation, it is difficult to understand why you might not want to opt for it.

However, there are some significant reasons why this could be the case.  We've seen other articles suggest that this solution can actually be a double-edged sword and here's why.

On one side you have the advantage of customer convenience which store solution ask yourself these 3 questions.

1. Is your audience technically proficient or will the process cause them to become unnecessarily confused?

2. Do you actually have a need for layered navigation based on your catalog of products and or service offerings?

3. Having decided to move forward with this type of navigation, have you taken time to sit down and thoroughly consider exactly what factors are of most important to your target audiences decision-making process?

Informative answers of value in the above 3 questions will lead you to opt into or out of the right answers to your own choice of using or avoiding integrating layered navigation into your Magento ® storefront solution.

Our Solution

As we could see, the Advanced Layered Navigation is not just an IT extension. For its successful implementation, it is necessary to understand customers, their needs, and specific behavior when they search.

We are ready to support your business with our solution of GoMage Advanced Navigation: Navigation for Magento ® which includes all of the necessary features to create easy and comfortable navigation. But do not forget to think about your clients and share a common language with them.