Mega menus give your business an opportunity to showcase the various products or categories without losing functionality for your users. You’ve likely seen mega menus on some of the larger e-commerce sites. You hover over a category and a drop-down box appears with links to subcategories and specific product lines. In a recent survey, about 66 percent of people worldwide stated they don’t remember the last time a brand exceeded their expectations. Mega menus contribute to the overall customer experience and may be one of the elements which allow you to not only meet but push past customer expectations. Mega menus are useful to your site visitors, enhancing the experience of visiting your site and improving brand perception. Here are six ways megamenus impact site visitors.
1. Provide Easier Navigation of Large Inventories
If you sell a lot of different products or services, a mega menu helps you organize everything so consumers find specific items easily. Instead of cluttering up your landing page with hundreds of choices, you can choose four to six categories and then add subcategories under each tab. This keeps your navigational hierarchy manageable and is much easier on the eyes. In addition, for those who browse your website via mobile devices, fewer main categories means they can more easily navigate to the exact area they seek. Mega menus that take up an entire page are rarely effective on mobile devices, so a mega menu broken into groupings forces you to think in a smaller context and decide where each item fits best. Northern Tool + Equipment features a mega menu to showcase the many work tools available in their inventory. You can search the mega menu based on categories or the one based on brands. Since the online retailer also offers clothing, this is the perfect setup to break products into categories that are easy for the user to search and improves the overall UX of the site.
2. Create Simpler Landing Pages
If you want people to respond to your landing pages and not bounce away, you must keep them on point and uncluttered. This is difficult when there are a lot of different areas on your site to link up to. An average conversion rate for landing pages is about 2.35 percent. Only the top 25 percent of sites hit 5.31 percent and up. Your initial goal should be funneling site visitors to conversion at a 2.35 percent rate, but as you perfect your design, try to make it into the top 25 percent. Using a mega menu allows you to put all the focus on the sales funnel for each landing page. However, visitors can still navigate wherever they want by utilizing your mega menu. Mega menus allow you to add all the links you need without distracting first-time visitors with too much “noise.”
3. Add Interactive Menus
One fun thing you can do with a mega menu is to have it drop down when the user hovers over the trigger. So, if you place a tab called “Categories” at the top of your page, then the user hovers over it deciding if they want to go there and see the mega menu drop down. This engages the user and makes your page interactive. McCall Handling uses mega menus which automatically drop down when customers hover over the link. Note when the user hovers over the tab labeled “Products & Services,” the choices for new equipment or used equipment pop up along with specific inventory in each category, such as scissor lifts, support vehicles and order pickers.
4. Keep All Options Visible
Another advantage of mega menus to the user is that all options are visible by hovering or clicking on a navigational tab at the top of each page of the website. If your site user hops down a rabbit trail but really wanted to go down the walking path, they can navigate back to the category they wanted with a simple click of the mouse. All the different options for categories are readily viewable at any given time, improving the customer experience (CX).
5. Limit the Number of Navigation Choices
Offering too many choices may lead to frustration and increase your bounce rate. One way of limiting choices is with categories, subcategories and sub-subcategories. Mega menus naturally lend themselves to limiting the choices on pages and simplifying navigation without losing the functionality of the design. Crutchfield has hundreds of items in stock across different categories. In order to highlight what they have to offer without overwhelming the buyer, they’ve broken their offerings into specific categories targeting car audio, home audio, tv and video, pro audio and cameras and drones. Note how under each category they also highlight the advantage of ordering from them such as gearhead advisors who can help you figure out what professional equipment you need.
6. Include Visual Assets
Adding visual elements tends to resonate better with consumers. They remember images combined with text much better than text alone. You can use images to highlight specific products or categories or simply to add some interest to your mega menu. Because the menu is in a separate box and gives you more space to work with, it’s very easy to add in details you otherwise wouldn’t include.
Are Mega Menus Right for You?
Whether or not mega menus are the right choice for your site visitors depends upon how many products you offer and the overall UX for your site visitors. If you aren’t sure if the design is working the way you’d like, conduct some split testing or poll your users to see what they think about your current menus. You can always make adjustments, adding and removing categories and subcategories until your conversion rates are where you want them to be.
Lexie Lu is a web designer and CX strategist. She enjoys covering topics related to UX design, web design, social media and branding. Feel free to subscribe to her design blog, Design Roast, or follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner