[intro]When you’ve completed this Guide, you will understand what navigational structure, Category and Subcategory mean, and will have planned and added yours according to the nature of the Products on your website. [/intro]
When you’re building your EKM online shop, the layout of the Categories, Subcategories and Products is essential to an excellent user experience for your visitors, and this layout is known as your online shop’s navigational structure. 'Categories' or 'Master Categories' are the folders of Products which are seen immediately on the menu of your EKM online shop. 'Subcategories' are categories that are created within Master Categories; If you owned a shop that sold clothing and footwear, 'Footwear' would probably be the Master Category, whilst 'Boots' would be a subcategory that was displayed within Footwear. Before you add any of the above to your website, sit down with a sheet of paper and a pencil and sketch the navigation out first, adhering to the following rules:
- Always assume that anyone who visits your site knows absolutely nothing about your Products, regardless of how commonplace they may be;
- You must ensure that the Master Categories have the most applicable names - customers need to find what they want within the first three seconds of arriving on your homepage. If they cannot quickly find the path to what they want, they will click off your site and look elsewhere;
- Whatever the customer needs should be no more than three clicks away, also known as the Three Clicks Rule. This means no deeper than three Categories. As an example, instead of: Home> Toys & Games> Toys> Dolls> Fashion Dolls> Barbie, which is five clicks, you should ideally use Home> Toys & Games> Barbie, which is two clicks.
Bear in mind that Products can be displayed in more than one Category at once in the form of additional Categories and Featured Products (you’ll learn more about this when you add Products to your EKM online shop)- the real key here is to make it as easy as possible for your customer to find what they want quickly. If you have categories with just one Product in them, you would be best adding the Product to the closest related Category, rather than having a single Product in a Category by itself.
- Be tempted to call a Category ‘Everything Else’ ‘Other Stuff’ or ‘Miscellaneous’ - don’t assume that customers will know what you class as ‘Everything Else’.
- Copy the navigational structure directly from a spreadsheet from a supplier or drop shipping company - create your own unique version especially for your EKM online shop if you can. This way you can ensure that it adheres to the Three Clicks Rule.
- Don’t name your Category after a specific brand of Product. Not everyone will know what ‘Converse’ or ‘Uniko’ is, but everyone can recognise ‘Baseball boots’ and ‘Craft Stamps’.
- Write Category Names in ALL CAPITALS or use symbols such as ***.
- Create more than 7 master Categories - any more than this and you risk the visitors to your shop getting lost.
- Ensure your Navigational Structure adheres to the Three Clicks Rule.
- Plan your Navigational Structure before adding it to your EKM online shop.
- Ensure that there are no Categories created for just one Product. If there is one Product by itself, display it within the most related Category, or even on the homepage.
- Name your Categories clearly so visitors who know absolutely nothing about your Products can quickly find what they need.
- Create 7 or fewer master Categories - this is the optimum amount if you carry a large Product range as it is easy to follow and not complex enough for your visitors to get 'lost' in.
[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question ask the EKM Team, join us in EKM Community. [/contact]