Your site should follow standard paradigms if you want your customers to navigate your site easily. Shopfront has top and left side menus that can be used for general navigation and catalogue navigation. These are interchangeable and can be combined into one side or one top menu depending on taste and the structure of your catalogue.
Shopfront also has footer menus for all those necessary but not featured things such as privacy Policies and T&Cs.
A bread crumb, from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, lets you customer know where they are on the site.
“Fruit > Apples > Golden Delicious” – this shows clearly where they are and as each term is a link they can quickly navigate back to previous pages.
We can log each product that your customer visits and then display these so that they can quickly go back to something they looked at previously.
A sitemap for your site can be automatically generated. This is a single page with links to all the departments and products on the site. These work well for small catalogues but are of limited value for large catalogues as the resulting huge page is slow to load and difficult to navigate.
By default a sitemap is not enabled on your site.
Mega Menus are a popular way of giving your customers an at a glance view of your catalogue. They are a 2 dimensional drop down grouped menu based on the department structure of your site. They can be made to look very attractive and we have enhanced them with images for some customers.
From a usability perspective though they are difficult to use for people with poor motor skills and you should provide alternative navigation as well.
We have designed our search algorithm around our customer base. 80% of our customers are B2B or a combination of B2B & B2C so searching by product code is important for regular customers (or agents) looking for known stock-codes. So Stock Code and Manufacturer’s (Supplier’s) Part Number are prioritised.
Many of our customers use the Custom String fields to hold other stock codes such as obsolete codes or competitor codes. The search can be configured to include these fields in the same search mechanism for Stock Code and Manufacturers Part Number.
We also search all of the text you have entered using a ‘Full Text’ search engine supplied by Microsoft. If this does not return results we carry out a Combination Search. Here all combinations of the search string are passed to the Full text Search (starting with combinations of all but one search term, reducing down to single terms). So for ‘Big Red Bus’ we try ‘Big Red’, then ‘Big Bus’, then ‘Red Bus’ then ‘Big’ etc. This search is performed on the product name and then the text until results are found. The number of results that stops further searching is configurable (default 15)
Custom Thesaurus Search
Our search is based on the words and code you have entered into all the product data fields. So if you describe every ‘bus’ as a ‘bus’ then the search will return nothing for ‘coach’ or ‘charabang’.
You can provide us with a custom thesaurus so that customers can easily find the products they want. For example, ‘coach’ would return results for ‘bus’.