Should Your Website Have a Mega Menu?
We love to work as consultants, so we field numerous questions. From design to development to different features, we get a lot. Here, we’re going to answer the question about one of the latest eCommerce trends - mega menus.
But first, what is a mega-menu?
Rather than your traditional drop down, mega-menus offer a large panel under one hover of the navigation menu. This menu offers a huge variety of options for your user to jump off of and navigate their way through.
We see mega-menus used a lot in the retail space as a way for users to navigate the site, but some are easier to use than others, which begs the question, does your site need one?
Does my eCommerce site need a mega menu?
Possibly one of the biggest trends on the market, mega-menus are making a splash everywhere from Nordstrom to Backcountry, yet some sites like Amazon aren’t using one… When deciding if it’s right for you, there are a few considerations you should be thinking about that we’ll walk you through below.
When You Should Be Using A Mega Menu
While there's no one size fits all, we've rounded up a few of the best times when you should consider using a mega menu.
If You Have a Large Range of Product Types
If your site sells a huge range of different categories - like Nordstroms - it’s good to help your users get a good view of the options they have.
For example, if the user is looking for men’s shorts to wear on vacation on the Nordstrom website, give them the option to narrow down the results - whether it be by going to “Men - Apparel - Shorts” or “Men - Shop By Occasion - Vacation.” The Nordstrom menu also allows for users to shop by brand since they have a huge array of brands and products.
When Your Users Know What They’re Looking For… or Not
If you’re able to point your user down a funnel to find exactly what they want - say it’s woman's blouse, and they’re able to find it right on the menu, like “Women - Shirts - Blouse.”
At the same time, mega-menus show off the large array of products or services to your users so they are able to explore. Maybe they love the blouses you make but had no idea you sold some pretty awesome pants as well. The mega-menu can also be a great jumping off point for users to explore.
When You’ve Got A Lot of Rotating Products & A Team to Manage It
If your product line is seasonal and you’re updating your site frequently, having a mega menu gives you the freedom to organize options effectively because it allows your user to visualize the relationship among items and better understand new products.
When You Probably Shouldn’t Use a Mega Menu
If you're still unsure on whether your site should include a mega menu, take into account a few of the times we'd recommend not using a mega menu for the navigation on your website.
When You Have a Small Product Line
When you have a few products or services, it doesn’t make sense to create a mega menu to break down everything so far that it becomes confusing. The goal of a mega-menu is to make things easier to find, not more difficult. Say if you sell women’s tee shirts and that’s it, you probably don’t need a mega-menu since it’s all around the same style.
When Your Objective is to Get the User to One Specific Page
When you want users to go to one specific page - maybe you’ve got one product or are pushing a service, you want your whole site to reflect that option. Having a mega menu is most helpful when your user knows about your brand
If Your Site is Content & Link Heavy
If you’ve already got a lot of verbiage then you don’t need to overwhelm the user even more when it comes to your menu. When we say content we don't mean photos, it's more along the lines of Rather than creating a mega-menu, use your website to funnel the user to the right page if they have to walk through a lot of links.
Mega menus are great when it comes to desktop because there’s space for it, but when it comes to the mobile site - it’s just not going to work. You should compress your menu into a hamburger and only list the parent categories. Don't worry, you can optimize your site so that you have a mega menu on desktop, then a hamburger onto mobile.
When You’ve Got A Lot of Rotating Products But No One to Manage Your Site
Mega-menus take a lot of hands on work including updating and adding products and maintaining all the links they go to. Bottom line is they’re only as good as you are at keeping up with them.
To mega menu or not to mega menu... that is the question. Every case is different, but follow these guidelines and you can decide if a mega menu is right for your website.
Want to take your eCommerce website to the next level with a mega menu?
If you want to take your website from confusing to converting, give us a ring at 206.384.4909 or fill out a contact form. One of our digital strategists can walk through your current website and make recommendations, talk through best strategy, and see if we can partner together.