September 28, 2006, 12:00 AM

4inkjets.com learns value of drop-down menus with analytics

Which is easier: using a drop-down menu to find a highly specific product or scanning a table that lists the myriad items? Executives at 4inkjets.com used web analytics technology and found the answer: both.

Which is easier: using a drop-down menu to find a highly specific product or scanning a table that lists the myriad items? Executives at pure-play web store 4inkjets.com used web analytics technology and found the answer to be both-depending on exactly how many products are displayed, that is.

A few months ago the e-retailer decided it needed to determine if it was using its screen real estate effectively. Specifically, it wanted to gauge whether shoppers preferred using drop-down menus to locate and select desired products or simply scan a table displayed on a page listing the same products. So it measured the usage of drop-down menus and basic page views, using web analytics technology from Omniture Inc., to see if it could do something different with the top of its pages regarding where the drop-down menus exist and how deep shoppers must go to get to table listings.

4inkjets.com executives found that for manufacturer pages that list scores of products, more shoppers were using the drop-down menus, and for manufacturer pages that list far fewer items, more shoppers were scanning the table listing and ignoring the drop-down functionality.

Three weeks ago 4inkjets.com, No. 285 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, began tweaking its site in response to these analytics findings. One result it has seen to date: Removing the drop-down functionality from manufacturer pages with few product listings and bumping up the physical position of the table has resulted in a 7% increase in conversion, the company reports.

“On the pages with few products, people can visually spot a printer much faster than using the drop-down menu. The products simply are easy to spot with your eyes,” says Aaron Leon, CEO. “Subsequently, we dropped the drop-down menus on those pages, and that freed up space on top of the pages to get customers quickly to the tables and to add some different content.”

 

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