One of the most effective paths to growth for an online retailer is expanding the product line.  The bigger your catalog, the better chance you’ll be able to attract customers to your store.  But, as your catalog grows, so must your store’s navigation.  New products need a home and often times that means another line item somewhere in your site’s navigation. That may be in the form of an entirely new top level category, a new sub-category, or even a new brand category.

Visitors don’t just shop by product type, they want to shop by brand, gender, age, style, or price.  And let’s not forget about the special sections you need for clearance, sales, or seasonal items. Bit by bit your category list grows until one day you realize that you’ve got over 50 links in your site’s navigation and it’s taking your customers two to three screens just to scroll through them all.  Your site navigation has gone wild! How do you make it easy for our customers to find your products?

The solution for many retailers has been to enhance or replace their site’s static navigation with Dynamic Site Navigation.  With Dynamic Site Navigation, retailers are able to drive their navigation from product attributes contained in their catalog’s data feed.  Sections and sub-sections are built automatically and change dynamically as the catalog changes.  And, as customers dive into product sections, the list of sub-categories or refinements they see will only be those that are relevant to those products.

In the Abe’s Of Maine example below, users are offered different refinement options depending on their search: cameras or flat screen.

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Furthermore, with Dynamic Site Navigation solutions that use learning technology such as SLI’s, retailers are able to improve the customer experience by automatically presenting facets in order of popularity.  This allows the most clicked on brands or styles to be presented higher on the list. In the Abe’s Of Maine example above, the categories are presented in order of popularity.

One of the key things to keep in mind is to provide the same site experience for those who use the site’s search box and those who navigate using Dynamic Site Navigation. In the example below, Jelly Belly ensures a consistent experience between navigation and search using Dynamic Site Navigation whether a user searches for sports beans or navigates to Sports Beans through the Candy category.

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With Dynamic Site Navigation, retailers can save a significant amount of time from eliminating the tedious task of managing categories and sub-categories. Do you have Dynamic Site Navigation examples to share? Let us know!