Win Report: How “new” navigation increased sales by 32%

Published: March 2024

Win Reports help you to grow your business by showing our methodology at work. Each article highlights a real-world test, sharing the research, insights, and techniques that led to the win.

In the next three minutes, we’ll show you how a site-wide navigation change increased sales by 32% for an Italian online pet supply store.
The image shows the original and variation screens side by side.

Ferplast has been creating innovative pet accessories for over 50 years. From their base in Italy, they manufacture 4,000 products, export to 85 countries, and hold over 100 international patents.

Research: Navigating the products

As part of our research process, we ask non-converting website visitors to list the three main reasons why they didn’t buy. These Exit Surveys allow us to gather data as close to the “decision point” as possible. The most common objection is usually “price,” but others can reveal powerful reasons why visitors aren’t converting.

For Ferplast, the second most common objection came as a surprise:

Graph showing the main reasons users abandoned the site. The second most common objection is… Didn’t find what I need.

Many visitors were failing to find what they wanted, but not because Ferplast didn’t sell it. When we looked at the website analytics, we got a second surprise. Almost 90% of visitors never reached a product page.

In the great detective game of conversion rate optimization, this is what we live for.

Another piece of the puzzle appears in the heatmaps we recorded during our research. In the following homepage heatmap, the hotspots show the areas that desktop users clicked most.

Heatmap of the Ferplast homepage
Note the deep red hotspot over the site search towards the top-left of the page.

As you can see, the search box was the hottest part of the screen. What’s less obvious—and much less clicked—is the “hamburger” menu icon in the top-left.

User testing confirmed the menu’s lack of use. When we asked participants to find a product they defaulted to the search box. But that was a problem. The search wasn’t always returning all the relevant results.

When one tester searched for a cat bed (“lettino gatto”) on a mobile, they found three results:

The search shows just three results.

But later, when they navigated to the Cat Beds through the hamburger menu, they found almost 20 times the options:

The product areas shows fifty-four results.

Although the search results were an issue to be investigated, there was also a problem with the navigation. Even our testers resisted using it to explore the website—especially on desktops.

Visitors who missed or avoided the menu saw fewer product pages and were much more likely to abandon the website.

Let’s look at the A/B test this suggested.

The original page (or control)

Here’s the Ferplast homepage. By this time, the design had changed to include a rotating image that sat behind both the menu icon and the search box:

A screenshot of the control.
The Control: The site navigation is accessed through the hamburger menu in the top-left.

The tested page (or variation)

Here’s what the variation looked like:

The Control: The site navigation is accessed through the hamburger menu, top-left.
The Variation: A full-width menu.

For desktops and wider devices, the navigation appeared as a full horizontal menu. In English, the items read:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Small Pets
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Pond
  • Reptiles
  • New Products
  • 100% Snack (Dental snack)
  • Sustainability
  • Spare parts and accessories

As you’d expect, each menu dropped down to reveal the sub-categories beneath.

The drop-down menu.

Result: Sales increased by 32%

The drop-down menus gave users a clear forward path and exposed the breadth and depth of Ferplast’s product range. During the test, we observed a 32% increase in sales.

Of course, horizontal drop-down menus aren’t new. Quite the opposite. But “new” isn’t always best for conversion. Although many websites have moved to hamburger menus, research, and testing are always important if you want to win.

What next?

As usual, we added the test to our proprietary Wins Database, then looked for ways to apply its lessons to other parts of Ferplast’s business and then to other clients.

If you want us to grow your profits—quickly and efficiently—check if you qualify for a free one-on-one strategy session with one of our CRO consultants.

We’ll only work with you if we believe we can get amazing results together. Our success has come entirely from positive word of mouth, and we plan to keep it that way.

Thanks to Ferplast for letting us share these insights (and for being such a great team to work with).

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