Navandising: Merchandising in Navigation

Something I’ve spotted on a few retailers’ sites lately – the showing of offers and other calls to action in AJAX flyout menus:

Moosejaw Mountaineering


American Eagle Outfitters nav-indising


gnc nav-andising

Personally, I think this is a great idea. It allows the site to do a form of targeted selling based on the interest/intent of the customer without complicated tools or rules, and gives you the opportunity to present offers without cluttering up category pages. Like rich autocomplete, the injecting something visual into a text menu may be a trend we see pick up in 2010.

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10 Responses to “Navandising: Merchandising in Navigation”

  1. I love this idea &, because it’s a site-wide ‘add-on’, it’s the kind of thing that’s ripe for an A/B test. Would love to see the effect it has.

  2. @dan, yes some split test results on this would be great. While its easy to see some of the benefits from this, there sure are drawbacks as well, like:
    - the dropdown becomes way more visually intemidating for the user.
    - it steals a lot of focus from the links inside the dropdown, making it harder to figure out where you actually want to go.

    The question is of couse does the benefits outweight this?

  3. IMHO, because it’s a site-wide ‘add-on’ it *must* be tested before rollout!

  4. Ryan says:

    Great idea from a merchandising perspective but have heard rumors that adding this type of spot produces negative site performance issues. Something to think about.

  5. The dropdown on the MooseJaw site was a bit overwhelming and I could see how it would become distracting. American Eagle seemed to be a little more reserved. I’m just noticing that GNC has removed their offer from within the flyout (maybe they were testing).

  6. @ dan: yeah , me too ! I like it

  7. Zabubli says:

    Well, I guess only testing could reveal the true results, as some others said. The fly out menus do (to an extent) take away from the usability of the menus. It’s kind of like when everybody started using Flash just because it was “cool”, while making huge compromises in user-experience.

    On a smaller scale though, there may be some potential in this idea. Also depends on the clientele — it is probably working for the retailers posted in this thread. That is why they are using it. :)

  8. @Zabubli, gotta agree with you there. We had a whole phase of everybody using Flash because it was the “cool” thing to do. Many didn’t care about using Flash on 56k modems mind you… of course the broadband evolution (and probably WordPress) saved us from that.

    IMHO, these fly out menus can work for certain types of sites & markets. The key is to split test both with and without, that’s the only way one would find out for sure if it does work or not.

  9. I know this blog post is from 2009, but what happened with these menus then? Did they end up actually taking off or they died down?

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