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We've been given an idea by a company who wish to increase sales over the suite of sites they have - the main idea is that they have a series of tabbed links in a header across all of their sites. Each of the websites are within the same industry and have a very slight product overlap.

Initially these tabs were just going to contain names

Now we're not a fan of this idea (see image 1)

we don't feel it gives context as to what these websites are about (I won't include the real names but they are quite vague) and we feel that it will possibly be ignored by the user.

A second suggestion (see image 2)

Was that we change some of the company names for the category of product they sell (for example cups, kettles, chairs etc.) and for where they aren't selling a product that we name the service (for example catering, table service etc.) and any remaining websites which don't sell product or have a service would just show the name. Which would look like so.

Now.. to me at least this confuses things possibly even further - while we've given them context it's a mix of products, services and names.

Suggestions 1 & 2

What I'd like your opinion on (see image 3 & 4)

if our suggestion detailed below is a better solution that would potentially see more conversions across the suite of sites?

We'd give sister sites some screen time, further down the home page and include their company logo, name, a bit about what they do and a cta to visit.

Then - using our bespoke CMS we'd allow site admins to decide (depending on the product) to show a targeted cta on the product page, encouraging users to also check out sister sites, placed out of immediate view so they aren't taken away from the site immediately but far enough down the page that if this product isn't for them then they have the opportunity to view the sister site.

Suggestions 3 & 4

As I say - feedback and any suggestions as to what we can do that hasn't already been suggested would be fantastic.

Thanks!

  • The specific context may affect things, but in general, as a user, I think I would be annoyed / become distrustful if tabs at the top of the page took me to different websites (as opposed to different areas of the same website) without clearly indicating they would (which images 1 & 2 don't appear to have the room to do). Something like image 3 appears to offer the space to indicate this, so would be better. – TripeHound Jun 30 '17 at 13:10
  • Thanks TripeHound - you've pretty much hit the nail on the head with our concerns. Users will click what could be interpreted as categories of products only to be taken to the homepage of a new website. – Connor M Jun 30 '17 at 13:14
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Try using a fat footer at the very bottom of the page.

Rather than squeeze in a top link in a utility bar (a small band that sits atop the main navbar, which sometimes has a login, and lesser used info links), you can take advantage of a fat footer.

Here's an example from Amazon:

enter image description here

They distinguish the footer by a darker tone, and have not just their sister companies, but a quick listing of the product types they specialize in. I have seen past condemnation of fat footers, but my working assumption is that Amazon tests these patterns. They have many offerings here, some of which might be surprising to users.

Pro

  • Does not intefere with content consumption and shopping on the main site
  • Allows your client to promote their sister companies
  • Descriptions allows users to see if there's value to them before clicking, rather than guess
  • Your clients marketing team doesn't have to worry about swapping the brand name for the product they sell (as in the 2nd suggestion you mention): They can put both company name and description together
  • You don't have to rely on site admins deciding depending on the product, which content matches with a sister company (that will cause infighting between the sister companies about who is getting the most love). A bespoke CMS will not save them from constantly worrying about which product is needing to be tied to a specific offering from a sister company
  • Does not intefere with the content in the main page: there's no break in the flow because it's confined to the bottom

You could run a test and see the results of links out.

  • Thanks so much for your answer Mike - excellent suggestion – Connor M Jun 30 '17 at 13:15

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