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I'm trying to solve a particular customer concern for an online grocery website / iOS app. The complaint goes something like this:

When I browse your site, I feel like I can never really see all the products you offer. Browsing each category or doing a text search are OK, but I feel like I have blinders on.

I'm not really sure what to make of it. The feeling of having "blinders" on has been echoed by other customers as well. I sort of get it because our assortment of products is similar to a typical grocery store, so there is a lot to go through. And of course, if you were at a physical grocery store you have really high information density just by walking down one aisle.

Can anyone recommend some ideas of addressing this concern? One idea was to have "pivot" links next to each product tile like "see more items from Kraft" or "see more gluten free items" as a way to jump between different parts of the catalog.

I feel like I'm writer's block thinking of any other ideas now. :(

  • Can you link us to your website? – Swapnil Borkar Nov 1 '15 at 13:47
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    A real grocery store has wayfinding cues that customers have learned. People know the layout of "their" store. People know which types of products typically belong together. Aisles have overhead signage. In the aisle, packaging (with photos of contents) help people browse to a specific product type. Logos and pricing information helps people to choose a specific product. Which of these experiences map directly to an online store? Which of these experiences need a special design effort to come up with an equivalent? And which experiences can an online store offer that a real store cannot yet? – JeromeR Nov 1 '15 at 15:09
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    A Compare function might be an equivalent to in-store price labels. Once the shopper finds a can of tomato paste, help them compare it to other cans of tomato paste. And perhaps help them broaden that from paste to cans and jars of tomato sauce. A Whole meal or Goes nicely with pane might be something only online shopping can offer. So if I add the tomato paste to my shopping cart, offer me your best-selling pasta, best-selling ground-beef, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms. If I'm signed in, you know which products I've bought before—so offer me those. – JeromeR Nov 1 '15 at 15:17
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Ask a customer to clarify which products they were expecting to see and where. You could add improvements at the IA level, categorization, and so on.

Assuming your IA and Categorization is useful, you could add "Crossells" "Upsells" and "Related" products.

Crossells

Since you are about to buy a TV remote, why not get AA batteries to go with it?

Upsells

You want to buy single bottle of beer for $X.XX but instead, you can buy a 6-pack of beer for $Y.YY (cheaper per bottle)

Related Products

Customer who bought a chair also bought this dining table

Summary

Listing "Related" and "Upsells" on your product pages and "Crossels" on your cart page should grant your customers an ability to see other options and navigate to other products without relying on search.

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