Apple restores one little link to its website

By MixDex Article may include affiliate links

Apple reinstated a feature to its website — something that takes up just five letters — on Aug. 4, 2021.

It’s the word “Store” in the main navigation.

That link was removed from most pages in a previous site update and, instead, all of the site’s various pages showcasing its products with oversized imagery and animation became akin to “product pages” on traditional ecommerce sites.

These pages were incredibly engaging and often took users through an immersive tour of the product, but didn’t have the traditional product page layout that many online shoppers are used to (that’s not to say Apple’s approach was “wrong” and it’s likely doubtful it suffered many loss sales from the approach).

Mixed into the impressive design and layout of these pages would be one or more “Buy” buttons that users could use to go to a more traditional product page, often to configure their product with hardware, color and other choices.

By adding back the “Store” link, Apple now essentially has two paths users can use to buy products — go through the fancy product information pages and click the “Buy” button or click the “Store” link, find a product category and continue browsing in a more straightforward way to find what you’re after.

That latter method is more in line with how many ecommerce sites use, including ones such as Amazon and independent ones powered by platforms such as Shopify, Big Commerce or WooCommerce: Product photo on one side (or top of page in mobile), options on the other (or below), with a button that lets users continue with their purchase.

The exact options and wording varies slightly depending on product and the number of options it has, but the overall experiences is decidedly more traditional.

Those big gorgeous product overview pages aren’t gone — and their “Buy” buttons still link to the “true” product pages within the reintroduced store hierarchy.

Apple’s approach appears to be a way to appeal to ensure that people look to shop on the store see a clear option — “Store” — to dive in right away, while those in the research phase might opt to use one of the other links in the main navigation, which are devoted to the primary product and service lines Apple offers.

This is a good lesson in designing ecommerce sites with multiple means to get to the same goal — making a sale. Different people think and approach processes differently, including how they shop for items online. Some need more information before they are ready to buy — others know what they want and just want the fastest way to do so.