Does the 3 Click Rule Apply in B2B E CommerceHang around people who design websites for a living or optimize websites for user experience long enough and you are bound to hear about the “3-click rule.”

What is the 3-click rule?

There are a few minor variations floating around out there, but the general gist of the 3-click rule is that when designing a website:

  • You should never put more than three “clicks” between the site visitor and their intended destination or bit of information, AND,
  • For every click above the threshhold of three you increase your chance of losing your visitor due to short attention span/frustration.

There is some debate amongst the “experts” as to whether the 3-click rule applies in website design anymore, but common sense encourages me to simplify an ecommerce site’s user interface, making it easier for the visitor to shop. The 3-click rule is a good rule of thumb to use in creating a simple to use site taxonomy, so, my vote is that the 3-click rule still applies to most sites.

But does the 3-click rule apply in the realm of B2B ecommerce?

Yes, it does.

Even though B2B ecommerce customers are different from B2C ecommerce customers in that they probably have an established relationship with you and are less likely to bounce off of your site to a competitor for a long click-stream, keeping site navigation as clear and concise as possible is critical for B2B ecommerce success.

The fact of the matter is that even with an on-going relationship with your customers and a unique value proposition–perhaps you are the only company that offers your unique product or service–you don’t want to risk annoying your customer with too many clicks and planting the seed of considering another option. Making your ecommerce site navigation simple and to the point will make ordering easy and increase the likelihood that your customers will order online again in the future.

Use the 3-click rule to guide you as you build your site’s taxonomy for the greatest chance of B2B ecommerce success.

To learn more about B2B ecommerce best practices, download the white paper, Sell More With Stunning Design – Increase Ecommerce Conversions and Reduce Cart Abandonment.

Photo credit: Davichi via Flickr