I recommend listing your main product categories in your menu’s level one. Show them directly in the menu (on both desktop and mobile).
In my experience, you can usually fit up to 10 categories in the menu, but less is more. More than 10 items becomes overwhelming. Around 3-7 category menu items is best. If you have too many, show the best selling ones and have a ‘More’ menu item for the rest.
The exception to this is if you have several other very important pages besides your product categories which you also want to list in the level one of the menu. In that case, you can have a “Shop” or “Departments” or “Products” menu item then the other non-category menu items.
On mobile, make sure those categories and the post-sale menu items (Order Tracking, customer support…) fit on one screen. So you may want to have an expandable “More” item to reduce your total number of menu items.
- 18% of ecom sites have a single menu item (e.g. “Products”) under which all their product categories are displayed, which causes a couple of issues.
- About 25% of all desktop users and 70% of mobile users infer the type of site they landed on (when landing on the homepage directly) by scanning the menu and homepage.
Also, by hiding the product categories under a single menu item, users are likely to accidentally hover another menu item, or leave the hover area (which closes the menu).