As an avid online shopper (a pretty shameless, rather proud one at that), I know one thing for sure – no matter how much time I really have on hand, I never have enough time to go through each and every product range on an online store.
And the same holds true for other shoppers.
Online shoppers are usually seeking for stores they could head to, quickly find what they are looking for, make the purchase and then carry on with what they were doing. They don’t really spend a lot of their time exploring what more the store has to offer.
Be it looking for different sizes of a shirt, jeans or the different colours it could possibly be available in. If I can see it in just a few minutes, I’m going to add it to my cart and move to checkout. If I don’t, I’ll either postpone the purchase or look for it on another website.
This is where category filters start to play an important role in eCommerce sales.
According to an in-depth research on eCommerce store usability by Baymard Institute, almost 84% of online stores have a poor filtering experience. They limit their visitors ability to browse through products easily – no matter how basic their needs are.
Most of the stores that actually do have a filtering option available, don’t keep the user’s experience and expectations in mind.
All in all, these are the stores that lose out on possible sales to their competitors every time.
Don’t know where your store stands or how you can make the category filters any better for your customers?
7 ways you can make your eCommerce category filters better
1. Create theme based filters
Filters don’t necessarily need to be product specific. You could club together products of the same or similar category to create a theme that let’s a shopper browse through them according to the category they are looking for.
For instance, a few filters that a shopper is likely to search for on a store include what’s latest, trending or best selling.
Similarly, if your online store is selling shirts in different prints, you could have filters on what kind of prints that will help the visitor browse through them easily.
2. Understand what makes the products different
Each of your products are different – their brands, sizes, prices, colours, etc. Then why show them as one and confuse your online store visitors? Offer filters for any aspect that will make the product different from the others.
For instance, while browsing through the watches on this store, getting the ability to choose the strap type, dial colour and the price makes it easier for me to find the one I am looking for.
3. Filters that show a count of products
While browsing through products on an online store, we all tend to click on different filters to see what products show up – be it that of a colour or the size that the product is available in. More often than not, this is purely out of curiosity.
Using filters that will let the visitor know how many products come under it is a smart tactic. For instance, if I am looking for medium sized t-shirts and the site has only 50 products to offer in it, I will be more than willing to check out a size smaller or bigger just for the options I would get!
4. Let them choose multiple filters
Continuing on the point above, since I can’t make up my mind about the size I would like to check, I would want to take a look at them all. This means, I won’t be choosing to see all the products but would definitely want to select the possible sizes together and view the products that are more likely to suit my needs.
So make sure your online store doesn’t restrict a visitor to one filter. Let them choose multiple filters so that they are able to browse through the products easily, without having to move back and forth from the main search page.
Like here, I have chosen two brands that I’d like to see products from.
5. Showcase the filters applied
To make things even better and simpler for the visitor, make sure that the filters he has selected are visible to him at all times. This makes it easy for him to remove or add more filters to his search, helping him sift through the products quickly to reach his end goal – the product he is looking for.
6. Make your filters mobile optimized
Like we have mentioned a number of times before, it is important that your business doesn’t ignore the mobile traffic. Only 42% of your store’s traffic comes via the conventional desktop, and the remaining is using mobile devices to access it.
So make sure the filters you offer on your desktop site, work perfectly well on mobile as well. You don’t want to disappoint a mobile visitor and lose a possible sale to a competitor who cared a little more about the experience!
7. Refresh your product search page quickly
Load time has a direct impact on the conversion rate of your online store. Hence make sure that your search results load quickly for the visitor after he has applied the filters for a product he is looking for.
Making him wait any longer than a minute, is as bad as losing a good sale. So ensure that the process is highly optimized to offer instant gratification.
The idea behind your filter optimization needs to be to make it as easy as possible for a visitor to find the product he came looking for, and move him towards checkout. The lesser time it takes for a visitor to find the product, the less likely he is to be overwhelmed by all the other products that your website has to offer!
Are your online store visitors able to find the products they are looking for, easily?