Founder and CEO of Growisto, a rising e-commerce marketing and technology company.
For an eCommerce website, discoverability and searchability are two major aspects that can severely impact conversions and overall sales. There are different kinds of users that visit an eCommerce site every day - one category contains visitors that know exactly what they are looking for; whereas, there is another category that will prefer to browse and consider different options. As such, sites need to give the consumers tools to search their product lists and strip out the items they are not interested in.
Optimized product filtering is always useful in both cases, even without the availability of extensive product lists. It helps the users to narrow down the specific product they are looking for and discover products that they might be interested in. When implemented properly, product filtering can increase eCommerce conversions by 26%.
In this article, we are going to deep-dive into key practices for implementing optimized product filters:
1. Provide category-specific product filters: Majority of the users are interested in filtering product lists according to categories and specific attributes. Therefore, along with generic site-wide attributes like best selling, price, ratings, etc., the brands need to provide the option of filtering results based on distinct characteristics. For instance, for a category like “Coats”, there should be the option to filter it by material, color, etc. Similarly, for a category like “Camera”, the number of megapixels, shutter speed, etc, are category-specific filters. These filters are helpful for users who are unclear about their preferences and want to browse various options within a particular product category.
2. Allow multiple filter selections: Usually, the product filters are implemented on the basis of “this” or “that” rule. So, if a user is browsing dresses, they are unable to select both red and white at the same time. This hinders the ability to do a side-by-side comparison and the viewer will have to view both the colors separately. Therefore, enabling multiple selections in the same category will benefit users with a comparison-shopping mindset. Visitors should be able to apply as many filters as possible in a product category and yield refined as well as relevant results.
Also, make sure to keep out-of-stock products in the search result, as it shows the vastness of the catalog and at the same time gives the option of “Do not include out of stock product” in the filters.
3. Avoid showing no results: Returning with zero products as a result of filtering is likely to frustrate consumers and may cause them to abandon your site. Therefore, it is always beneficial for you to avoid a “no result” page and allow your users to filter on options that you know are available. For instance, once the user has selected the broader category like “Caps”, only show them the available colors. This way the consumers won’t have to go through a lengthy filter process and then get disappointed because of zero results.
4. Display number of products available: Beside each filter, indicate how many options are available in it. For instance, show the number of products that are purple, red, etc. This way the users will get to know about the available products in each filter without having to click them again and again. Moreover, it is also important that filter count updates each time a new filter is applied. For instance, if the website showed 200 small T-shirts before the consumer selected the ‘blue color’ filter, those options should adjust to the new total after the blue filter is chosen.
5. Showcase the applied filters: Display applied filters clearly on the website in order to show users what results they are currently viewing. This helps to remind the visitors about the applied filters and makes the process of altering filters easy. If the consumers are unable to find what they are looking for, then they will want to modify the filters. Hence, it is important to not only make the selected filters obvious but also allow the users to remove or select filters with one click. In order to attract user’s attention towards the applied filters, brands can add good visuals like relevant icons to guide them while they browse. And for making the process of modifying filters seamless, brands can use checkmark or greyed boxes that enable the users to add or remove filters by just clicking on the boxes.
6. Refresh the page quickly: As with most things in e-commerce, speed is a crucial aspect in product filters as well. The time it takes for the page to load after a new filter is applied is very important. According to a report by Econsultancy, one-second delay in page load can lead to a 7% loss in conversions. Therefore, you need to ensure that your site search can cope and customers don’t have to wait for results to load when they have selected or removed a filter.
7. Prioritize having useful rather than lots of filters: You need to keep in mind that the idea of product filtering does not focus on having “most” filters, rather it has more to do with “useful” filters. Having a ton of filters defeats the purpose, as instead of product overload, the site has filter overload. Therefore, you need to consciously select the filters that will be useful for the consumers while shopping.
8. Collapse the non-applied filters: In case you have a wide variety of filters, then it is recommended to collapse all filters except those applied by the user. For instance, if the number of filters applied by the consumer are more than 6, then you should collapse all the non-selected filters. This way the user can keep track of the applied filters and the process of product filtering becomes less overwhelming. Another method of arranging the filter options can be by keeping all the filters open with 4 to 5 values, and showing all links in each filter. However, for mobile, the filters should be collapsed in all cases.
All in all, eCommerce filters are practical features of your website that not only boost conversions but also improve the overall user experience. When utilized efficiently, product filters can empower customers to narrow down an extensive product catalog to just a handful of products that match their unique buying preferences.
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