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When it comes to shopping online, customers are extremely turned off by complicated navigation and unresponsive search experiences. If you really want to satisfy your customers and increase conversion rates, your product filtering needs to improve.
Why Does Good Search and Filtering Matter?
“Discoverability is when you find the perfect book, even though you were not necessarily looking for it. Findability is when you find the exact book you were looking for, even if all you knew about it was the author’s last name,” conversion optimist Shanelle Mullin explains. “Ecommerce product filtering, when done right, can solve both issues.”
A very small percentage of online shoppers arrive on a website knowing exactly what they’re looking for. They also aren’t aware of the best way to find the product amid a sea of other pages and listings.
There’s clearly a need for good product filtering, yet very few ecommerce sites actually get this aspect of web development right. One research study found that only 16 percent of major ecommerce websites provide users with what could be classified as a “reasonably good” filtering experience.
4 Tips to Enhance Your Filtering
If just one out of every six major ecommerce websites is getting filtering right, you’re probably coming up short as well.
The following tips may help you enhance your filtering experience:
- Provide Category Specific Filters
For starters, you need to provide plenty of category-specific filters for customers to utilize – especially if you offer a bunch of products with different variations. If you sell clothing, this would include filters like gender, size, color, material, brand, and price. If you sell technology, it might include brand, price, ratings, operating system, and compatibility.
CCTV Camera World is a good example of an ecommerce website that offers lots of filtering options. With 117 different products, this is something that greatly enhances both discoverability and findability.
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- Consider On-Page Orientation
The placement of the filtering component also matters. If it’s in a position where nobody sees it, then it doesn’t do any good. But you also don’t want to place it in an area where it’s going to introduce unnecessary friction for individuals who just want to browse.
One important tip is to promote important filters at the top of the product results. These suggestions are much more likely to be taken into account by users.
As Baymard Institute explains, “During our e-commerce usability tests, we typically observe that users perceive categories as something the site suggests they select whereas the filtering sidebar options are seen by most users as purely optional choices.”
- Enable Manual Input
Filtering is nice, but you can’t automate the entire process and only allow users to select from preset options. This removes freedom and hurts the overall search experience. You need a search bar that allows users to run their own searches. This increases the chances that a customer will find something they’re looking for, even if it’s typically buried under other search results.
- Offer Auto Complete Search Function
It’s not enough to simply allow for manual searches. You also need to offer an auto complete search function that enables you to predict what an individual customer is searching for. This has been shown to increase the relevancy of results on most ecommerce websites.
Give Your Ecommerce Site a Boost
You can give your ecommerce site a tremendous boost in terms of both discoverability and findability by paying attention to your product filtering experience. Make some tweaks, monitor the results, and continue to optimize until you find a happy medium.