Product filters are one of the essential eCommerce elements that can affect website performance. When it comes to user experience and search engine optimisation, well-organised category filters can make a huge difference. You would be surprised to know that only 16% of eCommerce websites provide their customers with proper filtering experience.
For websites with a large number of SKUs, a good filtering system can take user experience to the next level, drive sales, and enhance SEO practices. Let’s explore good UX practices for filtering eCommerce products that you should implement and maintain to make the most of it. But before we do this, let’s start with some basics regarding product filters.
What Are eCommerce Search Filters?
eCommerce filters are used to facilitate the user’s experience and make product search much accurate and easier.
Multiple filters are essential for any online shop with a large number of items.
Filters have to be as specific and relevant. Based on the type of products you offer, you need to implement and maintain the filters that meet all your user’s search queries. Colour, size, price, brand rating, and other category-specific filters just to name a few.
Just implementing product filters to your website may increase the conversion rate by 26%. Along with that, only a small percentage of companies offer good filtering options. Therefore, this is your chance to stand out from the competition and deliver the best user experience.
Filters also work great for search engine optimisation. If users are able to navigate your website with easily and quickly with SEO filters, then Google will notice this and rank accordingly. As a result, better visibility in the search results is guaranteed, and new users are more likely to see and visit your eCommerce store.
One of the main advantages of using filters is that users are able to see a certain product category, whether it’s a brand or a type of product that they are looking for.
If your online store sells just a few products, you can opt for basic filtering (unfortunately, like almost all websites awarded for the best eCommerce designs in 2019 do). However, the more range of products you offer, the more filters you should provide for easy navigation on your website. Filters are a great chance to introduce a variety of products, gain a broader audience, and drive more sales.
As you can see, the potential of search filters is immense, and you would benefit from implementing and maintaining the filter system in your eCommerce store. So now we are going to demonstrate a few examples of excellent filtering solutions.
Category-Specific Filters As A Must
The category-specific filters are used to sort the products by attributes appropriate for a specific category.
Let’s say you have an online baby shop with a wide range of products. You can sort items by colour, size or gender in the “Bodysuits & Sleepsuits” category, but these filters will look odd in the “Baby Lotions” category. Instead, you can sort lotions by ingredients. At the same time, brand filters may provide comfortable navigation in both categories.
If you think this is a nude fact, here is a quick statistic. 42% of large ecommerce websites DO NOT use category-specific filters. If your key competitors are on this list, you have an easy opportunity to get ahead of them.
Back to the baby shops. We found an excellent example of category-specific filters which could be determinative for parents on the Simplebaby.com website.
It’s also important to provide customers with an opportunity to choose multiple filters at the same time to make the search results even more accurate. Otherwise, your customers will have to waste time scrolling dozens of pages to find what they are looking for. Note that if your filter list is too long this may also distract the customers’ attention.
Please, make sure that filtering results appear fast. Even if you have perfect filtering options, it won’t matter if a user has to wait too long for the results to appear on screen. Running speed tests is imperative to provide an impeccable user experience.
Thematic filters can enhance product value
We wouldn’t recommend to limit yourself with only basic filtering options. You can easily come up with unconventional thematic filters that may be even more useful for your customers.
According to the statics, 20% of leading eCommerce website ignore these product filters.
How can you create these? The first way is to analyse similar queries for your product keywords. Let’s say that you sell microphones. Besides the type filters such as “handheld’, “lavalier” or “USB”, and the capsule type filters such as “dynamic” or “tube” you can add filters based on an occasion. These may be “conference microphones”, “vocal microphones”, “video camera microphones”, “iPhone microphones” and so on. The products may intersect between categories, and it’s even better than good.
This filtering approach allows your customers, who may be ignorant of the technical characteristics, to choose the right item faster. Consequently, you shorten their decision-making process.
H&M has another solution for thematic filters. They use special sorting features to enhance product value and promote their brand storytelling on every category page.
Thus, they added three types of filters: Conscious Products Explained, Recycle at H&M, H&M Take Care.
This approach works well not only on retail websites, but also on online booking services.
Besides numerous genius marketing features at Booking.com, which we will discuss in one of our next articles, they also provide additional property value with the help of thematic filtering parameters.
Along with common filters that allow you to choose a type of apartments and the number of rooms, users may also narrow down the search depending on location score, fun things to do near, and so on.
Good horizontal filtering design improves the customer experience
When it comes to filtering design, basically, there are two common options for eCommerce websites. You can opt for a traditional sidebar menu or go for a horizontal filtering design that has become a real trend over the past few years. What is more, you can combine these two approaches to deliver your customers the greatest experience when using your eCommerce store.
24% of eCommerce websites have ditched the traditional filtering sidebar in favour of a combined horizontal filtering and sorting tool since consumers tend to overlook it.
However, despite its efficiency, horizontal filtering has a major drawback. You have a limited space to put the most relevant and popular filters because you can use only the width of the screen. It could be quite challenging in terms of UX/UI adjustments but the results are worth it.
Johnlewis.com has solved this design issue with the help of icons, avoiding the drop-down filtering menu. In our opinion, the solution looks clear and informative.
Pinned to the top applied filters may fulfil a merchandising function
When the testing shows displaying applied filters both in the original positions in a sidebar and in the top of the filtering list, this can improve the customer experience. First of all, because this is more convenient for users to find and discard an applied filtering parameter.
However, the research showed 42% of eCommerce websites don’t bring applied filters to the top.
Some websites use pre-applied filters. To illustrate, we review the Johnlewis approach. The first time you visit their category page, you notice that 7 parameters have been already chosen. With the help of applied in advance attributes, they solve the merchandising issue and prioritise specific products they need to sell.
The thoughtful design allows discarding any filter since they are arranged on top, or add a new one.
The importance of implementation and management of quality SEO and category filters is unquestionable. Well-thought-out filters can skyrocket your eCommerce business results.
The filtering practices described above are perfect hints for improving your customer experience, and it won’t take long for you to see tangible results.
If you want your well-running business to thrive in the eCommerce sector, having a good filtering system on the website is essential. Start implementing filter UX patterns in your eCommerce store to gain more loyal customers and higher revenue. Don’t be afraid of experimenting with product categories and make sure to keep an eye on the latest trends and best practices.