When people land on your website, they may feel uncertain about what they’re looking for. There may be options for colors, sizes, and finishes. Sorting through everything is time-consuming without the help of filters. However, the correct use of them allows visitors to narrow the choices down to the perfect match.
Forrester’s State of Digital Commerce report surveyed two online surveys of U.S., UK, and German consumers. They discovered 80% of online shoppers leave a website if the shopping navigation isn’t clear.
Your search navigation plays a big role in how user-friendly your e-commerce site is. Knowing how to create smart filters for your product pages taps into customers’ needs. Here are some tips for making it the best it can be.
1. Choose Main Categories
Start by understanding your buyer personas. You may have more than one type of demographic coming to your pages to shop. Segment your audience and speak to each as an individual.
Start by separating products into groups. This is your first filter. When people land on your page what are the main two to five categories they’re looking for? This can be different for various business types.
Marke understands people visit their website to buy wedding bands for men. They offer two types of fit—classic and flat. So, they have two categories for site visitors to choose from. Once you land on the subpage, you’ll find additional filters, but the two main ones start the search.
2. Use Concise Language
Don’t try to get cutesy with the words you choose for filters. Use the most common word, so people don’t wonder what you mean. When it comes to filters, syntax matters.
Pay attention to the words your site visitors use when looking for a product. What search terms do they punch in? How can you repeat those words in your filters?
3. Narrow Products
If you offer similar products, but for different models of something, you should use drop-down filters and allow the user to narrow their options to only the products working for them. Instead of browsing through thousands of items, they only see what they are most interested in.
Rvinyl understands people want pre-cut vinyl for their specific vehicle make and model. They offer drop-down options so you choose car make, model, and year. The user doesn’t have to sort through products not related to their needs. The filters create a highly customized search for customers.
4. Test Options
When you add new filters, take the time to test them. Make sure they work for your target audience. Run some A/B tests to see if new categories get attention from site visitors. Survey customers and ask if they had any trouble locating what they needed.
You can learn a lot from your clients by asking for feedback. Add the suggestions that make sense. Get rid of what isn’t working. Retest frequently.
5. Learn User Intent
When people come to your site, they have a specific task in mind. The better you understand your audience, the better you can guide them to the right products for them. You may offer a number of filters or just one or two.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to add filters. There are only the correct options for your clients.
Larq knows people who come to their site are there for their self-cleaning water purification bottles. The only decision they have to make at first is what color they want. So, they add a call to action (CTA) button that reads, “Select color.” People can quickly navigate to that option and choose the bottle most suited to them.
6. Allow for Multiple Filters
There are few things more frustrating than having to go back to a category over and over to select more than one filter. Make sure site visitors can easily select multiple filters at one time without having to backtrack.
If a user wants to search for a pink and white dress, make it easy for them to toggle on those two choices. The more specific the search is, the better suited the results will be to individual user needs.
7. Move Important Filters to the Top
Don’t force your site visitors to hunt for the filters they’re most likely to use. If you have categories people almost always turn to, put them near the top of the page. Make it as easy as possible for users to select options.
Mia Belle Girls adds a size and color filter to the top of the page just under the description and price. You can quickly see if the outfit is available in your child’s size. Scroll through to see what color options each item comes in.
They offer other filters, as well, such as sorting by best sellers and new arrivals. However, placing the color and size options near the top of each individual product page enhances user-friendliness.
Why Are Product Filters Important?
When you allow them to narrow their options and even provide guidance to move them through the process, you automatically improve your conversion rate. Look at your filter options through the eyes of your buyer personas and make tweaks to keep the search navigation as intuitive as possible.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing agency before becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.