While a store that sells one or two products doesn’t need them, filters are indispensable to any store with a large variety of products. They are necessary in helping customers narrow down their selections from a wide pool of options.
A lack of filters would either cause choice paralysis or make your store unnavigable. An e-commerce store having no filters is tantamount to a library that stacks its books on any random shelf and never bothers to create a catalogue. Finding any one book in such a place would be impossible as you’re limited to guessing and praying for luck.
Despite their importance, all filters are not made equal. Attributes have varying levels of importance. A price or a ratings filter might apply to every single product while a fabric filter is only applicable to clothes. A size filter is incredibly important when buying a pair of shoes but matters very little when buying cups or plates since most of them are within the same size range anyway.
Individual attributes still experience varying levels of importance even when considered in the context of a single product. Take a laptop computer for example. Attributes like storage space, available RAM, and processing speed are infinitely more important than color.
It’s this variation in the importance that customers place on different product attributes that makes it necessary to emphasize certain filters.
Sidebar + featured section
The easiest way to emphasize filters is by having a bar at the top of product lists with two or three of the most used filters and having the rest of the filters to the left hand side. For t-shirts this would be filters like price and color. You could use size, price, and brand as the featured filter for soccer boots. For a TV the featured filters would be brand, screen size, and price.
Important filters can also be emphasized by the use of visual cues like bolding or highlighting them, or by using thumbnails and buttons to show their importance.
Sticky featured filters
You can also test making the ‘featured filters’ section sticky – that is it doesn’t disappear when someone scrolls up or down.
What to keep in mind
- Use featured filters sparingly and keep them broad. While they lead to high filter utilization, they can excessively narrow results if their scope is too narrow. Take RAM size for computers as an example. If you only allow your customers to select and filter for one value of RAM, say 6GB, they’ll only see computers with 6GB of RAM and miss out on the computers that may be comparatively priced and boast of 8GB of RAM. For a filter like this one, you should allow customers to either pick a range, or show all computers with a RAM capacity that’s equal to or higher than the selected value.
- Avoid using banner-like graphics for featured filters.