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Best Practices Category Search

Have a cart button on the listing for low-ticket items

The amount of time people spend considering a purchase is often proportional to the cost of the item in question. The same customer who may spend hours reading the spec sheet of a thousand-dollar smartphone and doing price comparisons won’t devote as much time to a five-dollar screen protector or back cover. Because of this, […]



Add relevant sorting options

Sorting is an indispensable part of search and product browsing. It’s how users narrow down the things they’re interested in so providing relevant options is critical. Sorting is often used in combination with the filtering option.   Common sorting options:  Relevance Price Popularity New Arrivals Ratings   Relevance Sorting by relevance should be your default […]



Organize products in a simple structure

There is a common mnemonic for this: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). That means simple category names and as few categories as possible.  You should also avoid breaking user expectations. Organize products in their logical or socially expected categories. Take the example of a TV. Many people expect it to be listed under a category […]



Have relevant dynamic filters

For stores of a certain size Filters are particularly important for stores with over about 50 products. If your store only has a handful of products, there’s no point in filtering them.   My advice for your filters Provide category-specific filters in addition to site-wide filters (brand, price, ratings) (read more on this in this […]



Display these product attributes

The following product attributes are a must Image Title Price Star ratings + # ratings Product variations, if any (typically in the form of color swatches)   Title The product title should be a no-brainer. It should be clear, descriptive, and unique. You should also try to keep it as short as possible without compromising […]



Add urgency elements

There are several ways to build urgency Show how much they save on sale items Have limited quantity or limited time offers Offer free shipping or same-day (or next day) delivery if they purchase before a certain time Inform users about limited stock   Flash sales TBDress is the perfect example of the implementation of […]



Feature products, bundles or deals at the top

98% of visitors to e-commerce sites don’t buy anything. They come, look around, and leave. Brick and mortar stores solved this problem a long time ago. Many of them get 15% to 30% of their walk-in customers to buy something before leaving. Department stores can convert as many as 60% of their visitors into buyers. […]



Avoid pagination

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t load all your results in a single page: Performance issues Data costs Terrible user experience An unreachable footer   Pagination and infinite scrolling are common solutions to this problem. They’re not ideal. Baymard recommends using a Load More button if you have to.   Pagination isn’t great Pagination […]



Highlight items that are in the shopper’s cart

Shoppers often use the cart as a storage and comparison tool. Let’s say Jonah wants to buy a rug. He finds three that he really likes. They’re all checked. One has red and blue squares, the second one has black and blue squares while the third has red and black squares. He adds them to […]



Feature important product filters at the top of the product list

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 […]



Visually distinguish between visited and unvisited products

Your shoppers need to distinguish products they’ve viewed from those they haven’t. The web already has a default standard for this: unvisited links are blue while visited links are purple. Yet, only 74% of sites change the color of their links once users have visited them. And for e-commerce, that percentage is certainly lower.   […]



Truncate filter values

Products can have a lot of filters. Let’s take refrigerators as examples. They can be filtered by: Price Brand  Size (length, width, height) Number of doors Internal volume Weight (when empty) Color Power rating Presence of smart features (internet connectivity, artificial intelligence software etc) Minimum achievable temperature   A filter like power rating or size […]


Display breadcrumbs

Navigation out in the real world requires knowledge of your current position and the location of other places relative to your position. The web is no different. The visitors on your site need to know exactly where they are and where they could go from there.  Whenever people feel lost on the internet they just […]


Have intermediary category pages for the first 1-2 levels

In e-commerce, shoppers might come in without fully made up minds on the exact product they want to buy. Many have a rough idea but whether or not they act on it depends entirely on the purchasing options available.  Let’s take clothes shopping as an example. We can use a customer named Jane to further […]


Interactive Color Swatches

More options available On IKEA, instead of showing variants there, they add More options available under the product. Interesting approach, it makes visitors wonder what the other options are. I think that is both a good and a bad thing. Curiosity is good, but it creates some confusion.   Show the color variants Macy’s, alternatively, […]


Avoid Quick Views

Quick views are often used to display additional information that couldn’t otherwise have been provided without cluttering the product list. While their functionality is clear, they make for a terrible user experience.   Quick Views are a bad idea According to Baymard, They’re generally used to paper over the cracks of poor product list design […]


Provide additional list item information on mouse hover

Avoid pogo-sticking In Baymard’s user testing (source), showing too little information in the list made test subjects do extensive “pogo-sticking” (jumping back & forth between the list and product pages). Showing too much information leads to overwhelm.   Options on desktop If your niche is visually-driven (apparel, home decor,…), combine a ‘cut-out’ image by default, […]


Show product attributes consistently inside of a product list

Unless yours is a single product store, it’s almost guaranteed that shoppers will not find what they’re looking for the moment they land on your homepage. In nearly all cases they’ll either have to search for a specific product or use main navigation. Let’s take Jonah as an example. He comes in looking to buy […]


Educate your shoppers in your category pages

Where? While customer education is commonly done in product descriptions and the homepage, you can also educate your customer on the category page. A thorough understanding of your product and the processes by which it came into existence would greatly improve conversions.  There are cases where educating your customers on the category page might be […]


Make it easy to trigger the product comparison

The product comparison tool isn’t that common in e-commerce. In fact, a majority of sites don’t even have it. Even when sites have it, shoppers don’t use it as much as they should. The first reason has to do with shopping habits.  We buy cheap stuff all the time and only buy expensive stuff once […]


If your products are available in-store as well, add an in-store filter

Having a physical store can give you a serious edge over your online-only competitors. The store can be used for pick-ups, returns, and even purchases. While nobody bats an eye about buying 20-dollar novelty mugs online, customers are a little more reluctant when it comes to subjective purchases (clothing, makeup, etc) or big ticket items.   […]


3-4 images per row on desktop, 2 per row on mobile

Displaying products in a list can be a little tough. You don’t want to clutter a display with too many products but you also don’t want to have too few products since that increases the amount of scrolling and new page loads a customer has to suffer through. There is also the not-so-small problem of […]


How many products should you have in a category?

I held a poll in my Facebook group asking store owners the number of products needed to justify a new category. Of the four provided options, 60% of people chose 20 or more as the number of products that would justify the creation of a new category. 10+ and 15+ were both chosen by 20% […]


Don’t split product variants into separate product listings

Online shopping has two dominant phases: the browse and selection phases. During the browse phase, a user looks at all the products on offer and makes a choice, usually by parking the products he’s interested in in a separate tab or adding them to a wish list. The selection phase involves the user going through […]

Category Product

Should you show all product variants in a single image?

When you have multiple product variants, sometimes it’s more convenient to show a customer everything you have to offer at a glance. Let’s say you sell chairs. The two chairs are identical in every aspect except one has a headrest and the other doesn’t. Thus, these chairs are variants of each other. How do you […]


Should you put an “Add to cart” button in product listings?

The answer depends on the decision time. All products are not made equal. But to understand why and how cart button placement matters, let’s take a journey through the buying process. The buying process has four main stages: awareness, consideration, decision, and post-purchase evaluation. You look at your wardrobe and think: “I don’t have any […]


Add labels and badges to your product lists

Everybody is selling something. To make customers buy whatever you offer, you must show them how special your items are. But this is easier said than done. When it comes to e-commerce, customers can’t see or touch the product. It’s even harder in a product list. All they can see is a name and a […]

Category Product

Implement and display unit pricing

Joey is shopping for golf balls in your store. Let’s say he filters by price. The cheapest golf balls you have come in a six-pack and cost $19. Then there is a 20-pack box of golf balls that goes for $59. And finally, there’s a 36-pack box of golf balls that retails at $109. Which […]


How many items should you include in a product list?

For a list of products or search results, the short answer is 50-150 items on desktop and 15-30 items on mobile. The number is a range because it varies according to context. Generally, the more information a customer needs to make a purchasing decision, the fewer the number of items you should include in a […]


Avoid dividing product lists into sections on a category page

When you click the category page for “Electronics” on Amazon, you’re shown Airpods, keyboards, monitors, external hard drives, gaming consoles, cameras, printer cartridges, smartphones, and all manner of other electronics. Amazon could break down its many electronic products into dozens of categories and subcategories, but it doesn’t. Amazon shows you the full range of electronic […]