Ecommerce stores depend on their websites for their success. And awkward, hard to navigate websites can put internet shoppers off.
In today’s world, this is especially bad, since the internet has made shoppers more fickle than ever.
In fact, some 56 percent of US consumers consider a substantially larger range of brands than they did 10 years ago. And almost half admitted that they are more likely to switch brands now that they were a decade ago.
When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. No longer do shoppers have to find and visit another physical store to get the goods they want. They can simply Google a product and a whole bunch of alternative retailers will pop up.
Filtered navigation is a great way to allow consumers to browse your store quickly and easily. Now near ubiquitous in the world of eCommerce, filters help online shoppers find what they’re looking. This improves their shopping experience, and in turn boosts sales.
But filtered navigation is not always implemented as effectively as it could be. And this can lead to problems when it comes to your site’s usability, and may even have a negative impact on your bottom-line.
The vast majority of users will arrive on your with only a vague idea of what they want. The few that know exactly what they want to purchase will make a beeline for the search bar. But the rest will probably want to narrow down the products they’re presented with. This will allow them to make an informed decision without spending hours scrolling though irrelevant goods.
To satisfy such visitors, you need good filters. So here are our top tips for making your filters excellent.
1. Category Types
Filters should make it easy for consumers to isolate exactly the types of goods they’re looking for. This means that your filters will have to include as many metrics as possible – brands, price, size, colour, styles, etc. Oasis Gardening, for example, offers a good categorization of its gardening products.
It also means that, should you offer a range of quite different products, you may have to introduce corresponding filters accordingly. For example, the sorts of filters that may be appropriate for shoes may not work quite so well for skateboards.
Shoppers may wish to search your eCommerce store with themes. For example, they may want to look at the products that you sell most of, those which are on sale or have a discount applied, or the most recent additions to your store. To cater for these kinds of searches, it’s important include store-wide filters for a few key themes. For example, BigBarn allows you to see all the special offers with a click of a button.
The themes you pick will, of course, be dependent on the nature of your eCommerce store. But implementing themed filters will keep returning customers (new customers are less likely use such filters) happy, as they’ll be able to peruse your store in line with their interests.
3. Filters Selected
Shoppers may select the wrong filters accidently, or simply forget the filters they’ve already applied. For this reason, it’s good to display the filters they’ve selected in a prominent place on the page.
This ensures that consumers won’t get frustrated if they’re not being shown the products they want, and can see exactly what they need to change in order to do so.
4.Fast Load Times
When a consumer applies filters, they will need to refresh their page in order for them to take effect. The longer this process takes, the more likely it is that your potential customer will lose interest and click the dreaded little “x” in the top right corner.
In fact, research suggests that a mere one-second delay in page-load times can cause a 7 percent loss in customer conversion. Talk about impatient! But that’s the way it is. So make sure your eCommerce page can cope.
5. Multiple Selection
Don’t make your filters exclusive. Customers may want to see, say, all of your red shoes. But they may also be toying with the idea of blue shoes. To make sure that they are able to get a full picture, you need to allow for multiple sections in the same field. Fail to do this, and you could lose out on sales.
6.Make Your Filters Mobile Friendly
Increasingly, internet shoppers like to browse from mobile devices. Indeed, total mobile media time is now greater than total desktop media time. So, unless you want to miss out on this huge demographic, you need to make optimise your filters (well, your whole site actually) for mobile users.
This means that filter boxes must be easy to select (and unselect) on smaller screens. They need to be big enough to select easily, and small enough to avoid accidental selection and taking up too much of the screen.
7. Number of products
Including the number of products that will be returned with each filter selection will help your customers see how many products will be displayed as soon as they click apply. This prevents them from making selections that show too many products, or selections that show too few – both of which can be incredibly annoying.
Just add the number of products each filter selection represents in brackets next to the filter. Simple.
8.Try Not To Return No Results
Some filter selections may not match any products. This can happen when the consumer makes their selection too narrow. Of course, this is bad news for eCommerce stores, since it can lead to frustration.
Avoiding selections that return no results may mean restricting the number of filters that the consumer can apply to a sensible amount, or displaying products which most closely match their original selection.
Filters are important. They allow your customers to navigate your site in a quick and easy manner. However, unless your filters are implemented and optimised correctly, they may be more of a hindrance than a help.
We hope we’ve given you some ideas about how to improve your filters. And, of course, we’d love to hear your thoughts, too.
Are you using filters for your ecommerce store? If so, what sorts of filters do you use? And what steps have you taken to improve them? Let us know with a comment.