One thing most online retailers strive for is a shopping experience that users adore. It’s challenging to cover all your bases with various search filters and specials to ensure you hit all the high notes. Competition is quite fierce in the e-commerce industry. If your site doesn’t provide an excellent customer experience (CX), you may lose more revenue than you can sustain.
E-commerce filters can help fill the gap by making searches easy and highly functional for users. Unfortunately, filters can also break your business and cause your site visitors to bounce away.
Why Are Filters Important for E-Commerce Websites?
A recent report by Statista estimated around five billion global internet users, with those buying online spending about $5.2 trillion last year. The pandemic pushed more people toward the convenience of online shopping, and now more people than ever before hop on e-commerce pages to comparison shop and find products unavailable in local stores.
Users might grow overwhelmed by the offerings if you have more than a few products in your store. Even clever categories only do so much to refine results. Filters are a must if you want to return results that perfectly meet the user’s needs and increase the chances of a sale.
Here are some rules of thumb to keep in mind when adding filters to your e-commerce store:
1. Choose the Best Filters
The filters you need will vary based on your target audience. For example, color might be essential if you sell clothing to young teenagers. People will also need to be able to filter by size.
Some other things you might notice people pay attention to include what’s on sale or a particular style of clothing. For different audiences, color may not be as important as fit. You’ll have to survey your customers and pay attention to internal analytics to determine what matters to your patrons.
Bellelily uses both categories and filters to separate their clothing. Shoppers can hunt for new arrivals, best sellers, or by type of clothing pieces, such as a top or dress. Once on the category page, you can further refine your selections. For the “Tops” page, you can filter down by tees, tanks, blouses, and long sleeves.
Other filters include color, size, and price range. These are likely the things people most commonly hunt for clothing by.
2. Include All Options
If you’re going to add a filter, make sure you include all options. For example, if offering a color filter, add all the colors of your products so that the database can return the correct results.
How people select product descriptions when uploading new products becomes vitally important. If orange is left unchecked, but the blouse is orange, you’re missing potential sales.
3. Sort by Reviews
One thing a lot of e-commerce sites miss is sorting results by customer ratings. People sometimes want to know which of your products were marked as the best by their peers. Adding a filter that sorts by reviews let them see the top results and narrow their choices.
Check out how mac of all trades uses its filters to help its online visitors. You can sort by type of desktop. However, you can also check the memory, grade, or price range. Everyone should be able to find an Apple computer they can afford and meets their needs personally or professionally.
4. Create a Balance in the Number of Filters
E-commerce stores are on target to bring in more than $5 billion this year. To take full advantage of your portion of the pie, you must carefully select how many filters you add. Too many, and you risk the person growing frustrated at all the choices. Too few, and users might get aggravated at the lack of narrowing the choices down.
5. Make Searches Easier
What about the customers who know exactly what they want? For example, you might have clientele who always buy the same brands or the same line of products. It would help if you had a way for them to filter by brand alongside other filters to get to the exact item they want.
Sometimes they saw something in a physical store but came to your site to order it. How will they locate the exact item they want?
DSW offers a variety of accessories, including handbags. Because brand name is a popular search option for handbags, they offer a brand search feature and list top names, such as Anne Klein, Fossil, Lauren Ralph Lauren, and Lucky.
6. Use Autocomplete
People are used to their smartphones and internet browsers completing their thoughts. If you enable autocomplete, they’ll understand how to navigate it. For example, they can type the beginning of a brand name and have the rest of the word pop up for search.
Autocomplete is also helpful when people are unsure how to spell a word or product name.
Keep Trying Different Tactics
Just because your filters work today doesn’t mean they’ll work the same in a year. Don’t be afraid to try new configurations based on what your customers are searching for. If something is trending, add the phrasing to the autocomplete on your search features.
Keep testing and trying different filter variations until your conversion rates are where you want them to be. You won’t please every person who visits your site, but the ones who will become and remain loyal customers should be impressed with how well you understand their needs.