A website attracts browsers via PPC ads, search engines, and social media.
It has an impressive home page. The visitors stay on the home page for a while. Like the offerings, click on one of the items on the menu. And move to the product category pages.
And he is all at sea. He is not finding the desired product. Where’s my product?
But it happens with a lot of websites. And this results in loss of sales and poor shopping experiences.
How to stop that? Design a good category page.
Why designing good category page matters?
Most of the eCommerce stores offer a long list of products. But only a few items interests a user. People on the internet are impatient. A few seconds of delay and they move on to other stores.
So they need to organize it well to make every item easily accessible.
Designing good category pages is the first step in making your products accessible.
Else you lose your sales.
Stores lose 50% of potential sales because users can’t find information/products. And 40% of users do not return to a site when their first visit is a negative experience.
Category Page Best Practices
While there’s no hard and fast rule there are few best practices to design an awesome category page.
Join me as I discuss each of these best practices. Share with you success tips to make your category page shopper friendly.
1. Use simple category names
Important but often ignored. Simple category names work much better than fancy names. Fancy category names don’t tell users what they are clicking on and confuse them to no end. Here’s how to get simple category names –
- Talk in user’s language. Pick names used in normal conversations.
- Be specific in your category names. Don’t go too broad.
- Don’t make up new words.
In the above example, see how category names are pretty straightforward and easy to understand.
2. Use the ‘above the fold’ well
Above the fold’ in a web page is that part of the page which is visible without scrolling. The hidden part which appears on scrolling down is ‘below the fold’. Don’t make a shopper scroll down to find the product. Use ‘above the fold’ to narrow down his preferences and find the product.
Check how Wayfair uses it’s ‘above the fold’ space to narrow down choices. The ‘living room furniture’ category into more specific choices like sofas & sectionals, living room sets etc.
3. Use clean images
Good high-resolution images make your website pages shine. Also, pictures convey and appeal to buyers. Influence their decisions. And are simple to understand. So use good quality pictures in your category pages to list various items. In case, you can’t use photos then use good quality graphics and icons on your category page.
4. Provide information on prices and ratings
What information should you provide? The answer is simple. Provide what is necessary for the shoppers to take the next step. It also depends on your products. For furniture, electronic items you should help the buyer first select the subcategory. So providing the subcategory names will suffice. But for products like shirts, jeans etc., your buyers need more information. So showcase size, colors, price, discounts and customer ratings.
5. Give strong Call To Action (CTA)
Call To Action buttons guide your shoppers to their next action. And this is the step through which your buyer will reach the product page. So adding good CTAs to your category listing is a smart strategy.
6. Use filters
Filters are great tools in helping shoppers narrow down their sizes. If done well, filters can help your shopper reach the desired product in quick time. The choice of filters will depend on the type of products you sell on your store. For apparels, use- occasion, size, colors, price, discounts, and brands etc.
BuyAKilt.com registered a 76.1% increase in revenues by using product filters. And a 26% jump in conversions.
7. Allow sorting
Sorting gives control to users to arrange the listing as per his choice. Give your shoppers as many choices in sort order possible. Sorting can be on the basis of price- low to high and high to low, new arrivals first, customer ratings and relevance. Allowing different types of sorting will enable shoppers to make their choices fast.
8. Display top sellers and new arrivals
You can also promote new products. Or give more visibility to specific products on the category page. You can use personalization like Optimizely tools to showcase product recommendations.
9. Use breadcrumbs as navigational paths
Breadcrumbs are hyperlinks on a web page. They generally appear on the top of a web page, providing links back to each previous page a user navigates to reach the current page.
Breadcrumbs are of two types- hierarchy based (arrangement of pages in your site) and history based (user’s navigation path).
Breadcrumbs on the category page help users to efficiently navigate between homepage, category page, and product pages. They enable users to go “one step back” or return to a previous page or search results page if he has used it. You must offer both hierarchy based and history based breadcrumbs on your category pages.
All popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, PrestaShop etc., support breadcrumbs. You can add breadcrumbs using snippet codes. Alternatively, there are plugins available for some platforms. Check for your platform. Install it and you are set.
Where to place key elements?
Designing a good category page is not just deploying all the best practices. But putting it in such a way that it boosts shopper experience and helps him find his desired product fast. As fast as possible.
Users don’t spend long on a page when they’re navigating to goals, they:
- Spend 80% of their time looking at content above the fold
- Spend 69% of their time viewing the left hand side of a page
- Read at most 28% of the words during an average visit
Here’s how you can arrange various elements to optimize the page performance:
- Showcase categories ‘above the fold’. If you are using a feature banner then at least show a part of the categories on above the fold. So that users get a hint to scroll.
- Start your various filters on the left-hand side of the page. Use it as a left margin. If you have too many filters then use the space at the top to give filter choices.
- Showcase 3 to 4 categories in 1 row. Ensure that the images and the content get good visibility. Without looking too cluttered.
- Use cards to display various categories. Give maximum space to images followed by text.
- Make use of white space to divide various elements.
- Use drop-down menu for sorting with one choice as default. You can use newest arrivals or best sellers as the default choice.
- In case you have a lot of categories on the page then use feature banner for featured products or new arrivals. This way a shopper doesn’t have to scroll down the page to find it. Use the bottom of the page if you have a few categories and there isn’t a lot of scrolling for buyers.
Your Action Plan?
First measure where your category page stands by downloading the below checklist and answering each question.
Test to perfect it. You can add different elements to your category pages to boost shopping experience. But, it is not necessary to add all elements. It depends on the products you are selling. Your customer’s buying journey. And the existing structure of your website. How many ‘Yes’ did you get? And how many ‘No’? Start implementing the missing elements on your page.
What works in one case may not work in other.
And that’s why you must do A/B testing of all elements and find out what works best for your category page.
Study your competitors. Have a look at other ecommerce stores. How are they designing their category pages? Make notes on it. And see if you can implement any of it to delight your users.
I have selected a few articles to help you get a deeper understanding of category pages. Do read it –