20 Best Practices for Ecommerce Filters to Redefine Your Search Experience.
As online shoppers demand more personalized and refined interactions, eCommerce filters have emerged as essential tools for enhancing customer satisfaction. Filters allow customers to easily find their perfect product by navigating through extensive catalogs. This blog sheds light on 20 tried-and-true best practices for eCommerce filters that can transform mundane searches into delightful shopping experiences.
#1 Use interactive, real-time filters
In traditional filtering design, customers choose one or more filters from the horizontal tab or dropdowns, and then they need to click on the ‘Submit’ button to view the filtered results. In order to make the search as interactive as possible, you can display real-time results as they click on each filter. In this process, there’s no role for a CTA. Interactive filters help save time and give your shoppers a feeling of instant gratification and control over their search process.
#2 Hide filters that are out of stock
If one of your product variants is currently out of stock, do not show that particular filter which might lead to a zero-results page. Alternatively, you can implement one of these two options:
1. Include the out-of-stock variant in the filters, but disable the attribute indicating that it’s not clickable and the corresponding variant is not available currently.
2. Another option is to show currently unavailable products with an out-of-stock label and the next available date. Additionally, you can also add a ‘notify me’ button.
#3 Use a combination of horizontal and vertical display of filters
There are many theories and case studies on choosing between horizontal and vertical displays of filters. Here are some insights on how to choose the ideal combination that works best for you.
1. Display the general filters vertically and category-specific filters horizontally at the top of the search results. For example, consider a clothing store. The general filters, like color, size, brand, category, etc., can be displayed vertically at the left. At the top, show category-specific filters like ‘sustainable,’ ‘eco-friendly,’ ‘unisex,’ ‘handmade,’ etc.
2. Another tried and tested practice is to show the filtering options horizontally and sorting options vertically. This helps browsers get a clutter-free filtering experience.
#4 List your filters strategically
Based on your product type, there may be hundreds of filters and sub-filters. If you display all those filters at once, it could be overwhelming for your users to make a choice. There are a few ways to make choosing from the filters easy for your users.
You don’t have to stick to an alphabetical order necessarily. Present the most relatable filters at the top. For example, if leather jackets are your best-selling jackets and most people land on your website for the same, then display ‘leather’ as the top-most filter.
Excessive choices could frustrate shoppers. Show a limited set of popular filters on the first screen. Provide ‘see more’ or ‘show more’ options to display the full list.
Add category-specific scrolling instead of letting customers scroll the entire page to view the full list of filters. This helps to keep the customer journey intact and committed.
Implement a hybrid solution that combines faceted navigation and truncated filters. You can list down the popular set of filter categories with a ‘show more’ option. Each filter category can have a hierarchical sub-filter that gives an intuitive overview of your product variants.
#5 Show currently applied filters at the top of the results
Don’t let your customers go back to the sidebars to revisit their filters. Display them prominently at the top of the search results. Besides, provide them with quick options to edit or remove them quickly.
#6 Provide hyper-refined search experience with dynamic cross-filtering options
There could always be overlaps when it comes to customer preferences. Provide a hyper-refined search experience where shoppers can overlap two filters in the exact search. Consider this example: an online book store has two popular filers – authors and themes. In traditional filtering options, users can filter their results based on the book’s theme or author – but only one filter at a time.
Dynamic filters allow users to apply multiple broad filters at the same time. This way, users can quickly view books of selected themes from a particular author, enabling them to view hyper-refined search results.
#7 Don’t use the same filter categorization for all products
Use different filter configurations for different products. Implementing the same filtering strategy for all products doesn’t work. An electronic gadgets store must have unique filters and sub-filters for mobile phones and laptops. Specifications, RAM, and storage size are the common filters for both products. But ‘screen size’ can be a top filter for mobile phones, whereas laptops require a different one.
Here are additional 13 Quick tips:
#8 Keep your design simple.
Ensure your product filter design is simple, intuitive, and easy to use.
#9 Test and track performance.
Continuously test your filters, track performance, and improve their design and usability based on the results.
#10 Include natural language queries.
Use frequently searched keywords and natural language queries as filters that people can relate to. Don’t use jargon, complex nomenclature, or tech-heavy descriptions.
#11 Provide visual ease.
Make sure your filter design stands out from the rest of the product page and guides shoppers to refine their search results with visual ease.
#12 Place your filters strategically.
Place your filters at prominent locations to test them in real-time and understand the best placement for your products and audiences.
#13 Limit number of filters.
Never give overwhelming options of filters that may frustrate or confuse the shoppers.
#14 Plan your mobile design.
Implement a different filtering strategy exclusively for mobile devices, right from design and UX to a number of filters and scrolls.
#15 Optimize filter loading speed.
Filters should display results in an interactive way as quickly as possible at a speed at which shoppers change their minds.
#16 Present popular filters.
Display commonly and frequently used filters as quick tabs for easy and quick access.
#17 Show stock information.
Display available product quantity to limit excessive filtering leading to zero results.
#18 Include user ratings and reviews.
Provide an option to filter by user reviews. People love to shop based on authentic feedback.
#19 Enable easy modification.
Make it easy for your browsers to edit and delete filters.
#20 Provide sensible sorting order.
The default sorted order must be popularity or relevance, not alphabetical.
Remember, a smooth search experience isn’t just a feature; it’s a way to build lasting customer relationships. By implementing these practices, you’re not only simplifying product discovery but also making their whole experience smoother.