12 ecommerce best practices for your category pages

The objective of a product category page on an ecommerce website is to take your customers to one or more product detail page(s). 

The following are the 12 best practices for the design of product category pages.

#1 Make sure your product category name make sense to your prospects

If your prospects search for ‘prescription sunglasses‘ much more than ‘RX sunglasses‘ then does it make sense to use a product category called ‘RX sunglasses’

The word ‘RX’ is an industry jargon used by opticians and not really by everyday people. So avoid using industry jargon in the name of your product category. Make the product category name descriptive and easy to understand.

When deciding on the name of a product category, use the same language your customers use. Use your customers’ exact words. Not the words you think they use. Literally the exact words they use to describe your product. 

You can get these words by scanning product reviews, email replies, survey responses, blog comments and by interviewing your customer support staff.

#2 Use faceted/sorted navigation on the product category pages

Through faceted and sorted navigation you can narrow down your search using some or all of the facets (attributes of a piece of content or object). They really come handy when you have got hundreds/thousands of products listed in a product category. 

For example, when you browse and filter sunglasses by gender, newest, brand, price, etc. on an ecommerce website then these filters are known as facets:

 Check whether the faceted/sorted navigation work and how good or bad it is at producing results.

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#3 Make the product category page look like a product catalog of a high-end magazine

If you run an ecommerce store then your website is an online showroom and images & product descriptions are your salespeople. 

Many website owners cut corners when it comes to product imagery. But images play a very important role in selling your products. 

If you sell anything online especially wearables (clothes, sunglasses, shoes, watches, jewelry, etc), your customers won’t buy it until they find it appealing/attractive. 

Usually, they also want to touch it, hold it and take it for a spin. You really can’t do those things online. So to compensate for all of that, you need to work twice as hard to make your products come alive via excellent photography and graphics.

Don’t just show a single image, show as many as you can – from different angles. 

No matter what product you sell, you can never go wrong by using large and high-quality product images on your product category page.

#4 Use large lifelike images on the product category page

Use large lifelike images. Don’t just show the product, show it in context. Let your customers imagine using it. 

If you are selling sunglasses, show them what it looks when they’ll be wearing it and that too from different angles. 

Putting a ‘human’ behind a product makes a world of difference:

How you display your merchandise can make a world of difference to your website sales:

Large lifelike product images will make your brand appealing to your target audience esp. on social media like Facebook and Instagram and help you in gaining massive social media following and brand loyalty.

One of the main differences between an ecommerce website with a few hundred followers and an ecommerce website with millions of followers on social media is the product imagery they use. 

When you’re on social media, you’re competing with millions of brands around the world. So in order to build a social media following, you continuously need to make your voice heard. 

What that means uploading a constant stream of new and original content, all in your own unique voice. It needs to look effortless, although behind the scenes it’s everything but. 

Many people believe they are purchasing products online, but in fact, they are purchasing the online experience of shopping. 

The way products are displayed and promoted have a major impact on customers’ reactions to them and on how much merchandise is sold. 

By displaying products in ways that are appealing, accessible and attractive, online retailers can increase sales and conversion rates.

Model shots should always be the main image. It evokes emotions, customers can identify themselves better and it boosts sales.

#5 Make sure all images on the product category page are the same size

A category page with consistently sized images tends to convert better than the category page with different-sized images. If you don’t create a sense of balance with your visual elements then the customers’ eye won’t know where to look and what you’re trying to communicate may not get across.

#6 Do not add more than four images per row on a product category page

You will have a hard time putting more than four large size images per row on a product category page. 

As the number of images per row increases, the size of each individual image would shrink to fit within the screen size. This could negatively impact the CTR of the products listed on the category pages. 

The best practice is to limit the number of images per row to three on a desktop device and 1 one on a mobile device.

#7 Maintain a consistent style and design for each product photo

When you maintain a consistent style, you use the same background, modeling, and lighting for product images throughout your website. Consistency makes your website look professional and credible. On the other hand, inconsistency creates a distraction and makes your website look less trustworthy. 

#8 Feature the best selling products on the top (above the fold) of a product category page?

By featuring your best selling products on the top of a product category page, you greatly increase the probability of generating more sales. This is especially true when you have got hundreds/thousands of products in a product category.

#9 Use product labels on the category pages

A product label (also known as product badge or product sticker) is used to highlight a product on an ecommerce website. It is made by combining some text or an image with some fancy design to make the label stand out.

Following are examples of product labels:

  • Deal of the day
  • Today only SAVE ….%
  • Staff pick
  • Best Seller
  • New Arrival
  • Only two left
  • Limited edition
  • Limited time deal
  • Exclusive
  • Buy one get one free
  • Free Shipping
  • Pre-order
  • As seen on…

Product labels are used to increase the sales of certain products by making them stand out. They are also used to make the purchase decision easier for those prospects who can’t make such decisions themselves. 

People are more likely to buy an item that everyone else is buying, which is short in supply, which is recommended by the store or for which there is a special but limited time offer.

Product labels work only when used sparingly. If every second product on the website has got a product label then it loses its effectiveness. Similarly, the product label needs to be self-explanatory. If it doesn’t make any sense to your prospects then it loses its effectiveness. 

#10 Show the price of each product on the product category pages

Hiding prices of the products on the product category page can create a bad buying experience. Many people are price conscious and shop based on price. 

#11 Show product ratings for each product on the product category pages

Countless case studies have shown that user ratings boost website sales. When you show product ratings on the category page, you give your prospects one good reason not to exit the website from the category page and continue their shopping.

#12 Do not use infinite scrolling on the product category pages

Studies have shown that using infinite scrolling makes website users feel disoriented and confused as they scroll a page that never ends. The fact that both Amazon and ebay do not use infinite scrolling should be good enough reason not to use it on your ecommerce website. 

Instead of infinite scrolling using pagination.

Related Articles

  1. Schwartz five stages of awareness in marketing
  2. Product detail page design best practices
  3. Product images best practices for ecommerce websites
  4. Product pricing strategies for ecommerce websites
  5. Writing product descriptions that convert
  6. 12 ecommerce best practices for your category pages
  7. 25 web form design best practices – Optimizing forms for conversions
  8. Shopping cart design best practices
  9. Website navigation best practices
  10. Brand reputation audit to find conversion issues
 

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