Filtering is one of the most neglected areas in e-commerce platforms. Athough it is easy to implement, very often e-shops don’t have any filters on the product listing, or they are unintuitive or even distract the buyer. Ecommerce filters are to improve usability and not to complicate the activities in the store. The consequence of poorly optimized filters is the frustration of customers that causes them to leave the site. Therefore, when designing this tool, every detail matters. Even minor mistakes can prevent the customer from returning to the store again, discouraged by seemingly minor difficulties. Below I will answer the question why you should take care of this basic element of a B2C website.
84% stores do it wrong
The Baymard Institute tested 50 of America’s largest e-commerce sites in 2016, of which only 16% provided users with a fairly good filtering experience. Among the others, a number of errors or deficiencies in basic filtering capabilities were noted. For example, as many as 42% of them did not have filter types adequate for the category, and 20% did not provide thematic filters, despite selling products with obvious thematic characteristics (season, style, etc.). there were also errors, which appeared on the tested platforms such as options that did not display any results, or too large selection of filters. In addition the filters were not in any way ranked or grouped.
Ecommerce filters and page navigation
Good filtering is especially needed when an online store offers many different categories or product items, or when an assortment has several attributes and possible combinations. It can be problematic to navigate the site with so much choice. Customers do not want to search through products page by page, digging through irrelevant items. They need to quickly and easily find the item they are interested in in order to purchase it without any obstacles. Even if the customer knows exactly what he or she is going to buy, he or she is still expecting tips and facilitations during the stay in the store. Smartly designed filters are then a solution that organizes the shopping route. Their presence thus improves navigation in the store and thus shortens the time to find and buy products.
Serving the sales
It is also worth remembering that the filters not only help visitors find what they are looking for, but potentially show them items they hadn’t thought about before they started searching. Filters are an integral part of marketing, as well as sales. Improving the site’s filtering system can have a big impact on how many products consumers watch and ultimately buy in the online store. A good example where filters can serve as a tool to convince and influence the purchase is the online jewelry store Yes.pl. It uses a thoughtful filtering system for its range of products. The filters unfolded from above differ depending on the category, allowing both the selection of standard attributes such as “price” or “bullion”, as well as introducing additional sorting of the results by the occasion: “Engagement”, “Anniversary”, “Birthday”. “For pleasure.” In addition, it is possible to search for jewelry for a specific recipient: “For the rebellious”, “For the lover of classics” or “For the minimalist”, which is well suited to the technique supporting personalization.
These additional thematic filters facilitate online shopping by matching product proposals to the actual expectations and requirements of users. They are a virtual assistant that reflects the needs of customers and offers more tailored results.
The influence on conversion
Thoughtful filtering in the long run influences the most important factor for the store, i.e. conversion. It is usually the result of using many variables, but the filtering tool plays an important role here.
The increase in conversion results from effective filtering and from the overall satisfaction of customers during their shopping process. An example is the Kilt and Scottish Highland Dress store chain, which has proven that there is a link between good filtering and increased conversion. Their online store buyakilt.com contains many category pages, and these additionally have 4 subcategory pages each. It was decided to check if the implementation of filters, which have not been used so far, would help them increase conversions. So they implemented a product filter that gives visitors the opportunity to buy by kilt type and pattern. It turned out that there was a huge increase in sales revenue by 76.1% and an increase in conversion by 26%, as well as an increase in shopping cart visits by 19.76%.
Filters for supporting personalization and UX
Filtering can also be used as a completion to the personalization processes in the store. An example is the thematic filters mentioned above, which are present in over 80% of the largest e-commerce sites. Thanks to them, customers can place an item in a specific context, which significantly saves time spent on searching. These filters should differ from category to category to ensure the most accurate division of the assortment according to its particular features. What counts here is not so much the quantity as the quality of individual filters, thus improving the users’ feelings and impressions.
Filtering is undoubtedly a necessary mechanism to facilitate navigation in an online store. It affects many aspects related to conversion, positive customer experience or can support personalization activities. However, not all possibilities of this tool are always fully used.
Write to us to find out whether filtering in your Magento online store could be more effective.