June 25, 2014

Increasing Conversions Through UX: Product Categories

Posted by Janeesa Hollingshead Category IconConversions & UX Category IconTechnology


So, you’ve mastered the art of driving traffic to your e-commerce website, but have yet to dominate conversions. Users come, they browse, and they leave. Why? It might be because your business has yet to differentiate itself (check out this blog for tips on how to achieve differentiation in e-commerce). If that isn’t the issue, it’s time to take a look at your product categories.

Product categories organize your website to intuitively guide users from the homepage to checkout by making it easy for customers to find what they want (while also making it easy to see suggested products). Digital storefronts that offer only a few products are the only online businesses that can successfully ignore product categorization. If you don’t fall into that description but neglect to strategize your product organization, your users may exit your website due to frustration — or not reaching their maximum purchase potential. For example, 74% of business owners believe user experiences help drive sales and conversions, but many are unaware of how to positively affect their websites’ UX.

Reflect on how you’d like users to interact with your site when setting up product categories. Do most of your customers come to your website specifically to locate one item — or do they come to your shop because of a general need (clothing, for instance) and browse for a while first? Also be sure to determine from which devices the majority of your users access your site; your categories should display well across smartphones, desktops, laptops, and tablets while being especially optimized for the devices that are used the most.

The options for how to execute on product navigation that works are numerous — they can include top bar navigation, sidebar navigation, visual cues within menus, and various filtering options. Here are several companies who execute each type of navigation perfectly:

Amazon: Sidebar Navigation

Navigation bar allow customers to search what they want or need by department.

Amazon.com is one of the largest e-commerce marketplaces currently on the Internet, and they’re also one of the best examples of intuitive navigation available. The company’s sidebar navigation allows users to search by department and then by product type; users can begin browsing products at a broad level (example: Movies, Music, & Games) or at a more granular level (example: Children’s Books). Either way, users can easily reach the exact types of products they’re looking for — whether they have a specific product in mind or just a general idea of what they need.

A more granular level of breakdown allow customers to find a specific product with ease.

Sunglass Hut: Top Bar Navigation & Visual Cues

Sunglass Hut gives customers the option to shop by face shape, style, designer, price range and etc.

Sunglass Hut keeps a static top navigation bar on their website to help users with a general idea of what they’d like find categories to browse. As an innovative twist, they give users the opportunities to find styles based on individual face shapes or preferred styles — spanning designers and price ranges to provide a more comprehensive shopping experience.

Lyst: Filtered Search

Lyst use Filtered Search to narrow down what customers are looking for.

Lyst tops the charts of online retailers when it comes to filtering-based navigation, which is good news for them: up to 30% of online users use search functions while browsing! Users can select from a host of options to find exactly what they’d like, including (but not limited to):

  • In stock
  • Type of apparel/accessories
  • Price range
  • Retailer
  • Color

Want to learn more?

Learn even more about product categorization and other ways to maximize your sales with our free e-book, ”​The Big Book of Selling Internationally!