In the eCommerce industry, dynamic filtering emerged as a way for consumers to search for products based on various criteria. The goal is to create a more personalized shopping experience by allowing shoppers to see a variety of products without having to sort through millions of options.
According to our survey of the top 85 Shopify merchants using Boost product filter & search, filter engagement in Clothing and Fashion stores leads to a much higher sales number than search engagement. Statistically, shoppers of an online store that use product filters are more prone to seal a deal. Despite the enormous benefits of dynamic filtering on an eCommerce store, many websites underestimate and overlook it.
This article will give you an overview of eCommerce filters and everything around it including benefits, optimizing tips, and more.
What is dynamic filtering in eCommerce?
Product filtering is a feature that allows customers to find products based on their needs and wants. It lets customers narrow down the product lists on collection pages and search result pages with multiple criteria like type, size, color, price, etc. Dynamic filtering helps customers find what they want without scouring through pages of products.
This feature is very popular in eCommerce stores because it makes the shopping experience more convenient for customers. Product filtering can be as simple as sorting by color, or as complex as incorporating a customer’s wish list into the search function. In a case study, the online store gained a 26% increase in conversions just by implementing dynamic filtering on their site.
How can a small change lift the conversion rate? Let's explore the benefits of dynamic filtering.
Why enable product filtering in your online stores?
Product filtering is a powerful tool for online retailers that can help engage customers and increase revenue. Filtering items by specific criteria like brand, size, color, or price range helps customers find what they want faster. It also reduces the amount of back and forth messaging between the customer and retailer to find the right product.
There are many benefits to adding filters to your online store. Here are some of the most important reasons why you should consider it:
- Product filtering assists in increasing conversion rates by helping customers find what they need more quickly.
- It can be used as an upsell tool. For example, if a customer is looking at one product you can show them similar products that might be of interest.
- It can be used to cross-sell related products.
- Filtering is especially important for mobile devices where the screen size is small and hard to navigate.
It's not enough to just add a few product filters to your store. You need to offer the right filters in the right places, and make sure they are relevant.
The first thing you should do is look at what your customer needs and wants, and that's where keyword research comes in handy. We all know that Google has search data on what people are looking for, so this is a great place to start. Simply type keywords related to your products or industry into the search bar, and see what your competition is doing with their product filtering options. Once you have an idea of what you're up against, it's time to set your filters in the right places.
One of the most important things you can do is offer a way for customers to filter out products by color. That might seem like an obvious thing to do, but there are still many eCommerce stores that don't have a product filter option for colors. Some other filter options that work for many product types are:
- Average Rating
How to optimize product filters: Tips for Shopify merchants
How to design an optimal filter tree
Tip #1: Custom filters for highly profitable collections
It's hard to find a one-size-fits-all filter for eCommerce sites due to the differences in product nature. That's why each collection or category should have unique filter trees.
Sephora provides 2 different filters for their Foundation collection (left) and BB&CC Cream (right) although these two collections are in the same category Makeup > Face (Source: Sephora)
Tip #2: Multiple selection and various Sort types
Shoppers tend to choose several values whether of the same or different filters altogether. Therefore, you should enable multiple selection for filter values to avoid frustration from users.
The Price filter on Dick’s Sporting Goods is mutually exclusive, which means customers interested in products from $100–$250 (covering 2 filter values) can’t see all relevant results at once. (Source: Dick’s Sporting Goods)
In addition to multi-select filters, a user-friendly product list should have various sorting options such as by:
- Arrival/Release Date
- % Sale
Tip #3: Don't use industry jargon and ambiguous terms
Misunderstanding can lead to confusion, and customers will abandon your site if they face this. Thus, you should try to limit the use of industry-specific words on the product filtering.
Season Rating, which indicates the minimum temperatures in which the bag can comfortably be used, is jargon in the topic of sleeping bags. While Sleeping Bags Outlet (left) expects ordinary customers to know what it is, REI (right) helps us out by using a more understandable term Temperature Rating.
In case you can't find an alternative to the industry jargon, there should be a tooltip to explain what it means.
Tip #4: Truncated list with a search box in filter option values
10 filtering values or more can impair the user experience as it blocks the view of the below filter options. Using a truncated list can solve this problem.
Furthermore, it’s a great idea to include a search box on a long list of values so customers can quickly find what they want without having to scroll down.
The search box in the Category filter on Yummy Bazaar is a lifesaver for customers. Instead of scrolling down over 30 values, they just need to type the values they want. (Source: Yummy Bazaar)
Tip #5: Show Applied filters and allow quick editing
Online shoppers can easily get distracted and forget about the filter values they have picked. That's why it's helpful to place the information about selected filters on top of the filter tree. This location allows most users to quickly review or remove the applied filters.
A nicely done filter tree with applied filter information on Red Dress (Source: Red Dress)
Tip #6: Look into the filter analytics data
Data about filter clicks, filter combinations, and so on can give you deeper insights about your customers. You’ll know what criteria they mostly use to narrow down the product list, then you can continue to improve the filter design by placing those filter options on top.
Read the full guideline on: 5 Best UI/UX Practices For Your Filter Design
How to optimize product filters on mobile devices
Always have separate buttons for Filter and Sort
The viewport on mobile is much smaller so many merchants combine filter and sort functions in one place. This is not a good idea as these two actions take different approaches to rearrange the product list.
Pin the filter & sort menu
By default, Filter and Sort are placed on top of the product list and are collapsed. A pinned filter is also a good idea to enhance UX as customers won't have to scroll up to update the filter options.
Divide the option value list into 2 columns
The collapsible filter tree can get more organized and optimized by using a 2-column display for the filter options. A long 1-column list is annoying since customers need to scroll further and further to find the right option.
Camilla’s filter looks neat and clean despite a lot of filter options thanks to the 2-column layout.
Don't rely on the native UI of the mobile devices
The default design of the mobile devices is not made for mobile commerce or your brand, so it has many drawbacks and doesn't match the overall styling.
Yummy Bazaar uses the native UI on iPhone for the sorting list, which blocks one-third of the mobile viewport. The sorting list on Headphone Zone, on the other hand, has a custom design, which works in harmony with the site.
Read the full guideline on: Mobile Optimization Tips For Designing Site Search And Product Filtering
How to display filter values in the most user-friendly way
Use range sliders for numeric values
Sliders allow users to view and select a value (or range) from the range along a bar. They’re ideal for adjusting settings such as price, width, length, height, etc.
Our Custom range sliders feature allows users to create up to 12 slider filters from product options, tags, and metafields. Cookwoods has used it to set up many sliders for its typical product attributes to enhance the shopping experience.
Image swatches are not only applied to Color filters
A swatch filter is a typical display option to make it easier for shoppers to imagine what a larger item would look like. The color palette is probably the most popular use of a swatch filter.
The color swatch filter on Red Dress helps shoppers visualize the difference between Blush Pink and Light Pink.
The ability to upload images in the swatch opens a lot of opportunities to enrich the shopping experience, especially for fashion commerce. You can customize the image swatch to help customers visualize the shape, pattern, print, etc of the products.
Read the full guideline on: Shopify Experts Reveal 3 Best Tips To Display Values In Product Filters
How to choose an advanced product filter app on Shopify
Shopify merchants usually need a third-party app to upgrade their product filtering because what Shopify offers by default is very limited.
When choosing a filtering app to invest in, these are some critical elements you should consider:
- Does it have custom filter options with tags and metafields?
- Does it feature multiple ways for display options?
- Can you create catered filter trees for different collections with it?
- Does it allow merging filter values?
- Does it have the analytics of filtering engagement data?
It's your time now!
In this article, we covered the ways that product filtering can help increase an eCommerce store's conversion rate. Successful online stores need dynamic filter trees, which allow customers to find what they are looking for faster.