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How to create custom filters in Shopify: 2 optimal ways for non-tech merchants

How to create custom filters in Shopify: 2 optimal ways for non-tech merchants

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With the introduction and recent improvements of Shopify Online Store 2.0, creating filters in Shopify is a piece of cake. Shopify merchants can easily enable 4 default product filters, namely Availability, Price, Product Type, and Vendor (Brand). Adding custom product filters in the Shopify collection and search result pages, however, is a bit trickier. This article will cover 2 code-free ways to do it. Keep scrolling to find out.

What are custom filters on Shopify?

Obviously, the 4 default Shopify filters are not useful enough for online shoppers to refine a long product list according to their preference. Therefore, merchants need the help of custom product filters. These are filtering criteria based on custom product options such as color, size, specifications, and product metadata such as percent sale, review rating, and inventory locations.

How many ways are there to add product filters in Shopify?

If you are a non-tech-savvy Shopify user, there are two common ways to help you with adding custom product filters in Shopify.

Using a third-party app

The first one is to install a third-party app like Product Filter & Search by Boost Commerce. This is what the majority of Shopify merchants had been using before OS 2.0.

Pros:

  • User-friendly UI/UX
  • Unlimited filter options by tag, metafield, etc
  • Dedicated filter trees for each collection
  • Ability to customize the look and feel of your filters
  • Many advanced features (merchandising, analytics, etc) to boost online product discovery
  • Integrations with other apps to take advantage of product metadata
  • Top-notch customer service with technical support & customization

Cons:

  • Subscription-based pricing
  • As there are a lot of useful features, it may take some time to explore and take advantage of all

Using Shopify's native app

OS 2.0 and now the release of the Shopify Search & Discovery app have opened a new way for small merchants to add filters to Shopify stores.

Pros:

  • Free usage
  • Basic filter options including Filter by Metafields
  • Some advanced features such as product recommendations

Cons:

  • Filters won’t show when the product number on the collection exceeds 5,000
  • The number of filters is limited to 4 default ones and up to 20 custom filters
  • Can’t change the display and the styling of the filter options
  • Hard to connect product metadata on other apps to create filters

boost product filter and search vs shopify search and discovery | how to create custom shopify filter

Based on the advantages and disadvantages of both options, we would recommend Shopify Search & Discovery app for small-volume stores during the early stage. As your shop grows with more products and more traffic, you will need a more sophisticated and scalable tool like Boost Product Filter & Search.

Indeed, the app offers a 14-day free trial without credit card details, so you can have time to test all the juicy features. Moreover, you can get the sales number generated by the app on its analytics to decide if it’s a great tool to stick with.

How to create Shopify filters using the Boost app?

  1. Install the app: To use Boost Product Filter & Search, you need to install the app on Shopify App Store.
add product filter and search by boost commerce app add product filter and search by boost commerce app in shopify app store

Wait for the app to fetch and analyze product data. If you are managing a megastore, it can take several minutes. In most cases, you just need to wait for some seconds. At the end of this process, you’ll have a preview of Boost filters (with some default filter options) on a duplicated theme.

2. (Optional) Go through the Onboarding checklist. This is a step-by-step guide with tutorial videos to help you get to know the app & provide best practices for some basic functionalities. Skip this if you want to explore the app yourself.

onboarding flow on boost product filter and search

3. Start creating filters for your Shopify stores

- How to add filters in collection pages and search result pages in Shopify.

Go to Filter > Manage filter trees on the top menu, you’ll see 2 ready-to-use filter trees, one for All collections, and the other for Search result pages. Edit these Shopify filters by clicking the “pen” icon. Or click + Add new filter tree to create dedicated filters for each collection.

edit filter tree in boost product filter and search

Then, to create custom filters in Shopify, click + Add filter option.

From the Option type dropdown, choose the one you need. There are a lot of choices.

a wide range of filter options in boost product filter and search shopify

Update the Option label (what shoppers will see in your storefront), Option display (list, box, swatch, range, multi-level, etc depending on the selected option), then click Save.

- How to edit and customize the display and the styling of your filters

a wide range of filter options in boost product filter and search shopify

If you want to try other filter layouts on both mobile and desktop, go to Filter > Filter layout on the navigation menu. There are 7 layouts on desktop and 5 for mobile devices.

Go to Filter > Filter settings, and you’ll see some checkboxes to optimize the filter UI/UX such as Show product count, and Shorten URLs for Shopify filter pages. In the Product list, there are more settings Pagination style, Display out-of-stock product, etc.

Keep scrolling down on Filter settings, you’ll find the Style setting where you can change almost everything related to the font and text color. The preview on the right-hand side helps you visualize your changes.

style settings for shopify filter on boost app

4. Optimize the product filters with advanced tools.

Boost provides you with a bunch of functionalities to optimize custom Shopify filters such as Merge values, Swatch settings, and Custom range sliders.

Under the Tools menu, you can connect Boost filters with Metafields and other integrated apps like Loox, Yotpo, Langify, and Vajro to make your Shopify filters even more user-friendly and mobile-ready.

5. Display custom filters on your storefront.

To show Boost filters on your store’s front end, you just have to publish the duplicated theme that you see at the end of the Installation step. Also, you can go to Themes > Theme setup to install Boost filters on any theme you want to display.

use theme setup to change the theme with the boost app

How to add custom filters in Shopify native app?

  1. Go to Shopify Search & Discovery app. As this app is pre-installed for Shopify stores (which raised concerns about privacy among Shopify merchants), you don’t need to install it.
  2. Click Filters on the left-hand sidebar or View filters on the main dashboard to edit Shopify filters.
create filter using shopify native app
3. 4 default filters are enabled by default on the filter dashboard. To add more, click Edit filters. Here you’ll see all the filter options you can enable (it’s much less than what the Boost filters offer). Ticking the checkbox is the first step to making the filter visible on your storefronts.
four default shopify filter
4. To display filters created by Shopify native apps, you go to Online Store > Themes on the left sidebar. Click Customize on the theme you want to display filters on. Choose Collection > Default collection to enable filters on Collections. Or choose Other > Search to enable filters on Search results. Each theme will have a different section setting to allow you to turn the filtering on and off. Below is the demonstration for the Crave theme.
display fshopify filter on collection page display shopify filter on collection page

Some FAQs related to custom Shopify Filters

How can I create Filter by metafield on my Shopify store?

To create a Shopify filter by metafields, you have to first add the metafield either in the Shopify Metafield or by using a metafield app. Refer to the following instructions for more details:

How can I create price range sliders or any range sliders in the filter trees?

If you are using the Boost Product Filter & Search app, simply change the Display option to Range when creating or editing the price filter.

To add range sliders from any product attributes with numeric values, go to Filter > Custom range sliders. Read the full instructions here.

create range slider on boost product filter

If you use the Shopify native app, unfortunately, there is currently no way to control the filter display.

How can I group some filter values together?

You can try Merge values under Filter on Product Filter & Search by Boost Commerce to group different filter option values so the value list on your store’s front-end won’t confuse users. “Light blue” can be combined with “Dark blue”, “Turquoise”, and “Sapphire” into “Blue” using Merge values. Read the full instructions here.

Again, the Shopify Search & Discovery app doesn’t have this functionality.

How can I create custom swatches on my Shopify filter?

Swatch settings on Boost Product Filter & Search support filters using “swatch” as the display option. It allows you to pick colors or upload images to show on the swatch. This is a big advantage over the Shopify native app.

create custom swatches on boost product filter & search

How can I add a tooltip or search box for my Shopify filter?

When you create a Shopify filter option using the Boost app, you can switch to Advanced on Add filter option for more settings regarding tooltips, sorting filter values, and showing the search box. This is not available when using the Shopify native app.

advanced setting for filter options | tooltip | search box

Before you leave

Storefront filtering is a simple yet powerful conversion-boosting add-on to your collection and search result pages. Filter engagement can drive conversion up to 2 or 3 times, so it's now a must-have feature, especially in stores with a large inventory.

Creating custom Shopify filters with Boost Commerce gives you more control over the filter UI/UX and lets your customers have a seamless shopping experience. Start your free trial today and see your sales rocket!

Leverage holiday sales with Boost

Author

Ellie Ho
eCommerce Enthusiast
A digital nomad that is engrossed with online selling, best practices, and tips to grow sales through website optimization. Love learning, sharing, and connecting with similar minds.
A digital nomad that is engrossed with online selling, best practices, and tips to grow sales through website optimization. Love learning, sharing, and connecting with similar minds.