If you run an online business, your collection page is the second most important factor to “win” your customers (the ultimate most important one is, of course, the homepage). It can quickly convert a visitor into a buyer - even a loyal shopper - or it will drive them away.
“But people tell me to focus on the product page! This is new information” - you must be thinking. Indeed, everyone knows that successful product pages are important to a successful e-commerce website, but they seem to forget how a customer can go from a homepage to a product page.
It might be a brief moment, but it might also last a while since shoppers tend to do “window shopping” in the collection, searching for the most suitable item. Some companies design elaborate collection pages with full-on filters and search, while others create delightful collection pages that give shoppers an authentic experience as they browse through a hectic group of items.
In this article, we’ll come down to the very basic concepts of a collection page, the reasons why it is important, explain how to add, create or edit a collection page on Shopify, and provide 3 essential and helpful tips to create a high-converting collection page.
What is a collection page?
A collection allows you to organize products into structured groups. This works well for your administration of the business and it is also beneficial for shoppers browsing the online store.
An online store can have from several to dozens of collections, depending on the business purposes and marketing strategy of the owner. The biggest benefit of having collections is to help shoppers find products, or simply browse your store, easier. Here are some examples of smart and effective collections that you might want to create:
- Men, women, or children - Grouping products by age or gender.
- Best-sellers - A group of your most popular products is the easiest way to appeal to customers and direct them to quality-guaranteed products.
- New arrivals - Grouping products by their recentness triggers an atmosphere of fresh buzz. Your customers can enjoy the feeling that they bought it first - which is essential for a fun shopping experience.
- Place-based collection - If shoppers are looking for home decoration (ex. Lamp, pillow, etc.), chances are they might be interested in other home-related items.
- Types of items, such as lamps, cushions, or rugs
- Products on sale - An all-sale collection lets shoppers browse in the comfort of a smaller price tag. You can even break down this group into smaller sub-groups, such as “30% off”, “50% off”, or “Below $20”.
- Products in a certain size (Ex. Petite or Plus size) or color (Ex. “Little Black Dress” makes a common collection)
- Seasonal items, such as holiday cards and decorations - ‘Tis the season collection is an effective way to grab your customer’s attention. Whatever your niche is, indulge your customers’ excitement about each time of the year.
- Product bundle - Adding collections of related products is an effortless way to motivate customers to buy more. Maybe they’re here only for a dress, but a cute minimalist necklace is so much more appealing and stylish.
An example of a collection page of Red Dress - a brand using Boost Product Filter & Search.
All Shopify stores have a collection list page at the URL that displays all of the collections alphabetically in the store. You can edit this page to show only a selection of your collections.
An example of a collection list page. It displays all 3 collections of the store.
To learn more about editing the collection list page (or changing the order of your collections), read this article by Shopify.
Note: Changes to the collection list page vary to different themes - so styling may not appear as expected.
Why is a collection page important?
Online shopping can be addictive, but it can also be tiresome for those who don’t usually enjoy it in the first place. Moreover, people rarely land on the one, or first, product that they like right away. For many, browsing through the store’s entire products is part of the fun - “retail therapy” has been proven to work well for tons of people.
If you have never tried it, jumping from one to the next until you find the perfect fit, you should! In the end, no matter you like it or not, this seamless experience proves to be strategic for all online businesses.
By organizing similar products into collections, you - the store owner - can create a process of discovery for your customers. If done right, this critical move can encourage shoppers to buy more, or stumble open products they didn’t even know they wanted. However, that’s only one of the several vital reasons why a collection page is so important.
A collection can manage your products efficiently
Grouping products in collections can keep your store more organized and allows more flexibility and control if you want to do any customization design or marketing techniques. You can also promote specific segments of the inventory by setting up a discount or coupon for a specific group of products, then create sections and promote it in a newsletter.
A collection can help customers find what they want faster
If a shopper must find a man’s shirt in the sea of women’s clothing, they’ll get sick and tired quickly, leaving your brand and never coming back. Having clearly categorized collections is not simply a matter of store management - it’s also for the sake of user experience. Likely half shoppers visit an online store with a specific interest or desired product in mind - either it’s the most expensive oven or a 100% pure cotton blanket for the newborn.
The first important job when setting up your online store is to understand your products more than anyone else - their unique selling points, best sellers, or different product categories to cater to different groups of customers.
Then, by creating popular product bundles, aka collections, you’ll help customers easily and quickly find what they need. You don’t want to waste their time/money and upset them, cause “a happy customer tells a friend; an unhappy customer tells the world”.
A collection can give customers an enjoyable shopping experience
Great store organization is the best proof that you have put in the time and effort to provide great shopping experiences for them, which contributes vastly to credibility and trustworthiness. While others spend months and years do all kinds of nurturing programs, you complete the most basic but vital step and get juicy fruits. Customers will feel like they are taken care of.
Who doesn’t love such a dedicated brand? Once a customer trusts you, they will be more likely to spend their money here - and even become comfortable spending more money supporting the brand.
Mavi has various collections to sell on their customers, no matter what they’re looking for.
A collection can show off your products like no other.
The last and easily forgotten, but most powerful benefit of having collections is, collections allow you to exhibit the most exotic, alluring, or even unusual items of your store. It’s not easy to be unique in the competitive world of business, especially retail. What’s harder is to show that you’re unique! If you’re stuck at the same question and wondering about a creative solution, the answer is short but sweet: collection.
A bit of work to create a collection and then combine it with the navigation menu, or play around it on the homepage, can help you build your very own and rare brand image.
How to add a collection page in Shopify
In Shopify Admin, you can access “Products” > “Collections” to create a new collection or edit existing ones.
To create a new collection on Shopify, select the “Create collection” button.
In Shopify, you can create 2 types of collections:
- Automated collection: uses conditions to include products that match the conditions that you make. This means that you create “rules” to be applied upon any product in your inventory. An automated collection can contain up to 60 selected conditions, or rules. You can also specify if products need to meet all of the rules, or any rules to be included in the collection. When you add a new product that meets any rules for a collection, the product will be automatically added to the collection.
Automated collections are preferred because future products are organized automatically for you - you can save tons of time! For example, if you run a jewelry store and you tag all products with material tags, such as “silver” or “gold”, all of your new products can be included in the matching collection.
However, a minus of an automated collection is that you can’t remove particular products from it, unless you change the collection’s rule, or edit specific product details so they no longer match the conditions.
- Manual collection: includes specific products that you choose and manually upload. This type of collection always contains the same products, unless you add or remove them.
Creating and maintaining a manual collection can take lots of work, but it is perfect for small or specialized collections that you plan to stay unique (ex. A one-time flash sale).
Note: Once you have created a collection, you can’t change its type - so be very attentive here. You may want to browse through other similar brands to see how they create their own collections and write down how you want to organize your products.
How to create a collection page on Shopify
In this section, we’ll go over every essential step of building a perfect collection for your online store. Once you select “Create collection”, you will be directed to the page below.
Pro tip: You can Search Console, Google Analytics, or any Keyword Research tool to find the most popular or the currently trending search queries that match your product offerings and use them.
Boost Product Filter & Search app has just release Analytics feature which shows you how your customers interact with the search box and the filter tree.
2. Write a compelling, concise, and SEO-verified description. You can use this part to describe what types of products are included, how the products are organized, and several highlights of the group.
Pro tip: You can also use keyword tools to help you spice up a cookie-cutter piece of content.
The collection description is shown right below the collection title.
Old Navy smartly applies “a picture worths a thousand words” technique for the collection description Source: Old Navy
3. Select the collection type: Manual or Automated.
4. Conditions section - If you choose to create an Automated collection, you will create the collection conditions here. With Automated collection, you can add up to 60 rules/conditions. Once you have set the collection type and publish the collection, you cannot change it anymore. If you choose to create a Manual collection, the Conditions section will disappear.
5. Search engine listing preview (collection page SEO) - This section is highly important and you should never skip it. This description will show up in the search engine, so you should use keyword tools to polish it nicely. In this section, you can edit:
- Page title: maximum 70 characters
- Description: maximum 320 characters
- URL and handle
Once you’re done, hit “Save” to publish your collection! Voilà!
If you ever need to edit any detail of the collection, visit the collection page in Shopify Admin, and edit the relevant section.
How to organize products in a collection on Shopify
You can change the order of your products within a collection, using the “Sort by” option in the collection itself.
By default, all collections created in Shopify will have the “sorted by Best selling products” mode. This way, when a customer visits the collection, they will always see the newest products first.
If you want to do A/B testing on whether product order affects the buying conversion at all, or simply because you haven’t added new products in a while, you can always change the order of products in a collection. Beside “Best-selling”, you can change to other order options:
- Product title, A-Z
- Product title, Z-A
- Highest price
- Lowest price
Don’t worry that changing the product order will negatively affect the customer experience at all. Shoppers always have a filter on the front-end so they can change the product order to their taste.
3 tips to create the best collection page
A collection page appears simple, but there’s a lot going on here, so we got a lot to talk about! However, for the sake of keeping this article concise and keeping you interested, we’ll cut to the top 3 tips to create the best collection page, no matter how long your brand has stood through times. It doesn’t matter if your revenue is $1,000 or $1 million, the 3 tips below are to live by. Let’s dive in!
Tip #1 - Write quality collection listing preview (SEO)
The definition of a quality collection listing preview (SEO) includes:
- Clean collection URLs
- Finest collection titles and descriptions
To create a clean collection URL, keep it human and SEO friendly. If a URL is easy for a search engine to read, it’ll understand what that page is all about, and therefore position it higher in a search. And if it’s easy for a potential customer to read, they’ll be more likely to click and visit your store. Some examples are https://www.dior.com/en_ch/womens-fashion/summer-2020-collection or https://nuts.com/nuts/almonds/. Keep it short and simple.
Another element of your collection page that requires some careful planning is collection titles and descriptions. Just like the URL, we discussed above, a good collection title and description benefit both your SEO and your shoppers.
You’ll want to do some in-depth keyword research to find out what it is your target audience is searching for and incorporate your findings into the title. A quality collection listing preview should be concise and unique on what your collection is, including relevant keywords - but be careful not to overdo it. Keyword stuffing can have an adverse effect.
Take some time perfecting the content, then wait to measure its performance. You can always do A/B testing - but remember to give it some time. Content testing can’t be rushed.
Tip #2 - Use high-quality images
“That pixelated image of the dress totally got me! I want to buy it!” - said no one ever. High-quality product images are your golden tickets - so keep them superior and consistent. Some tips to take killer product images without being a professional photographer are:
- Include multiple angles of your products so viewers can get a sense of what you are selling. Some retail brands now even include videos or AR to bring the best experiences to shoppers.
- Save product images in a high-quality format.
- Include images that are 1:1 ratio and can be zoomed in on, so shoppers can really get up close and personal.
- Last but not least - stay extremely consistent!
Check out the collection image below from Kylie cosmetics. Kylie lipsticks may look appealing at first glance, but do they use different models with different skin tones for the lipsticks? Or have the product images been vastly edited?
Any interested customer who is browsing the collection would be so confused - there’s no way to know how the shade would actually look on their skin. Moral of this example? Inconsistent product images can raise eyebrows and eventually - questions - for customers. That means you have failed at earning their trust and winning a sale.
The product images are vastly different in terms of color tones - which is important for buyers to consider when they are shopping for lipstick. Source: Kylie cosmetics
Stay simple and classy as MAC. They have done an excellent job of keeping a consistent style in providing quality product images. Source: MAC
If you want to fire up the design a bit? Bring the collection page to life by using GIF or video instead.
But don’t be taken away by all these exciting animated visuals. You need to take into account the fact how all the product images would look altogether. They should unite in harmony collectively, but they should also stay aligned with your brand style and voice.
Tip #3 - Make it mobile
Having a mobile-optimized version of your online store is essential nowadays. Some experts even suggest building the design mobile-first, desktop-second. Even tablet screens are now taken into consideration when building an online store.
While most websites are automatically adapted into a mobile version, double-check the collection carefully on different devices using screen simulator tools, such as Responsive Test Tool or Responsive Design Checker. Another way to check page responsiveness is to left-click (or hold “Control” + mouse click on Mac), then select “Inspect”.
You can change between popular devices to see how the page design responds.
No matter how you first built your website - mobile-first or desktop-first, make sure to regularly check for customer behaviors on tracking tools (eg. Google Analytics) to guarantee that their shopping journeys are thoroughly smooth.
Putting it all together, collection pages play a vital role in turning visitors into interested buyers. People love e-commerce sites that speak directly to them, so understand their expectations and then construct smooth collection pages according to their needs.
It’s up to you to create a seamless, enjoyable experience that converts as many customers as possible. By experimenting and testing, you’ll be able to identify the main conversion drivers on the collection pages of your website. If you test out other interesting tips on your site, let us know how they have worked for you!