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The current state of ecommerce filtering

The current state of ecommerce filtering

When a client approaches me wanting a new web design for their ecommerce website, one of the first questions I ask are what problems and issues are they experiencing with their current site. Usually it’s the same obvious ones but more often than not I see another issue that’s not quite so obvious to them, a lack of really good ecommerce filtering.

This really great article on product filtering, says only 16% of the major ecommerce websites offer a reasonably good product filtering experience. Based on my experience, I believe that percentage is probably pretty accurate and maybe even lower with smaller ecommerce websites. The article also gives great tips on how to improve product filtering as well.

They also take a closer look at some of the research findings related to the users’ filtering experience. More specifically, they delve into the following insights:

  1. Only 16% of major e-commerce websites provide users with a reasonably good filtering experience. This is often due to a lack of important filtering options, but from the benchmark data it’s clear that poor filtering logic and interfaces are also causal issues.
  2. 42% of top e-commerce websites lack category-specific filter types for several of their core product categories.
  3. 20% of top e-commerce websites lack thematic filters, despite selling products with obvious thematic attributes (season, style, etc).
  4. Of those websites that deal with compatibility-dependent products, 32% lack compatibility filters (for example, selling smartphone cases without a filter for device type or size).
  5. Testing showed that 10+ filtering values require truncation — yet 32% of websites either have insufficient truncation design, causing users to overlook the truncated values (6%) or use what testing found to be even more troublesome, inline scrollable areas (24%).
  6. Only 16% of websites actively promote important filters on top of the product list (a prerequisite when relying more on filters than on categories).
  7. Filtering performance varies greatly by industry, with electronics and apparel websites generally suffering from insufficient filters (for each of their unique contexts), while hardware websites and mass merchants take the lead in the filtering game.

Great product filtering is a key component in any successful ecommerce website, and is one of the many reasons why I integrate WooCommerce in all my clients online shops.

About David Zupec

David Zupec is a web designer at the helm of Sailors & Mermaids, a small web design studio based in Michigan. His passion is helping small businesses build a successful online presence.