Category pages are a key part of every eCommerce store, whatever part of the industry they are in. They provide customers with their first view of your products and are crucial for displaying everything you have on offer to potential shoppers, so this page needs to look as good as it possibly can. A great looking category page will make your products look even better, and offering the right features will only make it more accessible and usable for those who are showing interest in your products. After all, if your category pages look great, but no one has any way of finding what they want on them without endless amounts of scrolling then it is unlikely anyone is going to stick around long enough to make a purchase. In order to offer the best category pages you possibly can, ensure your have these key features.
Relevant category names
Before you even get to the content on your categories, you have to make sure your customers know what to expect. Use category names that relate directly to the products within it whilst also making sense to the shopper. The names should make it clear what the category is for, using clear language and avoiding specialised / inside terms and more ‘creative’ names. This is due to the fact that an unclear category name can create confusion, no customers will find the products they need if everything is under an unfamiliar name that isn’t recognised. So instead, keep the names clear enough that they do not single those out who know more complicated terms. Keep the quirkiness to the category description if it really needs to be present, but make sure it stays away from category names in order to have an easily navigable website that any visitor can understand without any effort. The same rule applies to sub category names, these also need to be as clear as they possibly can in order to be effective.
Good quality product images
This point has been mentioned before in other posts, but it is crucial to have on any website, category and product page. A good selection of high quality images put the mind of wary shoppers at rest when it comes to the quality of your products. When shopping online it is impossible for a customer to see the finer details of your items and physically feel the quality of them before purchase, they have to rely on the information and imagery your provide to help them make the decision to purchase. Offering a selection of high resolution images for each product you have allows them to see all details and angles of a product, assess the quality and quite simply make their decision on whether they would like it or not. Blurry photos that do not show your products in a good light are unlikely to attract any interest that will lead to a conversion, not to mention they will make you look unprofessional, so get working on those amazing images straight away.
A page full of products with no way to break them down is something that will put off your customers in an instant. Why would they want to scroll through your endless list of stock for one item? Make your products easy to find by adding in relevant filters that your customers will actually make use of by separating your products into obvious sub categories and attributes. For example, a clothing store could use a ‘Woman’s’ sub category and within it have add in product attributes that relate to the specifications of the items such as their item type, material and colour. This makes it incredibly easy for people to search your product list for what they are looking for. But be careful not to water your products down too much, as people are less likely to find an item if it has to be found in a very specific place. Filters overall offer a sleeker shopping experience and when done well lead to an easily navigable store. Making shopping as efficient as possible for all customers.
Keep a search bar
A search bar is the key tool on your website for customers to search for what they want directly from your homepage. Whether their search term be specific or broad, it will narrow down your products into a streamlined list that appeals to the visitors requirements. But not everyone will always use this feature, many will utilise the handy categories you have displayed in your search bar and go straight to your well laid out category pages for their products, but what if these people still cannot find what they are looking for? This is when they turn back to your search bar, but is yours visible on category pages? If the answer is no, then this needs to be changed as quickly as possible. Not offering a search on a category page limits your visitors options when browsing through your products and forces them back to your homepage whenever they want to use it, which is time consuming and simply annoying to do. Instead, make sure you offer your search bar on nearly every page of your website by putting it prominently in the header of your website. This way, when customers are browsing through your category pages they can quickly scroll up and search for their item instead. No fuss and no hassle required. This again provides your visitors with an easier more streamlined shopping experience which will lead to more conversions than a more time consuming one would, keeping your customers happy.
Offer short information
For some companies showing just product images on a category page can work great, especially if their products are sold mainly on their aesthetic appearance. A good example of this kind of store is for clothing, as many care more about the way their clothes look in good detail than what material they are made from. This creates an audience that are happy to simply be provided with a product image and price on any category page, but this audience does not stretch across every industry. Many require a little more information in order to get their products to sell effectively, this is where adding a short description comes in. Add in a small passage of key information about your products and have it display below your product image on category pages. Tell them a little about the product but have a character limit to stick to, however if your descriptions are still too long to show try using an ellipsis to show visitors that there is more information to be read when the product is clicked onto. This way, the important information your customers need is seen first and they are more likely to click through for the rest if what they see resembles the product they are looking for.
Quick view products
This feature again aids those who do not like bouncing back and forth on websites. Having a quick view extension installed allows your customers to view your product in a larger format and gather some basic information on it without having to leave the category page. Eliminating the need to consistently click in and out of individual product pages to return to the main category. This features allows an option for viewers to open a popup like box that displays whatever information you require. Many eCommerce stores use it to display basic information such as a larger image, a price, size selection (if required), a brief description and most importantly an add to cart button. Having an add to cart button here means that those who like what they see on your quick view page can put the item into their basket again without leaving the category page. The feature basically offers a condensed product page that shoppers can interact with quickly and easily, cutting out the unnecessary steps that are involved in searching for that perfect product.