eCommerce companies need to streamline users’ path to products by providing clear, differentiating product information at all levels — from the homepage to ecommerce product listing pages. Building ecommerce homepages, category pages, and product listing pages that bring conversions are critical to the browsing experience.
To make a product purchase online, people need to understand what an ecommerce website sells and find an item that interests them. While many may search for a product if they know precisely what they want, many more rely on browsing the internet to discover what product options are available and which best suit their needs. According to GOBALWEBINDEX.COM, 81.5% of global internet users aged between 16 to 24 searched online for a product or service to buy.
Homepages are the first admittance to a site and the range of products or services that a business sell. Category pages and product listing pages are intermediate pages within an ecommerce site that introduce product groupings and products within those groupings, respectively. Further, the products might have variations in terms of their color, size, and various other parameters. The navigation path that leads customers from the homepage to products must be thoughtfully designed to convey differences among various product categories and among individual products and thus help users locate the item best suited to their needs. Top-selling or featured products or products on sale listed appropriately on the homepage help users to directly land on the focused product.
When users search for a type of product rather than a specific product from search engines, they are most likely to land on a category page or a product listing page rather than a specific product page. Hence having excellent SEO performance for these intermediate-level pages is a must. Also, special thought needs to be given to these pages in regards to user experience. Once on the website, users have an option to browse deeper with the help of navigation on the site and within-site search functionality.
In this article, we present our recommendations of various aspects of homepages, category pages, and product listing pages to derive guidelines for making these pages user-friendly.
Homepage – Both Welcoming and Informative
While not all entries to a site and through the homepage, for the shoppers who do, the homepage should effectively introduce the site and clearly explain what it deals into, its USPs, offers/promotions and how it is different from competitors. A clearly defined homepage is a reflection of your business and builds trust with shoppers. eCommerce sites should list the mainline of product offerings and should enable users to take the next shopping steps. Statistics indicate that many users tend to drop off from the homepage itself if they do not find it welcoming, has less or confusing information or even found less trustworthy.
While this recommendation may seem straightforward, many homepages are found overly cluttered and fail to showcase products in an efficient way. The homepage of a website is similar to a front-window display of a physical store. A retailer displays his/her best products and best available discounts on the front. For capturing potential customers, a good representation on the homepage leaves a healthy perception of what lies inside the store and lures the users to browse further.
Organizing Products – Clear and Crisp
User navigational options, preferably layered and product categories, need to be clear, with labels that are self-explanatory, as well as related to other options on the site. It should enable users to decide where to click. The top menu bar can be leveraged best to show users what product categories are available but ensure the menu is not cluttered and space is available between the menu items.
A polyhierarchical structure can improve navigability by allowing certain products or subcategories to exist in more than one main category. Users tend to assume that the site does not have products that they are looking for if they are not able to figure out where they can find them.
Below is an example of how clear navigational categories make it easy for users to find what they were looking for. The polyhierarchical structure allows users to find hiking apparel under Camp & Hike, while other users can browse to the Men or Women categories and also shop based on the outdoor activity.
Showcase Related Categories/Subcategories on Product Listing Page
As an emerging trend, now sites are moving away from showcasing traditional category/sub-category pages as intermediate pages before presenting individual products. In an effort to reduce the number of pages that users need to click through, many sites are now replacing or augmenting category-landing pages with lists of products providing options for users to use filters or layered navigations to narrow them down.
To successfully merge category and product listing pages, ensure to highlight available subcategories separately from other filters, above or below the product listings. It increases the discoverability of the subcategories and encourages users to navigate to a more specific group of products to reduce the load to navigate to a large number of listed items.
Below are a few examples:
On the above page, the top part of the Kitchen & Dining section looks like a traditional category-landing page, with links to available subcategories, and the bottom part displayed individual product listings to allow immediate access to items and thus minimize the number of clicks.
The above category page for Women’s Accessories displays subcategory links above product listings. Due to the relatively small subcategory area, this layout encourages browsing through individual items.
Product Information – Precise & Useful
Another emerging trend is an increased yet useful amount of product information on product listing pages. The displayed information needs to be precise, well-curated, uncluttered and useful for users to make informed decisions about products even before visiting each product detail page. With the increasing usage of mobile devices for eCommerce, the enhanced information on product listing pages helps users to avoid opening multiple tabs to compare products.
Information for each product listing should include, at a minimum:
- Concise names that contain important and meaningful product features
- Photos large and visibly clear enough to identify differences in products
- Available colors, styles, sizes or other options
- Most important – Price
- Customer ratings
- Icons or labels to mark items as popular, new, on sale, trending, etc.
- Inventory information (in stock, out of stock, notify when available)
- Drop-downs to view a brief product description and other details without loading a detailed product page
- Multiple product images available via hover or through a carousel
Below is an example with detailed names, large photos, price, ratings, etc.
An engaging browsing experience of products both on the homepage and within the category pages, as well as clear, descriptive product listings can go a long way towards improving the time user spends on the site and conversions. The new and emerging trends in category pages and product listing pages are inspired by the mobile-first ecommerce approach in an effort to minimize the number of clicks and allow users to make selections faster, aiding the overall shopping experience.
Exceed your buyer’s expectations by optimizing their shopping experience. Always keep your web store meeting the current market trends by improving the product information. TransForm Solutions help you convert all your catalogs from a print medium or legacy format to the newest digital format to enable your audience with easy access to the product information and better visibility.
An optimized eCommerce Product Catalog helps achieve increased conversions leading to improved sales and ROI.