Back today with one of the topics of interest to the community eCommerce with unosoft. Exactly, the topic of the article is given by one of the answers received when joining the group.
“I want to understand how to choose categories, tags and other things that show up in filters on sites or influence menus. For online clothing stores.”
We’re going to tackle this topic today in a general way, applicable to both fashion stores and other industries.
The choices you make about categories, menus and filters will influence how easily people navigate the site and find the products they want. But they also have an impact on SEO, so you’ll be more visible in Google… or less visible.
Let’s see together how you choose categories, menus and filters in your shop. Aiming, of course, to optimize your conversion rate and presence in search engines.
Contents How to choose categories, menus and filters in an online shop
- How to choose categories in an online shop
- What you need to know about menus in an eCommerce website
- When and why to ensure filters are displayed in the store
- Best practices for filters in your online shop
1. How to choose categories in your online shop
In your store, categories are meant to organize your product portfolio in a way that is as familiar and easy to understand as possible for your customers.
This way, it will be easy for them to understand at a glance what you sell and what problems they face that you can solve.
The number and display of your categories depends on a few factors:
- Product type – the niche to which they belong, the number of versions of a product
- How many products do you have – if you have a large and varied number of landmarks on your site, it is expected that you will have several categories + subcategories.
- The kind of organization that customers are already used to – In eCommerce it is not important to reinvent the wheel, but to respond as quickly and efficiently as possible to customer demand. When all your competitors have a similar category structure, that’s what works, that’s what your customers are used to. Don’t turn it on its head for the sake of doing something different.
- The differentiators you want to highlight – you can create subcategories for news, promotions, extra services, gift products, product of the week, etc. That is, one or more products will be placed in both a permanently relevant category and a special category to be pushed to the front.
Put these items on a sheet of paper and keep them in mind to think, first, about which parent categories you will have in your online store.
When you have many types of landmarks in a parent category, it’s relevant to think about subcategories.
These will be displayed on the site via a dropdown menu, so users can quickly understand what products they can find in the shop and how to get to them instantly.
Once you have the parent categories and subcategories noted on your sheet, it’s time to start creating them in unosoft. They’re super easy to set up from the admin panel > Products > Categories.
Just follow the instructions in Help Center.
Keep these best practices in mind when setting up categories and subcategories on your site:
- Choose a name simple, clearly understandable and descriptive for categories – don’t make puns that only you understand, or words with double meanings = people have to get it right the first time. You can also add a symbol/emoji for quicker identification if needed.
- Choose to have a limited number of category-parents (main categories) – rather use subcategories to show how diverse your product portfolio is.
- Keep a consistent style for product images – image type, image background, whether there is white space around products, size of products in image, shooting angle. If all these are the same, they are easier to scan into the category page.
- Display product sorting options in category and subcategory pages – in unosoft you activate this option automatically, usually at the top right of the page [depinde de tema].
- Display relevant filters for each category partly – not the same for all, if they don’t make sense to be there. We discuss this element in more detail below.
- Show most popular and bought products at the top of category pages.
- Add descriptions for category pages, top or bottom under product list – for SEO, which include keywords and benefits about that category.
- Add meta tags for category pages – meta title and meta description. Usually, the URL will automatically be taken from the page name, but you can change it if necessary.
Read also: How to optimize category pages in your online store
2. What you need to know about menus in an eCommerce website
Menus in an online store are the visible presentation structure of links to categories, subcategories or other static pages.
Typically, an online store has a navigation menu at the top of the site and one in the footer for quick access to links with important information.
By default, in unosoft you have 5 basic menus made up of the important pages of the site:
- Main menu – consisting of the active categories of the shop, in which there are active products.
- Secondary menu – consists of the pages that are set to be displayed in the menu.
- Main menu (shopping cart) – consists of pages: My account/Login, Testimonials.
- Menu footer (shopping cart) – consists of the same pages as the normal footer menu.
These are automatically formatted, and you can only influence them by setting whether or not to display categories/pages in the menu.
If you want to change the structure and order of the links in any of these menus, you will need to create a Custom Menu in the Admin panel > Content > Menus.
In the Help Center you have step-by-step instructions for creating a such a menu.
When do you need a custom menu?
- When you want to change the automatic structure of the system to a custom one according to the needs of the shop.
For example, in the case of the ContaLab demo, we have only one product category, for courses.
I needed a custom menu to display in the desired order and structure the service pages first (because they are prioritized according to the business model in the example).
Basically, you have total control over how your menu will look. Once activated, it will simply replace the menu given by the platform system, without any additional settings.
Best practices for your online shop menus:
- Don’t load menus with lots of links. In the main menu, for example, direct people to the main categories, and display subcategories with dropdowns (whether they are pages in the site or specific URLs).
- The way the main menu is displayed also depends on the chosen theme. Choose a vertical sticky menu when you have extremely many categories and subcategories. Implicitly, in this case you customize Techniq theme. However, in many cases a more elegant horizontal menu will look.
- Keep succinct and descriptive names for links in menus – the same rule applies as when naming categories.
- If you have important information to pass on in the footer in addition to what is automatically displayed, use a custom menu in the footer. Here you can display, for example, a link to the page with information about the loyalty program, careers (if you have job ads on the site), buyer’s guide, etc.
Read if: What is involved in opening an online store
3. When and why to ensure filters are displayed in the shop
One of the problems at the beginning of the sales flow on the website – which prevents it from continuing – is caused by the inability of customers to quickly and easily find the products they are interested in.
Now, this might happen because the site loads absurdly slow, or the design isn’t user-friendly, or the internal search system sucks. But most of the time, the problem is much simpler: lack of proper filters.
They are all the more necessary when you have a large number of landmarks in the site, which belong to different categories and subcategories.
What does a large number mean? Even starting from 45-50 products (if the number exceeds 2 page loads with max 24 products).
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits that in-store filters offer you:
- You already know what it means the paradox of elections – when the user has too many options to choose from, they end up choosing nothing. If he doesn’t find what he needs quickly, he will rather leave the site altogether.
- Filters reduce the number of options available and, at the same time, allow comparison between the remaining ones.
- Filtering helps to find the desired options much faster, without having to scroll endlessly through the category pages. Improves the browsing and searching experience.
In short? The filter area is one where you can compete even with the big retailers in the market. If you do things right, you can beat them!
Tip! In unosoft, you have an advanced module for configuring filterswhich you can use according to the instructions in the Help Center.
You do NOT need tags for filtering.
In unosoft, tags are exclusively for tagging clients (for identifying their common items) and blog posts you want to display on certain product pages with the same tag.
4. Best practices for filters in your online shop
Filters are basically an advanced option for sorting products in your store according to various attributes such as:
- Brand (manufacturer) – if you have multiple brands on the site.
- Price (or price range) – for any shop.
- Rating – in the case of any store.
- For – In general, filtering by gender. / Type – jewellery, car & motorcycle, food, furniture / home & deco, stationery, petshop.
- Color – fashion, beauty, home&deco etc.
- Material – home & garden, fashion & accessories, baby & kids, hobby etc.
- Size – fashion and accessories, baby & kids etc.
- Age – baby& kids, gifts, jewelry, bookstore etc.
- Occasion (theme) – fashion, beauty, gifts and jewellery, florist, etc.
- Stock status – for any store – except stores where a differentiator is that all products are in stock.
Depending on the niche, you will have other relevant filters.
Our suggestion is to take into account the attributes of the products you are selling to set the filters configured in the store.
Then, look at your competitors’ sites too – make sure you haven’t missed a filter relevant to your niche. This is another point of parity that can make the customer experience on your site enjoyable.
- Show relevant filters for each category in part – Not the same for all, if they don’t make sense to be there. You can make unosoft custom filters for categories.
- Allows customers to select multiple filters at once.
- Choose a display mode as expected for filters – either on the left side of the screen, where people expect to find them – if you have many filters, or in a horizontal bar above the products – usually if you have few filters – it’s an effective way to focus customers’ attention. It also depends on the unosoft theme you choose.
- If you have a lot of filters in your shop, displays a limited list, which can be extended at the customer’s request.
- We recommend that filters be excluded from indexing. This means that URLs resulting from the filters will not be indexed in Google. For the application of the main filters you can, however, do SEO optimizations (attention to URL) and allow indexing ONLY IF they represent frequent searches for your product type.
Also read: New themes in unosoft platform + tips for your shop design
Detail elements in the site like categories, menus and filters seem small at first glance.
But they provide the structure for customer navigation, which can be friendly and easy to navigate. Or not.
We hope this article will help you make the right decisions for your own online store. If you have other questions about this topic you can leave them in the comments and we will update the article with the necessary answers.
Last but not least, if you’ve read this material to the end, but still don’t sell with unosoft, now is the time.
You have 15 days to try the platform free. unosoft subscriptions start from 1 euro per day and include everything you need to sell, depending on the stage of your business!