Faceted navigation can be a powerful tool for allowing your customers to refine their search for a particular product. I touched on this in my post surrounding Site Structure.
Most eCommerce platforms allow you to use faceted navigation on your site and it’s a great way of producing some extra content and converting those customers who know exactly what they’re looking for. In terms of setting up your attributes every platform handles it slightly differently. If your importing your product listing you can in most cases define these attributes in the .csv you import or if you create your products in the CMS you can attach newly defined attributes as you wish.
So what are the key attributes you should consider adding to your faceted navigation?
Below is a list of terms and values that you should consider. I’ll use ASOS as a point of reference mainly because they do it well.
Without doubt the most important attribute for faceted navigation. Allowing the customer to refine to only products available in their size is great. It gives them a sense of focus and assurance that these products are all available in my size.
In my opinion the second most important, Think about how you tackle colour. In reality you don’t want a whole string of black, black/red, red/black, black/red/grey as filters. Instead apply several colour attributes if the product features different colours. So in this example the product would have 3 colour attributes applied of Black, Red and Grey.
An important filter for catch all categories such as New Arrivals, Best Seller or Sale categories. Try and group your product catalogue into product types ensuring that you do not over complicate it. No customer wants to hit a filter and be presented with 1 result. If you have a V-neck tee and a crew neck then these both go into the filter: T-Shirts for example. Feel free to then have a “Neck Type” attribute in your T-shirt category.
Brands: Again important if you stock well-known brands. This allows customers to find the brands they love and not waste time scrolling through brands they hate. A simple one but I see it missed out on many sites. Stocking brands is a great way to inspire confidence in the authenticity of your site. So if you stock them talk about them.
So there’s a few to get you started. You might want to add some more specific filters for your particular product market. For instance if I sold storage devices I would most definitely put a “Storage Capacity” attribute in with filters for 2GB, 4GB, 250GB, 1TB etc.
A few things to consider when creating faceted navigation for your site:
- Do your research: Use Google’s keyword tool to find out what people search for. If more people search Tee’s as opposed to T-Shirts go with Tee’s for example.
- 5 or less, reconsider: If you find you have less than 5 products that meet a criteria for a filter reconsider grouping them another way. Give the customer good options when they refine for the first time.
- Make sure your inventory is up to date: If you really want to annoy your customers then letting them filter down to their ideal product then handing them an out of stock message is a sure fire way of doing so. If it is not in stock, it is not visible (exceptions on pre-orders and temp out of stock).
What attributes do you think are a necessity for an ecommerce site? How often do you use faceted navigation?