Obviously your customers will prefer finding products easily and quickly, and the easier it is for them to find things, the faster their purchase will be. This is where product filtering can provide a huge boost for your revenue.

Functionally, product filtering is the main way to direct your customers to browse relevant areas of your store. Filters allow them to shortlist products based on their parameters. Unfortunately, only about 16% of ecommerce websites provide good product filtering. As the administrator of your ecommerce website, it's essential for you to implement a fail proof filtering system for ease of use and maximum conversion.

For store owners, a good product filtering implementation starts with understanding the requirements of your customers. Noticing how customers move between pages on your store can help as you research their needs.

Today we'll look at a few ideas for you to consider as you start adding product filters to your ecommerce store:

Use category-specific filters

Every store must have category-specific filtering. When starting out with implementing product filtering, it's important to note that customers prefer category-specific options rather than generic parameters such as brands or product ratings. Few customers actually start with a specific brand or rating in mind, but they do know the category they are looking in (when browsing) or a particular product (when on a mission to find it). Here, category filtering works well because the parameters change based on the product. For example, a customer shopping for a dress may want to filter based on the size, price, color, length, and fabric (think the Little Black Dress). Meanwhile, a customer shopping for a mobile phone might prefer to filter based on the amount of memory, size of the screen or battery, or perhaps the price.

Pro tip: Along with this having category specific filters will make it more relavent to your customer's understanding. It becomes more convinient for your customers to find appropriate parameters for filtering.

Use multiple filters

Imagine having a product filter set up that only allows your customers to filter one parameter at a time. Customers would find this incredibly inefficient. Even if they're able to filter products based on multiple parameters, if your ecommerce websites doesn't allow multiple filters simultaneously, customers will be forced to memorize options before applying another parameter. In fact, most customers would probably get frustrated and click away from your store, abandoning your site.

Pro tip: Always enable multiple filters on your store. Let your customers shortlist down to the smallest detail.

Prominently display the applied filters

Customers tend to apply multiple filters and then forget about what they just did. Make it easier for them by reminding customers about the applied filters in a prominent place right at the top of the page. This reduces the chances of misinterpreting the product catalog of your store.

Pro Tip: Make sure to allow only applied filters to open completely. This way your customer will be able to identify the applied filters with a single glance. This will also prevent excessive scrolling for your customers.


Allow for deselecting filters with one click

Offer a "clear all" or "clear filters" button so customers can easily deselect filters, making it quicker to start over. Using this feature, along with displaying the applied filters at the top of the page, has been proven to reduce user misconceptions and errors.

Pro tip: Create a common "clear all filters" button to clear all the applied filters, and individual buttons to clear individual filters. This allows customers to test and try combinations of filters without getting frustrated.

Avoid long filter lists

It's best to carefully curate your filter options. If the number of options in the dropdown of individual filter parameters is high, other parameters are pushed out of view.  Anything that looks like "scrolling within scrolling" in a list is poor user experience, and customers will find the feature difficult to use. Its best to truncate options when they exceed 10 values.

Pro tip: Use a search bar for each filter, so the user experience is well-defined. For instance, if a customer filters brands, they can type in the first few characters. Zoho Commerce allows you these options, with the default list size being five items at a time.

Don't filter based on reviews

Filtering based on customer reviews can be a nightmare. Usually, a product with a single 5-star rating will be placed above a product with 18 reviews that average 4.8 stars. While logical, this is not the best information for customers. Our recommendation is to skip customer review-based filtering.

Mobile responsive filters

Small screen devices require compact filter displays. Developers need to customize the CSS code to convert standard desktop filter displays into mobile-ready formats. This is important for the user experience of your mobile website.

Pro tip: Even if your product filters are not optimized for mobile, it's pretty easy to do.  For instance, with Zoho Commerce, we have simple CSS codes—even for heavily customized templates—that can be hidden from view till the customer actually needs to use them. In the screenshot below, when the customer clicks on the icon, the product filters are displayed on the screen.


In summary, while product filters are an important aspect of website design, there are a few important features to keep in mind when implementing them.

  • Consider your customer's view point every step of the way. Customers need an interface that is easy to navigate and simple to understand.

  • Simple implementation can help customers weed out irrelevant products.

  • Customers need visual confirmation that the filters are working. Hence, every filter implementation should give customers the feel of a new page. This will reassure them that the filters are actually showing them the products they need.

  • Filter placement requires A/B testing to determine the perfect spot on your web page. Most ecommerce stores go with placing filters on the left panel. This is usually good UX practice and the norm.

Tip: Mobile devices require specific filter implementation to use screen space efficiently. Preferably use minimized filters that can be opened up whenever needed.

Commerce Insights is a blog maintained by Zoho Commerce for ecommerce merchants. We discuss topics relating to product features, getting started with ecommerce, and marketing ideas for businesses.
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