A smart categorisation for your webshop

As a seller your now your products very well, but for your potential clients that’s not always the case. If you have an extensive product range, it’s important to make sure you have a smart categorization. If clients can’t easily find what they are looking for, you risk losing them. How to make a smart webshop categorization? Read our 4 tips

Make comparing easy

Not all potential clients know exactly what it is they are looking for, that’s often the case when they are in a first, exploring faze.

Make sure the visitors can see all products relevant for them in one overview.

For instance, as a seller of personal care products, you sell skin cream for different skin types (skin color) and different effects (anti-aging, for dry skin…). Choose in this case a category per effect, and a subcategory or filter for the different skin types. 

Another example. A client on your webshop wants to buy a printer but doesn’t know yet if he wants an inkjet or laser printer. In that case, he should be able to look at both in one product overview. Make sure you have one page for all printers, on which a visitor can choose to watch only inkjet printers, laser printers or both using filters.

Also, make sure your categories are mutually exclusive. Overlapping categories can make clients doubt. Always keep to a division following one logic.

Make a clear distinction between categories and filters

Categories help you to navigate easily to another product range. Filters help you to narrow down a selection within a given category. In some cases, the distinction is not clear.

Are you not sure? Consider if you need a specific landing page for a given selection of products

–  Yes? The selection should be a category

–  No? It should be a filter

Ex. Imagine you sell car parts. Every product has a color and a brand. 

  • Brand: If you sell car parts by Ford, you want them to be found with the search term ‘car parts Ford’. So it is a good idea to make different categories for each brand
  • Color: you don’t necessarily want to be found with the search term ‘red car parts’. So color should be a filter

Ex. If a visitor of your fashion webshop is not sure if she wants a dress with or without sleeves? She should be able to look at both in one product overview. Make sure you have a page with all dresses on it, and your visitor can filter on sleeves or no sleeves.

Address your target audience

As a seller, you often look differently at your product range than your clients. They don’t know the specifications of your products as you do, but start from a specific situation: they want to make a nice cup of coffee or have warm water for their shower.

Not sure if your webshop categorization is clear enough? Test it with your target audience: let some test subjects organize your products using post-its.

You can also create ‘user-stories’: situations in which ‘typical clients’ visit your webshop. Their expectations of your webshop and the way they do their research on your website can help you better understand the needs of your clients

Speak the language of your target audience. This is not only important for your clients, but also for your SEO ranking. If your clients always search for ‘trousers’ and never for ‘pants’, use ‘trousers’ in your categorization. In that way, Google will consider your page as relevant if a user searches for ‘buy blue trousers’.

Tip: do you want to know which search term is used most frequently in Google? Look it up in the Google Keyword Planner tool.

Keep it simple

The golden rule for websites also applies to your webshop categorization: Less is more. If you use too many categories, your visitors will get lost in the chaos. Use only three levels and implement other subdivisions into filters. If you don’t want to confuse your visitors, limit the number of categories.

Research proofed visitors can only process seven navigation items at a time.

Besides, using fewer items will make your categorization match perfectly with all screen sizes.

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