E-commerce Product Sorting and Filtering Guidelines for More Satisfied Customers



E-commerce Product Sorting and Filtering Guidelines for More Satisfied Customers
02 November 2023
Here’s a hard pill to swallow: Unclear e-commerce product sorting and filtering can frustrate your customers. Consequence? Fewer sales for you. That’s why you need to do your best to make navigating through your online store a superb experience, helping the customers easily find what they’re looking for. So, what - besides using price sliders, filter checkboxes, and thematic facets - can help you make your visitors happy?



Imagine you’re in an online clothing store, and you’re looking for a new pair of jeans. You click on the Jeans category, and you’re presented with a long list of options. There are no filters or sorting options – generally speaking, you can’t find any typical e-commerce product filtering or sorting.

To make the matter even worse, all the jeans are displayed in seemingly random order.

You find yourself scrolling endlessly, trying to find the right size, style, or color. It’s frustrating and time-consuming, making you more likely to abandon the website in search of a more user-friendly shopping experience.

You don’t want your customers to feel that way, do you?

So, let’s see how you can provide clear and intuitive e-commerce product sorting for your target audience. But first, a quick note on…

What’s Product Sorting and Product Filtering?

Both e-commerce product filtering and e-commerce product sorting are like providing your customers with personal assistance in your online store. Sorting and filtering save time, help make better choices, and improve the overall shopping experience.

a screenshot showing an example of ecommerce product sorting

product sorting on Asos.com

Despite fulfilling the same purpose, which is helping your visitors find what they want faster, those two ways of organizing and displaying your products work in slightly different ways.

  • E-commerce product filtering: Think of product filters as a way for your visitors to tell the website exactly what they’re looking for. They can pick from things like brand, color, size, type, and price. When a customer chooses these filters, only the items that match their preferences show up. This means they don’t have to wade through a bunch of stuff they’re not even remotely interested in.
  • E-commerce product sorting: Now, product sorting is like arranging the items based on certain criteria. It doesn’t change the number of items; it just rearranges them. Common sorting options include prices, customer reviews, popularity, and new arrivals. For example, your customer can choose to see the cheapest products first, or the ones with the highest customer ratings. This helps them make decisions faster and find the best deals.
a screenshot showing an example of product filtering

product filtering on Amazon.com

That being said, e-commerce product filtering is like walking into a shoe store and saying, “I want red sneakers in size 8.” You won’t waste time looking at sandals or size 10 shoes.

E-commerce product sorting, in turn, is like when you go to a clothing store, and you want to see all the t-shirts, but you want the cheapest ones at the top of the rack. Sorting options do just that.

Why Does Your E-commerce Store Need Product Sorting and Filtering?

Product sorting and filtering aren’t just nice-to-haves in an e-commerce store; they’re essential tools for boosting sales and living up to a diverse range of customers’ expectations. Those two functions help you:

  • improve customer experience
  • personalize shopping
  • significantly increase sales conversion
  • reduce bounce rate
  • answer various customer preferences

This means that…

Product sorting and filtering simply enhance your e-commerce store’s performance. They create a more pleasant shopping experience, increase sales, and help you serve your target audience better, whether they have a specific product in mind or are browsing your products.

7 Tips on How to Build User-Friendly Product Sorting and Filtering for Your E-commerce

TIP #1: Come up with a proper layout
The placement of e-commerce product filters is critical. They should be in a visible and easily accessible location on your website.

Note: A common practice is to place sorting options and filters on the top left side of a page.

TIP #2: Ensure functionality
Filters should be user-friendly, allowing customers to add or remove filters with a single click. Clear indicators of which filters are active and a quick response time when displaying products are essential for a smooth user experience. Checklists, bold text, or dedicated sections for selected filters can enhance navigation.

For example, when a customer clicks on “black” as a filter, instantly update the displayed products to show only black items.

an example showing product functionality applied in H&M

functionality in product filtering on H&M.com

TIP #3: Allow multiple choices + product-specific filters
Some sections may require users to select multiple filters, such as color options in clothing stores. Ensure your system allows customers to choose multiple filters within a section and see products that match their combined choices.

For example, in a shoe store, a customer should be able to select both “running shoes” and “size 9” filters simultaneously to see matching products.

TIP #4: Use simple language
Use simple and transparent language when labeling filters. Avoid highly specialized or industry-specific terms that may confuse users. Think about how you would search for products if you were the customer, and tailor your filter labels accordingly.

For example, instead of “athletic footwear,” use “sports shoes” as a filter label.

TIP #5: Display the number of products
Show users the number of products matching their selected filters. This helps users gauge the impact of their choices and decide whether the displayed products are manageable or need further refinement.

For example, if your customer chooses “women’s jeans” and “size 28,” inform them that 42 products match these criteria.

TIP #6: Run some testing
Regularly test your product filtering system, including filter orders, custom variants, and any marketing activities that can boost sales. Be open to trying different approaches and continuously assess whether the system meets user expectations. Small changes can have a significant impact on user satisfaction.

For example, experiment with the order of filter categories or test new marketing activities to see how they affect sales and user engagement.

TIP #7: Optimize for mobile
Don’t forget about the mobile version of your filter navigation. With more people shopping on smartphones, it’s important to make sure that your product sorting and filtering work seamlessly on mobile devices.

Extra Tip: Use Faceted Search

Faceted search helps users refine their search results by applying filters based on product attributes. Unlike simple filters, faceted search allows users to apply multiple filters at once.

For example, they can filter products by brand, size, material and color simultaneously.

To make faceted search work well, it’s essential to use visuals, price sliders, checkboxes for filter selection, and thematic facets. These enhancements make it easier for customers to find the products they want.

Just take a look at the screenshot below – see how many options a customer has with just one type of assortment, which is a women’s bag.

faceted search example on Zalando

faceted search on zalando.co.uk

or hiking hydration backpacks

faceted search example 2

faceted search on rei.com

Now, compare it with another example of e-commerce product filtering:

bad use of faceted search example

example of a not-so-useful faceted search use

Which one would help you find the bag you’re looking for quicker and more efficiently?

So, keep the above in mind while creating a user-friendly product sorting and filtering system. Remember that both ways of organizing your products are supposed to speed up and simplify the overall shopping experience on your e-commerce website.

After all, satisfied customers are more likely to make a purchase and return for future shopping.

These were the general guidelines for creating shopping-friendly product sorting and filtering. Now, see what else you need to take into consideration while making shopping easier on smaller mobile screens.

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Building Effective E-commerce Product Sorting and Filtering for Mobile

Mobile shopping has become increasingly popular, and it’s crucial to create a seamless product sorting and filtering experience for mobile users.

“In the first quarter of 2023, smartphones accounted for 72 percent of retail site visits in the United States and generated 61 percent of online shopping orders. Desktop computers generated only 26 percent of retail website traffic but represented 37 percent of all purchases in the country.”

Statista Distribution of retail website visits and orders in the United States

Having this in mind, you should do your best to make sure your e-commerce product sorting and filtering works perfectly on mobile devices. To do so, consider the following:

  • Mobile-friendly design: Ensure that your e-commerce website is responsive and mobile-friendly. A responsive design adapts to various screen sizes and orientations, making it accessible for your customers on smartphones and tablets. You’d probably agree that mobile users should have a comfortable and intuitive shopping experience, just like desktop users.
  • Clear and accessible filters: Mobile screens have limited space, so it’s essential to make your filters clear and accessible. Consider using a “filter” button or icon at the bottom of the screen, which, when tapped, reveals filter options. This approach keeps the interface clean and prevents clutter.
example of easy accessible filtering options on mobile

example of easy accessible filtering options on mobile; source: jeffromi.com

  • Floating filter button: Some mobile apps employ a floating filter button that stays visible as users scroll through product listings. This button offers quick access to filters, enhancing user convenience. Implementing such a feature can significantly improve the mobile shopping experience.
example of floating filter button on mobile

example of floating filter button on mobile; source: dribble.com

  • User-friendly interactions: Mobile users prefer simple and intuitive interactions. Use checkboxes or sliders for filter selection, ensuring that users can easily toggle filters on and off with a single touch.
example of product sorting on mobile

example of user-friendly product sorting and filtering; source: medium.com

  • Responsive product display: Make sure that your product listings adapt well to mobile screens. Display products in a way that is visually appealing and makes optimal use of the available space. Consider showing product images, titles, and prices clearly and attractively.
  • Performance optimization: Optimize your mobile e-commerce website for quick loading times. This includes optimizing images and minimizing unnecessary scripts to keep the website responsive and efficient.

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How to Add E-commerce Product Storting without Hurting Your SEO

To help your customers find the exact items they’re looking for, you need to make sure your product filtering and sorting are set up correctly. The truth is that it requires careful execution to avoid negatively impacting your search engine rankings. So, let’s go through the key considerations for implementing product sorting and filtering for e-commerce websites while maintaining your SEO strong.

1️⃣ Proper Implementation

  1. Create user-friendly URLs that contain easy-to-remember keywords separated by dashes (e.g., example.com/category/red-dresses). Avoid special characters like #, ^, *, or & in your URLs.
  2. Each filtered page should have unique meta tags that reflect the applied filters. This distinction helps search engines differentiate between product filter pages and category pages.
  3. Include filter names in the H1 headers of selected categories. This provides context for search engines and users, helping them understand the purpose of the filtered pages.

2️⃣ Avoiding Internal Duplicate Content

Adding product filters can potentially create duplicate content issues. To avoid that, try the below:

  1. If you have multiple duplicate pages with different URLs, you can use canonical URLs to indicate the primary version that should be indexed. This can be achieved by adding the “rel=canonical” tag to the preferred URL, which can also be the main category page.
  2. If you have many duplicate pages with parameters such as category or color, you can control crawling by defining URL parameters in Google Search Console. To do this, your website should have at least 1,000 pages, and the duplicate pages should differ in URL parameters crawled by Google bots. For detailed guidelines, refer to Google Search Console Help.
  3. Use the “noindex” meta tag to prevent specific pages from appearing in search results. You can add this tag to the HTML code within the <head> section or by using the X-Robots-Tag in the HTTP request header.

Naturally, your decision about which solution to use depends on your specific website’s requirements and your customer’s preferences.

You should steer clear of scenarios where numerous filters result in empty pages, as this can harm the user experience and SEO.

Also, remember that Google’s crawling resources are limited, so optimizing your website properly ensures that important URLs get indexed, and unwanted pages don’t take their place.

Summing up: Product Sorting for Higher Sales

By focusing on the above factors/ideas and implementing e-commerce product filtering and sorting options correctly, you will make the shopping experience in your e-commerce store way more pleasant and satisfactory.

And with higher customer satisfaction comes more conversions.

So, go ahead and make use of those ideas! Mind SEO though to avoid harming your rankings. However, if you ever find yourself in need of assistance or guidance in this process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to support you in optimizing your e-commerce website for higher conversions!

This is an updated version of the article first published on July 22, 2020.

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Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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Why do I need product filtering on my website?

If you run an e-commerce site product sorting is a crucial element. It contributes to a better user experience on your site and eventually conversion rate – people can find products they look for more easily and the chances they will make a purchase on your website. E-commerce search filters are a great way to improve navigation on your online store as well.

Does product filtering impact SEO on the website?

Yes! Product filtering supports SEO – it can significantly improve the internal linking value. However, it takes an experienced specialist to implement e-commerce product filters on site. When e-commerce product sorting is done incorrectly it can for example cause internal content duplication.

What e-commerce filter should I use in my store?

It depends on your e-commerce store specificities. You need to adjust product filtering to your users’ preferences and the type of store you run. Among the most popular e-commerce product filters you can find:

  • brand
  • color
  • size
  • type
  • price
  • customer reviews (ratings)
  • popularity (number of items sold)
  • news, sales.

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