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The 3 Things You Should NEVER Do On Your Ecommerce Category Pages!

Ecommerce Category Pages
7 minute read

Hey, how’s it going? Alex from Build Grow Scale here. I’m a Revenue Optimization™ expert, and I help ecommerce businesses grow and scale through optimizing their stores. And in this training, we’re gonna talk about the three things that you should never do on your category pages.

This video idea actually came to me last night while me and my girlfriend were shopping for some stuff online, and I got super frustrated, and then I thought, “This is what I’m going to talk about tomorrow on the Facebook Live.” So, what are these things that I’m talking about? Well, I’m going to share my screen in a second and I’ll show you what I mean.

So, this is what happened: We were looking for some stuff for our new place, like rugs, some wall art, and stuff like that. And we came to this page, to Ashley Furniture, to look for some rugs. So, the number one thing that you should never do on your category pages is have product images that are this small. OK? 

First of all, these don’t even look like rugs. They look like stickers to me; they’re so tiny. And second, they’re not big enough to show any detail on the picture. I should be able, just by scrolling through these products, to see enough detail so I don’t need to necessarily click on the product page to see the bigger picture, and then go back. Does that make sense?

So, that’s the idea. And you can’t see any detail on this image. It’s terrible. This little container is ridiculously tiny. So, this is something that you never want to do. Look at the difference compared to Wayfair when we go here. Look at the difference in these images.

These images get me excited. I can already imagine this thing, how it’s going to look in my new place. And for example, this one even has the same color floor, so I can already know how this is potentially going to look in my place. But these Ashley Furniture ones, this is terrible. You should never do that. Super boring. Like, what is this? You don’t want to do this. OK? I don’t want to keep hammering the same point home, but make your images as big as possible.

But that doesn’t mean you should have like two products per row. It “can” be four. There are four images here, four products per row, and it still looks decent. But don’t use fewer than three. During testing, we find that when the images are bigger, click-through rate to product pages is significantly higher. And with that, obviously the conversions are typically higher as well. This is especially important for products like this, with a lot of detail, or wearable products, like shoes, apparel, and other products that typically have a lot of detail. So, I recommend you go three. Typically, three products per row is good. That will make the images big enough so there’s enough visible detail.

And the same with this category; we’re looking at some wall art. Like, look at this. It’s so terrible.

It’s not even exciting me. I don’t know … It doesn’t even look like art, it doesn’t look like a big painting compared to some of these other ones, right? Can you notice the difference? It’s not even close. So that’s my point.

#1 – Never use super small images on your category pages.

Think about this: Most people don’t pay much attention to category pages, because almost everybody sends traffic to their product pages, and all the hype is about product pages. But category pages are significantly important and very crucial. If you think about it, the whole reason a category page even exists is to help people narrow down their choice. That’s all it is—it’s a filtering mechanism. Which leads me to the next point … 

 #2 – Never (ever) use irrelevant filters for your products.

First of all, you should have filters, because without them, how am I supposed to scroll through all of these products (2,842)? Or, if we go here, check this out … Over 250,000 results. How am I supposed to even check a portion of these paintings out without any proper filters? So first, you should always have filters. 

And second, they need to be relevant, and something that your customers care about. Here’s an example. So, I’m browsing for art, for some paintings, and I want a landscape photo. I’m trying to find that filter here, and all I can see is size … and the size is something very subjective. Like, what does “small” mean anyway? What’s “medium”? 

There are no actual dimensions so I can conclude what size this thing is. But further still, there’s not even a filter for a shape. How am I supposed to find the landscape shape of paintings here? Whereas, if we go here to Wayfair, they definitely have it somewhere. There we go, “Shape and Orientation.”

So, “rectangle,” or “landscape,” or “panoramic.” It’s all the same. Now, I can only see those types of photos. Obviously, some other shapes will show because not all of these product listings are perfect. Whoever was screening them, they might have made a mistake with the tagging or whatever, but that’s beside the point. The majority of these product listings are landscape, which is exactly what I’m looking for. Whereas here, it’s nowhere to be seen. Plus, Wayfair’s tells me “Small,” “Medium,” and “Large,” … but it also shows the width of the art, which is very important.

So, this is the second point: Offer filters that are relevant to your customers, that your customers care about. Always go through your website thinking from the perspective of the customer, not the business owner. Because as a business owner, you’ve been through your site so many times, and just because “you” know how to find something, that doesn’t mean that “your customers” know how to find it. That’s called the curse of knowledge, basically. So, always think through the eyes of the customer. What is the customer thinking about? What features do they care about when they’re trying to search for a product on your site? And that’s typically the best criteria that you should use for a filter on your category pages. What are the top three to five features that your customers would care about regarding this specific product?

For example, with paintings, is it size? Is it the shape? Is it the material? Or is it the type of colors that are used? That’ll all depend on your audience. So, you need to figure that out through surveys and all that stuff. We have a ton of other videos teaching that stuff. But anyway, I want to wrap this point up. Never show irrelevant filters for your customers, OK? And always show filters that your customers care about.

#3 – Never use pagination or infinite scroll on your category pages.

And number three … I’ll go back here again, and I’ve spoken about this in a previous video (you can find it somewhere on our YouTube channel; it should be posted, I think), but anyway, it’s about the product loading method. And this is the pagination method, which is something that you should never use. 

You should really stay away from it, and there are many reasons why, but a few that I’m gonna mention are:

  • First of all, the clickable area is very small; it’s very easy to misclick to number two if you wanted to click three or whatever. Especially on mobile, where the tapping area is so small, and it’s very easy to mistap something, even if you don’t have butter fingers. So that’s the number one reason. 
  • Second, it’s very annoying to be constantly going from page to page, and it’s very hard to compare different products from, let’s say, the second and the first page, without having to go through pages back and forth. Instead, what you want to use is something that Ikea has, and that’s the “Load more” method, or “Show more,” in this case.

When you get to the bottom of this “page,” you just click “Show more” and the rest of the products load. And now, if I want to quickly compare this product with the one that was on the previous page, I can just scroll up without having to go and click and wait for another page to load and all of that stuff. 

OK, so never use pagination on your category pages, or infinite scroll for that matter, which is even worse. Only use the “Load more” method. And again, as I said, there’s another video where I talked about this topic in depth, so there’s no need to go and repeat all of that.

So, let’s recap really quick. What do we know so far?

Number one: You should never use tiny images on your category pages. Use big images to capture people’s attention, and show enough detail so they don’t have to click through every product listing to see their images. Typically, three products per row works the best in most cases.

Number two: Don’t use irrelevant filters, and better yet, make sure that you do have filters, but also make sure that your filters are things your customers care about. Go through your website from the mindset of the customer and ask yourself, “What features and criteria do my customers care about when shopping for my product?” 

Number three: Never use pagination as a loading method on your category page. Instead, use the “Load more” methodology. And if you go to the Asos website, they have a very solid implementation of the “Loan more” method as well.

Okay, so that’s it for this video. If you like this video, stay tuned, because there’s a lot more coming. If you’re watching this on YouTube, make sure you subscribe, and if you have any questions or ideas for a future video, just drop them in the comments below and we may shoot a video on the topic you suggested. 

And if you want our help, just go to workwithbgs.com and fill out a small application. It’s a free strategy call, so you have nothing to lose, and we’ll see where you’re at, where you need to go, and we’ll give you a plan of attack.

Until next time, have a good one, and I’ll see you soon. Bye.

ecommerce training

Aleks Nikoloski

Aleks is BGS’s Head of Revenue Optimization, an author, and a speaker. He has helped rapid-scale dozens of 6, 7, and multiple 8-figure stores as part of BGS’s Amplify Partnership program. He has gotten one store from $2.6 million a year to $6.7 million a year in 24 months, while another from doing $300k/month to doing over $2 million/month in less than 6 months, just to mention a few. The BGS team calls him the “Site Whisperer” because of his ability to find site nuances that derail the customers’ journey and cause purchase friction. Extremely meticulous and analytical, he credits all of this success to data and accurate interpretation of that data, as well as his ability to implement and test new ideas almost immediately.

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