Practice That Works: Making Most out of Product Sorting

Every time customer makes a purchase from you, product findability worked right. Product findability is how high the needed product is ranked in search results. The rules are simple: what can’t be found, can’t be bought. No matter how high the demand is, customer patience won’t last long. People come online to buy things quickly, not to solve searching puzzles.

Product sorting is the way products are organized in the catalog or how they are displayed in search results, and it can make your customers’ life easier. Product sorting is one of the marketing tools that you can customize and use to improve product findability.

Why product sorting is a thing?

First of all, poor product findability obviously won’t benefit the revenue. Lack of order and sorting in the catalog results in frustration and a negative customer experience. Customers who lost their time and found nothing are less likely to return to the store. Good product findability, otherwise, reduces customer anxiety and matters as much as price and quality.

You can’t underestimate the role product sorting plays in the final purchase decision. People do the research themselves and you need to show them that what they see is what they need. Of course, you need to offer them what you are pretty sure they will like or and at least be interested enough to view.

When the customer journey starts

There are two ways for the customer to find what he needs in an online store: browsing the catalog or using the site search. Either way, the customer ends up with a list of products that should fall within their search intent.

The way you put your products on display determines how fast a customer notices what they need and how satisfied they are with their search process. If customers can’t find what suits their needs in a certain period of time, they switch to the next seller. Sorting is what creates product order and draws customer attention to the items they might actually like. What customer sees after clicking on the category, may also interest him even more than what they actually came for.

This is where category-specific sorting comes into play. A brief look at the first page of the category usually gives customers a clear understanding if they will find what they want here. In this article, we will learn how category-specific works and how it influences the conversion rate.

Why category-specific sorting works?

1. Because sorting by default doesn’t
Having basic price, popularity, or name filters is a must, but all of these options are not perfect to be the default. Products sorted by sales numbers don’t work because the most sold products are usually the cheaper ones. As for the number of reviews, quantity doesn’t mean quality. isn’t always equal to the product quality: a recently added product with one positive review will be placed lower than the one with a few less positive reviews. The same goes for the ratings.
2. Best value products are left out
If you put price or popularity sorting as default, there is a possibility that either some best-selling or best-rated products are going to be pushed to the end of the list. Offering popular or cheapest products first consistently benefits the revenue, but they also constantly push new arrivals away from higher positions.
3. Default-based sorting options are easy to cheat
When you sell goods from different manufacturers, there might be competition. There is no guaranteed protection from manipulating the ratings and reviews. That means, the whole ranking system needs to be constantly supervised, which is impossible with large numbers of items.

How to apply category-specific sorting effectively?

Of course, leave the product list as it is after uploading is the last thing you should do. To create a perfect product layout, you can use your experience with your audience combined knowledge about your goods.
Analyze the demand
Figure out what would your customers view first based on your sales numbers and customer behavior. the type of products you sell is also a factor here. For example, apparel online stores usually place new arrivals first, while electronic retailers prefer promoting the best deals.
sorting extension
“New In Stock” items are put on the top of the page
Best deals
Best deals are on displayed first
Provide information needed in the product lists
No matter what your sorting method is, make sure customers don’t need to take additional steps to find primary information like price/availability, etc. Nice and clear grid and lists that say enough for the customers to estimate if the products they see fit their budget or general expectations.
basic information performance
Basic information is available before viewing the product
Organize products to offer, not to sell
Customers come to you with different purposes. Some of them search for the best price or specific feature, and some just wander waiting for the store display to come up with suggestions. Paying attention to the front category page contents and structure is worth it. Even the number of products on the page and in a single row matters for usability and manual sorting is the thing in that case. It scares shop owners off as it seems to be too complicated and takes too much time for larger categories. However, proper and handy manual sorting is possible with Visual Sorting extension for Magento, that allows configuring product order by dragging and dropping products from position to position. Make sure the products a customer sees are the ones that match the category definition.
Avoid “choice overload”
Big choice suggests that more people will find what they need. But is it really so? Since customers see only a part of the category chosen, they expect to see a limited selection they can easily analyze. That means, less is more. You can stuff ten products in a row and combine them with long descriptions in small print, but that will confuse those who want to compare and choose right away. This also works differently for different products. The more looks of the product matter, the more place its picture takes on the page.
Imagery for selling
Imagery matters for selling apparel

In conclusion

There’s no solution that will work for every store. Your sorting preferences should be based on what you sell and your audience. The key here is to be flexible and react accordingly to the changes on the market and your online store. After learning what matters most for your customers and what influences your revenue positively, you can customize product layouts and change them whenever such necessity arises.

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