Now that We. Have reviewed our home page, let's take a look at the next step in the buyer's journey. Some customers will come to your site already knowing what they want, and maybe they saw a Facebook ad or a product review from one of your affiliate partners. But in general, new-to-file customers land on your site and want to explore at the category level. They're not exactly sure what model of shoe is right for them, but they know they need to replace their running shoes to help get ready for their next race.
So much like your homepage, your category page only has two jobs-- present your products in an organized and intuitive way, and help shoppers find what they are looking for to solve their problem or improve their life. In other words, your category page should be helpful but unassuming.
The goal is to equip visitors to quickly find a product that meets their needs, and then get out of their way, and let them further explore the details of that product. So how do you accomplish these tasks? By making sure that your category page includes a handful of key elements. Here's what to look for. Number one is information structure.
This is one area that I really don't think has a lot of to debate. A category page should flow something like this. First, you'll want a hero section that clearly displays the category name and a brief description of what is included in the category. This helps the user confirm, that they're in the right place based on the link that they just clicked.
Next, you'll want some idea of an internal page navigation that allows users to sort the results by a handful of criteria that helps them and is intuitive to them. Finally, you'll want to display the individual products that exist within the category, and meet all of the criteria that the user has selected.
And that's it-- the foundational formula for a high-performing category page. If you've got that covered, great job. Now it's time to move forward to more advanced topics. Number two is filtering, sorting, and discoverability. Unless you have a small product catalog, you're probably going to need a system that allows users to filter and/or sort your products by specific criteria.
This is where many brands default to off-the-shelf options made available through their websites theme. Things like brand, price, size, color are great, but they're really just the table stakes. Take a moment to think about what's really important to your customers when they're in the middle of a buying decision. Now, do they care about things like what materials a product is made of?
Do they need to include or exclude certain ingredients because of a dietary preference or a food allergy? Do they want to quickly find options for specific-use cases, like cold weather running versus hot weather running? It's hard to make specific recommendations here, because every business and customer base is unique. But try to consider what's most important to your customer when they are evaluating options, and give them the ability to target or sort their search results in that way.
Number 3 is language and copywriting. Similarly, when putting together a naming convention for your categories, always consider search criteria and languages that your customer uses, not just your team or other people in your industry. Now, this is especially important for product lines that have a lot of technical components or specifications internally, but might not be viewed in the same way by the end consumer.
For example, you might naturally sort a category of laptops but what type of processor is included, how many gigabytes of storage it has, or the pixel density of the monitor. But the end user is a grandmother who is trying to buy a graduation gift for her grandson, and she might not understand any of that technical jargon. Instead, she might prefer to see things like lots of storage for music and videos, or enough processing power to do schoolwork and play games.
Do you see how this converts the technical aspects of a product category into real-world examples that are more intuitive for the end user? It might seem insignificant, but investing the time to better understand your customers and speak their language-- not just yours-- can make meaningful improvements to conversion rates. Number 4 is clearly visible decision making criteria.
So finally, you'll want to make sure that all of your most important decision making criteria are clearly visible on the individual product listings. This is an area where we do a lot of testing. But in general, you want to see these key elements if they apply to your product line. A product image-- this should clearly display the active product and provide options for viewing additional variance or colorways.
A product name, which should be clear and descriptive-- your copywriter is amazing. I understand, but they don't get any extra points from consumers for being clever here. Price-- if you have an active discount, always include the original price with a strike through and the discounted or percentage off or dollars off to help quantify the savings.
Reviews-- if you have a lot of reviews, it can be great to show a star rating here. And a call to action-- buttons generally perform better than text, and you shouldn't avoid add to cart in favor of something with less commitment like view details or buy now. If you can check the box on each of these items, chances are your category page is in a great place.
Remember, the only goal of the category page is to get the visitor to the right product detail page. And when you're ready, let's move on to the next lesson where we'll talk about how to optimize your product detail pages and convert more of those visitors into customers.