A Thorough Checklist for E-Commerce Websites: No.4: Product Listings or Catalogue Pages

25 Sep

When you are creating a website, there are a few things you need to make sure are there. These things take the perspective of the consumer into consideration, pay heed to what bigger e-commerce businesses have done after resourceful research, and finally look at what really is going on by using analytics and feedback from the site.

In this blog series, we take you from the general site-wide checks to individual page-wise checks that you need to do to set-up a good foundation for the website and for further digital marketing efforts, without falling into the traps of common mistakes and oversights.

A product listing or catalogue page appears on your website when visitors select a category from the main menu or if they do a product search when looking for something in particular. Simply put, it is a list of all the products that a company sells. A product portfolio. It gives your website visitors complete details about all products – goods, product numbers, stock, prices, sales history etc. Furthermore, it helps you prepare inventories and invoices.

The Catalogue Page Checklist

  • Create product groups that are logically named, before entering products into the catalogue.
  • Add an introduction to each category that describes the overarching theme of that section. Boost the verbal description with an image representative of that category. Moreover, you could use this space as an opportunity to use lifestyle imagery to attract the attention of shoppers.
  • Let customers know at a glance whether or not a product is available, rather than having to click and check each product individually.
  • Let customers know if a previously viewed or purchased item has an offer. You could take it a step further and add a separate ‘recommended for you’ or ‘best sellers’ block in the main listing itself. These may convert casual visitors, too.
  • Don’t forget to add a ‘latest collections’ or ‘new arrivals’ especially for loyal patrons looking for products newly in.
  • List products only under one currency to maintain uniformity. If you accept certain other currencies, it could be mentioned, but don’t try to state the price in all currencies that you accept.
  • If something is on sale, let the customer know as early as possible the amount they will save on that purchase. Don’t wait till the check-out. Ideally, most businesses prefer to show the discounted price in bolder letters below the original price, or mention the percentage saved.
  • Sorting and filtering options are mandatory. It helps customers choose quickly, easily and precisely. So the sorting options must be able to show a customer only what fits their criteria without having to browse through irrelevant products. Don’t forget to make it possible for shoppers to multi-select various filters so that many criteria can be chosen at once.
  • Maintain filter choices when visitors go back to the page they came from after viewing a product. But allow them an easily accessible option to change filters and switch between product selections quickly.
  • For the sake of performance most sites load only a handful of products that match the selection criteria. If you think your customers need to be shown all the products for that choice, either offer an option to view more products or have an infinite scroll.
  • For sites powered by powerful search technology, employ text-based search rules like predictive or suggestive search. This way, something like a silly misspelled word will be redirected to the right product.
  • For the sake of maintaining inventories, try and adopt an accounting software that imports your product list directly.
  • Use relevant alt attributes so search engines know you’re paginating your product lists.
  • Customers more often than not arrive at your site from search engines, so they don’t always get the introduction at your home page. Make sure that your navigation is clear. Using instantly familiar headings in typical locations on the site save them the time to search the menus to find what they need. For instance, the support icon is usually at the top right corner of the screen. The settings icon is always a little gear. The basic menu subdivision for a clothing store is men and women, and those are further subdivided into clothes, shoes, accessories etc. These are familiar indicators for shoppers.

Remember that this is where the real work is. This is where you are displaying your wares. It has to be extremely easy, and enjoyable for the customer if you want to eventually make that sale.

This checklist pertains to details about a website’s product listing or catalogue pages. To read on for other individual-page checklists or even a site-wide checklist, you can follow this series on our website.

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