Category: UX advice / Ecommerce guides
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The listings page is where users come to look through the products you have for sale. This usually means sifting through lots of options with the help of a set of filters to narrow things down.
These pages are sometimes referred to as category pages, as this is where products are displayed by category, or search pages when users enter specific search terms. Despite the possibility for different names they usually look very similar and feature a list of products.
If you've taken your users from your landing pages to this point then they should understand who you are and should be interested in what you're selling. Now they want to see what the actual options are to buy.
They will use this page to get a sense of the products you sell by judging them en masse—for example seeing the range of prices available. They will also look at products individually and understand how they differ.
When deciding what elements you require on your listings page, you should start by thinking about the products you are displaying there. Consider the information required to give users enough to differentiate and choose a product.
The core things you need for almost all products are title, price, images, ratings (if you collect reviews), and an indication of product variations (like size and colour). You may need more than this if your product is more complex but everything should be presented consistently so it is easy to scan down the page and find information.
How your listings page looks will vary depending on what you're selling and who your audience are. Are you selling something that is expensive, featuring locations or impressive detail? Then photography will be an important part of your offering—make this a bigger element to excite the user.
Are you selling something drier or more technical like cleaning products or computer parts? In this case what the product looks like doesn't matter but how it performs does, making it a more rational purchasing decision, so focussing on product data makes more sense.
Whatever product you sell, the price is a vital piece of information to display. You should give users accurate prices here so they can meet their budget, which means avoiding 'from' pricing.
The listings stage of the funnel is about helping users find the right product, and as humans we're limited in how much information we can store in our head at any one time. If your site is small (with around 10-20 products) then you may not need filters and search fields, but they become useful important the bigger a website gets.
If you have enough products and need filters, which ones should you display? Price and ratings filters work across almost all sectors but everything else will be specific to the product you are selling.
If you show extra information like colour on the listing item then it makes sense that this should be a filter too. All other filters should feature data that can be found on the product page. Put simply, the more products you have, the more filters you will need to help people whittle things down.
A search page is successful if it moves users onto the product page, so this is your primary conversion rate to watch.
However you want to make sure that users are getting to the product they might actually buy. This can be a fiddly thing to understand but a high number of pageviews per session in your web analytics could be a clue to look at this further.
If the user is viewing the listings page a lot it might be because they keep going to products that aren't right for them and then returning to listings. This suggests the listings aren’t explaining product differences very well. This should be backed up by lower time on page for products compared to listings, which isn’t typically what you’d expect.
There’s a chance that lots of listings views means that your listings are actually very useful for comparing and people are just enjoying looking at all the options. To find out if it is the former or the latter then you'll need to dig into more qualitative data to see how users are behaving on the page. Visitor recordings and user testing will help you here.
You should get a sense of how your users think and what motivates them towards making purchases. If you watch user testing and see that they are regularly hunting for product details that aren't displayed on the search listing, then you've got a candidate for content that should live at the search level.
Get the balance right between images and different levels of information and you’ll have a truly useful search experience.