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. These pages are sometimes referred to as category pages, as this is where products are displayed by category, or search pages when users have entered specific search terms. Despite the possibility for different names they look very similar and mainly display 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 the actual options for meeting their needs in your product range. This usually means sifting through lots of options with the help of a set of filters to narrow things down.
They will use this page to get a sense of the products you sell by judging them en masse—for example the range of prices available. They will also look at products individually to understand how they differ from each other.
The core things you need for almost all products are name, price, images, and an indication of product variations (like size and colour). You may need more than this if your product is more complex but each product should be presented consistently so it is easy to scan down the page and find information.
What other elements you require on your listings page will depend on what you're selling and your audience. Consider what information is needed to give users enough detail to differentiate and choose a product.
Are you selling something that is expensive, featuring locations or impressive detail? Then photography will be an important part of your offering. Are you selling something more functional like cleaning products or computer parts? In this case what the product looks like matters less compared to how it performs, making it a more rational purchasing decision, so focussing on product data makes more sense.
This 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 more important the bigger a website gets. The more products you have, the more filters you will need to help people whittle things down.
A listings page is successful if it moves users onto the product page, so this is your core conversion rate to watch. There’s a bit more nuance to this as you want users to go to a product they might actually buy. This can be a fiddly thing to understand but a high number of listings page views 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 might be backed up by a lower time on page for products compared to listings, which isn’t what you’d normally expect.
To find out the truth you'll need to dig into more qualitative data to see how users are actually behaving on the page. Research such as visitor recordings and user testing will help you with this. It’s always a good idea to get a sense of how your users think and what motivates them towards making purchases.
If you want more advice on how to get your ecommerce site converting, take a look at my book Designing Ecommerce websites.