While not quite as crucial as their product page counterparts, eCommerce category pages still serve an important role in converting your customers to purchase — as long as they’re optimized properly.
Today, we’ll walk you through some of our recommended eCommerce category page best practices, based on the findings in our 2023 Best in Class Report and our own A/B testing with dozens of eCommerce brands.
We’ll share some of the must-haves and emerging trends that top retailers are using on their gallery pages — so you can implement them across your own eCommerce site and reap the benefits, too.
(As a reminder, you can download our complete research report anytime for free.)
Keep reading to discover the top mobile and desktop design trends your store needs to be using in 2023.
Table of Contents
- Legacy eCommerce Category Page Features
- Emerging Trends for eCommerce Gallery Pages
Legacy eCommerce Category Page Features
Since we last conducted our annual research report in 2019, we’ve found a few gallery page features to have outlasted others (as well as some pre-COVID ones that have kept a steady hold on category page design).
1. Multi-Select Facets
If you don’t already allow users to select multiple facets when searching for products on gallery pages, this remains a must-have in 2023.
We’ve found a strong return on investment (ROI) for our own clients who have invested in this kind of faceted navigation.
On mobile sites, we’ve also seen a great improvement in the user experience around this feature. For instance, many sites allow you to select multiple facets before refreshing the product category page.
Wayfair shows you the filters you’ve already selected, as well as how many specific products this leaves in your search results.
2. Show Available Product Colors
This feature has grown more common over the last few years. We daresay it’s becoming a convention as eCommerce technology has advanced.
In our own testing, we’ve found that showing what colors are available for a given product definitely aids conversions. (Even better: Interactive product images that change when users mouse over each color swatch.)
In contrast to when we last conducted this research, this feature is now equally popular across mobile sites. While interfaces of the past fared poorly against the “fat finger rule,” years of testing (and the growing number of mobile eCommerce sales) have optimized this functionality on smaller screens, too.
3. Price Selection Within Facets
Filtering products via a price range is a useful feature that customers appreciate; however, highlighting it can lower your average order value (AOV).
The key on most sites is to place this filter option lower than other popular filters you want potential customers to consider first — such as color, brand, etc.
4. Show Ratings and Number of Reviews
Showing ratings and reviews on category pages is a best practice in 2023. Despite the fact that not all of our studied sites are using this, we highly recommend it for all eCommerce stores, especially those emerging companies with little brand or product awareness.
We’ve talked at length about how important individual product reviews are to online conversion rates. The more you can show off (positive and high-quality!) reviews on as many web pages as possible, the more likely your shoppers will be to make that final purchase decision.
Note: If your products only have a small number of reviews, you could test removing this feature on your category pages if you’re worried about the effect of those few reviews on your products’ credibility.
Otherwise, we recommend incorporating these into your gallery pages.
Emerging Trends for eCommerce Gallery Pages
The eCommerce industry has certainly gone through some shakeups over the last few years, and shopper behavior has changed, as well.
Our selected Best in Class sites clearly are keeping up with that shifting behavior, as indicated by the following emerging trends in eCommerce category page design.
Note: These aren’t in use on all of the websites we studied, but they are being adopted by more and more companies when compared to our previous research. As always, we recommend testing extensively before applying any of these features across your eCommerce website.
5. Save Filters
Saving selected filters when customers go back and forth between product detail pages and category pages is incredibly useful — and incredibly helpful to conversion rates. It’s great for usability, and we’d go so far as to call it a best practice for the modern eCommerce business.
We especially recommend using saved filters for mobile users, to eliminate user frustration for those shopping on smaller screens.
6. Show Original Price of Sale Items
Shoppers love a good bargain, and our studied eCommerce sites are responding by displaying the original price of sale items directly on the category page. This is mostly done by crossing out the original price or listing the original price on a separate line from the sale price.
7. Show Savings Amount
Similarly, we’re seeing more sites also include the specific savings amount (either in percentage or dollars and cents) for sale items on the category page. This takes the previous feature one step further, making it incredibly obvious what kind of deal the shopper is getting.
While only half of our selected sites are deploying this feature, our CRO team does highly recommend this emerging trend in 2023.
8. Return to Vertical Position
In addition to saving filters when customers go back and forth between product and category pages, today’s best eCommerce sites are also saving the vertical position of the user on the category page itself. This prevents user frustration in having to find their previous browsing position from the top of the page, especially on longer category pages with lots of product listings.
Right now, this feature is commonly found on top online retailer sites — but it’s not as common in general among all online stores. We’d recommend implementing it to give your site a competitive advantage in 2023.
Build Your Category Page Strategy With Our Complete Best in Class Report
Looking at the features top sites are implementing is a great way to gather ideas for your own site — especially if you see them happening in your market.
However, nothing beats testing new features for yourself.
Prioritize your testing ideas — and build the best CRO strategy for your eCommerce site — by downloading our complete Best in Class Report today. In it, you’ll find more than 150 data points from 10 top eCommerce sites, including more eCommerce category landing page best practices, as well as recommendations for your product pages, checkout flows, homepage, and more.
Need help creating that testing strategy?
Our CRO team is happy to discuss how your website compares to those in our Best in Class Report, as well as recommend optimizations to improve your customer experience and increase your online conversion rate.
In the meantime, learn more about category page best practices in our following digital marketing guides: