10 Tips for Product Filters in the Online Store


An extensive product range is not always an advantage for an online store, especially if customers cannot find the desired items quickly. In a physical shop, a salesperson would take on this advisory role; online, the customer takes on this search themselves. This is where product filters come into play, making it possible to quickly browse the range without having to search through the entire assortment. But not all filters are equally effective. Below we explain what you should look out for when using product filters in order to offer your customers the best possible guidance and advice. Our blog article gives you valuable insights.

In today’s fast-paced online shopping world, customers expect fast and intuitive navigation through the online store. Product filters play a decisive role here, as they simplify and improve the purchasing process. This allows customers to narrow down products according to their individual requirements. The most common filters are:

  • Category filter: This filter can be used to narrow down the product range by category (e.g. women’s, men’s or children’s clothing).
  • Attribute filter: This is used to filter according to the various properties and characteristics of a product, such as size, brand or colour.
  • Price filter: This is usually a slider with which customers can set the price range of products.
  • Rating filter: This filter allows you to filter the ratings from other customers according to the stars awarded.
  • Full-text search: This allows the customer to enter the desired product directly into a search bar and then receives product suggestions.

There are also product finders and product configurators. Product finders are an extension of the product filters. The customer has to answer predetermined questions and is guided to the respective product by answering them. A product configurator, on the other hand, is software for customising products. The customer selects predefined product components and combines them to create a product that meets their personal requirements. In this article, we will focus on the product filters. Here are some tips for optimising the product filters in your online store.

Coffee filter as symbol image for blog article "Product filters in the online store".

1. Understand your Customers

Before you implement a product filter in your online store or optimise an existing filter, you should understand the needs and behaviour of your target group. Which filter options are most important to them? Use web analytics tools to find out what your customers search for most frequently.

Coffee filter as symbol image for blog article "Product filters in the online store".

2. Simplicity is the Key

Don’t overload your filter options. Too many filters can overwhelm customers in an online store. Offer only those filters that are most relevant for your products. If this is not possible, then shorten your filters by providing further filter options via “Show all filters” or leave filters collapsed. Also consider using dynamic filters that adapt to the current product range. And for the sake of simplicity, also show the number of products that are available after filtering. This allows your customer to better assess whether they should filter further.

Coffee filter as symbol image for blog article "Product filters in the online store".

3. Intuitive Naming

The name of your filter and the associated options should be clear and easy to understand. Use common terms that your customers already know and understand. You should therefore avoid using the term “filter”, as not every shop visitor is familiar with it. Instead, terms such as “Refine search” or “Narrow selection” are suitable.

Coffee filter as symbol image for blog article "Product filters in the online store".

4. Category-specific Filters

Not all filters are relevant for every product category. Offer category-specific filters to simplify the search. A filter for shoe size, for example, is only relevant in the shoes category. If in doubt, you must go through each category and subcategory once and evaluate the filters displayed. It’s tedious, but it’s worth it.

Coffee filter as symbol image for blog article "Product filters in the online store".

5. Enable Multiple Selection

Allow customers to select multiple filter options at the same time to refine their search. This means that filters can be applied to different categories at the same time (e.g. brand and size), but also that values in the same category can be filtered at the same time (e.g. shoe size 39 and 40). This is particularly useful for attributes such as colour, size or brand.

Coffee filter as symbol image for blog article "Product filters in the online store".

6. Make Filters Visible

Your filter should be easy to find and operate. Therefore, place the filter in a prominent position, usually on the left or at the top of the product list. Make sure that the product filter is also clearly visible and easy to use on mobile devices, as many customers are travelling on smartphones. In addition, if your visitor has filtered by products, they should always be able to see which filters are currently active.

Coffee filter as symbol image for blog article "Product filters in the online store".

7. Immediate Feedback or Button

Filters can be applied in two ways: Either by confirming with a button such as “Apply selection” or automatically directly after the selection. If you offer a button, make sure that it is unambiguous and is immediately understood by visitors. With automatic updating, it is important that the product list is updated without delay to avoid frustration and keep customers in the online store.

Coffee filter as symbol image for blog article "Product filters in the online store".

8. Ratings and Reviews

The opinions of other customers are a decisive criterion for many buyers when choosing a product. Therefore, offer a filter for customer reviews in your online store. This allows buyers to find specific products that have already been positively rated by other customers. Such a filter function not only supports quick and effective decision-making, but also promotes trust in the products on offer and your online store.

Coffee filter as symbol image for blog article "Product filters in the online store".

9. Visualise Filters

Use symbols such as coloured swatches or small images to visualise colour, texture or shape options (e.g. for glasses or shoe shapes). This loosens up particularly long filter lists and at the same time makes the filters visually appealing, making it easier for customers to make a selection.

Coffee filter as symbol image for blog article "Product filters in the online store".

10. Clear Reset Design

Give your customers the option to reset all filters with a single click. This allows them to restart their search without having to deselect the individual options in frustration. The same applies here: Use clear labelling such as “Reset filter” instead of a simple “X” to give users a clear option for removing all filters.

Requirements for functioning Product Filters

Nowadays, a product filter is a mandatory element in online stores with a large product range. After all, they help the customer to narrow down the range according to their needs and thus give them a better overview. But unfortunately not every filter is implemented well. This starts with user-friendliness and ends with the number of available filters. Poor labelling or filters with only a single selection option undermine their functionality. It is particularly bad, and this is where filters really lose their raison d’être, if the hits displayed do not match the filtering. Or would you like flip-flops to be displayed when you select white sneakers? Probably not. Therefore, the hits are the be-all and end-all. But how do you ensure that the results displayed actually match the filters you have set and at the same time cover all filter-relevant products? This starts with the correct recording of product data.

For a filter to filter correctly, the necessary product data (e.g. size, brand, colour, etc.) must be available. This requires that all products are first assigned their specific properties. Only the allocation of characteristics ensures that the right products are filtered. It is important that not only the matching results are provided after filtering, but also that all matching results are displayed. This can be realized very easily with the help of a PIM system. A PIM system forms the information basis for all product data and helps with the structured management of this data. All relevant product information is categorised and managed centrally. As soon as the product information is complete, the PIM system automatically transfers the data to the output channel such as the online shop. Integrated validation workflows ensure data quality, meaning that product data can only be displayed if it has been recorded correctly and completely. This also includes the prompt updating of data, for example in the event of price changes. In short, a PIM system is the foundation for effective product filters, as it provides the precise product features required and thus improves the shopping experience for the customer. Just like OMN PIM.

Coffee filter as symbol image for blog article "Product filters in the online store".

Final thought: Product Filter

By optimising the product filters in your online store, you can not only improve the user experience, but also increase conversion rates and boost customer satisfaction. By following these tips, you will ensure that your customers find what they are looking for – quickly, efficiently and without stress. But… As with any other website component, regular testing is also important here. A/B tests can show you which filters are favoured by your customers and how the placement or design of the filters influence the user experience. And if you need a partner for your online shop and a PIM system, then you’ve come to the right place. We realise shop systems with Shopware and offer our in-house development OMN PIM as a PIM system.

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