People often talk about eCommerce product pages, but what exactly is the function of your category page? Your category landing page is the virtual ‘home’ for a specific product family — but does it need to be more than that? Should you be optimizing your category page for SEO as well? What about design and copy?
Not paying enough attention to your category landing pages could be hurting your conversions and sales figures. Get clued up on category pages to see your online store thrive.
Read on for some essential features of a great eCommerce category page…
Specificity and niche-awareness
You might already know that successful eCommerce brands need to have both a great ethos and personality — and it always pays to be specific in eCommerce if you want to elevate your brand.
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Argos is a retail chain in the UK. They opened their first store in the United Kingdom in 1973. The concept of cash purchases at “Green Shield Gift House” was first introduced by Richard Tompkins. In July 1973, he rebranded Green Shield’s catalogue shops as Argos, and opened their first purpose-built shop in Station Road, Edgware, London. Currently, Argos has over ninety locations worldwide.
As the UK’s largest general merchandise retailer, Argos has a diverse range of products. The company has more than 60,000 products available online and in stores. The company offers Click and Collect points inside Sainsbury’s stores and employs approximately 30,000 people. Argos is the number one toy retailer and a leader in furniture and homewares. Argos also offers home delivery within four hours.
The more you niche down in eCommerce, the more likely it is you will find dedicated brand advocates.
And niching down also pays off with your eCommerce category pages.
You don’t want your category page to be confusing or poorly targeted. Keep it super specific to keep the user on the right path — the path that leads to a sale.
- Think long and hard about product grouping and organization so that you get a super focused and engaging inventory. Have both broad and specific product categories to cater to all users.
- Make sure your categories cater to all your customer groups (even more unique ones), and that you’re not missing out any niche user groups (products organized by color, brands, materials, styles, provenance, etc).
Category pages should aim to be clear and minimalist, not cluttered.
Dial down on any ‘fancy’ web design and keep things super targeted in order to guide the user down the sales funnel and get them to take the next action.
Yankee Candle has a pretty good category page design that’s laser-focused on products and filtering:
You want to draw the user’s eye to the products first, but also keep relevant filters visible (just like Yankee Candle) to keep their sales journey as simple to navigate as possible.
Customers often want to shop around a few different categories and filters before making a purchase decision. Make sure you make the category discovery process as easy as possible for them.
Don’t be afraid to direct the user somewhere else from time to time. Include other product categories, special offers, and related products to really ramp up your sales figures. Amazon is the master of cross-selling, and we could all learn a thing or two from Amazon…
Cross-selling across product categories is an important lifeline for eCommerce entrepreneurs. It can especially help new customers discover the full depth and range of your inventory.
Fast page loading times
Let’s face it, a category page is not somewhere you necessarily want your customers to linger. You certainly don’t want them to be stuck there, waiting for your page to load in.
Page speed is linked to eCommerce conversions, and category pages are no exceptions to this rule.
Make sure that your website code, imagery, and any page-level features are all optimized for speed. Minification and compression are no-brainers in today’s frenetic world of mobile commerce.
Page speed and SEO go hand in hand, so getting these things right has a big impact on your business – losing just one second of page load speed cause your ranking to drop and your revenue to sink.
Relevant category copy will help improve the SEO-friendliness of your online store.
Search engines like to see a copy and relevant metadata like title tags and meta descriptions on a web page — it helps them contextualize the page and pinpoint relevant content themes and topics.
It’s often a good idea to have copy both above and below any product images. Put short and punchy sales copy on the top, and a longer copy box at the bottom.
Attractive visuals will help users convert faster on a category page. Remember that one of your primary goals is to get people clicking into individual product pages in order to move them further down the sales funnel.
Put your best product and lifestyle imagery on show and make visiting your category page a rewarding experience. Think about how your product imagery works as a whole. Is your collections page visually coherent enough? How is your brand being visually portrayed? Are all your category page photos consistent?
A video on a category page might help reduce overall bounce rate and increase page dwell time, but be careful about what a video will do to your page design, structure, and speed.
Good internal links
From an SEO perspective, internal links to and from your category pages are important. They help bolster page authority and situate category pages within the overall site architecture.
- Make sure you’re internal links are meaningful, and not just random snippets of code or design elements kept in as an afterthought. Be strategic about the anchor text you use in your internal links.
- Make sure you link out to other relevant product categories and any key products.
- Ensure that your category pages themselves are getting a healthy amount of inbound links from around the site (and external sources too).
On eCommerce stores, the homepage can especially become an authority dead-end, so make sure your category pages are also getting some link love.
Your category page is an important step in your customer’s sales journey, so don’t neglect it! Make the most of your online store’s features to craft a category page your customers will love.