Do you have an eCommerce with thousands of products? Tips to improve user experience (and keep your customers from getting lost while browsing your catalogue)

Theoretically, having a very large catalogue is a good thing.

The more products you sell, the more options your customers have, and the more chances there are of buying from you in the end.

But… have you considered for a second the cons of a large catalogue?

 Because owning an eCommerce with thousands of product cards also means:

  • Having a bunch of categories and subcategories (which will turn web design into a genuine challenge).
  • Customers will have a hard time finding the exact product they are searching for.

That can affect your eCommerce’s user experience

… and have a zillion potential customers leave your web, annoyed at the impossibility of knowing their way around an extensive catalogue and its many product cards.

Relax, that won’t happen to you.

Of course, as long as you pay extra attention to this post and take the advice we’re about to give you. 😉

If you would like to take advantage of owning a large amount of products without any inconveniences, then keep on reading.

👉 5 tips to optimize user experience in eCommerces with thousands of products

As we were saying, the main problem of large-catalog eCommerces is the difficulty users experience at finding the exact product they’re interested in.

So let’s see some strategies to make it easy-peasy for them.

✅ 1. Make sure your website is loading fast

Too many product cards mean too many uploaded images to your web.

And too many uploaded images mean that the server hosting your web will have to load more resources…. which might affect the loading speed.

That’s very dangerous because if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you can start losing customers (users will eventually grow tired of waiting and will leave).

You can prevent this by:

To learn more about this matter, we suggest you swing by this post on how to analyze and improve your eCommerce’s load speed.

✅ 2. A Well-Organized Web Architecture = more user-friendliness

Web architecture or web structure refers to how product cards and categories are organized in your store.

It’s a very influential element when it comes to user experience (in addition to being important for SEO).

When web architecture is well-organized, the user can browse intuitively across categories to find the product they’re searching for. 

For example, check out this pet store: Petco.

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Imagine you’re searching for hay for your rabbits.

Even if it’s your first time on this web, you would intuitively go first to the “Small Pet” section on the menu bar and from there to the “Food” subcategory.

In this subcategory, as you can see, we can find the “Hay and Grass” one.

In just a matter of seconds, we arrive at the right section thanks to a neat and well-organized web.

✅ 3. Create shortcuts that help the user find what they want

We’ve just seen how web architecture favors navigability.

But, what if —instead of going from one category to another— the user would rather get to the product they’re interested in as soon as possible?

Then, we can offer them certain browsing “shortcuts”.

Here are 3 ideas.

➡️ A. Display featured products on the homepage

Your eCommerce’s website has one essential goal: to help the user keep on browsing and to guide them to the products they’re most interested in (or the ones you’re more interested in showing them). 😉

This can be clearly seen on Petco’s web (the store from the previous example).

If you go on their homepage you’ll see how they use it to:

  • Spotlight seasonal products: as soon as you land on their homepage, you see a slider that has two purposes. First, it advertises special offers that are active. Then, it showcases travel accessories (since people are going on vacation now, they know many of their customers will come looking for this kind of products).
  • Guide users so they can keep on browsing: right under the slider, this eCommerce has included a row of “recommended for you” products with customized suggestions based on the user’s browsing history (a strategy known as dynamic content).
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Thanks to all these elements, the homepage itself “guides” you to the products you might be interested in.

➡️ B. Adapt the browsing menu to what your customers are looking for

If in any regular store the menu bar matters to help users browse, when it comes to a large-catalogue eCommerce, it becomes an essential element.

But, how can you know which elements to include in the menu? Or how to organize them?

It’s very simple.

Just step in your customers’ shoes and think: “If I went on this website for the first time, what could I be most interested in?”

Here’s a practical example for you.

Let’s suppose that many of your users tend to filter their searches by brands.

In this case, you should create a specific tab on the browsing menu that gathers the main brands you sell in your store.

Another situation: if you own an online pharmacy and a relevant section of your customers buys skin products, you could create a shortcut on the menu that takes them straight to that category.

Also, if among your thousand products there are some that sell less and you have excess inventory, a good option to get rid of it is to create a “Last Items” tab and offer a discount.

➡️ C. Include breadcrumbs to facilitate cross-category browsing

Breadcrumbs are the visible links on the top part of the site when you browse categories and product cards.

For example:

mejorar-experiencia-usuario-ecommerce-volumen-grande-productos

So, what does it have to do with navigability?

Breadcrumbs help users know where they are at all times and allow them to go back to or previously visited subcategories faster.

This would be an example of a breadcrumb on a website: Homepage > Women > Accessories > Hair Accessories > Product name.

So, if you’re on the product card and want to go back to “Accessories”, you need only go to the breadcrumb and click on the corresponding link.

✅ 4. Offer your customers complementary products (and increase the average checkout price)

Finally, the user has landed on the site of the product they want. This is really good timing to show other complementary products.

Here’s a real example for you.

Imagine you’re on a sports eCommerce looking at a camping tent.

As you scroll down, you find a list of recommended products —such as the one on the image— which includes:

  • Flashlights.
  • Sleeping bags.
  • Pillows.
buena-experiencia-usuario-ecommerce-volumen-grande

These are products we would most likely be interested in if we were thinking about going camping. And since the store is placing them right there before us, only one click away, it’s really convenient to just add them to our cart.

So much more than if we had to go to the specific category of each of them and then go back to browsing among tenths or hundredths of product cards of sleeping bags, flashlights or pillows. 😉

We can even go one step beyond and offer the user all those products in a single pack, which is known as product bundling.

In an eCommerce with many products, these two strategies not only simplify the purchase process a great deal, but they’re also a good alternative for increasing the average checkout price.

✅  5. Add filters (it’s not the same to search among 10 products than among 200)

Imagine you go on an online store searching for a coffee machine… and as you click on the corresponding category, you come across 500 different models.

You can go mad before you actually find what you’re interested in.

So, what if you could filter them by features, price range or brand?

Now you have a shorter list of items, and it’s way simpler to find the exact model you want.

This is known as faceted search and it’s a must in large-catalogue stores.

If you want to learn more about this strategy and how to implement it, you can have a look at this post on search filters.

👉 An extra element we haven’t mentioned yet…

Wait, is there more?

Oh yes. 😉

There’s one last element that’s very important to any store and especially to those with a large catalogue.

The internal search engine.

This tool allows the user to instantly find the exact product they’re interested in among the hundreds or thousands of products that make up your catalogue.

But not just any search engine will do. It must be one capable of:

  • Offering customized search results: thanks to artificial intelligence, the search engine learns from users (their previous searches, recently bought products, etc.) to offer them customized results.
  • Implementing faceted search: in order to shorten the search results, as we mentioned above.
  • Including voice search and visual search: so you can dictate what you need or even find a specific product by uploading a picture from your cell phone.

All these features are available with Doofinder, a smart search engine.

Thanks to them (among many other features), stores that use it have seen their sales increase between 10% to 20%.

And the best part?

You can have a 30-day free trial through this link.

Implement this tip and the other ones in this post as well and you’ll make sure your users never get lost around your catalogue.