Ecommerce Product Category Pages: UX Tips To Boost Engagement And Conversions

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Are you looking to make your ecommerce site a hit with shoppers?

Well, the secret key might just be in how you design your product category pages. These pages are where customers usually start their journey, so a smooth, intuitive experience is essential. They’ve got to be good – really good.

Poor user experience (UX) can leave shoppers feeling confused and frustrated – an instant conversion killer. Don’t sweat it, though. With some smart UX optimizations, you can turn those category pages into conversion powerhouses.

This guide shares some top-notch UX tips that’ll help you boost engagement, streamline navigation, and ensure your customers can effortlessly find what they want. Whether you’re a small shop or a big online retailer, these tips are designed to get your customers browsing more and clicking that “buy” button in seconds.

1. Don’t limit social proof to product pages

While it’s common to see reviews and ratings on product pages, extending social proof to category pages can significantly amplify your site’s trustworthiness and conversion rates.

Studies have shown that nearly 97% of online shoppers look up reviews and ratings when making a purchase decision.

By showcasing this social proof earlier in the shopping journey, you directly impact the user’s decision-making process, boosting the chances of conversion.

Here’s how to leverage social proof on category pages:

  • Display star ratings, review snippets, or aggregate scores below each product entry.
  • Incorporate real-time sales notifications (for example, “15 people bought this in the last hour!”).
  • Highlight best-selling or trending products with badges.
  • Use visual cues like colored circles with numbers inside to showcase the review count.

Let’s look at how two brands have successfully implemented this strategy:

Bariatric Fusion is a brand that specializes in supplements for weight loss.

On their Bariatric Multivitamins category page, they cleverly place star ratings and the number of reviews below each product entry.

1. Don’t Limit Social Proof to Product Pages

This immediate visibility of other customers’ satisfaction levels encourages trust and curiosity, prompting more clicks and, ultimately, purchases.

Vinyl Status, a custom sticker service, uses a dynamic approach to social proof on their Custom Dog Stickers page.

They feature real-time sale notifications that pop up to inform visitors of recent purchases. This creates a sense of urgency and popularity, making new visitors feel like they’re part of an active and engaging buying community.

1. Don’t Limit Social Proof to Product Pages_2

Following these examples for building trust through social proof, you’ll hook interested shoppers and guide them closer to adding items to their cart. It’s a powerful way to boost engagement and conversions.

2. Address common conversion obstacles early

Confronting common conversion obstacles right on the category page can significantly ease shopper hesitations and streamline their path to purchase.

By addressing concerns like delivery costs, refund policies, and transaction security upfront, you can build confidence and trust early in the shopping experience.

A strategic way to implement this is through the use of trust badges. According to data, prominent trust badges stimulate a sense of trust for about 76% of online customers.

Here’s how to implement them on your category pages:

  • Place them prominently in the header or sidebar of category pages.
  • Highlight the most compelling offers for your audience (e.g., free shipping over $50).
  • Use recognized icons and labels that are easily understood.
  • Link badges to more-info pages to address any lingering doubts.

A great example of this approach is Greenhouse Emporium, a retailer specializing in gardening and greenhouse supplies.

On their Small Greenhouses category page, they prominently display several trust badges, including free shipping, price match guarantee, secure checkout, and SSL encryption.

These badges address major customer concerns and signal a safe and reliable shopping environment.

2. Address Common Conversion Obstacles Early

By presenting these assurances early on, Greenhouse Emporium helps customers feel more comfortable making a purchase decision.

This tactic is super effective not only for boosting your credibility but also for encouraging your customers to proceed with confidence, increasing the likelihood of conversions right from the category pages.

3. Don’t limit the thumbnail to one view of the product

Offering multiple views of a product right from the category page can dramatically improve the user experience by providing a clearer, more comprehensive understanding of what they’re considering.

This is essential because it helps simulate the in-store experience where customers can physically examine products from various angles. Providing these visual details upfront can enhance user engagement and reduce uncertainty, leading to higher conversion rates.

Here’s how to maximize engagement with varied thumbnails:

  • Allow shoppers to mouse over for alternate views like backs, sides, and open/closed versions.
  • Provide swatch options that change the thumbnail’s color when hovering.
  • Use carousels, sliders, or clickable thumbnails to show additional shots.
  • Make sure any alt-thumbnails are high quality to instill confidence.

One brand that excels with this approach is Simply Beach, a swim and beachwear online store.

On their Tummy Control Swimsuits category page, Simply Beach enhances the user experience by displaying a rear view of the products on hover.

3. Don’t Limit the Thumbnail to One View of the Product

This feature allows potential buyers to visualize the product from additional perspectives, which is key for apparel where fit and style from all angles are important.

Another excellent example is Maytag, known for their kitchen and bathroom appliances.

They take thumbnail interactivity to the next level on their Side-by-Side Refrigerators category page. Customers can select from available colors, and the thumbnails update to reflect their choice.

Furthermore, hovering over the thumbnails reveals the refrigerator in an open state, offering a peek inside and showcasing internal features and capacity.

3. Don’t Limit the Thumbnail to One View of the Product_2

By adopting these interactive visual strategies, Simply Beach and Maytag cater to the informational needs of their shoppers while creating a more engaging and convincing browsing experience that can lead to increased sales.

4. Choose a thumbnail that shows the product in use

It’s one thing to see a product shot in a studio, but seeing that item in action in real-world settings? That’s pure sales magic.

Using thumbnails that depict products being used can spark insane engagement by helping customers envision themselves with that item.

These “in-use” shots allow shoppers to instantly grasp the product’s scale, functionality, and aesthetic in a relatable context.

Here’s how to nail in-use product thumbnails:

  • Show the item being interacted with by models/people.
  • Capture the product installed or set up for use in real environments.
  • Use aspirational settings shoppers envision themselves in.
  • Keep the subject matter straightforward and benefits obvious.

Pergola Kits USA is a textbook example of this tactic.

On their Patio Covers category page, they feature thumbnails of their pergola and pavilion kits that have already been assembled and installed on customer properties.

4. Choose a Thumbnail That Shows the Product in Use

This shows the product in its intended setting and helps potential buyers imagine how it might look in their own spaces. That way, they enhance the perceived value and applicability of the products.

Another example is Glossier, known for their skincare and beauty products.

Their Lip Makeup category page takes an interactive approach. When visitors hover over a product, the thumbnail switches to a photo of a model wearing the lip product.

4. Choose a Thumbnail That Shows the Product in Use_2

This allows customers to see the color and texture as it would appear in use, which can be a decisive factor in beauty product purchases.

Giving prospects a vivid glimpse into owning and using your products provides the inspiration they crave to keep clicking. In-use imagery converts by sparking that interest.

5. Collapse filter elements to avoid distraction

When it comes to online shopping, less can often be more.

By collapsing filter elements on category pages, you help keep the focus on the products themselves, minimizing distractions and visual clutter.

This design choice is beneficial because it allows users to quickly access filters when needed while keeping them out of the way when not in use.

Here’s how to implement collapsible filters effectively:

  • Consolidate filters into distinct sections that are labeled clearly (price, brand, type, color,  etc.).
  • Use universally recognized icons for filters like sliders and drop-downs.
  • Make collapsed sections small but obvious in sidebars/headers.
  • Ensure expanding doesn’t drastically alter the page layout.

A brand that successfully uses this tactic is Ovaeda, which specializes in outdoor living spaces.

On their Composite Balustrades category page, Ovaeda offers an extensive array of filters to help customers find exactly what they’re looking for.

Despite the potential for complexity, they manage to keep their user interface clean and uncluttered by collapsing all filter options into a concise menu.

5. Collapse Filter Elements to Avoid Distraction

This approach makes the page look more organized and enhances user engagement by reducing overwhelm and focusing attention on the products themselves.

By cutting out visual clutter, collapsible filters elevate the shopping experience. Visitors can browse uninterrupted until they need to dial in specifics – keeping their focus squarely on making a selection.

6. Sneak in a video of a product that represents the category

Incorporating video content directly on product category pages can significantly enhance user engagement and provide a dynamic shopping experience.

Video content has been shown to influence the purchasing decisions of 82% of customers, as it helps them better understand the product and visualize its use in real-life scenarios.

With it, you can highlight features, demonstrate use cases, and spark desire – all with captivating sight, sound, and motion.

Here’s how to strategically use category videos:

  • Feature a hero/best-selling product that exemplifies the category.
  • Keep videos short and compelling (15-30 seconds tends to work best).
  • Make sure videos are mobile-friendly and load seamlessly.
  • Consider autoplaying with muted audio by default.

A successful implementation of this strategy can be seen with Patagonia, a brand renowned for its outdoor clothing and gear.

On their Men’s Hiking Clothing category page, Patagonia includes a video among the product entries. The video, which showcases their hiking gear and clothing in use, plays automatically but without sound, instantly drawing attention.

6. Sneak in a Video of a Product That Represents the Category

This not only boosts interest but also allows visitors to envision the practical use of the products, enhancing the emotional appeal and connection to the product.

With an immersive video in the mix, your entire categories can come alive. Shoppers get a multi-sensory teaser of how your products could uplevel their passions and lifestyles. That emotional spark keeps them engaged and primed to explore further.

7. Add a description to match search intent

These days, shoppers are finding your product category pages directly through search engines and other digital pathways.

That means the category description is your opening line – your chance to capture their interest by speaking to their exact needs and requirements. Get it right, and you’ll hook high-intent visitors primed to convert.

Writing smart category descriptions aligned with popular search terms serves two key goals:

  1. It helps your pages get discovered by voicing the exact language customers use when browsing.
  2. It sets proper expectations around the products, making recommendations feel directly relevant to their search. This messaging match leads to higher engagement and conversions.

Here’s how to craft SEO-friendly, high-converting category descriptions:

  • Research popular keywords and phrases associated with the products.
  • Work in those priority terms naturally and mention key product use cases.
  • Make it clear what specific needs the category fulfills.
  • Keep it concise, but make every word sell the solution.

A brand that excels in this area is Lick, a paint and wallpaper company. On their Dark and Moody Colors category page, the description at the top captures the essence of the products featured in the category.

It uses evocative language and relevant keywords that enhance SEO while immediately giving visitors a sense of the category’s aesthetic. The introduction also helps set the mood and expectations, making it easier for customers to connect with the product offerings.

7. Add a Description to Match Search Intent

This strategic approach helps draw in and retain customers who are specifically interested in dark and moody color schemes, thereby increasing the chances of conversion.

With a focused, high-value category description upfront, you’ll instantly connect with the most motivated shoppers. It’s a surefire way to engage the right audience from the get-go.

Final thoughts

With so many potential customers hitting your ecommerce category pages, you can’t afford to miss these opportunities to engage them.

Implement the UX tips and tactics outlined here, and you’ll be well on your way to a more seamless, desire-inducing browsing experience. Start converting more of those hard-earned category page views into profitable sales.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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