We are living in the age of infinite choices, and with more choices than ever before, we also have to make more decisions than ever before. Ironically, this can lead to no decision at all - the paradox of choice is well known to any e-marketer.
The average person is exposed to around 10,000 advertisements every day, and this number is only increasing as we become more connected. With so many choices available, it can be difficult for customers to find the products they want quickly and easily.
How can you compete in an environment where there are seemingly endless choices, and people are bombarded with messages all day long? The key is to make it easier for your customers to find what they're looking for. And that's where filters come in.
According to Baymard Institute, websites with optimized product listing and filtering saw nearly a 4-fold decrease in abandonment rates.
Filters narrow down the options, thus reducing choices so that customers can find what they're looking for while also reducing the cognitive burden of having to choose.
There are many different types of filters, but dynamic filters are becoming increasingly popular in ecommerce due to their flexibility and usability. We'll look at what dynamic filters are, how they work, and some examples of where they're being used effectively.
So, What Exactly is a Dynamic Filter?
Dynamic filters are a type of adaptive filtering method that change based on the search query. As soon as a user applies one filter, the other filter options change based on the first one.
Using dynamic filtering is a great way to help customers find specific products by reducing search results AND reducing the cognitive burden of making a decision by reducing search categories.
For example: If a user searches for “casual shoes” and applies a size filter to pick size 8, the color filter will auto-update and only show colors available in size 8.
Applying filters in this way helps users to find products without having to wade through a large number of irrelevant results.
The advantage of dynamic filters is that they are highly flexible and can filter by any type of criteria. This flexibility makes dynamic filters ideal for use in ecommerce, where there are often a large number of products with a variety of different attributes.
When to Use Dynamic Filters?
Dynamic filters can be used in any situation. They are particularly effective when used with product categories that have a lot of sub-categories, such as clothing or footwear.
One word of caution: if you have an extensive database, using too many filters at once can slow down the search process and make it difficult for users to find products. In this case, it's best to use a combination of static and dynamic filters.
Static filters remain the same regardless of the search query, while dynamic filters change based on the user's input.
For example, you might have a static filter for "price range" and a dynamic filter for "size”. While applying a static filter will only change the search results, applying a dynamic filter will change the search results and the other filters.
How do you Set Up Dynamic Filtering
The first step is to identify the attributes of your products that can be used for filtering. These might be things like size, color, price, material, or any other criteria that can be used to narrow down the search results.
Once you've identified the attributes that can be used for filtering, you need to decide how these will be represented in the filter interface. The most common way to do this is with drop-down menus, but you could also use sliders, checkboxes, or text input.
The next step is to decide how the filters will work together. Filters need to be nested or linked together so when a user selects “Pink” & “Shoes”, the only filter options that are shown are applicable to in-stock products that have both of these attributes.
It's also important to make sure that the filters are updated in real time so that users can see the results of their selections immediately. This is what makes dynamic filters so powerful and user-friendly.
Finally, you need to decide where the filters will be located on the page. The most common place to put them is the sidebar, but you can also place static filters on the sidebar and dynamic filters on a horizontal bar.
Best Practices for Dynamic Filtering
Now that we've seen what dynamic filters are and how they work, let's look at some best practices for using them.
1. Use clear and concise labels
The labels for your filters should be clear and concise so that users know exactly what they're selecting. For example, if you're selling shoes, it's better to use the term "Shoe size" rather than "Footwear size".
2. Keep the number of filters to a minimum
You should only use as many filters as necessary to narrow down the search results. Using too many filters can be confusing and off-putting for users.
3. Adapt to text searches
Even if your customer doesn’t manually select filters, your search engine should be able to narrow down results and filters based on the search query. It’s also essential to clearly show what filters have been applied. For example, if a prospective customer searches for “Levi’s jeans”, the search results should prefilter for “jeans” from the “Levi’s brand” AND also narrow down available filters.
4. Allow users to deselect filters
Once a user has selected a dynamic filter, they should be able to easily deselect it if they want to. And as soon as they do so, the filters should dynamically update again – so that users can change their minds and explore different options.
5. Use visual cues
Visual cues such as color or icons help users understand the filters. For example, you could use a green icon for "In stock" and a red icon for "Out of stock".
6. Use real-time updates
Slow loading websites cost e-retailers nearly $70 billion in lost sales annually. It's important to make sure that the filters are updated in real time so that users can see the results of their selections immediately.
7. Test, test, test!
As with anything in ecommerce, it's important to test your dynamic filters before you launch them. Try different configurations and see what works best for your products and customers.
Customers value speed, and time is the most precious commodity anyone has. Make sure you are using dynamic filters on your website to give customers what they want - fast and specific product results without having to wade through a ton of irrelevant options.
Dynamic filters are a powerful tool for ecommerce businesses; by following the best practices above, you can make sure that your filters are user-friendly, save your customers time, and drive conversions.