How to Set Up an Online Store Catalog

  • Post last modified:27 September 2022
  • Reading time:9 mins read

How to Set Up an Online Store Catalog

The catalog is the face of any online store. No matter how high-quality products you have, practice shows that if the page of your site looks unpleasant and feels unintuitive, visitors will not understand it and will simply go to another resource.

In addition, a good directory is able to generate new traffic for the site. If you compose it according to the needs of the target audience and take into account its key queries, more and more visitors from search engines will automatically get to your portal.

However, a good result requires appropriate knowledge. In today’s article, we will talk about the main principles of creating a catalog and reveal how to make it attractive to a potential customer.

Why is the structure of the product catalog important?

The catalog structure of an online store can be represented as a tree that brings logic to an extensive list of products on the site. The range is somehow divided into categories, groups and subgroups. This is done both for the convenience of the user and for SEO-promotion of the site. It is important here for your catalog to be intuitive for everyone. When dividing a product into categories, try to avoid complex wording that may be incomprehensible to users.

Therefore, if you need to include this kind of category, try to find a clear name or include a footnote that explains its meaning. We also recommend that you take care of the ease of finding the product you need. Do not make your site a maze, avoid too many subcategories, and only use them where you really need to.

We recommend using the “rule of three”. That is, try to think over the structure so that the visitor can find the product they are interested in without making more than 3 clicks. Ideally, your search path should look like this: “category → product” or “category → subcategory → product”. The average user can be very impatient, so saving them time should be your best interest.

Semantic core of the Internet directory

The nice-sounding concept of “semantic core” means a list of key queries for which users google the products they need. Therefore, when compiling a catalog, try to think like your customers do. Analyze search demand, that is, track exactly how users search for your products on the Internet and, based on this, compose the structure of your catalog.

Proper work with semantics will give you answers to key questions: how to highlight the main categories, which product groups are in the highest demand, which product features are of interest to users, and which ones make them refrain from buying.

Having all the necessary information, you will be able to create a competent sales strategy, exclude the least demanded product from your range and get the maximum benefit from your investment. Therefore, if you want to implement a successful store, do not be stingy when hiring an IT specialist. You will need a person who knows this specifics well.

However, even the best person in the business will not be able to give you what you want if you do not explain to them what you need. Bring them all the necessary information and clearly outline the result you are striving for.

Category tree

A successfully selected semantic core allows us to build a category tree. It forms the basis of the structure of the product catalog. Gradually, this tree acquires branches, that is, it is replenished with subcategories of a lower level. Product expansion is a natural part of growing any business. The main thing here is to approach the adaptation of the catalog reasonably.

Do not overload the visitor with an excessive number of subcategories, because it might be easy to get confused in them. To avoid this scenario, use filters. By moving subcategories there, you can avoid confusion, while not restricting users in the functionality at all.

Also, store extensions can go to the other extreme: categories with a small amount of products. It can also negatively impact your store. After all, if a user follows a link from search engines and ends up on a page with poor content, they may subconsciously think that a similar situation prevails throughout the site.

Try to combine categories with a small number of products with others that are related in range. For example, if you’re a sports supplement manufacturer and you have many brands of whey protein, but only a few variations for the rest of it, it is best to just put them all in one category: “Protein”.

How to improve the product catalog of the site

Compare your catalog regularly with competitors’ catalogs. This will help you understand what functionality gives people the most comfort, as well as make it possible to realize what features should be added in upcoming updates. Feel free to be inspired, but if possible, try to keep your unique features, your site should be remembered.

Also, take seriously the issue of design, practice shows that if the visitor is not comfortable with the appearance of the resource, they can take your store for a second-rate one and leave it.

At the same time, try to keep a balance between functionality and appearance. A nice picture is important, but it should not be too colorful. Excessive pretentiousness can confuse the visitor. Properly approach the selection of products. The user should have a wide choice and the ability to find several variations of what they want

Due to this, they will not feel limited and will not want to look for the product anywhere else. However, you should not overdo it with the number of items sold either. Having dozens of variations of the same product on the site, you can confuse a potential buyer.

It makes no sense for a vitamins manufacturer, for example, to sell different drugs with the same properties, since the user will not know what to choose. In addition, the larger the range, the more difficult it is to check it.

By prioritizing quantity, you will inevitably lose quality, which in the long run can have a very negative impact on your sales. If the buyer receives a poor-quality product, the likelihood that they will want to make another purchase on your site will be extremely small.

Moreover, if such situations happen to a large number of people, your store may develop a bad reputation and then even people who have not yet made purchases from you will begin to avoid your page.

Conclusion

As we can see now, the creation of a catalog is a complex and time-consuming process that requires a balanced and serious attitude. To create a successful option, you will need to understand your goals, opportunities and audience in advance, as well as be clearly aware of current trends and keep a sense of proportion.

Make decisions carefully, take into account all the above factors, and you will have a catalog that can not only satisfy the user, but also attract new traffic. And remember, you must constantly maintain your site and carefully ensure that its catalog matches your capabilities and keeps up with what your competitors offer.

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