How to Use Your Category Pages to Sell More

7 Min. Read

It’s no secret, the best way to sell more at a higher price is to build a brand and then build trust in that brand.  In order to do this you need to have a well developed brand archetype and persona.  In addition you need to supply your brand with consistent messaging and imagery especially in terms of product appearance and the context of its use case, which is key to high performance category pages.  

While the category pages are generated from your Shopify product database, often, what the category page will look like with a bunch of products listed up together is often an afterthought, when it should be a forethought

Product photography is just one of many important elements that should be considered when building a category page.  UX Design and the filters available for product listing all come under the header of usability and should be considered when planning the entire website layout.

However its not just about how it looks, but also about how Google search sees it.

All about Category Pages

Category Pages - The Basics

As a general rule, any webpage should be designed to meet the requirements of the customer, as opposed to designing according to how you, as the merchant understand your product and from that knowledge, how you think it should be displayed, there are often big differences between your understanding of the product and your potential customers understanding.  

To determine where differences lie, testing must be done.  Often businesses try to communicate the features of their product in ways in which the customer is not searching for it.  The goal is to minimize those differences.

Spending a little time and effort communicating with the customer about your products and testing display variations can have a big positive outcomes. 

Much depends on your targeting, and how you target, where success or failure is entirely dependent upon understanding your audience, – use your customer data! 

Knowing your customer (KYC) through your custom fields, analytics and customer surveys, enables the possibility of creating more precise communication, – greater personalization. In other words psychographic segmentation, leveraging GA and your Shopify data through Conversific to improve targeting.

By improving personalization you will increase engagement and reduce your bounce rate back to Google.  This in its own right is a positive signal to Google Search, positively affecting your category pages ranking.

Just as testing product descriptions will improve customer acquisition on product pages, category descriptions will help on category pages, however these are typically short and to the point.

More importantly how you name your products is critical, and naming must also be reflected within the long form product description for optimal SEO. Consider your website structure categories/collections,  these define Google search visibility and your store usability. 

Product Photography.

Photograph consistency is crucial aspect of category page communication, across all products in your store, that is unless you want your store to look like ebay.  Since consistency is the goal, choose a look that works across all products, or at the very least, all products within a category of products.  Choose a look and know how to repeat it, – consistently.  The below points will help:-
 
  1. Use the same camera across entire category
  2. Use consistent camera / phone modes and settings.
  3. Measure your light
  4. Fill or bounce light, – what works for your products best?
  5. Use a tripod
  6. Consistent background, perhaps a light box?
  7. Be sure to add a watermark / logo
  8. If on a budget, use a mobile phone with a macro option or external clip on lens.  Small is beautiful, – maneuverable and high-enough quality.
  9. Take lots of shots at different angles – but stay consistent across each range.
  10. Stay consistent with the image after-effects, photoshop etc.

Choose a gallery to suit your product needs, preferably a 3rd party best in class app for your Shopify store.  This an important step from a feature perspective and a visual one.  There are many niche, industry specific imagery Shopify addons to select from.  Indeed this is where you will find the most cutting edge of features such as augmented reality.

Building Trust

Throughout your website you need to build trust, including on your category pages.  This can be achieved through branding your category pages, providing reviews and testimonials.  Shopify apps that leverage psychological biases are particularly effective.  A life feed of semi-anonymous buyers that popup intermittently in combination of limited stock is particularly effective, especially if there is a discount to be had for loyalty.  The very fact that others are buying builds trust in your store.

Short and sweet testimonials with persons image and star rank is best.  Add a link to your shipping and returns policy and highlight how far you will go to keep them happy.  Choose a scrollable testimonial section and deal with common concerns with each one.

A chat bot is always great to see, preferably with a real customer support person that can reassure the customer.  Trust seals such as trustpilot are always a welcome sight for customers, -they are convincing.

Place your brand personality front and center and have a USP related to each category.

How to Help the Customer Find What they Want.

In many cases customers don’t know what they want.  Simply by visiting a category page suggests they are browsing to find what they want, – they haven’t found it yet.

To make it easy for the customer, you should name and describe your products in the terms by which your customers are looking / searching for.  While this may seem straight forward, the product manufacturer’s naming of the product may not match the terminology which the customer is using to try to find that same product.

Again, – Know your customers (KYC), rename your products if needed!

The use of smart analytics is one of the most fundamental of eCommerce tools, but this will only show you how customers have found your store. Using Facebook ads – testing variations of messaging is a great way to identify better terminology via the conversion rate achieved. Alternatively simply by researching your competitors category pages and products with a tool like AHREFs is effective in finding gaps in terminology.

Even through somantic search, Google is getting better at determining user intent, helping customers to find their desired product no matter how loosely they search for it. However do not rely upon it but rather, learn from it, and change your category page SEO to match what Google tells you is effective.

So much is about interpreting results and so an intelligent dashboard bringing together GA and Shopify analytics results can greatly assist with making the right decisions for your store.

Product Recommendation Engine (PRE)

Displaying frequently bought together items is what a product recommendation engine is all about.  However this can also be done manually, just use Conversific’s dashboard to see items that are commonly purchased together and create a deals category.  

A PRE taps into product purchase history on a customer by customer basis but also in terms of others who have bought the same item, and what else they purchased, and then it recommends accordingly.

A product recommendation section on your category page makes sense.  

Conversific can be a great help here, with readily available analytics on items frequently purchased together.  A tool like OptiMonk provides a recommendation engine.

A PRE taps into product purchase history on a customer by customer basis but also in terms of others who have bought the same item, and what else they purchased, and then it recommends accordingly.

A product recommendation section on your category page makes sense.  

Conversific can be a great help here, with readily available analytics on items frequently purchased together.  A tool like OptiMonk provides a recommendation engine.

Conclusion

Creating an effective category page is best achieved as a forethought, rather than an afterthought, indeed it should be done while creating a brand’s look and feel, when defining the brands personality.

By design are the words to live by when launching an eCommerce business.

Category pages are one of the most important ports of call for your customers, acting as landing pages for product groups and helping them to navigate your store.  At the same time they are one of the most important sources of data, assisting you to learn about your customers and their interests, thereby helping you to group, upsell and cross-sell.

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