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Faceted search navigation proves conversion by allowing customers to search, refine, and find what they want more efficiently. Many websites use simple filters, and they do a decent job of letting users search for items and excluding those that do not match the given criteria. 

However, faceted navigation takes it one step further. It allows users to select multiple characteristics at once, providing maximum flexibility in information retrieval. Ultimately, this means not only more choice for the consumer but also allows them to zero in quickly.

To help me illustrate how faceted search can improve navigation, I’ll use as an example an eCommerce store that sells cell phones. With a simple filter system, when searching for multiple conditionals like brand, OS, price, or specific features, the search results might lack organization, leading to confusion and shopping cart abandonment. With a faceted search, the customer can easily filter information to hone in or compare models.

Here are eight best practices and powerful concepts that will help you design your interface. 

1. Make sure options relate to the product

For instance, using the cell phone dealer example, including options like brand, price, OS, screen size, and other relevant choices are crucial. The more specific search criteria available to your customer, the easier it will be to find the exact item they want.

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2. Follow the leaders

Giants like Google, Amazon, or eBay know a thing or two about faceted search. Visitors expect your site to look and work similarly. For example, this means placing your search on the left side of the page. If putting it on the left is not feasible, the next best spot is at the top of the page, but this means leaving less space for product visibility.

3. Add a Clear Filter link to every category

It might seem like a small detail, but if you add a Clear Filter field, you will be allowing users to quickly start their search over without manually clearing each box individually.

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4. Use widgets

These can include sliders, checkboxes, input forms, and dropdowns. Make them easy to manipulate and have a useful filtering purpose.

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5. Include customer reviews

Shoppers love to read what others consumers have to say about your product. Let them sort reviews by star rating as well as those deemed Most Helpful. Mind you, this only works well for products with lots of reviews.

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6. Get creative

In addition to standard filters such as price, or size, it’s a good idea to offer facets that give users other ways to shop. Think, of example, of including a Top 100 or target subgroups, i.e., Popular with Moms.

7. Let them expand/collapse

Faceted search menus can get very detailed, and this can become overwhelming very quickly. To prevent this, it’s a good practice to use main categories with expandable sub categories that open and close, helping to simplify the navigation.

8. Don’t show blank results

If some of your products are not available in some of the colors or sizes listed, grey them out. Also, instead of a zero-results page, you can offer suggestions for similar items as an alternative. Do not leave your customer in a dead end.

Switching to a faceted search navigation in your SuiteCommerce site will optimize performance and create a consumer-centric site, improving the overall shopping experience. Faceted navigation is flexible and powerful, but it can be complex to develop and maintain. To learn more about faceted search and how it can transform your online store, drop us a line and talk to our experts

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