Sorting is an indispensable part of search and product browsing. It’s how users narrow down the things they’re interested in so providing relevant options is critical. Sorting is often used in combination with the filtering option.
Common sorting options:
- New Arrivals
Sorting by relevance should be your default option. This involves returning a broad selection of products within the category. While it’s rarely final, it gives your users a sense of the scope of your store and confirms to them that they’ve landed on the right page.
Take the example of an electronics store. If a user searches for TVs, it’s a good idea to return TVs of different sizes, from multiple manufacturers, and across multiple price points. If you only returned 84-inch Samsung TVs, a user would think you only sell 84-inch Samsung TVs. After those initial results, the customer can further refine their criteria.
Price is the most common sorting option. It’s generally used by customers who know what they want but haven’t settled on an exact budget though they may have a price range in mind. Price is sorted in two directions, from low to high and high to low.
Baymard recommends you use the words high and low rather than ascending and descending. High and low are more common and therefore less likely to be confusing or trouble people with dyslexia. Other symbols like arrows are also discouraged.
This is where you sort your products according to how well they’re selling. You put your bestsellers on top and the rest at the bottom. Top-selling products also tend to have a lot of reviews and present a golden opportunity for you to earn word-of-mouth referrals.
This is where you sort your products based on the date you received them. Most sites just rank everything starting with the newest stuff and ending with the oldest. You should provide a cut-off date to qualify “new” stuff.
Sorting by ratings is also pretty popular. Most customers use it to determine the best rated product within a specific category, price range, or range of specifications. It is important to disclose what ratings your rankings are based on (i.e. either ranked by customers or experts).
Avoid alphabetical sorting
Alphabetical sorting would be problematic when the list of products is long making it highly tiresome to scroll through.
Baymard also discourages alphabetical sorting because some companies don’t name their products starting with the brand name. This makes such products impossible to find in an alphabetically ranked list.
Don’t reset filtering settings
Most people don’t use one set of filtering or sorting options. They keep refining their criteria until they get what they want.
Take the example of a guy shopping for pants. He would filter for waist size, fabric, length, designer and color. He would then sort them from the cheapest going up. He would then settle on a price range and filter for that. Then would sort pants in that price range by rating to find the one he feels would give him the best value for his money. Resetting his sort and filter options at any point in the middle of that process is an unforgivable crime that would almost certainly cost you a customer.