A major conundrum for e-commerce sites, large and small, has long been trying to figure out exactly how many products are best to display on each search results page. This can get a little tricky when you factor in things like site speed, total inventory, user experience design, and more.
So, to help make a little more sense of it all, we’ve compiled a go-to list of elements to consider when building out pages to display your products.
Understanding Your Product
Before undertaking the task of figuring out proper pagination, you need to gain the greatest understanding of your product possible. Everything from knowing how much information you should devote to product descriptions to choosing the right images will determine just how many products each page can, and should, display.
For example, if your e-commerce site specializes in consumer electronics and technology, there may be an increased need to list specification and competitor comparisons, so consumers can make the most informed decisions when buying. This means you’ll probably have fewer items display on each page, in lieu of richer, more detailed product descriptions.
Knowing how your target audience engages with products or services like yours will go a long way in determining the right pagination, too. If research suggests your audience tends to make purchasing decisions based on images, then you’re likely to have more products display per page with short, concise descriptions.
The same concept goes for audiences that may prefer denser descriptions, customer reviews, price comparisons and more. Each augmentation you make to the way a product is displayed can affect the optimal number you can include on each page of your site.
When faced with figuring out how best to display large quantities of items, adding a categorization component to your search options give consumers the ability to drill down large volumes of inventory. Adding this convenience to search pages also reduces the likelihood of consumers becoming overwhelmed, which can cost you potential sales.
Less of an issue now than it was about a decade or so ago, page load times can greatly affect how many products you can display per page. The more rich media (high-quality photos, videos or alternate views) you include per item can affect the amount of time it takes each product page to load.
This can be alleviated by increasing server space, but that can get expensive. You can also reduce the amount of media you use to showcase products, but you run the risk of shortchanging potential buyers who may want to know more about a product at first glance. Essentially, it comes down to finding the right balance between the two to create the most seamless shopping experience for consumers.
If finding that “happy medium” becomes more of a hassle than it’s worth, the very least you can do is provide consumers with options to change how many items are displayed per page, as well as the ability to customize their sorting options. There will be those outliers who’d rather view 150 items per page, in ascending alphabetical order, so it’s best to provide options in as many configurations as your platform will allow.
There’s no hard-and-fast way to determine how many products your e-commerce site should showcase per page. Each instance needs to be handled on a case-by-case basis as several variables come into play when employing appropriate pagination practices.
With the right copy management tools, though, you can take much of the guesswork out. Take Catsy for a spin and experience the difference having true content control makes.