how to organize e-commerce categories

Women's clothes hanging on a boutique rail.

Now that you’ve begun auditing your e-commerce shop, it’s time to evaluate how your inventory is displayed for sale. Just like how physical stores often have different departments, your storefront can benefit from different e-commerce categories (aka collections) that contain a certain type of product. You can further organize your products with filters and variants, two other features that make it really easy for your customers to find what they’re looking for.

arrange your e-commerce products

There are three organizational features you’ll want to use in tandem. If you’re just starting your shop, use all of these options from day one, even if it feels like overkill. You’ll appreciate it when your inventory grows!

  1. Categories / Collections – Lump all of your products into similar groups. Don’t get too specific here. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with hundreds of collections that only contain one or two products each. Don’t worry if there are a few pages of products in each e-commerce category. Filters will help your customers find exactly what you’re looking for.

  2. Filters – After placing products into the relevant category/collection (like “women’s pants”), assign appropriate tags or attributes to each item. This will allow your shoppers to use the “filter” or “refine” feature on your website to narrow down the category.

  3. Variants – If you sell the same product in multiple colors or sizes, use your e-commerce cart’s product variant feature to display them all on one page. A great example of this is a t-shirt that is available in four sizes and three colors. Rather than have the same product listed 12 times, you’ll have one product page from which shoppers can choose their preferred size and color.

improve existing e-commerce categories

If your e-commerce site has been in operation for some time, you might find you currently have either too many categories (some with only one product in them) or not enough (everything on one long scrollable page).

Depending on the system you use, creating a new category and moving products around can change the URL associated with them. This might cause a small drop in traffic to the product (e.g. you might see fewer hits in your storefront analytics or a little dip in conversions), however, that’s common and temporary. Soon, your traffic should be back up to where it was before and then beyond – thanks to a new, more shopper-friendly experience!

TIP: Blast your email list and social media channels with updates of new and exciting changes to your website! This can help bring in new traffic and inspire repeat conversions from existing customers.