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What sorting mechanisms should a store have?

 

According to Baymard, there are four essential sort types. They are:

  • Price
  • Average rating
  • Best selling
  • Newest

Other sorting mechanisms include:

  • Brand
  • Product name
  • Percent off
  • “Relevance”
  • Length/size/other dimensions
  • Publication date (as opposed to newness on the store itself)

First, according to Baymard (and us), the two mechanisms you shouldn’t use are any sort of “default” and the product name. Few customers care about sorting alphabetically, and there are few applications for which an alphabetical sort would make any sense. But also, “relevance” or a ghosted “Sort by…” placeholder default make little sense, either, since they force the customer to understand what comprises “relevant” – or how the list was sorted in the first place.

Second, those four sorting mechanisms are broadly correct. You will want to sort price by both low to high and high to low; the other three don’t require reverse sorting to function well, and in fact could distract customers.

In general, you want fewer, better sorts, so that you minimize the risk of confusing customers. Start with these five: both forms of price & the other three essential sorts. Then, carefully test other sorts if and only if your product catalog would seem to benefit from them, and you determine in heat maps that people are selecting the sort pull-down without choosing a preferred alternate sort.

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