Improve Your E-Commerce Web Design With Good Taxonomy & Categories

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Improve Your E-Commerce Web Design With Good Taxonomy & Categories

Organising your online store in a clear and easy to use way is paramount to creating a good user experience for your customers. A key part of this is the taxonomy of your website. With e-commerce websites, a strong taxonomy is a crux of merchandising your products digitally. They are so important because they trigger a subconscious reaction in customers in the way they find their favourite products which creates a seamless customer journey.

When designing any website, the category or page structure is vital to creating a website that is easy to navigate and eventually guides a user into a call to action (CTA) thereby converting them to a customer. When it comes to e-commerce website design, the site structure will involve product taxonomies and possibly even subcategories of products making it even more important to get right!

What Is Product Taxonomy?

Taxonomy essentially means classification. With that in mind, product taxonomy in terms of web design means the classification of products and where they sit on your website. Organising them in a way that makes any one of your products easy to find from anywhere on your site.

With e-commerce sites, these are called categories and sub-categories. They make up the hierarchical structure of the whole online shop section of your website. Typically structured with a top-down approach, the categories are organised so the broadest term or keyword is first, then it narrows into more specific categories. This guides a user through a funnel so that they can quickly & easily find what they are looking for.

Designing the taxonomy of your website should take careful consideration and requires in-depth knowledge of both your products and SEO. This is because they define the user experience from the initial visit on the landing page and also show search engines the exact products you sell so that they can very easily match your website with related search terms. This makes it a very important search retrieval mechanism.

Why Is Product Taxonomy So Important?

Improving The User Experience (UX)

Naturally, when an online shop is complicated to navigate or unorganised customers will result in a different mind set typically coined The Irrational Consumer. This breaks down into 3 key components of the way people shop;

  • Emotion
  • Context
  • Time


With a messy website or one that is difficult to find products on, this puts stress on the 3 components above. Do they love your products enough to spend time searching for them? Do they have time to emotionally engage with your content? If the customer can’t rationally say yes to either of those questions then the bounce rate of your site will increase.

How To Design A Good Product Taxonomy

The taxonomy of your website can be broken down into different sections, all of which work seamlessly with each other to develop an efficient and well built site structure.


As the broadest form of classification, this can be anything from the top level of onsite navigation right down to sub-sub- categories that showcase only very specific products.

Categories are used to quickly and efficiently identify a specific ‘group’ of products. This means that categories should include simple but impactful information to allow your users to navigate around your website seamlessly as well as notifying search engines of the products you sell.

Naming A Category

The name of your categories is fundamental to them working properly. The typical naming convention is:

  • Unique Keyword
  • Descriptive & Clear
  • All Clearly Different From Each Other
  • Consistent
Hot Drinks or Coffee?

Category Description

The description should briefly describe the type of products on the page using descriptive keywords and not mentioning other products that can be found elsewhere.

Product Tags

Where product categories group products into specific locations, Tags can be used to classify products much more easily. They allow customers to quickly filter down the products into much more manageable classes.

Product Attributes

Delving even deeper than product tags, attributes are typically aspects that are specific to the product. This could be size, colour or any other possible variations of the same product.

Building Your Main Navigation Around Categories

Before even considering building your e-commerce website, consider the core navigation of your website in great detail. If this isn’t built correctly at the start of your website design project then it can be difficult to change afterwards.

Focus on the way a customer might navigate through your website. We call this the customer journey map and it can be used to see how a customer might navigate from one area of your site to a completely different section. Is it easy or does it require clicking the back button or using the breadcrumbs?

The use of a well-developed category structure and possibly even subcategories, if they are really necessary, can help a user move around your site much more easily. This can also help to optimise the onsite search functionality. Without clear and descriptive category and tag headings, your onsite search results may confuse a potential customer.

Digital Marketing Funnel

The digital marketing funnel is responsible for directing your onsite users to eventually convert to customers through purchasing your products. Generally, a customer should only ever be 3 clicks away from a purchase. This rule should be used when developing a category structure for your e-commerce website as it shows just how clear and simple the navigation process should be.

The funnel refers to a user starting with a broad term i.e Coffee then seamlessly funneling down to more specific terms such as; Kenyan Coffee. At this point in the funnel there should be a clear differentiation in products and possibly even buy it now buttons. 

Exactly 3 clicks from conversion.


Using Site Search To Increase Online Sales

Depending on the type of products you offer, the search bar can be your website’s best friend or worst enemy. As we have mentioned above, when the category structure, tags and attributes of your website & products are designed and built perfectly, then site search will bring up all the closest results to that term.

This means customers can find exactly what they are looking for almost instantly without the need to browse through your website. This can mean that customers are even less clicks away from a conversion, leading to an increase in sales.

Features Used In The Site Search

Other than simply searching for specific terms or products, many websites are utilising search bars to include recommended products or suggested search terms. This is a direct call to action for guiding a user to exactly what you want them to see as a digital business.

Contact Us For More Information On E-Commerce Web Design North Devon

When the taxonomy of your e-commerce is designed and built correctly, it will greatly improve the level of SEO on your website. Both customers and search engines will be able to find and navigate all aspects of your site with ease making a better user experience for your customers and improving the search results your business shows up for.

Contact us for more information on website design and e-commerce web design in North Devon. Call us on 01271 603085 or contact us here.


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