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The Perfect Product category page

Author's avatar By James Gurd 20 Nov, 2014
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Recommended design patterns and best practices for online retail Product category pages

This is the second in the series of posts from me in which I hope to give you ideas to consider for testing improvements to page elements on retail and other ecommerce sites following emerging best practices. In my first post, we covered best practices for ecommerce homepage designs.

If you work in an ecommerce team at a retailer, or are involved in design for your client’s accounts, then I hope these templates and tips will help generate ideas for testing page enhancements.

Key Ecommerce category page wireframe requirements

In retail, 'product category page' is the general term referring to pages listing the range of individual products. But you may know Category pages as Hub, Department or Division pages. Then there will often be sub-category pages too depending on the information architecture for the catalogue.

The key core elements of a category ecommerce page are summarised in this wireframe:


Here is an example of a page layout for the Dishwasher category at AO.com. Other examples are included in our Ecommerce Bible  with more detailed requirements for each page component.


We selected AO.com as one of the retailers to feature in the guide since they are constantly testing new approaches and category pages are no exception. With a view to simplicity and merchandising, they have now produced a simpler top-level category page:


Rather than just listing all products, a common approach with simplistic category pages, this category page gives choice to help customers decide on the right product for them by featuring:

  • 1. Main sub-categories - types of dishwasher.
  • 2. Best buys
  • 3. Premium
  • 4. All products in category

This is an interesting approach since it is much simpler than most category pages including their previous design and so has the benefit of helping the customer on their journey and merchandising by clearly featuring best buys and premium.

Here is an example of the best-buy category page. It also features an innovative approach since it features relatively few products in a horizontal scrolling carousel, rather than a more conventional grid of product images and descriptors.


Additional requirements to consider in your category page

In the full guide I go into more detail on individual page elements and look at more examples of how these apply in practice from UK and US-based ecommerce sites.

Author's avatar

By James Gurd

James is an Ecommerce consultant and owner of Digital Juggler, an E-commerce and Digital Marketing consultancy helping retailers develop, execute and evolve E-commerce strategies and optimise their digital channel. With a background as a Head of E-commerce and also agency side as Head of Client Development, he has experienced life on both sides of the fence. He has helped companies like A&N Media, Sweaty Betty and Smythson to manage RFP/ITT proposals. and been lead consultant on high profile projects for Econsultancy, Salmon and Greenwich Consulting. He is a guest blogger for Econsultancy, for whom he also writes best practice guides, regularly contributes to industry events and co-hosts #ecomchat, a weekly Twitter chat for e-commerce knowledge sharing. For e-commerce advice and support, connect with James on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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