The Pros and Cons of Faceted Search: Everything You Need to Know

So what’s the big deal with a faceted search? Do you really need it on your site? It can be difficult to know what proves to be beneficial on your site and what is a waste of time and money. You obviously want to have a site that has a high conversion rate and brings customers back for purchases. And there is a lot of information floating around suggesting what is necessary for success and what isn’t. A faceted search is one of those features that people are talking about as something that may prove to be beneficial.

By learning what a faceted search is, as well as its pros and cons, you can decide how necessary a faceted search is for your eCommerce site.

A Breakdown of Faceted Search

A faceted search is a function featured on a site that allows users to create tailored search results that meet their own criteria. In creating personalized search results, other products that don’t fit the applied criteria, chosen with facets, are eliminated from the search results, ultimately leaving users with products that are relevant to them. Examples of facets included in a faceted search are color, price, material, and brand. Users can easily mark specific facets that include attributes of products they are looking for and immediately get customized results. This saves customers from scrolling through numerous pages of products that are irrelevant to them and potentially leaving your site because they can’t get to the products they desire in a timely manner.

Faceted Search Can Increase Sales

Because a faceted search feature can get customers to the products they want in little to no time, it increases the likelihood that they will make a purchase. If a customer cannot find what they are looking for quickly enough, they will end up leaving your site and enter another site that offers a quicker way to get to the products they want. When customers can easily navigate your site, they can add products to their cart and make purchases all in one sitting. The longer it takes for a customer to get to the purchase process, the less likely they will end up going through with a purchase. Faceted search features can eliminate wasted time looking for products and speed up the process of searching and purchasing.

Faceted Search is Mobile-friendly

Many people are doing online shopping from their mobile devices. If your store sells electronics, you could have hundreds or even thousands of products to choose from. Someone shopping on your site might only care about chargers for laptops. If they have to browse through 100 pages of products on their mobile device in order to get to possible charger options that fit their needs, they will get frustrated and go to a more mobile-friendly site. A faceted search feature is a simple way to make your site easier to use on devices with smaller screens. A user can enter your site on their mobile device and immediately choose the facets that appeal to them. In a world where much online shopping is done from a phone or laptop, this is a huge benefit for an eCommerce brand.

Faceted Search Need Resources

One negative side to a faceted search function is that it takes resources such as time, money, and data to implement it into your site. In order to know what facets are necessary, you will have to know which ones your customers will use and which ones they won’t. This is often found through search analytics and other collections of data that require researching what users are looking for on the internet. Having facets that don’t pertain to your customers’ preferences end up making your site more confusing, and paying extra money to do so. Having a faceted search function also requires ongoing maintenance as you learn about your users and continual optimization. As this may be a negative to you, in the long term you are tailoring your site and products to what your customer values, resulting in higher conversion rates and the likelihood someone will return to your site.

Limits Exposure to Other Products

Another negative to a faceted search feature is that customers end up eliminating products they aren’t looking for, which means limiting their exposure to other products featured on your site. When users browse through your products, they may stumble upon a product they are interested in on their quest for the product they originally visited your site for. They may end up buying something they didn’t intend to, and otherwise would have missed it if they deemed that product irrelevant in their faceted search. Although there’s a chance you may miss out on a sale with a faceted search function, having a more user-friendly site that meets customer’s needs may prove to be more valuable.

What You Learned About a Faceted Search

There are pros and cons to any feature you may add to your site. A faceted search comes with its own set of pros and cons. It can boost conversions and create a more user-friendly site across all devices. But it can also require resources and limit the exposure of other products on your site. When weighing out the pros and cons, you can decide if a faceted search function is best for your eCommerce site.

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