How to optimise ecommerce store navigation with product taxonomy

Learn how to develop an effective product taxonomy that can optimise your ecommerce website’s navigation and on-site search for higher conversions.

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It’s not enough to simply have a great product catalogue; you also need to make it easy for your ecommerce customers to find what they’re looking for. One of the most effective ways to improve e-store visibility and navigation is product taxonomy development. 

A product taxonomy is a hierarchical system of categories and subcategories that organises products based on their shared characteristics. It’s the invisible architecture that powers your e-store’s search and navigation features. A well-structured product taxonomy helps improve discoverability and drives more sales for your online business. Let’s get into the details of how that happens. 

Benefits of a strong product taxonomy

1. Improves store navigation

The hierarchical categories and filtered navigation enabled by taxonomy makes browsing intuitive for customers. They can easily drill down to find exactly the product type they need.

2. Allows faceted filtering

Taxonomy lets customers filter product listings by attributes like price, color, customer rating, brand, and other properties. This further refines searchability.

3, Optimises on-site search

A taxonomy with intelligent keyword tagging improves relevance for on-site product search. Customers can quickly find products matched to their search terms. 

4. Enhances recommendations

The recommendations provided to customers about related or frequently purchased together products rely on the taxonomy parent-child connections you establish between complementary products.

5. Provides marketing intelligence

Taxonomy data reveals insights like best-selling categories, popular attributes, and relationships between products customers purchase together. This data can be used to personalise marketing campaigns. 

Key steps in building a product taxonomy

Step 1: research products and catalog structure

The first step is researching your existing product catalog and structure. Review all your products and start grouping them into logical categories and subcategories. Analyze how products relate to each other to determine parent-child relationships. For example, dresses can be a parent category with skater, maxi, cocktail, and sundress as child categories.

Take time to understand your product offerings and how customers search for and view related products. This research provides the foundation for building your taxonomy.

Step 2: define hierarchy and categories

With research completed, start defining a category hierarchy and determining appropriate categories based on your product lines and customer search behaviour.

Aim for a hierarchy about 3-4 levels deep as too many levels can confuse navigation. Determine main, high-level categories like electronics, fashion, and furniture. Then create subcategories under each to further divide products. For electronics, subcategories could include computers, TV & video, smart home tech, and so on.

Keep categories consistent across your ecommerce site. For example, TVs should always be under “Electronics > TV & Video” rather than sometimes under “Entertainment”. This will ensure a consistent taxonomy. 

Step 3: tag products with relevant keywords

Accurate tagging makes it easier for customers to find products by associating relevant keywords with them. When adding a new product, think of keywords and phrases customers may use when searching for that item.

For example, a red cocktail dress could be tagged with “red dress, “cocktail dress”, “party dress”, “going out dress”, and so on. Avoid overly broad tags like “clothing” as they have low search relevance. Prioritise keywords likely to be searched by your target audience.

Step 4: create parent-child relationships

Link products that go together using parent-child relationships. If someone views a camera lens, recommending the compatible camera body as a “parent” product provides a logical cross-sell opportunity.

Similarly, a laptop can have a charger, laptop bag and extended warranty as “child” accessories to suggest when customers view the parent laptop. Build these connections to guide customers to related purchases.

Step 5: organise products into categories

With your category architecture defined, tag products, and relationships established, and organise all products into the most suitable categories and subcategories. Ensure each product has accurate taxonomy classification and keyword tags for findability.

If a product fits multiple categories, place it in the category customers are most likely to browse for that item. Cross-link related products using parent-child relationships instead of duplicating products across categories.

Maintaining and improving your taxonomy

Taxonomy development is not a one-time project, rather an ongoing endeavor. So, you must maintain and refine your ecommerce product taxonomy for optimal performance.

Add new products to existing taxonomy

As you add new products, slot them into existing categories within your defined taxonomy. Also tag them appropriately with relevant keywords. Evaluate if new products warrant creating additional subcategories.

Evaluate taxonomy search effectiveness

Regularly review search analytics to see frequently used terms and assess if taxonomy is surfacing relevant results. Refine tags and categories to better meet customer search needs.

Expand high-traffic categories

Analyse categories with significant traffic and expand the taxonomy depth in these areas so more filter options can help the consumer reach their desired products quickly. 

Remove unused categories

Cut old, outdated or little-used categories that clutter navigation and on-site search results instead of adding value. This will keep your taxonomy lean.

Refine product tags

Look for tag gaps or inaccuracies, such as products missing essential keywords that they should rank for. Continuously improve tags to optimise product discoverability.

Moving forward with ecommerce product taxonomy development

A product taxonomy takes time to construct but pays off by creating a foundation that is optimised for effective navigation. So, maintain taxonomy as a long-term strategy, not a one-off project. In case you need assistance with this process (when not having enough time on your hands, for example), you can also seek assistance from product taxonomy development service providers. 

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Jessica Campbell - ecommerce consultant and content strategist

Jessica has published over 2000 articles & informative write-ups about eCommerce & Amazon marketplace solutions covering Amazon listing optimization, Amazon PPC management services, Amazon SEO & marketing, Amazon store setup, and Amazon Virtual Assistant Sevices. Her well-researched and valuable write-ups have helped thousands of businesses uncover rich insights, strengthen their business processes, and stay afloat amidst the rising competition.

Jessica Campbell
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