Faceted Search

What is faceted search?

Many ecommerce sites use faceted search to improve the onsite search experience for their customers. Faceted search works by using data about products so that visitors can refine their search queries, making it easier for them to find what they’re looking for.

Faceting gives the user a complex structure of faceted filters that allow them to narrow the results page. For example, faceted search might allow shoppers to filter results by price range or manufacturer.

Better ecommerce site search results means lower site abandonment rates and higher conversion rates.

Why is faceted search important?

Faceted search is particularly important for large sites that have a huge inventory or content library.

Basic filters won’t narrow results enough for users, so they’ll end up feeling like they’re looking for a “needle in the haystack.”

Faceted search can give users lots of options to narrow down the search results. These can be combined with one another, such as sorting by price and manufacturer.

Often, users are not aware of the particular questions they have about a certain type of product. Faceted search can help find all their options.

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Types of faceted search

There are many different attributes you can use to create a faceted search system. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Color
  • Category
  • Brand
  • Price range
  • Style
  • Product type
  • Size

Here are two examples of faceted search results from Alo Yoga and Amazon:

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Faceted search best practices

Want to create a better search experience for your customers? Here are some helpful best practices to follow.

1. Allow multi-select options

This is particularly important if you have a clothing and fashion ecommerce site. This is because people often wear a couple of different sizes, so they might want to include both “small” and “x-small.”

Multi-select options allow the customer to view a wider range of products. This prevents them from having to switch between multiple searches.

Here’s what it looks like on ASOS’ site.

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2. Use a price range slider

A slider that starts at the minimum price and goes up to the maximum price allows users to find products in exactly the price range they’re looking for.

ASOS’ nicely-designed faceted search results have a price range slider that looks like this:

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3. Use thematic filters and facets

Thematic filters are subjective groupings of your products into headings like Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, or perhaps Halloween, Christmas or Mother’s Day. 

Check out Marks and Spencer’s Christmas filter:

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4. Don’t be overwhelming with the facets

You want your facets to be meaningful, not overwhelming. If you overload your visitors with too many options, they’ll get confused and won’t be able to use your faceted search effectively. They may even leave without searching.