Persistent filters on e-commerce sites


Let’s say I’m shopping for shoes. I start by choosing Men’s Shoes, and then click additional filters for the desired Brand, Color, Size, and so on. I don’t find what I’m looking for, so I go back to the homepage and start again. But even on e-commerce sites that are renowned for their smart interface design, chances are that I have to set every one of those filters again.

This doesn’t make any sense. Sure, I might be interested in looking at different brands and styles on each subsequent search. But if I started with men’s shoes and also specified a certain size, those choices aren’t going to change. The website could save me time and increase conversion rates by making those filters persistent for my entire visit, or even storing them for say 48 hours after the first search. If I decide to change the shoe size, for instance, I could always remove the filter with a click of the mouse. But forcing me to choose the same size over and over again eats up time that I could be spending actually deciding what to buy.

Need a good way to determine which filters should receive the sticky treatment, versus those that should revert to the defaults on every search? Just look at the paths that your paying customers take prior to making a purchase. Analyze how they use your filters and search fields. If they tend to choose the same values for certain attributes even as they change other ones, that’s a good sign that you should make that first set of filters persistent for the length of the visit.