What do you think of this refinement strategy?

Today I came across an interesting refinement strategy on ecommerce site Sports Unlimited, and I wanted to share it here to see what the readers think. Now I definitely preach that sites should have lots of filtering and sorting options to help shoppers narrow down the selection. Take a look at how Sports Unlimited went about it…

This all started when I arrived on the home page and saw this “Catching Spring Fever?” banner. This image isn’t part of a carousel, so clearly this category is a big focus for Sports Unlimited. They are putting lots of emphasis on this gear, so I clicked to check it out.

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The next page I landed on was the category page for catchers gear sets. There are 35 items to choose from, and since they all look very similar, it can be difficult to find what you need. Fortunately, there are drop-down menus to allow the shopper to sort, or to shop by price or brand. However, what really caught my eye were the buttons on the top for specific age ranges. This would certainly be very helpful for parents looking for the right gear that will fit their child! I think the buttons themselves look a bit cluttered with text laid on top of text, but the idea is certainly a good one.

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I clicked on the 5-7 years old button to see how the filter would work. What I expected was that the page would eliminate all the product that wouldn’t fit a child of this size, and leave me with the remaining options. But this is not what happened. Instead, it jumped me down to a lower portion of the page where this ecommerce site had placed each product that fits each age range in a sort of comparison. This is a bit weird. First off, the items here don’t display prices, and there’s no quick shop option. Shoppers will have to visit each product detail page to find out the price. Also, there’s no back to top button. If you want to jump back up to look at the normal category page view, you will have to scroll.

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So, what do you think of this ecommerce store’s filtering strategy here? My guess is that this method allows Sports Unlimited to add more text to the page, giving them more opportunities to use keywords like “catchers gear sets” and boost their SEO ranking. However, as a shopper, the navigation felt inconvenient and confusing. I would recommend making this easier on the shopper by using a more standard style of filter. Would you recommend to change this page, or keep it the way it is?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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