Shopify Categories vs. Collections: Which Is Best for Merchandising?
We take a look at two types of product groupings: categories & collections. Learn how they differ & how you can use them to improve your store's merchandising.
Updated November 14, 2023.
Product organization is vital in eCommerce. 61% of Americans report that the most important aspect of online shopping is how easily they can find what they're looking for. Two fundamental ways of grouping your products are by category or collection. The distinction between them is sometimes blurry, and there's some debate about which method is better for organizing Shopify Search products.
We'll take a closer look at Shopify categories vs. collections to help you find the best strategy for your store's merchandising.
What Are Shopify Categories?
Categories can be used to group products by product type or topic. They allow customers to easily navigate through your store's products, as they can browse the categories to see all the products listed under them.
Benefits of Using Shopify Categories for Merchandising
Apart from improving your customers' navigation, categories can help you arrange products in meaningful ways to create a more visually appealing layout and storefront. If you have large product catalogs, categories can also simplify management by letting you add or edit products in the appropriate category.
For example, the online footwear, accessory, and apparel retailer Steve Madden simplifies the shopper's navigation by creating a "Women's Shoes" category and using narrower subcategories like "Sandals" and "Slides".
What Are Shopify Collections?
Collections are more flexible and customizable than categories. They can be created manually by selecting specific products to include or automatically using rules based on selected criteria. Where categories are usually part of a store's homepage and main menu, collections can be featured on specific collection pages or as a promotions collection on your homepage.
Benefits of Using Shopify Collections for Merchandising
Collections allow you to group products based on various criteria like product type, color, and price range. Customers can browse and filter products within collections to quickly find relevant products. This keeps them engaged, less likely to leave your store prematurely, and more likely to make a purchase.
Additionally, you can create smart collections that automatically update based on product attributes. This saves time and effort because you don't have to manually update your collections when products change.
For example, the mobile computing accessories company Targus organizes their products into collections like "Laptop Bags", "Tablet Cases", and "Antimicrobial Collections".
Within these, products are further grouped according to brand. So under "Laptop Bags", there are a number of brand collections like "Transpire" and "Work+".
Choosing the Best Option for Merchandising
When choosing whether to use categories or collections, it's important to consider:
- The size and complexity of your product catalog
- Your merchandising management goals
- Your customers' needs
For example, if you have an extensive product catalog, you may benefit from using categories to create a hierarchical structure. In contrast, if you have a smaller catalog, you may find collections more flexible and customizable.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach. It's essential to test your strategy to find what works best for your business. You can do this by analyzing sales data and customer behavior, conducting A/B tests, and using predictive analytics.
Find the Ideal Merchandising Strategy for Shopify
Effective merchandising involves structuring your products into logical groups to help organize your offerings. Categories are a convenient way to create a hierarchical structure for your products, while collections offer more flexibility and customizability. The best approach is to try both options, considering the size and complexity of your product catalog, merchandising priorities, and customer preferences. Ultimately, an effective merchandising strategy can improve your customers' shopping experience and increase your online store sales.
» Product organization is just the start. Check out more sales-boosting eCommerce merchandising strategies