Magento Features to Help Customer Navigation

Customers can't buy what they can't find. While it seems like a very simple statement, it is a crucially important one to keep in mind when organising your catalog. You want to help customers arriving at your store to find products that they are looking for, or guide them to a selection of products that they are most interested in. Below are some of the available tools in Magento to help improve the usability of your site, and guide your customers to finding and purchases the products that interest them most.

 

Breadcrumbs

A breadcrumb trail is the navigation path taken by the customer that brought them to the page they are currently viewing. Each 'step' in the path is clickable and can be used to bring the customer back to a previous page. Breadcrumbs can be configured to appear for both category and CMS page navigation

 

How to enable Breadcrumbs to appear in navigation

  1. Navigate to System > Configuration > Web, and expand the Default Pages tab.
  2. Within the Default Pages tab, set the Show Breadcrumbs for CMS Pages to Yes and click Save Config.

 

Product 'Sort By'

Magento offers the ability to sort category pages by 'Best Value', 'Name' and 'Price'. By default, all sort by options are available, but can be overridden within the category. You can also set a default option that will apply unless otherwise specified within the category. For greater customer control on the category page, Magento also displays a an upward facing and a downward facing arrow, so that you can control the way sorting is being done (e.g. Price High - Low).

Note: 'Best Value' is indeed an ambiguous option here. Best Value, however is the products positions as defined within the categories Position field in the Category Products tab of the category.

 

How to Set the Default Settings for Products 'Sort By'

  1. Navigate to System > Configuration > Catalog, and expand the Frontend tab.
  2. Within the Frontend tab, using the Product Listing Sort By dropdown define which sort by option you want to appear by default. This option has a storeview specific scope so can be set differently per storeview. 
  3. Once happy with selection, click Save Config.

 

How to set Category Specific Product 'Sort By'

  1. Navigate to, and click into the category that you would like to set unique 'Sort By' values for (via Catalog > Categories > Manage Categories)
  2. Once you've clicked into your category, click into the Display Settings tab. 
  3. There are 2 options here that we are concerned with in regards to the Sort By functionality: 
    • Available Product Listing Sort By: These are the available Sort By options which are available for use in the categories Sort by dropdown. If you want to amend from whats been configured in the default settings you will need to untick the tickbox beside the list and mutiselect all that you would like to appear.
    • Default Product Listing Sort By: When customers initially land on the category (and if not otherwise configured), this is the Sort By option that the category will default to (and the order of the products the customer will initially see).

4. Once happy with configuration, click Save Category.

 

Grid vs. List

By default, categories will either display products in a grid (side by side), or a list (one after another). To update this default setting, follow steps below:

  1. Navigate to System > Configuration > Catalog, and expand the Frontend tab. 
  2. In the Frontend tab, use the List Mode dropdown to select one of the available options:
    • Grid Only - Default and only customer option here will be Grid
    • List Only - Default and only customer option here will be List
    • Grid (default) / List - Default will be Grid, but customer can update to List
    • List (default) / Grid - Default will be List, but customer can update to Grid

3. Once happy, click Save Config.

 

Products per Page

When a customer initially lands on a category page, they may only view 12 products per page until they manually change the 'SHOW' dropdown to display 24, 36 or ALL (for example purposes). The below how-to will explain both how to configure the available options in this dropdown as well as how to set the default option that will appear when the customer initially lands on the category.

 

How to Configure the Default and Available Products Per Page option

  1. Navigate to System > Configuration > Catalog, and expand the Frontend tab.
  2. In the Frontend tab, the options that we are interested in here are the following:
    • Products per Page on Grid Allowed Values: List the increments that you want customers to be be to view products in (options in dropdown) when viewing by grid (comma-separated with no spaces)
    • Products per Page on Grid Default Value: List the number of products to be displayed by default (when the customer initially lands on the category) when viewing by grid.
    • Products per Page on List Allowed Values: List the increments that you want customers to be be to view products in (options in dropdown) when viewing by list (comma-separated with no spaces)
    • Products per Page on List Default Value: List the number of products to be displayed by default (when the customer initially lands on the category) when viewing by list.
    • Allow All Products per Page: Set to Yes if you want customers to have ability to view all products in the category at once on the page.

Important consideration: If you have categories with lots of products (or are performing certain search results that produce lots of results), enabling the 'Allow All Products per Page'  feature may cause issues. This is because it causes the page load time to increase, and there have been instances of sites being taken down because of this additional load (an example of when this might be strained is when Google bots crawl categories - and the categories, and products displayed on one page are of a particular size).

3. Once happy, click Save Config.

Note: You may not see all the above options if you have selected with Grid Only or List Only.

 

Layered Navigation

We have dedicated an entire article to better understanding and configuring Layered Navigation / Filters, so click here to learn more.

 

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