With a small shop just keeping track of inventory and stocking your web store can take up 90% of all the time you have available – considering taxonomy for your web store might sound like another task for the ‘to-do later’ list. However, managing and reviewing your web store taxonomy can help you develop content, optimize for SEO, develop a merchandising plan, and create natural cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

So what is taxonomy? Taxonomy is a technical term that refers to the classification of item or items.  In a general, website this would be considered grouping content for your site map; for eCommerce, it means identifying natural and store-specific groupings of products into categories.

If you sell shoes online natural categories might be:web store taxonomy

  • Sports Shoes
  • Dress Shoes
  • Casual Shoes
  • Boots

These categories would be further divided into sub-categories depending on your knowledge of your audience. One version could be:

  • Dress Shoes
    • Women’s Dress Shoes
    • Men’s Dress Shoes
    • Children’s Dress Shoes

Or maybe your web store only caters to women and you’d create your sub-categories like this:

  • Dress Shoes
    • Heels
    • Pumps
    • Wedges
    • Sandals

Or perhaps you want to start by materials – leather, suede, fabric; or by season – summer, fall, winter, spring. It all depends on your knowledge of your customers’ shopping preferences, which you can identify by previous sales data, search terms from your analytics software, or even surveying your shoppers.

Web store specific groupings of products might be taxonomies that you create to support a specific sale or customer group – such as “Summer Sandals”, “On Trend Basics”, or “Most Popular Styles for Wide Feet”. These are collections you’ll curate manually based on your product knowledge or actual sales data and customer buying patterns that you can pull from your web store platform.

Once you’ve created a logical taxonomy based on customer information you can begin to work optimize your category pages for organic SEO by identifying the top keyword terms for that group that should appear on the page. Use your keyword research to guide how you name the page, how you structure your URL, and the content you’ll create for the page including copy, imagery, and video.

As you create your categories and populate them with the appropriate products you will start to see the patterns of natural gaps or overstock in certain categories. Let this inform your merchandising plan – look for new products to fill out seasonal categories or popular categories and scale back on those that aren’t selling well, or move some items to a clearance section. If you struggle with managing cross-sells and up-sells, your organized taxonomy will make selecting the appropriate base products a snap. Until you have time to review your sales data to determine common sales patterns, you can use the product groups in your categories to fill in the blanks.

Have questions about the best php web store to make your own? Contact us, we’re happy to help.