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Product Category Structuring - How To Organize

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Product Category Structuring

Organizing, or structuring product categories involves organizing products in a way that is logical, accessible, and user-friendly. This can be essential for both physical retail and e-commerce.

Steps and Considerations to Structure Your Product Category

1. Understand Your Products and Audience:

Understand Your Products and Audience
  • Product Range: Understand the breadth and variety of your products. You want to list out all of your variety, usually by categories, or places they’ll be put on the shelves.

    This allows you to be clear-minded, not get messed up in the future, and it’s easier for the customers in the future.

2. Hierarchy and Taxonomy:

  • Main Categories: These should be broad and reflect the primary types of products you offer. For example, in a clothing store, the main categories might be 'Men', 'Women', 'Kids'.
  • Subcategories: Further break down each main category. For 'Women', subcategories might include 'Tops', 'Bottoms', 'Dresses', 'Accessories'.
  • Further Segmentation: Depending on the range, you might need more layers, like 'Tops' could have 'T-shirts', 'Blouses', 'Sweaters'.

3. Product Attributes:

  • ​Attributes like size, color, brand, and price can be used for filtering and sorting within categories.

4. Naming and Language:

  • ​Use clear, concise, and consistent naming for categories and subcategories.
  • ​Ensure the language resonates with your target audience.

5. Usability and Navigation:

Usability and Navigation
  • ​Make it easy for customers to find and explore categories.
  • ​For e-commerce, this includes clear menus, search functionality, and intuitive navigation.

6. Visual Presentation:

  • ​Use images or icons to represent categories visually.
  • ​Ensure a cohesive look that aligns with your brand.

7. SEO Optimization (for e-commerce):

  • ​Use keywords relevant to each category for better search engine visibility.

8. Feedback and Analytics:

  • ​Regularly analyze customer behavior and sales data to adjust categories.
  • ​Be open to customer feedback and adapt accordingly.

9. Flexibility and Scalability:

  • ​The structure should be flexible enough to accommodate new products or changes in trends.
  • ​Ensure the system can scale with your business growth.

10. Consistency Across Channels:

  • ​If you operate both online and offline, ensure consistency in how products are categorized.

So those are your few keys to structuring or organizing your product category.

In other words, the art and science of structuring and organizing product categories.

In our market, where consumer preferences shift rapidly and competition intensifies by the day, mastering this art can be the difference between a thriving business and one that struggles to connect with its customers.

Examples Of Organizing Product Categories

Consider the foundation of effective product categorization: understanding your products and audience.

Every item you offer holds a story, a purpose, and a place in the lives of your customers.

Your role is to bridge the gap between these products and the needs and desires of your audience.

Moving to the hierarchy and taxonomy, think of your product categories as a map guiding your customers through a journey in your store or website.

Main categories are like the big signposts, directing customers to the broad areas they're interested in.

Subcategories and further segmentation delve deeper, offering nuanced paths tailored to specific needs and preferences.

But how do we make this journey effortless and intuitive?

This is where product attributes come in.

Attributes like size, color, and brand aren’t just details; they are the fine tools your customers use to filter their search, honing in on what they seek with precision. Equally crucial is the language you use.

The names and descriptions of your categories should not only be clear and consistent but also resonate with the very soul of your target audience. It's about speaking their language, both literally and culturally.

Now, usability and navigation for e-commerce cannot be overstated. Your online platform should invite exploration, facilitate discovery, and above all, make finding and purchasing products as seamless as possible.

Visual presentation, often underrated, is your silent ambassador. The use of images, colors, and design elements should align with your brand's ethos, making your product categories not just a utility but an experience.

Product categories

For those in e-commerce, SEO optimization is what’s going to help you stand out in the bloody waters. It ensures that when a potential customer seeks something you offer, it's your website they land on.

In terms of evolution, your product categories are not set in stone.

They should evolve based on customer feedback, sales data, and market trends. This agility is key in staying relevant and competitive.

And remember, whether online, offline, or both, consistency across channels in categorizing your products reassures customers and strengthens your brand identity.

A classic example from the world of fashion retail. Imagine walking into a clothing store. The first thing you encounter is a clear division: Men's, Women's, and Kids' sections.

Within the Women's section, you find it further divided into Tops, Bottoms, Dresses, and Accessories. Each of these is again segmented: Tops into T-shirts, Blouses, and Sweaters, Bottoms into Jeans, Skirts, and Trousers.

This structure guides the shopper effortlessly to their desired product.

  • ​Now, consider an online bookstore. Here, the main categories might include or language, making it easy for readers to find their next great read. Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children’s Books, and Academic Texts. Each of these would have subcategories like 'Romance', 'History', 'Science Fiction', or 'Mathematics'.

    An effective online setup would also offer filters like author, publication date, or language, making it easy for readers to find their next great read.
  • ​Moving to a grocery store scenario, the layout is typically organized into find what they need. Produce, Dairy, Bakery, Meat, and Pantry staples. In the Produce section, fruits and vegetables are grouped separately, and further, tropical fruits are distinguished from local fruits.

    This logical arrangement helps customers quickly navigate the store and find what they need.
  • ​Take your technology retailer as another example. Here, the main categories RAM, storage, or screen size. might include Laptops, Smartphones, Cameras, and Accessories. Each category is further divided: Laptops into Gaming, Business, and Personal; Smartphones by brand or operating system.

    A customer can easily filter through options based on specifications like RAM, storage, or screen size
  • ​Finally, consider a furniture store. Categories such as Living Room, Bedroom, providing context and inspiration. Dining Room, and Office Furniture are standard. Under each, further segmentation like Sofas, Beds, Tables, and Chairs makes the selection process smooth.

    Visual displays and room setups enhance the customer experience by providing context and inspiration.

In each of these examples, notice how the structure and organization of product categories simplify the decision-making process for the customer.

They create an intuitive pathway, leading customers to the right product, enhancing their shopping experience, and ultimately contributing to the business's success.

Just Getting Started In Product Categories? Read This:

Example 1

The way you organize your product categories can set the tone for your customer's experience and your overall success. Here’s your structure tailored for businesses just starting out.

Begin with the basics: understanding your core product offerings and your target audience.

For a new business, it's crucial to have a clear grasp of what you are selling and to whom. This understanding will shape your initial category structure.

Let's imagine you're opening a small boutique offering artisanal goods.

Core product offerings

Your main categories could be 'Handcrafted Jewelry', 'Home Decor', 'Artisanal Foods', and 'Custom Apparel'. Each category is distinct, appealing to the specific interests of your target customers.

In an online setting, such as a new e-commerce site selling eco-friendly products, you might start with broader categories like 'Eco-Friendly Kitchenware', 'Sustainable Fashion', and 'Green Cleaning Supplies'.

These categories should reflect the unique selling points of your products and the ethos of your brand.

When it comes to subcategories, keep it simple at the start.

For example, in 'Sustainable Fashion', you could have 'Clothing', 'Accessories', and 'Footwear'. As your business grows and your product range expands, you can add more subcategories.

Consider product attributes, but don't overwhelm yourself or your customers.

Start with the most relevant attributes, like size, color, and material for a fashion store, or flavor, origin, and organic certification for a food business.

Usability and navigation are key, especially for online businesses.

Ensure that your website is easy to navigate, with clear category labels and a simple, intuitive layout. This is crucial for new businesses to build customer trust and loyalty.

SEO optimization is important, even for a small business.

Use relevant keywords in your category and product descriptions to help your target audience find you online.

Be flexible and ready to adapt. As a new business, you'll learn a lot about your customers’ preferences. Use this feedback to refine your product categories and improve the shopping experience.

Lastly, maintain consistency across all channels where you sell or promote your products. Whether it's your website, social media, or a physical storefront, a unified approach to categorization helps in building a strong, recognizable brand.

In conclusion, for a business just starting out, the key is to begin with a clear, simple structure that resonates with your customers and reflects your brand's identity.

As you grow and learn more about your market, you can evolve this structure to better meet the needs of your customers.

Example 2

Your primary step is to identify your niche within the vast health and wellness market.

Let's say your focus is on natural and organic products. Your main categories could be 'Organic Skin Care', 'Natural Supplements', 'Eco-Friendly Fitness Gear', and 'Healthy Snacks'.

Each category here is designed to appeal to health-conscious consumers, reflecting both the nature of your products and the values of your brand.

For a more specific example, let's consider 'Organic Skin Care'

Natural Supplements

As a new business, start with a manageable range of products. Your subcategories here might include 'Facial Care', 'Body Care', and 'Hair Care'. Within these, you might have further divisions such as 'Cleansers', 'Moisturizers', and 'Toners' under 'Facial Care'.

When it comes to online presence, usability and customer experience are paramount.

Ensure your website has a clean, easy-to-navigate design. Each category and subcategory should be easily accessible, possibly with a brief description or an informative blog post linked to it, educating your customers about the benefits of organic skincare.

Attributes are important but keep them straightforward initially.

For skincare, attributes could include skin type (oily, dry, combination), key ingredients (aloe vera, coconut oil, shea butter), and benefits (hydrating, anti-aging, brightening).

As a new entrant, SEO is your ally. Use relevant keywords in your product and category descriptions.

For example, terms like 'organic facial cleanser' or 'natural hair care products' can help in drawing organic traffic to your site.

Feedback and adaptability are crucial for a startup. Be prepared to refine your categories based on customer feedback and purchasing patterns.

Perhaps you notice a high demand for natural hair care products; this could be an indicator to expand that subcategory.

Lastly, consistency across all sales and marketing channels is essential.

Whether it's your e-commerce website, social media platforms, or any physical presence, ensure that your product categories are consistently represented, reinforcing your brand identity.

In summary, for a business in its nascent stage, especially in a niche market like health and wellness, it's important to start with a clear, manageable structure that strongly resonates with your target audience.

As your business grows, this structure should evolve in response to customer needs and market trends.

Example 3

Your primary categories could include 'Smart Lighting', 'Home Security', 'Climate Control', and 'Smart Assistants'.

Each category targets a specific aspect of home automation and convenience, aligning with the emerging trends and demands in the smart home market.

Take 'Home Security' as a specific example. For a new business, it’s essential to start with a focused product range. Subcategories here might include 'Smart Cameras', 'Sensors & Alarms', and 'Smart Locks'. Within 'Smart Cameras', you could offer different models catering to indoor and outdoor use, with features like motion detection or night vision.

Your online presence, particularly in the tech industry, must reflect innovation and user-friendliness.

Ensure your website is sleek, responsive, and easy to navigate. Each product category should be easily accessible, with detailed product specifications and customer reviews to aid in the buying decision.

Smart Assistants

Product attributes in tech are vital.

For each device, list attributes like compatibility (with other smart devices), connectivity (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth), and control options (app-based, voice control). These details help customers find products that fit their specific needs and home setups.

SEO optimization is especially important in the tech industry, given the high online search volume for tech products.

Utilize keywords such as 'wireless smart home security camera' or 'energy-efficient smart thermostat' to improve your visibility in search results.

Being receptive to customer feedback and market trends is essential.

Technology evolves rapidly, and your product categories should reflect this dynamism. If you notice a growing interest in energy-saving devices, for instance, consider expanding your 'Climate Control' category to include more energy-efficient options.

Consistency in how you present your categories across different channels – your website, social media, or any retail partners – is key. This uniformity reinforces your brand and aids in building customer trust and recognition.

In conclusion, for a technology startup, particularly in the smart home domain, starting with well-defined, intuitive categories that align with both customer needs and technological advancements is critical.

As your business grows and technology evolves, these categories should adapt, ensuring that your business remains at the forefront of innovation and customer satisfaction.

So that is how you structure your product category, or if you would like to organize it properly for your business you can do that as well.

If you’d like to know more, in regards to not only structuring but growing your business, I urge you to join our NO B.S. Newsletter at

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