FASTER alternative to WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter
Product filters allow your customers to find what they’re looking for faster. But what if they do the opposite – make your site load slower? This is possible and something you may want to watch out for when you add product filters to your WooCommerce store.
In the ecommerce world, good user experience goes hand in hand with conversion and retention. A key aspect of good UX is making it easy for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for without having to navigate page after page.
As your site grows, you may be looking to add advanced search functionality to allow your customers to browse products according to their preferences. Improving your site’s usability would have a positive impact on sales and customer satisfaction. To cite an example, Staples redesign of their website, which included ensuring intuitive searching capabilities, resulted in a 45% reduction in drop-off rates and a 67% increase in repeat customers.
WooCommerce products filters simplify and refine product search and discovery by giving customers the option to filter products by category, attributes, price, availability, images and more. But some product filter plugins like WooCommerce Plugin Products Filter (WOOF) can also slow down your site, which defeats the purpose of installing it.
Is there an alternative to WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter and other plugins that allow more customization than the default product filter widgets on WordPress but affect site speed? Let’s take a look.
How do Product Filter Plugins Slow Down Your Site?
Typically, when your customer clicks on a filtering parameter, the page will need to be refreshed for the filtered results to be displayed. The downside of this mechanism is that it results in a bad user experience as the customer will have to wait for the page to reload. Not just that, a slower site sends more requests to the server. If you have enabled many product filters on your site, your server will have to work harder every time the filters are used, slowing your website down even further.
Slow-loading webpages are frustrating for shoppers and may discourage them from continuing their product search. A sluggish retail site faces the risk of losing out to competitors. Surveys show that slow site speed compels 57% of shoppers to bounce off to a competitor website and 41% to Amazon, while 21% never return to the site. You can avoid a poor user experience by considering the alternative to WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter.
Pros and cons of WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter
WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter is among the options you have to construct product filters and customize them to your unique requirements. The plugin offers a number of useful features that help you provide a good product search experience. At the same time, it suffers from certain issues that actually hurt the overall customer experience.
Benefits of WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter
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Multiple options to tailor product filters
The plugin allows your customers to filter products by categories, attributes, product tags, price, and custom taxonomies.
If you want to add data that is unique for each WooCommerce product, you can do it using a custom field. If you need to select the same value for various products and use it to group them together, you need a custom taxonomy. You can do both using this plugin and create filters flexibly as you’d want your customers to see and use them.
You can insert product filters in any part of your site using the WOOF shortcode or widget. You have different options to structure attributes and taxonomies, such as checkbox, radio, drop-down, multi drop-down and radio buttons in drop-down. The premium plugin adds more options, such as image, color, hierarchy drop-down, range-slider and checkbox buttons in drop-down.
Many useful features
Products Messenger is a unique feature of WOOF WooCommerce Products filter. It allows your logged-in customers to subscribe to product filter combinations of their choosing and be notified about store arrivals matching those preferences.
If you sell and ship globally, you need a multi-currency converter that displays prices in the user’s local currency. The WooCommerce Currency Switcher is a popular plugin that adds this functionality to your online store. WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter is compatible with this plugin, allowing your customers to shop in their preferred currency.
Another useful feature in WOOF is the ability to filter orders by SKU. WooCommerce doesn’t offer this ability out of the box, but it’s nice to have as it makes sorting and searching for orders extremely convenient, and more so if you have a large product catalog. You can view the specific items in real-time, queue them or print them as necessary with utmost efficiency.
Drawbacks of WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter
A common complaint raised about this plugin is that it takes too much time to filter products. Selecting multiple filters and adding many products to the store catalog appear to add to the delay, which has been reported to be as high as 10 seconds. This is a liability as no online shopper will wait that long on a product page.
To avoid slowing down the site, users can turn off filtering options but this is less of a solution and more of a compromise. And it’s not feasible when those options need to be kept on to deliver a good product search experience. The WOOF plugin seems to be sending a request to the server when each filter element is chosen, which can seriously affect site speed when you have added many taxonomies.
Sometimes, slow loading pages can be due to website hosting issues. However, this doesn’t appear to be the case for users of WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter. The plugin is only to blame for reducing site speed during product filtering.
What is a faster alternative to WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter?
It is a good idea to understand the reason for the delay in filtering your products and slowing down site speed. This is so you review WooCommerce product filter plugins more thoroughly and avoid choosing one likely to pose the same problem.
For this, a quick overview of Ajax products filters is helpful. Ajax is a set of web applications that allows product filtering without reloading the page. The applications run in the background and do not force a page refresh every time your customers filter products. WooCommerce product filter plugins are normally Ajax filters. WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter offers product searching by Ajax optionally and works for 95% of WordPress themes.
If a page reloads after the customer uses one of the filters, then quite likely the product filter plugin isn’t powered by Ajax. In the absence of proper Ajax filtering, adding more products to your site will certainly cause more speed issues.
A plugin with Ajax filtering will show results without refreshing the page. The in-browser filtering instantly shows the products matching the selected attributes. Your customers get faster results, which matters a great deal for sites with a large product catalog. Customers can find what they need faster, leading to higher satisfaction and quicker sales.
The better alternative – Acsell Product Filters
The key factors for a great product filtering experience are correctly chosen filters, filter elements that are easy to figure out and use, and instant results. Acsell Product Filters hits the bulls-eye on all three – here’s how.
Acsell is perfect if you’re looking for a solution that enables customers to filter through their options quickly without any page refreshes or redirects. The plugin will never get in the way of your site’s speed. Faster results will boost customer satisfaction and create the right perception about your online store. When your customers are able to find what they want quickly, it translates to more, quicker sales.
Many filtering options
Your customers can filter by products, featured products, stock, attributes, tags, price and even by sale. These are the best filters for most online stores. You can choose from multiple options to display filter selections, including checkboxes, link boxes, dropdown (single select and multi-select), price slider, ranges, swatches, and links. Depending on your customer research findings, you can choose filters that your audience can best identify and operate.
Easy to add filters anywhere on site
You have two options to publish filters to your store pages: select the page area for your Shop or Category pages or drag the filters widget into the appropriate page area. Acsell’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface allows you to construct powerful filters and place them anywhere on your website, across all products or individual categories. Editing or deleting an existing filter template, or adding a new template is also straightforward even for non-technical store owners.
No coding skills required
The two ways to add product filters to an ecommerce store is to code them using PHP, CSS, HTML, and/or Ajax, or use a third-party plugin. The advantage of using a plugin is that you can set up product filters easily and quickly with little or no coding knowledge. Acsell takes this a step further by allowing you to create custom filter groups with a few steps, and offers documentation and support for guidance.
Is your store offering many categories, makes and models of products? Then you’ll appreciate the advanced features from Acsell that make structuring filters to unique requirements possible. Use drop-down menus to allow customers to filter by all possible attributes for that product. Use configurable icons for familiar visual metaphors. Apply advanced conditional logic to show how a certain ‘make’ relates to a certain ‘model’ while ensuring that no irrelevant entries are added.
Acsell is also the more economical option to WOOF WooCommerce Product Filter. You get better and more comprehensive features at a lesser price. WOOF’s free version misses out on many of the features you’d want to include. You’ll have to upgrade to the premium version to access all the features available from the developer.
Tips to implement product filters
As a best practice, make your product filters stand out from the rest of the page. Your customers may not use the filters immediately, but understanding that the filters are there to assist during product search enhances their experience of using your site. One of the ways to make your filters prominent is to place them at an even level with other items on your product pages. Another is to use the horizontal layout that appears right at the top of the page and is pretty unmissable.
24% of the top 50 U.S. stores have replaced traditional sidebar filters with horizontal product filters. A horizontal layout works especially well when you have fewer product attributes, and it is not easily missed by customers as the sidebar placed to the left or right side of a product page. When properly implemented, horizontal filters can enhance the search experience for your customers.
You can create horizontal product filters with Acsell and customize them to match your catalog and user behaviors. What’s more, you can reduce loading time by 50% by implementing Acsell Product Filters on your store!
Research shows that only 16% of the major ecommerce sites deliver a good filtering experience, 42% of which don’t have category-specific filters for their main product categories. Also, 20% lack thematic filters despite selling products that can and should be filtered by season, style, occasion, and others.
Shoppers will be more motivated to use filters that are relevant to them and at least reasonably intuitive to figure out. This makes choosing the right combination of filters and identifying the most intuitive ways of structuring them important. When choosing a products filter plugin that offers comprehensive features and advanced filtering, also consider whether there is an impact on site speed from adding more products or filters. Lastly, ensure that the plugin is easy to install and configure even for those who don’t have a technical background.
Try Acsell for free
Although WOOF WooCommerce Products Filter offers a decent set of features, the impact of its implementation on website speed poses a risk of seriously hampering the user experience. Acsell is the faster alternative to the WOOF plugin, with more comprehensive features and better pricing to boot.
Start your free 7-day trial to explore Acsell’s premium features and decide if it’s the perfect product filters plugin for your needs.
Acsell Product Filters
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