Understanding Site Search Facets vs Filters

Kenny has been a shopaholic forever. He finds his answers by navigating through eCommerce sites and shopping for essentials. It calms his mind when he dodges off his liabilities by shopping well. But what creates a disorder is the unevenness of the eCommerce sites. He is wondering can someone add another dimension to eCommerce site search filters or search facets. How will it be different from the usual filtering? So here we are to unravel the search facets vs. filters.

Yes, filtering system? The one by which we can filter out our product attributes?

The filtering system is often not placed by the eCommerce brand owners. In fact, the eCommerce sites that patronize such features lose out on a plethora of customers like Kenny daily. Only 24.1% of the total available eCommerce sites offer filtering based on brands/color/size.

Search Facets vs Filters

Enter Facets

Facets are children of the defined filters. More like adopted ones because they may change dynamically based on the query (which we might discuss later). A shirt can be of ‘Brand: Tommy Hilfiger,’ ‘Size: M’, and ‘Color: Blue.’ If such distinctions are well-framed out and provided on the site, shoppers find it easier to choose. 

Filters and Facets help to lead the otherwise embryonic websites to a much mature state by providing diversity in a better state. 

Let’s dive deep into ‘Facets’:

Facets and their values strain out all the unnecessary products that don’t intend to your shopper’s target query. Suppose they typed a query ‘Books’ on the search bar of your eCommerce site. Now, tracking the query, you are sure the shoppers are looking for books, but then:

Which book?

Any specific author?

Any specific genre?

Any recommendations?

Search Facets vs Filters

The above screenshot is from one of our customers in the UK, World of Books. Please read the full case study if you want to know how relevant search and merchandising techniques helped boost online conversions.

And exactly these questions are marked as filtered facets. So, for the query ‘q=books,’ facets are:{ Genres, Authors, Price, Format, Language}. 







Paulo Coelho

J.K. Rowling

Stephen King

Amish Tripathi





Now, these facets help shoppers make their own divisional choices, and within minutes you can see them at their cart paying for it, not abandoning it. So, even if you start with a query ‘Books,’ which contains 1700 products, by selecting the facets genre, you narrow it down to 160, and by selecting ‘Thriller’ from the facet genre, you come down to 42.

But the aforementioned facets were all ‘Text’ Facets. Text facets are the ones that have single String values. But what is the solution if we have a popular attribute like ‘Price’?

No shopper is ever going to say, ‘Oh! I am searching for a shirt that is specifically for $45.5. We mean not the normal ones. Instead, people have a pre-imposed filter on their products like ‘I am looking for shirts for a range like $30-$40. Not more than that.’ So, price facets were introduced as ‘Range’ facets which categorize products in different ranges. 

Search Facets

For query: books, 

Price facet may have values:




And so on.

More ways to use Facets?

  • Multiple Facets: When facets have already made your life easier, how about selecting multiple of them?
    Now, after navigating to Books > Genre> Thriller, which made your search results to 42 products, you would still want your shoppers to get to their favorites. So, they select another facet on the filter category ‘Author: Sidney Sheldon’ to further filter them down. And now, after, Books > Genre> Thriller and Books > Author> Sidney Sheldon, we see Woah! Just 12 results.

    And definitely, a person who triggers down to such depth can make a viable decision out of the 12 products he/she sees. This shortens the path-to-purchase by narrowing down the options and fastening the decision-making process. That is the power of Filters and Facets.

  • Dynamic Faceting: While filters are generic for all the query types, facets are specific and change dynamically with each query typed. Not many search engines provide this asset, but with Unbxd’s AI tech, you can have a facet list for every searched query. So, if the query is men’s shoes, the facets appear as color, size. If the query is ‘Hard Disk,’ the facets appear as ‘Brand,’ ‘Connection type,’ ‘Format,’ and ‘Size.’ 

If the query is ‘Pillows,’ the facets appear as ‘Brand,’ ‘Bedding Size,’ ‘Material,’ and so on. 

Why are Filters important?

Filters diversify the product catalog by putting them under relevant categories of attributes. Filter terms are generic in their definition. A broad category of terms like ‘Men,’ ‘Women’ is defined as filters. When you provide these filters, your shopper is elated and quickly selects a filter to match his choice.

Search Filters

Shoppers enter a site, but they look for an overall differentiation. Women entering the site would want skirts/jewelry/shorts while the men would want pants/shirts/trousers.
For proper diversification, catalogs are therefore categorized as Men, Women, Shoes, Accessories, etc. 

Applying filters is as important as any other Merchandising Technique that we had discussed earlier.

But once you select an overarching category, what about digging deeper?

Which is the one you need?

Search Facets vs Filters have taught us that it adds an extra layer of detailing and intelligence for a proper display of products. Although, filters, unlike facets, do not change dynamically. So, facets can also be defined as subsets of filters. With attributes defined as facets, you let your shoppers take a happy face home which remains an alien topic to many. 

Therefore, if you need to affix this capability along with numerous other features to make your eCommerce site search stronger and easier for your shoppers, then contact our team at Unbxd (sales@unbxd.com) and let your eCommerce site roll over the charts. 

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