eCommerce Product Listing Page Design for Pros

Get the most out of your Product Listing Page with these psychological best practices

Nikole Wintermeier | Mar 31, 2021
eCommerce Product Listing Page Design for Pros

Get the most out of your Product Listing Page with these psychological best practices

You’re optimizing your search, navigation, filtering, and taxonomies on-site. All with the goal of driving your shoppers through the conversion funnel to your eCommerce product pages. 

CRO is great. You’re doing a great job. 

By why settle for great when you can go for brilliant?

The truth is, you’re just scratching the surface of what you can do when it comes to designing and optimizing your product listing pages (PLPs) to facilitate product discovery. The real gold of PLP personalization lies at the intersection of psychology and design. 

Now you might be thinking, how does psychology come into play? If you’re familiar with UX design, psychological marketing is your baby. But merchandisers don’t always get opportunities to apply science in an actionable way. 

A Baymard Institute study found that the design and features of a PLP impacted user’s success rates at finding products they wanted to purchase by 400%!

Psychology will help you optimize your PLPs in line with the decision-making and behavior of your individual shoppers. 

This article will show you great PLP design through the lens of psychology. I’ll show you examples, key PLP best practices, and two teardowns of webshop PLPs by our in-house consumer psychologist. 

I’m already buzzing at the thought. 

This is your Product Listing Page Handbook. Use it to:

  1. Facilitate product discovery on your webshop and streamline the customer journey
  2. Leverage these insights to optimize your product pages
  3. Increase the findability and visibility of your products 
  4. Understand your shopper’s behavior on a deeper level 

Let’s start at the top.


What is a Product Listing Page?

product listing page example


A product listing page presents a list of products based on a category of search query. On the PLP, your customers are goal-driven. When they get to the product detail page (PDP) this is where they become information-driven. Therefore, it’s important you help your shoppers achieve their goals on the PLP. 

A brick-and-mortar equivalent to a great PLP is one that’s easy to navigate, well categorized, and puts important products at the forefront without creating an overload of messages.

It’s NOT this:product listing page design in-store

Business insider “messiest stores we visited this year”

Which is why design is so important. It takes a user half a second to decide to leave a website, and visual perception is the first step in that decision. 


Personalizing Your eCommerce Product Listing Page Design With Psychology


Designing your PLP in line with your shopper’s goals will guide them to the PDP and through to checkout. Which means you need to understand what those goals are to begin with. Hence the importance of CRO psychology. 

Understanding what drives your shoppers on an intrinsic level will help you establish their shopping states, looking at their jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) at specific touchpoints throughout their journey with your brand. 

We love this topic so much we wrote an ebook about it! Read it here to learn how to leverage psychology in the realm of decision-science to understand and guide behavior at different points of the JTBD framework.  

Finally, each product you show on the PLP links back to one of your category pages. Meaning, the PLP is also the centralized page where you should let your eCommerce SEO and internal link building shine, building some backend authority. 

Ultimately, a strong PLP will allow your customers to foster brand intimacy. On a user level, it:

  1. Increases stickiness
  2. Encourages user engagement
  3. Decreases time to purchase 
  4. Is rich with metadata you can optimize and leverage for conversions 

All of the above are important steps in your personalization journey. It’s about a) facilitating decisions, b) guiding behavior, and c) personalizing based on these psychological processes. 

Let’s take a look at this in practice. 


4 eCommerce Product Listing Page Designs We Love & Why


1. Dr. Martens

product listing page ecommerce

Why we love it

  • Clear product images
  • Hover function over the pictures shows how the shoe can be worn (i.e., lifestyle photo)
  • Clear filtering and sorting options
  • Seamless and consistent design in line with the brand

Why we love it as consumer psychologists 

Having color options beneath a product image straight from the PLP increases autonomy for the user. Psychologically, increasing autonomy is a great nudge. Nudges are small changes to the PLP that encourage decision-making (read all about nudge marketing and what nudges you can apply yourself!). 

Autonomy on the PLP provides the shopper freedom of choice without inflicting choice overload, to drive click-behavior from the PLP to PDP.  We’ll deep-dive this principle later on. 


2. Rusty Surfboards

product listing page ecommerce


Why we love it

  • Customization functions straight from the PLP
  • Interactive overlays to show art-design on the board without having to click from PLP to PDP, streamlining the customer journey 
  • Everything about the webshop streamlines efficiency, giving the right options for the target audience (i.e., the professional and occasional surfer)

Why we love it as consumer psychologists  

In line with nudge theory, Rusty Surfboards’ smart notification also presents more information to the shopper whilst leveraging Social Proof in its copy.

This draws attention to the board “The Hatchet”, making it more appealing to individuals who look to the behavior of their peers when they’re unsure of what to choose. 

Smart notification nudges: 

  • Make certain products more appealing to shoppers who are influenced by behavioral nudges
  • Highlight certain products and draws attention to others without being intrusive
  • Drives click-behavior by showing deals, offers, or encouraging sign-ups


3. Tommy Hilfiger

product listing page ecommerce th


Why we love it

  • The shopper is able to filter on “new” product badge to show the whole category of new products
  • A sustainable product is emphasized with a badge and an outline 
  • Shoppers have the possibility to favorite a product by clicking on the heart

Why we love it as consumer psychologists 

Personalized wishlists, favorites, or curated wardrobes increase autonomy and are non-intrusive as far as PLP add-ons go. Plus, highlighting a sustainable attribute on-site can generate important psychographic data

Psychographics are the values, beliefs, opinions, and desires of your customers. If sustainability as a value appeals to certain customers over others, you can begin to create value-based communication. 

For example, if a customer segment responds to the “sustainable style” of the product (in terms of increased click-behavior), then Tommy Hilfiger can leverage this messaging in their other communication channels.

Eventually, data of this kind will pave the way for psychographic segmentation, where you can begin to cluster your shoppers based on their likes, dislikes, and ultimately who they are as individuals rather than just consumers. 


4. River Island

product listing page ecommerce river island

Why we love it 

  • Usually, product recommendations are a good strategy for driving behavior on the PDP. But what River Island does well is placing product recommendations already from the PLP, based on the past onsite browsing behavior of the returning customers 
  • This strategy allows River Island to personalize for their loyal customer base whilst still staying within data protection laws 
  • Customers will feel that the brand knows them and will help them achieve their goals

Why we love it as consumer psychologists 

The “trending” product badge is a good nudge that leverages Social Proof. Recommendations can also be framed from people in positions of power or experts.

For example, these can be recommendations from the brand itself, designers, or influencers. Test these different recommender styles on-site to see what your audience responds to. 

“Recommendations are strong because they leverage different behavioral principles. In a bookstore, for example, I’ve seen recommendations from the store itself (Authority) and recommendations in the form of notes by other people (Social Proof). You can bring this in the online world too, but it’s always about testing messages on your platform.” - Patrick Oberstadt, Consumer Psychologist at Crobox 

4 Product Listing Page Design Best Practices Using Psychology That Will Always Work (If Executed Well!)


Now that we’ve had a look at our favorite designs, you can probably tell how there are a few common things that stand out. Continuing with the rule of four to keep things simple, here are four best PLP practices that will always work. 

However, because they are psychologically driven, you need to be able to execute them in the most efficient way possible. So read carefully and apply accordingly. 


1. Product Badges 

product listing page ecommerce plp

Product badges on the PLP are the use of labels on a product image to highlight something that is special about the product. The label will either show information like a product’s attributes and benefits or have a behavioral nudge to trigger shopper purchase-behavior. 

For example,

  • Most viewed: This is a behavioral nudge because it’s based on the psychological principle of Social Proof. 
  • Dry fast tech: This is a special characteristic of the product that you want to bring to the forefront. 

Both product attributes and behavioral nudges work really well to drive behavior. At Crobox, we leverage both types of messaging. Our AI learns from shopper behavior in order to show the right message at the right time to the right person. If you have the digital maturity (and/or budget) to use AI, your messages can be auto-optimized per individual. 

We also collect insights on a message and product level, to see what messages drive click behavior on the PLP. But if you‘re not at this level yet, don’t fret. You can just as well A/B test your product badges. 

If you do use product badges on the PLP, make sure you don’t overload the page with badges, have some consistency, and ensure shoppers are delivered the same badge on the PDP.


2. Increasing Autonomy

product listing page ecommerce

Allowing your shopper’s the semblance of autonomy on your webshop is important to remain flexible and streamline their decision-making. I say “semblance” not because you want to trick anybody, but because you don’t want to inflict choice overload. 

Tricky or manipulative persuasion techniques are called Dark Patterns, which you should avoid at all costs. 

On the PLP, you can increase autonomy by:

  • Having color, gender, sizing, type, or shape options, either per product or as a side panel to help shoppers filter the products want to view on the PLP
  • Having an add-to-wishlist button (e.g., a heart or Like)
  • Social sharing buttons 
  • Allowing users to pinch, zoom, or maximize the product image so they can get more information without having to go to the PDP


3. Cognitive Fluency 

product listing page ecommerce

Apple’s PLP is the epitome of fluent, from brand style, rhyming words, and perceptually pleasing to the eye


The easier it is to understand what is expected to reach a goal and make progress to that goal, the better the experience and likelihood of conversion success. 

Cognitive Fluency means aligning your PLP design in terms of:

  • User expectations 
  • Visual appeal (to trigger perceptual fluency)
  • Intuitive navigation

So use big and clear images (which will encourage 94% more views) and don’t surprise your users, unless that’s part of your brand style, like some luxury brands.

ecommerce product listing page design luxury

Chanel's 2020 Mother's Day campaign, where they got kids to draw the perfume bottles to show on the PLP. For more on appealing to the psychology of luxury consumers, read our Luxury Report.  


Have clear navigation between pages, transparent and truthful messaging, and stylize the page in line with your brand guidelines to create a fluent PLP experience. 


4. Facilitating Goals

ecommerce product listing page design

Nudie Jeans clear category options on PLP

To encapsulate everything above, the foundation of your PLP design should facilitate your shopper’s goals. Of course, this will vary depending on what those goals are. Nevertheless, here are some things you can try:

  1. Clear category options
  2. Recommenders to help explore similar products
  3. Size selectors 
  4. Filtering options
  5. Lifestyle product photos to show the product in use

To understand more about what guides your online customers, you can track behavioral data, collect psychographics, and leverage tools to learn what your customers love about your products. 


Product Listing Page Tear-Down by A Consumer Psychologist Expert


You now have four examples to learn from, and four tried and tested psychological approaches to making the best and most personalized PLPs. 

But there’s more. 

Our in-house consumer psychologist has years of experience carrying out Expert Reviews on different webshops. For these examples, he takes his expertise to review Intersport and Zalando’s PLPs. 


product listing page intersport


  • Product Images

Intersport uses different styles of images throughout the lister page which makes it an inconsistent experience. 

They use very small images which makes it hard for someone to assess the item like this. If you don’t have an overall impression of what you’re looking at, this causes cognitive friction, psychologically setting the tone for the rest of the customer experience. 


  • Product Badges 

Intersport shows us that the product has multiple colors. However, you’re unable to interact with the text that says it. Meaning, if the shopper wants to find out more colors they have to go to the PDP, creating extra work for the customer. 

A better strategy here is to show the colors as small icons so the shopper can already see what is offered. If they have to click on the product just to see the colors this makes the message counter-active. Generally, messages or badges on your PLP should be either transparent (full disclosure) or intuitive. 


  • Interaction

You can’t interact with the images besides going to the detail page. Therefore, you can’t see alternative angles or other colors. Also showing the other colors on the item without having to go to a new page is important. Otherwise, if someone wants to quickly explore colors they’ll have to click the item first instead of hovering, for example. 


  • Facilitating Goals

It’s also missing any highlighting of specific items to help the consumers with their decision-making. There is no way to find out what product is popular, how others have rated a product, or what some key benefits or attributes of the products are.


product listing page zalando

  • Product Badges

Zalando uses labels that highlight specific attributes and benefits of certain products. This both reduces choice overload for consumers and informs them. But they could introduce more variations to give more information rather than just on sale or sustainability. 


  • Product Images

Zalando uses big images that make it easier to have a look without clicking on anything. The images also make certain details more visible. This makes the product more attractive. 


  • Increasing Autonomy 

Hovering over a product image will give you a different view of the product and will also show you the different colors that are available, no click needed. Also, Zalando gives you the opportunity to save the item to your wishlist. Giving people the opportunity to return to their wishlist at another point in time is valuable as well because it makes it a lot easier than having to go through the website again to find all your favorite items.


  • Consistency 

Consistency in imagery and photography makes it easier and more pleasant to go through this lister page. The grey background is consistent and clean, promoting fluency. 

That’s A Wrap!


You now have the tools to make the most brilliant PLP out there. Not just for your CRO, but for your customer-centricity and to take your personalization to the next level. 

In the future of eCommerce, psychology will be so interwoven in your product page design you won’t have to blink twice at terms like choice overload, fluency, or decision-science. 

Get ahead of the curve and start applying these practices now to stay on top!

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