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I'm currently working on a landing page on an e-commerce site, and this question was brought up. Are there any best practices in general for how many products there should be on a landing page? Is it better to keep the landing page short and not show to many products for instance?

I didn't find that much info on this, so any answers or links on this topic are highly appreciated

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One and one only... A landing page I think is meant to promote a single product or service, so you should not muddy the waters with other products/services. There are even people who think you shouldn't have any general links on such a page. –  Marjan Venema Mar 6 at 14:38
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You should have 42 products on the landing page. –  DA01 Mar 6 at 18:11
    
Serious comment: It depends entirely on all of the other factors you have to figure in to the decision. Who is your audience? What are the products? Are they all related? All different? –  DA01 Mar 6 at 18:12

6 Answers 6

These suggestions are good, but what are users' goals when they visit your page?

What are your goals when users visit your page?

The price and complexity of your product(s) and will dictate how users want to interact with your listings (eg. low-cost, simple products → fewer options, larger images). Try to balance the users' desires to research and purchase. Adobe is a good example of complex, high-involvement products without tons of choice. You can guide users to what they need without overwhelming them with myriad options.

If you're hoping to drive a buy decision quickly, I would discourage you from displaying more than 12 choices.

Barry Schwart'z TED Talk on The Paradox of Choice brilliantly illustrates that too much choice without a clear outcome actually reduces the ability to choose accurately (which then increases your costs for returned items and business lost from poor user choices).

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Most important on landing pages are to support as many options you can think of. Some users want to see products with images, others as a list, yet others as thumbnail left and text to the right. Also let your users decide if they want to see 12 products, 24 products or 48 products on one page and implementing pagination (if needed). Also let users sort the way they want by ascending/descending price, brand, color, technical properties, this way you empower users with the tools, and they feel comfortable browsing your e-commerce site since “they” are in control.

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The number of products shown is not nearly as important as answering the question users will have upon entering your page: "Do they have what I need?"

If you can provide clues to the user that you indeed carry what they're looking for (information scent), then you'll snag them and they'll delve deeper into your site.

There are a few ways to do this, one of which is showcasing the diversity of options that you carry. Other ideas include putting product categories front and center, or allowing for a dynamic browsing experience right on your front page.

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Having said this, I make it a general rule for myself to err on the side of showing fewer rather than more items on a page. Progressive disclosure is a powerful device. –  epw Mar 6 at 17:43

Products seem to naturally require a grid layout as opposed to a single list, where every product should be given the same exact rectangular space and look.

With the "grid" tendency, you should choose a composite number greater than or equal to 4 to ensure that your products will fill an entire rectangular grid of m x n items. A prime number of items per page will not let you achieve a filled square grid. Only the very last page (or the only page if there are less than m x n items) should be allowed to not fill all the way.

With the choice of m x n, choose m and n close enough so you don't have an extra-tall or extra-wide grid.

Also, do not choose such a large composite number that it would require too much scrolling.

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The goal of a landing page is to assist users to find the right item to purchase. They don't know exactly what they want yet. People who know what they want will search for it. Most successful landing pages are designed with exposing categories to people, grouping products together in logical groups that consumers can easily digest.

Apple.com

Apple.com Store

Here you can see Apple, instead of trying expose all of their products, are focusing the Store landing page on similar products that are being pushed in current marketing campaigns. If you browse farther down the page (not in the screenshot), you get a carousel and grid layout of items relating to the category of iPhone and iPad devices. There's nothing here about the MacBook or Mac Pro or Thunderbolt displays. It's focused on what most people are buying.

Amazon.com

Amazon.com Again, you see here that the focus isn't on quantity of product but relative quality to the user. Here Amazon has a few promotions that they think I may respond to. After that, the rest of the page are product carousels based on items I've looked recently, saved in my cart, or added to a wish list. Amazon is trying to say, 'Hey remember this one thing you looked at but didn't buy? Well here's a bunch of similar items that are kind of like it, but you might like more."

Zappos

Zappos Shoes Zappos takes a slightly different approach: main advert, category links and then starting to bubble up shoe recommendations.

Netflix

Netflix Netflix is "selling" movies. They want you to watch stuff. So to help with the perennial problem of "what should I watch now?" Netflix inserts category carousels with movies similar to movies you've watched previously.

The important takeaway from all of these examples is that while the number of products shown varied, they all focused on how they could focus the user's choice parameters by providing similarly grouped items together. People weren't shopping with computers and phones next to each other, or kids and action movies. They're focusing on how their pages can be more browsable (and therefore more consumable) to users.

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It is recommended to demonstrate the breadth of your product catalog on the homepage by ensuring a broad selection of different product types. My opinion would not to overwhelm the user, but to ensure the user interacts towards your goal - whether that be to guide them to certain categories such as sale products, featured (or new) products etc.

High-quality, engaging product images reinforce this mechanism, ensuring that the homepage conveys a visual representation of the site’s offerings. This is particularly important for sites selling a varied selection of products - a glance over the homepage should indicate the store’s product diversity.

In most cases, you should always accommodate for first-time users who often have little to no prior knowledge of the site’s brand - they will largely base their understanding of your site’s product range based on the homepage content and main navigation categories.

This article might prove to be useful (some interesting statistics also provided).

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