A colleague came up with a question that got some people in our office intrigued.

What does 'most relevant' mean in terms of a product category?

This makes sense to me in the context of search, but when the user has gone directly to a product category, how does 'Most relevant' apply as a sorting mechanism?

I understand this may have many answers, but I am edging towards maybe it is related to either your previous searches or perhaps even browsing behaviour?

Look forward to the answers!

  • 1
    In a search context, I always thought relevance had to do with how close each item was to the search criteria. – Ken Mohnkern Jul 28 '16 at 11:33

In ecommerce you'll often have some form of default listing which is used by the retailer to push certain products. It could be sale items, their own products they want to promote, high margin products etc.

The sort title is intentionally vague, so you'll see things like:

  • Relevant
  • Default
  • Featured

More sophisticated sites will use use algorithms that are based on the data they've captured about you, but the ranking will still be based on the products they want to promote.


Nice question!

First of all most relevant results show how pertinent the products are to something being searched. The way of showing the 'Most Relevant' results vary site to site. When it comes to the e-commerce related sites then they have their algorithms set which look for the pattern you follow, your previous searches, your previous purchases along with that those algorithms also look for the mostly sold company's products, mostly sold material's products, mostly viewed ones, mostly looked in your area and many more things like that.

So overall the most relevant results are relevant according to you.

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