Marketplace categories and their impact on discoverability

Categories in an online marketplace are more than just an organisational tool. They offer users an efficient navigation system through an array of products and services and also significantly increase the likelihood of discovery.

The bedrock of any marketplace platform is its category structure. It is the navigational beacon that shapes the user’s journey, providing structure and a streamlined browsing experience. By leveraging the advantages of categorisation, you can enhance the visibility of your products and services, thereby increasing the chances of transactions.

This article explores the ways to harness marketplace categories to augment discoverability and provides insightful advice on constructing a robust marketplace category structure.

Why are marketplace categories important?

To appreciate the significance of marketplace categories, let’s consider a brick-and-mortar shop. Upon entering a shop, you are greeted with aisles neatly categorised by different product types. These categories assist shoppers in swiftly locating their desired items. In a similar vein, marketplace categories in the online world guide users throughout their purchasing process, aiding them in sifting through the myriad of online offerings.

Properly structured categories leave an immense impact on the discoverability of products and services. They pave a logical route, guiding customers from general product types to more specific ones.

Categories do more than facilitate smooth navigation. They are instrumental in product search and marketplace SEO, drawing organic traffic, thereby enhancing the visibility and accessibility of your offerings to potential customers.

How to enhance discoverability with marketplace categories?

Clean and simple categories

A cardinal rule in discoverability is maintaining simplicity and clarity in your marketplace categories. Overcomplicated or ambiguous categories can annoy users, causing them to abandon their visit.

Consider the user’s viewpoint when establishing your categories. They should be logical, with each product belonging to one category to avoid confusion. Keep in mind that the primary aim is to aid the user in locating their desired item in the most efficient and seamless way.

Uniform hierarchical order

A crucial ingredient in augmenting discoverability is adhering to a uniform hierarchical order. A list of marketplace categories should follow a logical progression and relevancy. Generally, it begins with broad categories and narrows down as the user navigates deeper into the category structure.

Take, for instance, a main category titled ‘Electronics’, comprising subcategories like ‘Laptops’, ‘Smartphones’, and ‘Headphones’. Each of these may then be further divided into more specific categories. A uniform hierarchy not only improves user navigation but also enhances your SEO by offering a clear path for search engine crawlers.

Utilising data to fine-tune categories

Data analytics can offer invaluable insights into your category structure. User behaviour analysis can reveal which categories gain frequent visits, which ones are seldom clicked on, and where users typically exit.

Understanding these patterns allows you to tweak your categories to improve discoverability. For instance, if a category receives little traffic, it could be beneficial to combine it with another related category. Alternatively, a category that is popular might need further subdivision into more specific subcategories.

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Constructing a robust marketplace categories list

Building an efficient marketplace categories list is a fine art. It requires a thorough comprehension of your stock, your target audience, and their browsing habits on your marketplace. Here are a few suggestions to help you develop a categories list that optimises discoverability:

Align with customer expectations

Your marketplace categories list should match how your customers think and search for products and services. This could involve undertaking market research or scrutinising user data to understand customer behaviours, needs, and expectations.

Strike a balance between wide and narrow categories

Finding a middle ground between wide and narrow categories is crucial. If categories are too broad, customers may have trouble finding specific products. If too narrow, your categories may seem overwhelming. The key is to offer sufficient breadth for easy navigation and adequate depth to cater to their specific requirements.

Optimise for SEO

Remember the crucial role of SEO in your marketplace categories list. Incorporate relevant keywords in your category names and descriptions. This will enhance your visibility on search engines and attract more organic traffic to your marketplace.

Be dynamic

Lastly, a categories list isn’t a static entity. It is a dynamic component of your marketplace that should adapt to your product updates, market changes, and user behaviour. Consistently reviewing and updating your categories list can significantly help in preserving optimal product discoverability.


Marketplace categories are integral to augmenting discoverability on any marketplace platform. By crafting a straightforward, logical, and SEO-friendly categories list, you can navigate your customers through their buying journey, assisting them in finding precisely what they’re after with minimum effort.

Keep in mind that the simpler it is for customers to discover and view your products and services, the more inclined they are to complete a purchase.