Ecommerce Inspiration: 4 Examples of Unique Inventory Filtering

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 28 Mar, 2016

Knowing your audience is one of the most basic, yet most important, business rules - especially for ecommerce merchants.

A good understanding of customer segments not only enables merchants to create personalized marketing campaigns, but also enables them to optimize their website's design to create a more streamlined shopping experience. For example, if an online pet store's most active audience segment is "new puppy owners," the retailer would be wise to make a main menu option for this audience segment with a variety of filtering options catering to their needs, such as finding puppy-specific toys, treats, food, crates, etc. By providing this customer segment with their own menu option, it makes it much easier for them to find everything they need without having to manually search through more generic options, such as "dog" or "toys."

For some inspiration on how to create a more streamlined shopping experience on your site, take a look at these four brands that are catering to their audiences with unique inventory filters:

The North Face

Not only does The North Face offer a personalized and interactive shopping experience via its expert personal shopper technology (powered by IBM Watson), but the apparel retailer also makes it easy for shoppers to quickly find what they are looking for with unique filtering options.

For example, since a large portion of The North Face's audience is active outdoors, the retailer enables shoppers to search for activity-specific items, such as hiking, running and climbing. In addition, the retailer lets shoppers filter items based on the benefits they offer, including waterproof, wind protection or reflective. Both of these filtering options make it easy for The North Face's audience to quickly find apparel items that fit their lifestyle and without having to sort through an overwhelming amount of options that would be found in a more generic category, such as "jackets."

Alex and Ani

Since Alex and Ani's products are often given as gifts, the retailer makes "gifts" one of its permanent and most prominent main menu options. Those that come to the site with the intention of purchasing a present may not know exactly what they are looking for, but Alex and Ani makes it easy by including a variety of filters under its gift option.

For instance, the filters enable visitors to search for inventory with specific meanings, inventory that can be personalized, inventory for special occasions or relationships and more. Once the shopper clicks through one of these categories they are offered even more options. Someone who chooses the occasions filter, for example, is presented with additional filters for anniversary, birthday, bridal, new baby and graduation. By including these type of filters Alex and Ani offers a type of guided shopping experience that makes it easy for people who aren't familiar with its brand to find exactly what they are looking for.


TwoSocks offers a shopping filter as unique as the socks it sells. In addition to giving shoppers the ability to search basic inventory filtering options, such as pattern, thickness and color, the retailer also enables its audience to shop by personality. In fact, shoppers can search for socks based on traits like introvert, extrovert, creative, famous, corporate, geek and alternative. This simple and unique filtering option makes shopping for socks a much more enjoyable (and less mundane) task.

Annie's Homegrown

Annie's Homegrown is a food manufacturer that has a reputation for selling healthy food that includes options for people with special diets. Although the company doesn't sell its inventory directly on its website, it does cater to its audience that has dietary restrictions.

For instance, site visitors can filter Annie's inventory by clicking on the "Special Diet" option and using the options provided, including Gluten Free, Lite/Fat-Free, Vegan and Naturally Gluten Free. What's more, visitors can filter the items even more by choosing category options like Mac & Cheese or Granola Bars. This filtering functionality is a great resource for the brand's audience, as it can be difficult for people with special diets to find products that fit their lifestyle. Plus Annie's provides calls-to-action (CTAs) to help its audience find places where they can purchase its products.