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So What's Up with this Taxonomy Stuff?

. Fred Leise

Why does the UXSears team include a bunch of people who spend all of their time looking at words? Just what is it with this taxonomy thing any way? Today’s column will take a brief look at what taxonomy work is and why it is important.

We know that of all the people visiting the Sears.com home page, more use our browsing navigation than use search. We want to make sure those people can find what they are looking for. So we spend lots of time doing research to understand how our customers think about the structure of various groups of products. For example, do they think of item type (bracelet, ring) or metal type (gold, silver) first when buying jewelry? Do they look for “everyday jewelry” or “fashion jewelry”?

The more we know about how our customers think about products, the better we can make our product navigation hierarchy. And by better, I mean that customers can find what they want easily and efficiently. Get them to the product they want faster, and there’s a greater chance they will buy it.

We also work on creating appropriate product attributes. You know, the things customers use to narrow their choice when they get to the right category of stuff, like size, color, material or dimensions.

We also spend our time figuring out how to classify jar candles and shoe polish and knitting yarn and statuary and bookends. Yes, Sears.com sells all of those things and lots more besides. After all, we’ve got 23 million items online. And you wouldn’t want to look through that many one by one.


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