Pagination Vs. Infinite Scrolling – What is Right for Your E-Commerce Store?

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Crafting a successful eCommerce store won’t happen overnight. You need to make countless decisions regarding the UI and web hosting, among others. Making the right choice is often a question of trial and error, leading to a beautiful but usable web store. One of the most important early decisions is the selection between pagination and infinite scrolling. What are these website design strategies and how can you choose the best option for your eCommerce store?

What is pagination?

Pagination refers to a technique where your eCommerce products are divided across several web pages. You won’t display your products as a lump on a single page. Instead, you’ll have several pages with their own set of products. The customer can then navigate from one page to another by manually clicking page numbers, for example.

The main benefits of pagination are:

  • Easy navigation – Pagination makes navigation rather straightforward and easy. Website visitors can see how many products are on a single page and make calculations on how long it takes to browse all the items. Page numbers and other such navigational elements also make it easy to filter products. Overall, the process of finding things you’re looking for can be straightforward.
  • Better conversion rates – Conversion rates tend to be higher with pagination. The reason behind this is the customer intent. Pagination often makes it easier for visitors to find exactly what they are looking for. When a visitor comes on your website with intent and you can easily fulfil it, the rate of conversion goes up.
  • Higher user satisfaction – The above two points lead to pagination offering higher user satisfaction. Visitors can make informed and fast decisions on your site. Navigation can seem guided and you support quick decision-making.

The above benefits make pagination a rather attractive option for many eCommerce websites. But there are downsides to using the strategy. Some of the main drawbacks of pagination deal with the interruption it causes to scrolling. When a visitor reaches the end of the page, they have to start clicking things to navigate further. This disruption can leave the visitor losing attention. Pagination essentially requires extra effort from the visitor. They need to perform extra clicks and actions when navigating your website. This can lead to frustration and even confuse visitors. All in all, visitors might find the site discouraging which can lead to a reduction in sales.

What is infinite scrolling?

Your web store could opt for infinite scrolling instead. Contrary to pagination, infinite scrolling won’t divide your website into multiple product pages. All of your eCommerce products will go on a single page. As the visitor keeps scrolling down, more products will keep appearing with no end in sight.

The main benefits of infinite scrolling are:

  • Improved user engagement – Infinite scrolling can boost user engagement because it keeps users looking at your products. New and different products are presented without a need to click or navigate further.
  • Ease of viewing information – Similarly, the act of looking at the information is easier. Scrolling is an easier and less disruptive action than clicking. This is especially true in the modern world where many website visitors are looking at content on mobile devices.
  • Mobile-friendly – Indeed, a big benefit of infinite scrolling is the fact it’s more mobile-friendly. Mobile screens are smaller and use touch screens, making scrolling an easier thing to do. Gesture controls such as these can feel more intuitive.

But as with pagination, there are certain downsides to infinite scrolling. Because you are constantly presenting new products to visitors, it might make it harder to remember and find the products the visitor is looking for. When they find a likeable product but keep scrolling down to see what else is available, they might make it harder to return to that desired product. There are no indicators, such as page numbers, to guide the visitor. Infinite scrolling can also slow page loading times. Your page loading speed can impact the user experience and it’s important to ensure you optimise your site to infinite scrolling to avoid this.

How to choose between pagination vs. infinite scrolling?

There are many benefits to both strategies. What works best with your eCommerce store depends on many different factors. You should consider the choice by figuring out an answer to the following questions:

  • How many products do you sell? If you have a lot of products, pagination could help create better product categories.
  • What types of products do you sell? If your products are very similar in nature then infinite scrolling can be better for discovering the full range of products.
  • How do you want to display individual products? Pagination and infinite scrolling can create a different UI experience but your individual product design also matters. A pure list of products might benefit from page division while picture displays might not.

You can often have an intuitive idea of which option works better. But it’s also a good idea to test both options. You could test pagination and infinite scrolling with your site search. Change the way you display results to product queries and observe how well either option does. If you notice one bringing in higher conversion rates by a mile, then you have your winner. Expertrec makes it easy to tweak your site search UI design so play around to see what works the best.

The bottom line

Choosing between pagination and infinite scrolling can take a bit of testing. You should definitely think about the above benefits and find an answer to the questions posed above. If you’re still unsure, you can always talk to your customers! They can offer great insight into website design. So, collect data on customer behaviour, depending on the strategies. If you want, you can also ask them directly. Your customers might have a clear preference in terms of the design they like to use.

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