Infinite Scrolling or Pagination – What is Best for Ecommerce

Infinite Scrolling or pagination

In case you are wondering what is infinite scrolling and pagination again in Ecommerce, I will share some examples with you, you will realize it’s what you have seen before but might not know what it’s called. It also became a repeated term to me when I wanted to work on an eCommerce website with infinite scrolling feature and we had to analyse it benefits and shortcomings to eCommerce

Just as the name signifies “Infinite Scrolling” — It’s a function that allows a web user to keep scrolling a page without reaching its end.

When you scroll downward, toward the “bottom” of the page, it simply loads more content, providing an ever-growing and seemingly never-ending amount of material. Pagination, on the other hand, is when a page with enormous content is divided into segments by numbering or cursor where you can click to view the next page

Both infinite scrolling and pagination are valid techniques and strategy but how does it affect Ecommerce and SEO.

But what works best for E-commerce?  

Infinite Scroll

Who: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

 

Why:

Massive amounts of user generated content are being uploaded every second

Users are aware that they won’t see everything on the website as content is updated too frequently

You need to expose as  much data as possible to the user

Your website is not goal orientated and users can mindlessly scroll thru the data with very little interaction, not really missing out on anything by missing out on certain pieces of data.

Example:

The good:

With the popularity of social media, massive amounts of data are being consumed; infinite scrolling offers an efficient way to browse that ocean of information, without having to wait for pages to preload.

Long, endless pages are good for time-killing activities because users are in the mindset for serendipitous exploration and discovery.

Taps into a user’s ‘lazy’ mindset, enabling them to endlessly scroll with very little interaction. Spending more time absorbing content and less finding it.

Example: Twitter

  • Large amount of data (tweets)
  • Real-time platform.
  • Tweets are equally relevant, meaning that they have the same potential to be interesting or uninteresting to a user
  • Consuming data, not goal orientated

Pagination:

WhoJumia

Jumia pagination

Why:

Goal orientated site. Users have a goal in mind, find a product, buy a product.

When having a goal a user needs to feel in control. Pagination gives a user a sense of control. There is a definite beginning and an end to their task.

The good of pagination:

  • People can anticipate the effort required to scan the page.
  • There is a happy sense of completion when a page is reviewed.
  • Pagination gives people control to decide whether or not to continue to the next page.
  • The choices on smaller pages are easier to evaluate because fewer options feel less overwhelming.

Where Infinite scroll fails Ecommerce sites

Paradox of choice:

Infinite scrolling results in large volumes of content being presented to the user. This overwhelms and paralyzes user with choice.

Temptation:

Users are looking for a specific product result but are tempted to continue scrolling thru endless irrelevant results. Time is wasted. Infinite scrolling decreases productivity in the process of finding a product.

Optimism:

You are setting a user up for failure. a User believes they have reached the end of a page only to potentially click load more aimlessly. Like a game with no finish line in sight. Users need a beginning and an end

Exhaustion:

Endlessly clicking load more with no end in sight is tiring for the user and they will give up trying to find the product they would like to buy. With pagination users know when it is no longer worth searching. They know when to give up – relieving frustration.

Organisation:

Without pagination, there is not hierarchy. With Instagram/Twitter/ Facebook, all information is equal. Pagination automatically implies hierarchy. Best sellers first.

 

Interesting to note: Google uses pagination for search results but infinite scroll for images

Web Search: Pagination. a user has a goal in my mind. What time is it in Lagos? Where is Lagos? I am shown search results to motivate a more narrow search term.

Image Search: Infinite Scroll. with images a user is just browsing and consuming content without a definite goal in mind.

Why pagination is important to Ecommerce sites

Findability:

locating a previously found item on an extremely long page is inefficient, especially if that item is placed many scrolling segments down. It’s much easier for people to remember that the item is on page 3 than it is to gauge where the item is positioned on an extremely long page.

Navigation:

One of the very basic UX principles states that users need to always know where they are in the hierarchy of a website. This is essential for website usability. In case of infinite scrolling, it is very difficult if not impossible to understand where you are at a given point. (The side scroll bar is an inaccurate measure of  the size of a page with infinite scrolling)

Skipping:

With paginated content, a user can skip pages if they want. This is impossible with infinite scroll. Skipping is useful if you want to back to a product you remember seeing or you are using sorting  example: Newest and want to see older products or middle prices

Conversions:

Pagination gives the user less time to surf the data and more time decision-making and thus clicking the desired information. As a result, you can get better conversion.

Keep in mind: Infinite scroll is not inherently SEO friendly. Make sure search engines can crawl individual items linked from an infinite scroll. How does  infinite scroll influence the back button usability?

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