What is Taxonomy?

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What is Taxonomy

For any business venturing into online product sales, especially those with diverse offerings, assigning accurate names and placing items in the right categories is crucial. Failing to do so makes it challenging for both existing and potential customers to locate products. Enter product taxonomy—an essential element in this process. Explore the significance of product taxonomy, understand its importance, and discover how a well-organized taxonomy system can enhance your revenue streams.

What is Product Taxonomy?

Product taxonomy serves as a framework for systematically arranging items within your product catalog, streamlining customer navigation for optimal efficiency. Typically, it operates as a hierarchical structure, categorizing products and employing tags to cluster them within each category. Further enriching this organization, additional product details, like attributes (e.g., color or size), are associated with items in each specific product category.

Consider the following illustration of a fundamental product taxonomy structure:

This streamlined approach ensures customers navigate seamlessly through various levels to pinpoint their desired items effortlessly.

Moreover, the versatility of employing multiple independent taxonomies allows for diverse perspectives on the same data. Take, for instance, a music database where a product could be accessed either through genre or record label.

When the accurate product appears in a search, the likelihood of it translating into a purchase significantly increases. 

Why Is Product Taxonomy Important?

By optimizing your e-commerce platform with a well-structured product taxonomy, you enhance the overall shopping experience for your customers, enabling intuitive navigation. The key factor at play here is understanding customer behavior. Consider a scenario where a customer explores the “Fresh Food” category in search of bread, only to find it exclusively in the “Bakery” section.

In a time-sensitive shopping environment, frustration mounts, leading the customer to abandon the search—an undesirable outcome. When category names fail to align accurately, the repercussions manifest in lost sales, impacting brand confidence over time.

Embracing product taxonomy brings forth several benefits, including:

  • Increased conversions
  • More revenue 
  • Greater brand loyalty 
  • Improved SEO (and as a result, site traffic)
  • Better internal organization and reporting 

You might question why relying solely on the search bar isn’t sufficient. The answer lies in the fact that if your data and product catalog lack a well-defined hierarchy and organization initially, the search function becomes ineffective. It’s the age-old “garbage in, garbage out” scenario, emphasizing that the quality of your search results is directly proportional to the quality of your input, represented by your product taxonomies. Product taxonomy is unavoidable—it serves as the foundational groundwork retailers must prioritize to ensure users don’t leave their site frustrated before locating their desired items.

How Product Taxonomy Can Boost Sales

Without the correct product classification, it’s evident that website visitors are unlikely to persist in their attempts to locate desired products—they simply surrender. Your site attracts both searchers and browsers among its visitors. For browsers, products need to be appropriately positioned, and there’s a bit more room to meet their expectations based on search terms.

On the other hand, searchers are precise in their needs. They know exactly what they’re seeking, expecting to find their desired item and a list of suitable alternatives.

An adept taxonomy enables your website to showcase related products, ensuring that a sale isn’t lost if a specific item is unavailable—instead, you secure the conversion by presenting alternatives.

Beyond conversion rates, taxonomy significantly influences internal decision-making processes. Robust reporting and analytics play a crucial role in understanding the sales performance of products.

Just like any reporting system, the quality of input is crucial. Well-defined categories and accurate labeling simplify the delivery of precise statistics across the entire product catalog. When each product is clearly identified and positioned, reports become more dependable. Consequently, decisions regarding featured or discontinued products become more data-driven and effective.


Product taxonomy is a crucial element for businesses entering the realm of online product sales, especially those with diverse offerings. This framework systematically organizes items within a product catalog, streamlining customer navigation for optimal efficiency. Optimizing e-commerce platforms with a well-structured taxonomy enhances the overall shopping experience, understanding customer behavior and preventing frustration. This approach brings various benefits, including increased conversions and more revenue. Embracing product taxonomy is indispensable for retailers to avoid customer frustration and enhance the likelihood of successful searches and purchases.

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