Categories are the primary way to structure products in a WooCommerce store. They provide a quick and easy route for customers to navigate your online shop and quickly find products they're interested in. But despite this, most WooCommerce sites are missing a product category dropdown. It's a shame, as this is a fantastic opportunity to let shoppers filter by category.
Fortunately, there are two easy ways to add WooCommerce category filters to your store. Keep reading to find out which is best for you.
Solution 1: Create filter widgets with WooCommerce product category dropdowns
The other option is to use a Woo filter plugin to add a category dropdown option. The filter widgets that come with WooCommerce itself only let you filter by attribute, price, or average rating - but not category.
To add a category dropdown filter widget, you'll need to install the WooCommerce Product Filters plugin. This adds advanced-level category filters to your store.
For example, you can:
- Add WooCommerce category dropdown filter widgets to the left or right sidebar.
- Display all of these options above your shop instead of in the sidebar.
- Allow customers to filter by category, tag, attribute, and even custom taxonomies - all at once.
- Choose whether to list categories as drop downs, checkboxes, clickable images, and more:
You can also use it to create WooCommerce step filter dropdowns. With these, the customer selects a parent category and then an additional category filter dropdown appears listing the child categories. When they select these, the grandchild categories appear. And so it continues, for as deep as your category structure goes:
As you can see, WooCommerce Product Filters is an incredibly versatile way to add category filters to your store. It comes with category filter dropdowns, and much more too.
Solution 2: Create product tables with WooCommerce category dropdown filters
The first solution involves using the WooCommerce Product Filters WordPress plugin to add category filters as dropdowns or any other style. However, it doesn't actually change the layout of your store. That's where the WooCommerce Product Table plugin comes in.
WooCommerce Product Table adds category filter dropdowns and also transforms your store's layout. It does this by creating a list view of your products.
Listing products in a table instantly makes your store easier to navigate. The table comes complete with instant AJAX search box and various filtering options including - you guessed it! - category dropdown lists. It's the perfect way to display WooCommerce categories and products in a dropdown list.
Customers can view all products in the table and quickly select a category or sub-category from the dropdown. This instantly filters the list of products by category.
Here are all the different types of product category filter that come with WooCommerce Product Table:
Category filter dropdown above the table
This is the most obviously way to add a drop down category option in WooCommerce. The list of categories is hierarchical, perfectly reflecting the structure of your store. The sub-categories (and sub-sub-categories, etc.) are automatically nested/indented to show the category relationships.
Shoppers simply open the categories dropdown and select a category. The list of products updates instantly to display products from that category.
To clear the category selection, the shopper simply clicks the reset link to view all products.
Filter by clicking on a category in the table
You can choose which columns to include in your product tables. If you choose to include a 'categories' column, then this will list each product's categories within the table. Customers can click on these to instantly filter by a specific category. Or if you prefer, you can disable 'search on click' so that clicking on a category will load the category archive page.
Add to to any page, or to your main shop page
The easiest way to create product tables with category dropdowns is to add a shortcode -
[product_table] - to any page on your WordPress site. You can use the shortcode like this to list all products. Alternatively, you can edit the shortcode to list specific products only.
You can also add them to your main shop page, complete with product category dropdown. That way, customers can visit the shop homepage (or any product archive page) and use the category filter there. This option is slightly more technical and you can find the instructions here.
Can I use both solutions together to add multiple category dropdowns?
Some will choose to select a category from a dropdown above the list of products. Others will click on a category to see other products from the same category. Other shoppers prefer to use sidebar widgets to perform multiple filters at once.
By giving customers a choice, you can make it even easier for them. And happy customers means happy store owners - everyone wins!