How to Filter Products by Custom Taxonomy in WooCommerce

Apr 17, 2023

Are you looking for ways to simplify the product search process for customers in your WooCommerce store?

If your eCommerce store has a large product catalog, it can be easy for your customers to find themselves lost in a sea of products, unable to find what they’re looking for. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming for your customers to navigate through the vast selection of products. This is where taxonomies come into play. 

Taxonomies are a way of organizing and categorizing products on an eCommerce site. They allow customers to quickly find the products they’re looking for by providing a logical structure to the product catalog.

This functionality only gets more powerful when you enable your customers to filter your product catalog by taxonomy. This helps your site visitors to narrow down their search and find their desired products much more quickly, providing a better customer experience and helping to encourage more conversions.

In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the importance of taxonomies in WooCommerce and show you how to set up product filters for custom taxonomies on your online store. We’ll also introduce you to a powerful plugin that enables you to take full control over your WooCommerce store’s product filtering process.

First, though, it’s important to understand exactly what a custom taxonomy is.

What is a custom taxonomy? 

A taxonomy is a way to group and categorize products in WooCommerce based on shared characteristics or attributes. This allows you to create more specific product groupings that can be used to create targeted product filters.

In WooCommerce, taxonomies can be created and managed through the WordPress dashboard. There are two base types of WooCommerce taxonomies: categories and tags. Categories are used to group products hierarchically, while tags group products by specific attributes or keywords.

Let’s take a look at a practical example. Imagine you run an online clothing store that sells a range of different items of clothing, such as T-shirts, sweaters, and pants. To make your store easier to navigate, you could create categories for each of these types of clothing, enabling your customers to filter your product catalog by the specific type of item they are looking for, or visit the specific category page for that product category.

You could even create sub-categories within each of your primary product categories. For example, in the T-shirt category, you could create sub-categories for long-sleeved or short-sleeved T-shirts.

Dividing products into sub-categories in WooCommerce.

The hierarchical nature of categories makes them great for helping customers gradually narrow down their search of your product catalog until they find the product perfectly suited to their needs.

However, sometimes customers will want to view products from multiple categories at once and filter them by other attributes. This is where tags come in.

Tags enable you to attach specific terms to products in your WooCommerce that customers can then use when filtering your product catalog. Unlike categories, tags are not hierarchical – a product can have multiple tags, but sub-tags do not exist.

Let’s return to our clothing store for an example. Imagine a customer visiting your store is looking specifically for clothes made with cotton. Without the use of tags, determining which products fulfill their needs could be a laborious task as the customer would need to scroll through your entire product catalog.

Alternatively, by adding a tag to all products that are made with cotton, you could enable the customer to filter your product catalog by that specific attribute, making for a much easier purchasing experience.

Filtering by tag in WooCommerce.

Custom taxonomies make it even easier for customers to filter your product catalog, making for an even smoother shopping experience. Essentially, they enable you to segment your product catalog by additional attributes of your choosing.

Filtering by multiple custom taxonomies in WooCommerce.

For example, you could create a new custom taxonomy for “Sizes” on your online clothing store, with terms within that taxonomy like “Small”, “Medium”, and “Large”, enabling your customers to filter your product catalog by their preferred size.

The advantage of creating custom taxonomies is that they enable your customers to filter your catalog by multiple different attributes at once in order to find the exact product they are looking for much faster.

For example, if a customer visiting your store was looking for a white, round-necked, short-sleeved T-shirt, available in a medium size, you could provide a much better user experience on your store by creating custom taxonomies for size, neckline, color, and sleeve length. Your customer could then filter by all of these different categories at once, enabling them to find exactly what they are looking for in just a few clicks, with no need to scroll through your product catalog.

Before we move on to the benefits of adding custom taxonomies to your WooCommerce store, it’s also important that you understand the difference between custom taxonomies and custom fields. While both are used to provide additional data about the products on your WooCommerce store, taxonomies are used to help group, filter, and search for your products, while custom fields provide one-off information about specific products in your store.

For example, you might use a custom field to indicate that a particular line of T-shirts in your store is suitable for dry-wash only, as this is important information for your customers to have prior to making a purchase, but wouldn’t be useful for filtering your product catalog.

Why should you use custom taxonomies on your WooCommerce store? 

Custom taxonomies are crucial to any WooCommerce store because they help organize products meaningfully. By using custom taxonomies, you can add additional attributes to your products, which can be used to create filters that help customers find exactly what they’re looking for. This provides a range of benefits:

Improved customer experience

One reason to use custom taxonomies on your WooCommerce store is to improve the customer shopping experience. 

As we’ve seen, custom taxonomies make it much easier for customers to narrow down their search, saving them time looking through your entire product catalog. This makes for a much faster and more intuitive shopping process, makes it more likely that customers will find what they are looking for, and generally provides a better experience for visitors to your store.

Improved SEO

Another reason to use custom taxonomies is to improve your store’s search engine optimization (SEO). By creating custom taxonomies relevant to your products and target audience, you can help search engines understand the content of your store better. This can lead to higher search rankings and more traffic to your site.

For example, let’s say you sell wine on your WooCommerce store. You could create custom taxonomies for grape variety, region, and vintage year. Then, when customers search for these specific attributes on search engines like Google, your products are more likely to appear in the search results, helping to bring more traffic to your score.

Better yet, if customers who have found your store organically in this way go on to make a purchase rather than returning to Google to search for an alternative, this will indicate that your store is a good match for that specific search term, helping to improve your rankings in search engine results even further.

Improved product discoverability

Grouping your products together by custom taxonomy can also help to improve the visibility of new products or products which aren’t selling as well as you would like. Custom taxonomies help to group related products together, meaning that customers searching for a particular product will discover other similar products that they are likely to be interested in.

To take this one step further, you can even create a custom taxonomy for featured products, encouraging customers to check out a range of specific products that you as the store owner have chosen to feature. This is a great way to increase the visibility of new or underperforming products and help to boost sales.

Increased sales and average order value (AOV)

Helping customers find products more efficiently makes for a smoother shopping experience and helps to reduce the chance of cart abandonment by making the journey from your shop page to the checkout much quicker. This helps to improve your conversion rate and increase sales.

Using custom taxonomies to create a better customer experience can also benefit your store in the long term, as a well-organized store with a smoother shopping experience can help to encourage a higher rate of return visits and repeat purchases.

In addition to helping customers find products more efficiently, custom taxonomies can help to expose customers to relevant products related to those that they were initially searching for. This can encourage customers to invest in upsell or cross-sell products that they might otherwise not have discovered on your store, helping to increase your average order value.

Premmerce WooCommerce Product Filter

Get started giving your customers a better way to filter your products to increase site usability and revenue.

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How do you filter by custom taxonomies in WooCommerce?

As we’ve seen, enabling filtering by custom taxonomies is a fantastic way to improve the shopping experience for customers on your WooCommerce site. It allows them to easily navigate your product catalog and find what they are looking for faster, ultimately leading to improved conversions and sales.

WooCommerce doesn’t offer the option to create or filter by custom taxonomies as part of its core feature set – in order to add this functionality, you’ll need to use dedicated WordPress plugins for taxonomy creation and filtering.

How do you add custom taxonomies to your WooCommerce store?

The easiest way to add new custom taxonomies in WooCommerce is by using a free plugin like Custom Post Type UI. This plugin enables you to create new taxonomies and custom post types for your WordPress site, including new product taxonomies.

Follow along with this quick tutorial to learn how to set up a new custom taxonomy with Custom Post Type UI:

  1. Download the plugin from the plugin repository and install it on your WordPress site.
  2. From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to the new CPT UI section in the sidebar, then click “Add/Edit Taxonomies”.
  3. Fill in the basic details for your new taxonomy, including the taxonomy slug, name, and the type of post type you want to attach it to. To create a new taxonomy for the purpose of filtering your product catalog, you’ll want to choose “Products”.
Create a new custom taxonomy with Custom Post Type UI.
  1. Click “Add Taxonomy”. Your new taxonomy will now appear in the product editor and a dedicated area will appear for it under “Products” in the WordPress dashboard. 
  2. To add terms to your new taxonomy, either navigate to the dedicated section in the WordPress dashboard, where you can add terms in the same way as you would add new attributes. Alternatively, navigate to the product editor for any product in your catalog – a new box will appear in the right-hand column where you can add or select terms for your taxonomy.
Adding terms to a custom taxonomy in the product editor.

How do you create a custom taxonomy filter in WooCommerce?

When it comes to filtering products in WooCommerce, be that by category, attribute, price, or any custom taxonomy, the best plugin for the job is WooCommerce Product Filter by Premmerce.

This powerful plugin helps to provide a seamless experience for customers by making it straightforward to filter your product catalog by a range of different taxonomies. Here are just a few of the features that make WooCommerce Product Filter stand out from the competition:

All filters in one place

WooCommerce Product Filter keeps all of your product filtering options in one convenient place by combining them all into a single customizable filter widget. This offers a much more user-friendly solution than the default WooCommerce filtering options, which require you to add a separate filter widget for each taxonomy you want to filter by.

As well as the default WooCommerce taxonomies (categories and tags), the plugin supports filtering by price, rating, stock, brand (with the free WooCommerce Brands plugin from Premmerce), and any custom taxonomy.

Customizable widget appearance

The filter widget included with WooCommerce Product Filter offers a range of customization options not available with the default WooCommerce widget. For example, you can set up different input field types including dropdown lists, checkboxes, radio buttons, or image and color swatches.

Configure your product filtering options for WooCommerce Product Filter from the dedicated dashboard.

AJAX filtering 

One of the essential features of WooCommerce Product Filter is its AJAX filtering capabilities, which enable customers to filter your product catalog without the need for a page refresh. This results in nearly instant results on filter selections, which significantly improves the user experience.

Improved SEO

WooCommerce Product Filter can also help to bring more traffic to your WooCommerce store through the bulk-generation of SEO-friendly landing pages based on filter results. These landing pages are also automatically added to the sitemap to ensure they are easily crawlable by search engines.

This provides an excellent opportunity to optimize for “long-tail keywords” in marketing campaigns and helps your store rank in search engine results for particular search terms. For example, if you generated a landing page for all products that match the filters of “White”, “Short-sleeve” and “T-shirt”, this would be much more likely to rank for the keyword “White short-sleeve T-shirt” in search engine results than your main shop page.

Tutorial: Adding a custom taxonomy filter to your WooCommerce store with WooCommerce Product Filter

Enabling customers to filter by custom taxonomy on your WooCommerce store with the help of WooCommerce Product Filter couldn’t be easier. By following this quick tutorial, you can set up custom filters on your eCommerce site in a matter of minutes.

  1. First of all, you’ll need to ensure that you have at least one custom taxonomy set up on your WooCommerce store. If you haven’t set any up yet, jump back to our guide above to get started.
  2. Download and install the plugin from the Premmerce website – a single-site license is available from $69.99/year with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  3. From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Premmerce > Product Filter, then click the “Settings” tab. From this page, you can configure a number of different options, including turning on price, stock, and rating filters, choosing which pages your filters display on, and enabling AJAX filtering.
  4. Under “Taxonomies”, you’ll see a box entitled “Use taxonomies” – here, you can choose which taxonomies are used for creating filters. WooCommerce Product Filter supports the addition of any custom taxonomies to this section, so add any taxonomies that you want to create filters for on your site, then click “Save Changes”.
Add a new custom taxonomy filter to WooCommerce Product Filter.
  1. A new tab will appear at the top of the screen for the taxonomy you’ve just added – navigate to the new tab. From here, you can configure which terms will appear in your custom taxonomy filter. You can do this individually by clicking on the eye symbol next to each term, or make bulk changes using the bulk actions dropdown.
Configuring the custom taxonomy filter terms for WooCommerce Product Filter.
  1. Next, head over to the “Attributes” tab. From here, you can configure the display of the various filters that will appear on your WooCommerce Product Filter widget. Choose your preferred input field and how the filter will display on the front end (for example, as a static field, dropdown, or scrolling field).
Manage the display of your filters using WooCommerce Product Filter
  1. That’s it! Your filters will now display on the front end of your site on the pages you selected from the “Settings” tab. For even more control, you can also display your filters anywhere on your WooCommerce store using a shortcode widget by adding the dedicated Product Filter shortcodes:

[premmerce_filter] to display your filtering options, and

[premmerce_active_filters] to show which filter options are currently active.

Improve your store’s user experience with custom taxonomy filters

By offering the option to filter products by custom taxonomy on your WooCommerce store, you can streamline the shopping experience, leading to improved customer satisfaction, better product visibility, and, ultimately, increased sales.

The best way to add custom taxonomy filtering to your online store is with the help of the WooCommerce Product Filter plugin from Premmerce. With its customizable filter widget, wide range of filtering options, user-friendly AJAX filtering, and built-in features to help with SEO, the plugin is a clear frontrunner when it comes to offering advanced filtering on your WooCommerce store.

Are you ready to level up the shopping experience on your WooCommerce store and watch your conversions soar? Then get started with WooCommerce Product Filter today from $69.99/year with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Premmerce WooCommerce Product Filter

Get started giving your customers a better way to filter your products to increase site usability and revenue.

Buy Plugin


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