While Henry Ford was great at making cars, he clearly missed a key opportunity to delight his customers when he said, “People can have the Model T in any color – so long as it’s black.” Fortunately, today’s consumers have an endless array of color options when they shop for everything from cars to handbags.  And, being able to find a product in just the right color has become an important part of the shopping experience and I would suspect something customers except to do more often than not.

Since customers often begin to shop using your site’s search, you’ll want to make sure your products are accurately tagged with the appropriate color or colors.  This way, when a customer conducts a search including the color they want, they will get relevant results.  In the example below, you can see how a search for “red dress” on the children’s clothing retailer Chasing Fireflies produces a fantastic assortment of red dresses.


Products such as shirts or handbags often come in a variety of colors.  Shoppers for these items will often want to consider the style and color at the same time.  A great example of this can be seen in the site search of handbag producer and retailer Dooney & Bourke.  As their customers search for handbags, they are presented with circular color swatches below each item that represent the colors and patterns available for that item.  To make shopping even more fun, Dooney & Bourke made these swatches interactive by dynamically changing out the product image to display the related item as you mouse over the color swatches.  As you can see from the screen shot below, some of these handbags come in a wide assortment of colors.  This functionality really enhances the aspect of exploration and discovery to the shopping experience and makes it much more fun.


For many customers, finding the right color product is more than just something to browse, it’s a must have.  For instance, they may be looking for a specific color handbag to match exactly with their new outfit or they may need to find orange colored candy to complement the decorations at their child’s birthday party.

Color Swatches

To help customers shop by color, some retailers have included color in their search refinements.  For bead supplier Artbeads.com, color is so important to the purchase process that they have placed it at the top of their search refinements.

To make shopping by color more visual and fun, they have created custom color icons to display as search refinements. A couple of other examples of this can be seen below from two candy retailers A Candy Store and Jelly Belly.

Color Refinement 1Color Refinement 2

Now, before you race off to incorporate color into your site search, I do want to refer you to another blog from Shaun Ryan entitled “Refining search results by color/colour,” in which Shaun points out some of the challenges color filtering can present and showcases some clever solutions you can use to overcome these challenges.