Creating better pre-cart findability through refinement of attribution and faceted navigation

Find the cheese knife.

Product detail page for a cheese knife on Crate&Barrel's website. At the top, the main navigation menu highlights the selected categories kitchen & food > gadgets, utensils > serving utensils
In which category in the main navigation menu would you expect to find the cheese knife? Cutlery, perhaps?

Though the post-cart funnel was well optimized, the company’s site traffic analysis told a story that customers were having difficulty finding products on the website. In other words: due to a gap in attribution, customer’s couldn’t find, say, a cheese knife on even though they could at retail. And the first rule of e-commerce is, of course, “Customers can’t buy products they can’t find.”

Factor’s first activities were to ingest the findings from previous measurement and testing efforts, and analyze the information environment–especially taxonomies and metadata. Factor also conducted original generative user research to help explain what had been observed in the pre-cart purchase funnel analytics.


  • Crate & Barrel’s home-grown technology stack was serving the company well. 
  • The source of the findability issues was found in the information that had been implemented within them.
  • Product taxonomies were solid, but the attribution structure needed work. 


  • Update  the product metadata schema to maximize attributes’ effectiveness in faceted navigation, sorting, and filtering.
  • Redesign the guided navigation experience to improve usability.


  • The cheese knife was found! Customers were able to put it in their shopping carts and buy it online!