I agreed with you and there is not a way to change the URL structure shorten. Because the "Collections" OR "Product" word always come up when creating categories or adding products.
But there is some apps available to short the URL for example: https://apps.shopify.com/url-short-link-generator
This is a big issue from an SEO standpoint. We have started to migrate our client's accounts away from Shopify for this reason. To impose extra URL strings on to every user is not ideal. The Perfect URL structure should be:
It's a massive difference and makes for extremely messy URLS.
Sure you can setup a redirect. If you're a small business. Selling less than 100 products. My clients have over 6000 products in their store. I'm sure they don't want me blowing their entire monthly marketing budget on setting up redirects for every single new product they upload to the website on a DAILY basis.
Shopify, you need to fix this. It's unacceptable and ABSOLUTELY is crucial for SEO friendly URLs.
And this is just one of Shopify's many limitations. Easy Pinterest integration is another one and being able to edit the code of the Checkout page is another. Shopify is limited in so many ways, and their Support, even though they're polite, they're incompetent. In all my support tickets I never got a solution to my problem