Everything You Need to Know About eCommerce Merchandising11 min read
The landscape of eCommerce merchandising is shifting. While merchants in the early 2000's concentrated exclusively on bringing offline merchandising concepts online, today's leading eCommerce firms are combining those initial ideas with customer data and artificial intelligence to improve user experiences. They're inferring intent from user behavior, using machine learning to optimize their product rankings, and personalizing their websites at the user level. Change is unavoidable. And the only way to compete is to maintain a competitive edge.
This post will describe practically every new eCommerce merchandising approach utilized in 2022. We'll discuss what eCommerce merchandising is, why it's critical, and how every online business can improve it, so you can ensure your website is prepared for the transition. Let’s start.
What Is eCommerce Merchandising?
eCommerce merchandising is both a science and an art. Its objective is to increase sales by matching shoppers with the appropriate products. eCommerce merchandising's primary job is to lead users through their customer journeys. In comparison to conventional stores, the consumer journey in eCommerce is more complicated. Almost every trip to brick-and-mortar stores will come into contact with the same visuals, odors, and staff. Simultaneously, there are numerous ways for a customer to arrive at your eCommerce site.
eCommerce merchandising can assist you in ensuring that each consumer that visits your site has a consistent experience, regardless of how they arrived or how they navigated after they arrived. It combines branding, compelling imagery, product placement, and creative thinking about how to present things. The primary objective of retailers is to entice consumers to ‘add to cart.' We may track clients' behavior throughout their journey by implementing eCommerce merchandising methods that encourage online purchases.
This is where eCommerce merchandising comes into play; it is all about how firms offer their products to customers.
Why is eCommerce merchandising so important?
Due to the growing popularity of online purchasing, e-commerce merchandising is more critical than ever. Displaying products in an unobtrusive yet aesthetically beautiful manner has developed into an art form, and many websites experiment with eCommerce merchandising to attract customers. This method of product display is critical not only for the aesthetics and accessibility of the website but also for the conversion of site visitors into paying clients.
It is more critical than ever in unprecedented times like these to invest in a well-functioning eCommerce site. Today's competitive eCommerce marketplace requires marketers to offer their customers a really distinctive purchasing experience. Creating successful and differentiated client experiences will not only enhance conversion rates but will also establish a long-lasting brand image that will keep customers returning regularly. For instance:
- By strategically placing CTAs (calls to action), reminders for abandoned shopping carts, and “order again” buttons, eCommerce merchandising can influence consumers' purchasing behaviors.
- With cross-selling, you analyze the chosen product and give the consumer something else they are likely to purchase. You can do this through a variety of different tactics in addition to a “suggested items” area.
What is the difference between traditional and eCommerce merchandising?
Online retail space is quite limited in comparison to brick-and-mortar establishments. However, you are not required to show the same products to every customer who visits your store. Regardless of the customer's point of entry or path through the store, eCommerce merchandising ensures that the most relevant products are shown in the most engaging sequence.
There are certain distinctions between traditional and eCommerce merchandising; let's explore a few.
What is the benefit of online merchandising?
eCommerce merchandising is beneficial in a variety of ways. Let's take a look at some of the advantages of eCommerce merchandising.
Boost Store Conversions
eCommerce merchandising is done not only to improve the visitor experience but also to increase sales. When you employ a data-driven automated system, the work required to do eCommerce merchandising can be reduced to nil. However, if done manually, it can become ineffective and unproductive.
Your online store can be an extension of your physical store. Depending on the data, eCommerce merchandising may assist you in automating the sales processes in your online store and, as a result, increase your ROI. By using analytics, you can instantly analyze your shoppers' behaviors and show them what they want to buy. We can increase retail conversions by analyzing and anticipating consumer behavior based on data from the store.
An effective Sales Funnel
Retailers prefer to invest a lot of money on social media and other channels to increase web traffic to their e-stores. Although the goal is to improve the top of the funnel, visitors are unlikely to become involved. Visitors who aren't interested may leave right away, which increases the cost of customer acquisition and decreases profitability.
To boost customer engagement, allow them to locate anything that piques their interest before allowing them to view the goods. The primary goal of internet retail is to increase the number of product views. It is accomplished by placing the appropriate item in the appropriate location on your website. It increases the click-through rate from impressions on your web page to product views, increasing the likelihood of final conversions.
Reduce the number of first-time visitors who bounce.
You can use eCommerce merchandising to keep first-time customers from leaving your site and going to your competitor's because they can't find what they're looking for. It improves your Click-Through Rate (CTR) and your chances of obtaining a higher Average Order Value (AOV). Furthermore, when clients investigate more and do not “bounce off” from your website, you can boost product discoverability.
6 online merchandising strategies
Online merchandising is a never-ending, iterative process. Here are four strategic best practices to help you maximize your efforts:
1. Concentrate on the homepage
As the entry point into your eCommerce site from search, social media, and other sources, the homepage must provide an engaging and interactive experience to reduce bounce rates and encourage users to explore the site. The homepage should include:
- Tell your brand's story. A brand story will captivate clients by separating you from the competition and demonstrating why they should shop with you.
- Display products from collections as well as featured products. The homepage is an excellent spot to promote possibilities that you want customers to take advantage of. As soon as a customer enters the site, well-placed merchandise and promotions can capture their interest.
- Check that the homepage can be scanned. This page should present clients with concise yet helpful information that they can quickly peruse to gain a decent grasp of what you're all about and what they can do or find on your site.
- Include call-to-actions (CTAs) buttons. A call-to-action on the homepage can persuade customers to take specific actions. It also lays up a clear path for them to follow.
- Incorporate “social proof.” Consumer created content (reviews, social media photographs, etc.) increases customer engagement and validates the quality and usefulness of your offerings.
Check that the search bar is visible. Make the search bar easy to find and utilize to attract searchers.
2. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices
If you want to expand your consumer base and enhance your market share, you must optimize your websites for mobile devices. This also implies that the store owner must maximize their mobile eCommerce merchandising. Here are a few m-Commerce products merchandising strategies:
- Make your website mobile-friendly for iOS and Android users.
- Make a downloadable app and urge consumers to download it to their phone (by offering discounts, free shipping, etc.)
- Mobile-optimized images: rescale and resize them for faster viewing
- Ensure that your mobile version is just as good as your website.
- Provide one-click, no-account checkout.
3. Write thorough product descriptions
Customers usually look at the product description first to discover more about the things they're interested in. Consider this the internet version of a sales professional promoting a product to a potential consumer. Descriptions should include pertinent information about the product's uses, specifications, materials, manufacturing, and benefits.
You should also emphasize delivery and production timeframes, especially if you provide free shipping. All of this should be done in an instructive tone that corresponds to your brand voice, so the buyer feels connected.
4. Use online visual merchandising
Brand identity is all about your tone of voice and visual presentation. ECommerce merchandising is heavily focused on capturing the customer's interest as early as possible and encouraging them to learn more and stay on your site for a longer period. The process of strategically exhibiting visual and design components on a website is known as online visual merchandising.
Effective implementation can assist in communicating the brand image, establishing the brand's validity, and improving customer engagement. As a result, it is critical that firms improve their homepage graphics. Visual marketing is required on all pages, from the homepage to particular product pages.
To demonstrate the product, some firms have experimented with 360-degree visualizations and demonstration films. The photographs on the site, as well as the overall style, are critical to this process. In addition to obtaining high-quality photographs of product offerings and considering design, it is critical to iterate and change the visual design site to ensure its effectiveness.
Other companies are eager to connect their websites to their social media profiles. This not only improves SEO (search engine optimization) and ranks but also provides customers with a more in-depth look at the brand identity. If the response and feedback are positive, social proof psychology says that people may be motivated to make a purchase as well.
5. Evaluate Customer Behavior
Data collection is one of the most effective techniques to determine who your clients genuinely are. A company can obtain important client data in a variety of ways. One method is to use a tool like Google Analytics to track website traffic. This will split down information such as consumer location, average order value (AOV), and numerous other variables.
Although this information may not be available to every consumer, regional data might still be extremely beneficial. This enables firms to cater to the needs of their customers. For example, you may promote special offers to specific nations or create ads to re-target consumers if they leave the site without purchasing the contents of their cart.
You can also collect consumer data via your website by requesting that customers create an account or sign up for your newsletter. Keeping a call log of clients who contact customer support is another way to see data. Furthermore, statistics from the industry as a whole might assist you in narrowing down what your target audience is interested in. When developing advertisements to attract new clients, this might help you cast a wider net.
6. Search function
Search is increasingly becoming the starting point for a customer's purchasing experience. However, many marketers do not use search to its full potential, and as a result, they miss out on sales opportunities. Search merchandising allows for the duration of the search experience to achieve commercial and marketing objectives. Here are a few effective ways to use the site search to improve the retailing process:
- Customize and personalize the user experience. Providing tailored and relevant products to clients is essential in retailing – both online and offline. While users are searching on your site, you can promote certain products to them. If a user has previously purchased from your store, you can leverage past purchase behavior to deliver related content that they are more likely to purchase.
- Suggest comparable products. When a customer views a product via a site search interface, you can show them additional relevant products right away. This enhances the likelihood that they will find the product they are looking for and eventually purchase something.
- Display banner ads within search results. When users search for specific queries or groups of queries, custom banners can be displayed. For example, when buyers search for products in a given category, category-specific promotions can be delivered to them.
- Highlight certain products. Businesses frequently market specific items for a variety of reasons, including seasonality, holidays, and new product lines. These types of promos can be displayed in the site search for specific queries or groups of questions. Promotions can also be tailored to certain user profiles.
- Utilize filters and facets. Filters and facets enable users to easily reduce their search scope by product category, and facets enable users to do so across many search dimensions. These can be designed to showcase or promote specific types of products to customers.
- Redirect popular or remarkable queries to a certain URL. When a user searches for a certain product that your company has identified as vital, you may bring them to a page that has been curated with items and brand-related material to fulfill their needs. This is especially useful for brand-related or item-related inquiries when the chance of cross-selling and upselling is high.
- Take advantage of auto-complete and query suggestions. Autocomplete and query recommendations not only enhance click-through rate by speeding up the search process but also allow you to steer consumers toward certain products. When users search, they are actively looking for things. This is an excellent opportunity to direct their product discovery journey.
As the popularity of online shopping grows, eCommerce sites must evolve and adapt to meet the expectations of their customers. Modern eCommerce merchandising is difficult to deconstruct into precise tactics and techniques to employ. As a merchant, the greatest thing you can do is take a holistic approach and try to incorporate multiple strategies that make sense for your brand and business strategy. Up- and cross-selling strategies, judicious use of customer data, and the design of your category, product, and search result pages are all critical elements in even the most basic of online stores.
With more and more merchants entering the eCommerce market, competition is also increasing. Meanwhile, already smart digital buyers are becoming increasingly picky about their online experiences. Customers' expectations are rising, and e-tailers must meet and surpass them.
If you're ready to step up your eCommerce online merchandising game, consider how Groove Technology might assist.