Wouldn’t it be just great if a brick and mortar business was able to replicate its physical ambiance for its online store?
If it were to do so, customers would feel the same comfort shopping online as they do when shopping at a physical store. You can create this ambiance via ecommerce merchandising.
Ecommerce merchandising is the process of driving more sales by effectively displaying products or offers on a website. Understanding how successful businesses merchandise online is a great way for small and medium-sized businesses to boost their sales.
In this post, we discuss how ecommerce merchandising works, why it matters, what are some of the aspects of online visual merchandising and digital merchandising, and finally the top three strategies for ecommerce merchandising that any business can use to boost sales.
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How Does Ecommerce Merchandising Work?
Ecommerce merchandising in short is a retail-centric process with the primary goal of increasing sales. Ecommerce merchandising mostly works parallel with SEO. They are not the same thing but might overlap sometimes.
As a metaphor, your ecommerce business website is a house somewhere in the internet forest, SEO switches on the lights so that customers can see your business and enter your house. Whereas, ecommerce merchandising is responsible for turning them into paying customers.
For a business, both SEO and ecommerce merchandising have their own special place. Where one ends, the other begins with the same goal of increasing sales.
Why Ecommerce Merchandising Matters?
As already explained, both SEO and ecommerce merchandising are important for bringing more customers to your business.
An effective SEO campaign helps in ranking a business higher in search engines, such as Google. This is done through optimised snippets and by strategically placing links to products or services in blogs and articles.
When people reach your store through these SEO practices, ecommerce merchandising takes over. It is responsible for beautifully presenting your products to your visitors in attempt to drive sales, increase the average order value (AOV), and build repeat customers.
All of these factors are great influencers of business growth and that’s why ecommerce merchandising matters.
What is Online Visual Merchandising?
Online visual merchandising is the art of using interactive visual elements on your ecommerce website to enhance engagement and the overall visitor experience.
Online visual merchandising goes beyond online merchandising, which is the strategic act of displaying products on your website. This is done through high-quality product photos, smart and effective branding techniques, and expands to advanced visual concepts such as the correct placement of user reviews and customer photos to build trust.
How Does Digital Merchandising Help Your Business?
Digital merchandising shares the same goal as traditional merchandising i.e., generating revenue by grouping and showcasing products. However, in contrast to traditional merchandising, digital merchandising makes use of technology and data to get insight into customer buying behaviour and is also called behavioural targeting.
When done successfully, digital merchandising makes use of customer relevancy to deliver the right message at the right time in the right way. This message is obviously monetised and is a great revenue-generating tool.
Some basic principles of successful merchandising include:
- Making different categories easier to find.
- Self-selection should be made easy.
- Complete information on prices, sizes and colours.
- Highlighting the latest trends at strategic locations.
As with any online merchandising strategy, digital merchandising should start on a smaller scale before going big and sophisticated.
Strategies For Boosting Sales Through Ecommerce Merchandising
Single ecommerce websites have become obsolete. Omnichannel marketing is the new trend where customers expect a smooth online shopping experience on all their digital devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Such a website is called a responsive website and that’s what every business needs. Such a website allows consumers to be flexible while shopping, they can add items in their shopping carts on a regular website and check out using their tablet later on.
Responsive websites are also given preference by search engines over traditional websites which is great for SEO and bringing more customers to your website. Here is a great read on the importance of responsive web design for a business. Ecommerce businesses with specialised apps have a competitive edge in this omnichannel world. If your business doesn’t have an app, make sure that your ecommerce website is optimised for all digital devices to give the consumer an enjoyable experience while shopping.
Easy Product Navigation
An ecommerce website with difficult navigation hinders the user as it makes the right products difficult to find, and they are more likely to leave your site.
Shoppers should be able to easily find the products they need. A simple way to do this is by adding a search function to your site. The search function directs the user to the exact products they are looking for thus saving time spent on browsing individual categories.
To make the search function more effective, make sure that all items carry appropriate tags such as men’s leather belts, pink wallets, nylon carpets, etc. Moreover, you can also use visual merchandising options for your search tool such as displaying thumbnails rather than a list of products.
An additional tip for improving product navigation is displaying the newest products at the top of category pages. Customers love a new collection of products and want to find them fast.
Have you ever bought items from the recommended products section? That’s fine, a lot of us do.
Showing personalised recommendations on your website is a good way to boost average order value (AOV), triggering impulse sales, and helping customers find what they need.
This whole process is fueled by data on consumer buying behaviour and preferences. With tools like Google Analytics, you can learn a lot about your site, including what visitors are clicking on, places of interest, and conversions.
You can then use this data to run ads and attract customers to a personalised selection of products that they are sure to buy or to send them to specific areas of your site.
This data can also be used to place special merchandising campaigns all over your website.