eCommerce is now a much tougher game where merchants are trying their best to stay ahead of the competition to attract more customers. Launching an online store is not enough. On top of that, the biggest retailers have been wisely using eCommerce merchandising to maximize online sales.
To compete with them, and ultimately, entice shoppers to spend, let’s unlock the secrets behind eCommerce merchandising.
What Is eCommerce Merchandising?
Although eCommerce merchandising is no longer a new concept in this industry, can you define exactly what it is?
eCommerce merchandising, also known as online or digital merchandising, refers to the art of displaying items or offers on your online store to increase sales. In other words, we are talking about the technique of efficiently highlighting the things you want customers to view and buy without interfering with or disrupting their browsing experience.
From the definition, you can see that online merchandising includes branding, product positioning, captivating visuals, and thinking of new methods to present things.
Thanks to those strategies, customers are gently seduced to make a purchase, and probably become your loyal advocates later.
Why eCommerce Merchandising?
Do you know that the use of visuals increases message retention by 42% while 65% of individuals are visual learners?
Hence, to get your message across fast and effectively in order to achieve ‘what’s seen is sold’, you will need its help. In short, eCommerce merchandising is capable of:
- Enticing shoppers
- Giving merchants a hand in displaying a diverse range of products
- Promoting special products or exclusive deals to the right target groups
- Converting browsers into paying customers
Again, digital merchandising is critical for online businesses like yours to build a brand, improve customer experience, stay relevant, stand out and generate sales.
What Are The Fundamental Elements of Digital Merchandising?
It would be a bit confusing if you suddenly jump into digital merchandising strategies. That's why we will together walk through some major components of eCommerce merchandising. Following that, you’ll get an overview of where and when to implement it in your store. They are all intended to attract and hold the customer's attention.
One of the most crucial sections of your store, your homepage, demands special attention.
The majority of visitors will arrive here first. Hence, not only does it provide a vital first impression, but it also gives you a superb chance to lead potential customers from the very beginning of their buying experience.
Product Page Merchandising
When compared to online retailers, brick-and-mortar shops have a significant edge. The products are easier to view, touch, feel, and even smell if you go to a store in person. You can get a much more intimate and engaging shopping experience, which increases your willingness to buy, right?
You can provide your shoppers the option to explore the products more attentively on your product pages in a few different ways:
- Use 360-degree product pictures which allow shoppers to view your products from all directions
- Use zoomable images to enable a closer look at the details
- Close-ups of the most crucial features to assist in addressing some of their concerns, such as what functions or accessories the product has
- Product films which show the product in use and in a number of ways are even better at this because they are more immersive
If you want to achieve more appealing, eye-catching eCommerce merchandising, you should turn to the help of a visual page builder. GemPages page builder, for instance, gives you all the essentials to customize your storefront however you want it to be. Regardless of your design experience, you can master the art and science of eCommerce merchandising!
GemPages empowers you to create, customize, and optimize your store pages for conversion. No coding is required!
Site Search Merchandising
Merchandising in traditional stores is essentially the technique of drawing customers' attention to the deals and products that store owners want them to notice. There are numerous techniques to do it.
This includes hanging signs, rearrangement of the merchandise on the shelves or across the entire store, use of different colored price tags on discounted items, and so on.
However, it is another story when it comes to eCommerce stores. Adding large CTAs, dynamic offers above the fold on your homepage, and pop-up windows are what we often see if visiting an online store.
But it’s not enough!
If consumers have a certain product in mind and are actively going to the search bar to find it, banners or pop-ups are not likely to be very effective. And this is where searchandising, or search + merchandising, has its greatest impact. Searchandising is a process, not a single step, as is true of other online marketing and sales processes.
A good piece of advice here is to take a look at your competitors, particularly renowned names, in your niche to see what they are doing with their categories before you start designing yours.
In reality, a category page is very informative. It is not simply a showcase of product names and product images. On top of that, merchants add some of the most fundamental details that hook prospects, such as the price, delivery details, and other crucial features.
Practical Strategies to Empower eCommerce Merchandising
Here are 5 hacks that you can start with to present your items smartly and to achieve ‘what's seen is sold'.
Site Search Merchandising or Searchandising
Did you know that up to 68% of users stated that they would not return to a website that brings them a poor internal search experience? Also, customers who use your search box can account for around 45% of all revenue! What a surprise!
That's why searchandising is something you should never miss. Let's see tried-and-true hacks to level up your business.
- Boost high-converting items. Think about placing the most popular, highest-rated, or simply highest-margin products at the top of the results
- Avoid a dead-end by optimizing your no-results pages. You can do this by offering products or details that are similar to what they are looking for. Remember that at the end of the day, your customers are still waiting for relevant search results
- Display the most important information on the search result pages, including visuals, rather than simply text results
- Use promotional badges to indicate ongoing specials, offers, and discounts in your results
- And, if possible, use faceted search, which simplifies the shopping experience and speeds up the entire process
How The Mattress and Sleep Company uses instant search display on its online store
Take The Mattress & Sleep Company as a prime example here. The brand is using an instant search display to enhance its search bar with an autocomplete function that quickly returns relevant results with a preview of the products. Also, on the search result pages, they bring in facets (each represents one aspect of the content) to allow shoppers to narrow down the results based on their own preferences.
Cross-selling Tactic to Optimize Shopping Cart Recommendations
When a consumer looks in their basket to check the items, total price, shipping, and other details, eCommerce retailers have a unique opportunity to offer similar or complementary products.
An example by Sephora
Sephora, the biggest retailer of personal care and beauty products, would be a perfect model. Once you add a liquid blush to the shopping cart, you are immediately shown a checkout pop-up. Here, you will be recommended to buy a bronzer, highlight, or contour product to complete your makeup look apart. Thanks to this, the brand can easily boost conversions and grow AOVs.
Display Banners on Search Result Pages
Speaking of digital merchandising, banners are online merchants' favorite tactic.
These banners allow you to highlight promotional seasons, specific products, or brands outside of the search results. This allows you to educate shoppers about important messages without interfering with their search.
Another reason is they are extremely useful during seasonal sales or promotional campaigns such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They can work to skyrocket sales of specific products, emphasize bundle offers, or notify customers of limited-time bargains.
With a dynamic merchandising tool that Boost Commerce is developing, store owners can easily add top banners, bottom banners, and even inline banners on collection and search pages.
Eye-catching banners are necessary for you to get the word out. However, to avoid the phenomena of ‘banner blindness', keep in mind the following ideas:
- Less is more as always. Use big, stylish fonts, and keep your message short but relevant
- Always include a call-to-action button on your clickable banners. Don’t keep people guessing whether it is clickable or not
- Use a search solution that allows you to work with clickable, non-clickable, flash/image, and other banner types. Also, you will attain the best relevancy to drive sales if you can tie those banners to targeted search queries
Redirect Searches to Landing Pages
In other cases, a customer may look for information about your store rather than a specific product. When this occurs, you should redirect them to an informational page rather than a no-results page.
The most common situation is when they look for store hours, contact details, or location. In these cases, you can send visitors to the relevant page of your site that has the required details.
For instance, take them to your FAQ page, where they put in terms like opening hours, return policy, and so on. Additionally, you may use the redirect feature to direct them to a collection or product page with a more relevant search result that serves your business objectives.
But it does not stop there.
If you are not a seasoned developer but want to bring your dream site to life, GemPages page builder would be a good choice. You can choose a premade template, or play around with drag-and-drop pieces in an intuitive manner to quickly construct impressive pages.
Customer Insights Are Key
eCommerce merchandising, like the rest of eCommerce, is primarily data-driven. Thus, the more data you can collect and analyze, the more you can optimize. That's why you should enable analytics tools on your site now. The consumer data you collect will allow you to examine the paths and touchpoints they take so that you may enhance your site to better lead them.
Apart from insights about traffic acquisition, online merchants should focus on data-driven details about customers' shopping behaviors through site search analytics, product filtering activities, and how much you earned from them.
Are You Ready to Leverage Your Online Store with eCommerce Merchandising?
Did you find any strategies that make sense to your brand yet? eCommerce merchandising is an ongoing process so use your data wisely, try to implement several tactics, optimize them on the go and see how metrics turn out.
Good luck with your exciting venture!