Merchandising is a critical aspect of ecommerce that can make or break your business. Effective merchandising involves optimizing your online store to create a visually appealing and engaging shopping experience that drives sales and customer satisfaction. By leveraging merchandising ecommerce strategies such as product placement, customer behavior insights, and conversion rate optimization, you can maximize revenue and stay ahead of the competition.
14.1% of retail purchases around the world were made online in 2019, and this figure is expected to grow even more over the coming years. By 2023, eMarketer estimates that online shopping will account for 22% of global retail sales.
The appeal of buying goods from home without having to leave your house is understandable – especially if the store is far away or sold at the time of visiting.
For online retailers, staying competitive is essential to selling a product, and one way to do that is by utilizing ecommerce merchandising. In this article, we’ll explore what ecommerce merchandising entails, why it’s essential, and how all online businesses can maximize their potential.
What Is Ecommerce Merchandising?
If you have ever purchased on the internet, you have used an ecommerce store. This is a website that specializes in selling goods online.
Ecommerce merchandising entails how the business markets those items to customers. Branding, product placement, and attractive visuals are part of this process; the goal is to get customers to add items to their carts. Through data analysis, businesses can track the customer journey and use effective ecommerce merchandising techniques to convince customers to purchase.
Perhaps shoppers still prefer in-store shopping because they want to get a sense of the product in real life and touch it before making a purchase. Additionally, high shipping costs are often seen as an obstacle when ordering from abroad.
Companies have begun to tackle this issue by providing free shipping and returns. On the other hand, business VoIP systems require customers to request a product demo before buying.
Importance Of Merchandising in Ecommerce
Merchandising in ecommerce is ever more crucial with the rising popularity of online shopping. Presenting products clearly and attractively has become an art form, with numerous websites utilizing different ecommerce approaches to captivate shoppers.
This isn’t just about making the website appear organized and navigable, and it’s also imperative for transforming site visitors into paying customers. By utilizing effective CTAs, reminding customers of abandoned carts, and providing “order again” buttons, ecommerce merchandising can significantly impact consumer buying habits. Ecommerce merchandising can:
- Entice customers.
- Help the business display a variety of products.
- Generate website traffic with SEO-geared listings.
- Promote specific products/special offers.
- Convert browsers into buyers.
Ways Ecommerce Merchandising Has Evolved
Introduction Of Artificial Intelligence (Ai)
AI technology has already revolutionized numerous industries, ranging from healthcare to law. Furthermore, it is also beginning to have a considerable impact on ecommerce. Websites have advanced significantly since the early days of the internet, particularly in terms of their user-friendliness for ecommerce purposes.
Artificial intelligence algorithms have created various features that are now commonplace, such as product recommendations, customer service requests, and augmented reality website experiences.
When it comes to shopping in-store, staff have the responsibility of ensuring excellent customer service. This can be challenging when a store is either overwhelmed or understaffed. Shopping online eliminates this problem, as customers are always provided with assistance.
Adapting To The User’s Browser
In marketing, making the customer journey through the marketing funnel as seamless as possible is essential. This applies to online and in-store shopping experiences, where customers are welcomed, and their needs are attended to during the purchasing process. About ecommerce merchandising, it has advanced considerably from traditional desktop browsing to tablets and mobile phones. Although new technologies like video calling and text messaging have changed how we communicate, emails and faxes are still used to some degree.
To illustrate this trend, the following graph shows how customers browse websites and which devices they use to make purchases.
So, an ecommerce store needs to recognize the device used by the customer and adjust the layout accordingly. Poor usability can often lead to a high bounce rate as customers need help navigating through a website designed solely for desktop browsing.
Sophisticated Inventory Management
As online shopping has become increasingly popular, inventory management has had to advance. Companies that manage physical stores and an online presence need to know where their stock is going and how much they have left. This has led to more efficient techniques for inventory control.
The business is limited to what it can offer in conventional retail. Therefore, a reliable stock level must be maintained. Companies often enlist professionals to assess trends in a specific region and identify items most sought after. Ultimately, it’s all about balancing supply and demand.
Ecommerce stores, such as Amazon, can often hold a more enormous amount of stock than traditional retail outlets since they are open to physical locations. I.e., they may use warehouses or drop ship from suppliers. To ensure that their inventory is managed effectively and efficiently, ecommerce stores need to invest in intelligent inventory management software. This software enables managers to:
- Know when the stock is arriving.
- Communicate with suppliers.
- Identify where products are being shipped to.
Ecommerce merchandising has significantly changed over time, with personalization of the shopping experience being one of the key innovations. Thanks to technological advances, retailers can now easily track their website’s visitors and use this data to create targeted marketing messages and adverts. This allows them to tailor their ecommerce marketing strategy more accurately than before.
Personalizing your advertisements can draw customers to your store and provide them with a more individualized experience. For example, some users may want to save items they are interested in without making an immediate purchase. This allows them to find the same thing later on easily.
Others will leave items in their shopping cart, otherwise known as an ‘abandoned cart.’ These items are ready to purchase once the user returns to the site. The website can also suggest related products customers may be interested in based on what they have already been looking at.
Elements Of Ecommerce Merchandising
There are three primary components of ecommerce merchandising, all intended to draw in and retain the customer’s focus. These include:
When people first come to your website, whether by directly entering the URL in their browser or through a search engine’s results page, they will be shown your main homepage. This can be tailored depending on the user’s geography, allowing customers to understand pricing and conversion rates more quickly. A good ecommerce homepage should contain the following:
- Mission statement or goal of the company.
- Pictures of popular products/services.
- Link to the ‘About Us section for more business information.
- Option for customers to sign up and learn more about it.
- Information on promotional offers is available from time to time.
- Numerous Calls-to-Action (CTAs) to encourage customers to buy.
This is an example of Solo Stove’s homepage with an exclusive offer for customers front and center:
Product pages are web pages dedicated to showcasing a particular item or item. They can be organized into categories, such as ‘Headphones’ in the case of Skullcandy earphones. These product pages may also serve as a landing page for customers searching for something on Google, provided the page is SEO optimized and appears in search engine results. Product pages should include the following:
- Images of the product – ideally 360-degree view.
- A detailed product description.
- Product specifications.
- Product videos and demos.
- Cross-selling of products.
- All product color options.
- Upselling of similar products.
- CTA such as ‘add to cart.’
Category-based merchandising is a great way to organize products within their category and draw attention to specific product lines. It can involve filters such as size, price, weight, latest in, and product ranges. For instance, you could highlight a new range of Larq self-cleaning water bottles in the ‘outdoor camping’ section. This type of merchandising should include the following:
- Product images.
- A spotlight on the best-selling product from the category.
- Star ratings.
- Product comparisons on options available.
Strategies To Improve Ecommerce Merchandising
There is an increasing number of ecommerce websites appearing on the web. They are aiming to take advantage of the surge in online shopping. To be distinct from the competition, businesses must keep optimizing their ecommerce merchandising tactics. Here are four strategies merchandisers can use for this purpose:
Craft Your Homepage
As previously discussed, ensuring that your homepage leaves a lasting impression on customers when they first search for your brand is essential. To make the homepage more attractive and engaging, include high-quality visuals such as images, videos, and graphics. Furthermore, the navigation should be straightforward to use; enlist designers who can create an aesthetically pleasing yet easy-to-use homepage accessible across all devices.
- Highlight products with the highest conversion rate.
- Feature trending products on your website.- Include intuitive categories in dropdown menus.
- Showcase top-rated products prominently.
- Utilize predictive search to improve the search bar functionality.
Take Bliss, for instance. They are a skincare business that specializes in facial and body care products. Their website was designed to showcase their broad selection of products, including both popular and new items. By displaying only four things at once with the ability to scroll right or left to see more, this carousel is easy to use on both desktop and mobile devices.
This effective merchandising technique allows customers to view a more extensive selection of products.
Searching for a particular item can be difficult if products aren’t organized into categories. Just as many retailers have done in-store, using merchandising strategies to separate effects into categories is a common practice. This allows customers to create focused promotions on specific product categories and upsell them within product pages and during checkout, making it easier for them to navigate the website and find what they need, just like they would in a physical store.
To enhance ecommerce merchandising, it is recommended to put related products together. This can be achieved through the following methods:
- Product type
- Product uses
Just like in a physical store, some product categories may overlap. In this case, customers can rely on the help of store staff to direct them to the correct section. However, for online stores, customers use the search bar to locate their desired items.
Cater To Your Brand With Visuals
Brand identity is how a business presents itself and speaks to its audience. Ecommerce merchandising should be designed to grab customers’ attention and keep them engaged on the site. Businesses should focus on improving visuals on their homepage and other pages, such as using 360-degree visuals or demonstration videos. This can be particularly useful for Platform as a Service (PaaS) companies that need a tangible product to showcase.
Other brands are keen to connect their website with their social media accounts. This helps boost search engine rankings and gives customers a better understanding of the brand’s image. Customers can view what others think about the products, and if the reviews are positive, it may persuade them to purchase due to the influence of social proof psychology.
- Use minimal text and maximum imagery on the homepage.
- Include demo videos.
- Link your social media feed on the homepage.
- Take high-quality product photos.
Use Data To Adapt To Customers
Data collection is an excellent way for businesses to gain insight into their customers. Companies can use platforms like Google Analytics to track website traffic, which provides information such as location, time spent on the site, average order value (AOV), and other vital metrics. Although this data may only be available for some customers, regional data can still be very beneficial. Businesses can use this data to cater to their customers’ needs by running promotions for specific countries or creating ads to re-target users who abandon their carts.
Data from the industry can be used to identify what is of interest to your target audience, enabling you to broaden your reach when creating adverts aimed at drawing in new customers.
Sports retail stores need to stay up-to-date on emerging trends, such as the recent surge in electric scooter popularity, in order to remain competitive and offer attractive discounts and promotions to customers.
Some organizations prefer to use a private cloud, which restricts sensitive data access. This is known as the private cloud definition – limited only to authorized users. Finding free open data sources or multi-tenancy cloud options can be beneficial when accessing data becomes tricky.
Offer Personalized Product Recommendations
If someone visits your online store to purchase a hat, they may come across an image slider under the product description that displays items that complement the cap, such as matching gloves. This encourages them to add those additional items to their shopping cart and make a purchase, thus increasing your sales.
Create an ‘items we think you’ll love’ section on the website to further personalize the customer experience. This could be based on what they have previously clicked or purchased (if they are logged in).
Email and SMS remarketing can be a great way to draw customers back to your website. You can use the data you have on what they are most likely to purchase and send them emails or texts with the latest offers or newest products in order to encourage them to return.
Ensure Website Navigation Is Smooth
Customers who need clarification or more support due to your website’s navigation are likely to leave within the first few seconds. This will result in an increased bounce rate and a decrease in customers. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that your website’s navigation is as user-friendly as possible.
When organizing products on your website, be sure to also include other features such as a blog and contact page. Make sure that these features will be visible on any device customers may use when viewing the website. Testing out the website with different devices is imperative in order to ensure customers can access everything as it was intended.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: What Makes Shopiroller The Best Platform For Ecommerce Merchandising?
A: Shopiroller offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to help businesses maximize their ecommerce merchandising efforts. It enables users to create customized product recommendations, easily track customer behavior and performance, access granular data such as product views and clicks, as well as take advantage of powerful AI-enabled personalization.
Q: How Can Shopiroller Help Businesses Increase Customer Engagement?
A: Shopiroller can help businesses increase customer engagement through its wide range of features. By optimizing product recommendations based on AI-powered personalization and making it easy to set up campaigns with automated targeting and A/B testing capabilities, Shopiroller can help make sure that customers are engaged with the website’s content.
Q: What Are Some Of The Ecommerce Merchandising Strategies Businesses Can Use?
A: Some strategies that businesses can use include offering personalized product recommendations, offering discounts and promotions, leveraging data from the industry, ensuring website navigation is smooth and easy to use, and utilizing email and SMS remarketing. These strategies help to attract and retain customers, increasing sales and helping businesses stand out from the competition.
Q: What Is The Private Cloud Definition?
A: The private cloud definition refers to restricted access to sensitive data only accessible by authorized users. Private clouds are beneficial when accessing data becomes difficult, and organizations need more control over their data. Free open data sources or multi-tenancy cloud options are also available.
Q: What Is The Importance Of Ecommerce Merchandising?
A: Ecommerce merchandising is important as it helps businesses attract and retain customers, thus increasing sales. It requires implementing features that are visually appealing and easy to use. Businesses should also customize their merchandising efforts to suit the customer’s needs and preferences. Shopiroller can help businesses maximize their ecommerce merchandising efforts and increase customer engagement. Sign up now!
Q: What Other Features Does Shopiroller Offer Businesses?
A: In addition to the features mentioned above, Shopiroller also offers an ‘Items We Think You’ll Love’ section on the website for further personalization. This is based on what customers have previously clicked or purchased (if they are logged in).
Ecommerce merchandising is an ever-changing field that requires new strategies and techniques to attract customers. It should also be consistent across any device, as customers appreciate uniformity. By understanding the importance of ecommerce merchandising, businesses can improve their processes and make their company stand out from the competition. Therefore, implementing new features that are both visually appealing and easy to use is critical to success.
Try Shopiroller to help maximize your ecommerce merchandising efforts and increase customer engagement. Sign up now!