With B2C eCommerce sales expected to reach $1.92 trillion U.S. dollars by 2016, it is no surprise that an increasing amount of retailers are looking to maximize their online presence. All the more, today’s shoppers have progressively become more passionate about researching products online before committing to a purchase. Naturally, as present day shoppers are turning online to make their purchase decisions, successful online merchandising is becoming an essential element of every website.
When you consider merchandising in a traditional brick and mortar store, products are displayed and strategically placed in order to catch the consumer’s eye. It all boils down to connecting the consumer to the product they are looking for. Online merchandising is not much different than the traditional sense of the word; it is about connecting the right products to the right visitor. Merchandising allows online retailers to display a variety of products that are available for sale, and display them in a way that stimulates interest and entices customers to buy. To put it simply, successful online merchandising delivers revenue.
This being said, online merchandising can be a daunting task. It needs to be as good as or better than in-store merchandising for one simple reason: online merchandising is the equivalent to a sales associate in-store.
Below we have compiled three easy tips for effective online merchandising:
1. Merchandise Your Search Results
Search results pages are an excellent opportunity for retailers to optimize the user’s experience and present a great opportunity for retailers to display products and offer suggestions. You can merchandise the buyer through search functionality. Take a look at the picture below.
KarmaLoop capitalizes on their Nextopia merchandising features by providing large pictures and suggested results to their customers. According to Omniture, about half of site visitors will use search as their primary form of navigation. By focusing on on-site search and the search results pages you can ensure your customers are seeing what you want them to. By providing effective and helpful navigation and filters, you are ensuring that search result pages are appealing and inviting to customers. Effective merchandising can be used to promote certain products, run marketing campaigns, highlight new or on sale products, and create keyword triggered banners, badges or buttons.
2. Cross Sell and Up Sell
Merchandising your site can be a very effective way to crosssell and upsell to site visitors. By displaying complimentary and “You Might Like” products to shoppers, you can potentially increase average order value. Upselling is the act of offering a premium product, this can increase a retailer’s margin on a sale. Cross selling is the act of showing customers a similar product at a similar price point.
Displaying products under itemized sections, such as “Frequently Bought Together” and “People Who Viewed This Also Viewed,” can increase total purchase value and lead to greater conversions. Just because the customer has landed on a product page, doesn’t mean they have found what they are looking for. Crossselling gives you the opportunity to steer your customers to other products, display an array of products and offer alternatives. Similarly, displaying products with the label, “Top Rated Product” will increase the chances of cross selling or up selling your customers.
3. Provide Content
Providing content is another way to merchandise your site for your customers. By keeping your site updated with regular blog, social media, and lifestyle posts, you can help further develop your brand and merchandise to the consumer. Providing posts such as, “Product Reviews” and “Products of the Day,” will help engage each individual visitor with the most relevant content and will drive higher conversions.
In short, technology enables retailers to leverage a wealth of data to target individual shoppers. When merchandising your online store you need to focus on making the purchase process for every customer stress free. Creating maximum product engagement will ensure the success of your online retail site. In all kinds of retail every shopper is important, but specifically online it is essential that you take every opportunity to merchandise and make the most of every interaction.