eCommerce retailers, just as much as brick-and-mortar stores, need to create an atmosphere on eCommerce sites that makes customers stay on the site and order products. Ultimately, you need to make your products real before your customers ever touch them.
What is eCommerce merchandising?
Ecommerce merchandising is both a science and an art. Its goal is to boost sales, by connecting shoppers with the right products.
The most important function of eCommerce merchandising is to guide users through their customer journeys. Compared to physical stores, the customer journey is more complex when it comes to eCommerce. Nearly every visitor in brick-and mortar shops will interact with the same visuals, smells and associates while they walk into the stores. At the same time, there are many different paths that a customer can take to end up on your eCommerce site.
Ecommerce merchandising can help you ensure that every customer who visits your site has a similar experience, no matter how they arrive on your site and how they navigate once they get there.
Why is eCommerce merchandising so important?
In unprecedented times like these, it is more important than ever to invest in a well-functioning eCommerce site. Today’s competitive eCommerce landscape demands marketers to provide a unique shopping experience for their customers. Creating effective and differentiated customer experiences may not only increase conversion rates, but also create a long-lasting brand image that will keep customers coming back on a reoccurring basis.
Ecommerce merchandising can also help businesses achieve their strategic business goals. Marketing campaigns can be implemented directly into the site through ads, banners, and targeted content. While you’re designing your marketing content, try featuring a strategic partnership. This will to draw attention to both you and your partners and is a friendly way to support your common objectives through cross promotion.
Differences between traditional merchandising and eCommerce merchandising
The selling space online is extremely limited compared to traditional stores. But on the other hand, you do not have to show the same products to everyone who enters your store. Regardless of the customer's entry and route through the store, eCommerce merchandising makes sure you display products that are most relevant, in the best order, presented in the most compelling way.
Although there are many differences, there are also a lot of similarities between traditional merchandising and eCommerce merchandising.
Traditional retailers and eCommerce retailers alike need to follow a set of best practices when they design their store layouts. Regardless if you are fully digital or have a high street presence, store layouts have to encourage maximum sales while remaining accessible.
Traditional: Companies create a familiarity feeling, so customers recognize themselves. Returning customers will feel at home when they visit the store and will easily find what they are looking for.
eCommerce: Online, there are no physical limits of buildings and eCommerce retailers have a lot of freedom when they design their sites.
Branding is crucial in retail and your store must represent it well. It’s all about how you ensure your store follows your brand and evoking the correct emotions and impulses.
Traditional: Traditional retailers use things like lighting, paint colors, and music to represent their brand. How you choose to use these elements can really alter the customers' feelings when present in the store.
eCommerce: A website can’t provide the same experience that a physical store can. Colors and fonts are critical for e-Retailers because this is one of the only ways they can represent their brand and attract reoccurring customers.
By creating kits with items that fit well together, you can easily increase additional sales. This strategy can be used both online and offline but the way it is executed differs.
Traditional: In a physical store, you can easily put all the items together in the same display and add signs that explain the deal.
eCommerce: On a website, you can use links to tie separate product pages together. It is a good idea to have email recommendations or other notification tools to make sure the customer knows about the kit deal.
Six ecommerce merchandising tips to increase sales
1. Don’t forget the mobile
It is extremely important that your site is optimized for smartphones. Nearly 50% of purchases are now made from a mobile device.
2. Personal product recommendations
Personal recommendations are based on what the current visitor has clicked on or previously bought, what other customers have bought, and on items currently in the cart or that were previously abandoned. Make sure you have good product descriptions on your products. Measurements, colors, materials, and other necessary information about your products.
3. User generated content
Before making a purchase, online shoppers do their research by gathering information about the product they want to buy. Reading users experiences, products reviews, and ratings, is a part of the purchase decision. It’s a good idea to utilize and display photos shared by customers.
4. Visual merchandising
Do display product descriptions, specifications, and ratings and reviews in all their glory, but once a purchase is approaching, the customer needs to be able to see the product properly. Use videos, images in different angles, one image for each color on the same product, and give your customers the opportunity to zoom in on each image to get a good up-close view of the product.
Make it easy for potential customers to choose to order from you, by using quality visual merchandising on your eCommerce store.
5. Optimise your eCommerce SEO
Did you know that 44% of all people start their online shopping journey with a search on Google?
Having high-quality content on your eCommerce website is one of the best ways to increase traffic and improve your Google search ranking. Find keywords that people search for, choose high-value keywords, and publish content that Google searchers want. These tricks can help to drive more people to your site and therefore increase your sales.
6. Be unique
Think outside the box and try new things. You need to be unique and stand out from the mass of companies that sell the same products.
It’s a good idea to do A/B tests to see what works for your customers. A/B testing means that visitors view 1 of 2 different options of a page. One is called the A version and the other one is called the B version. They usually have slightly different designs, features, or other differences. Through this, you can collect data from real visitors during the test; that way you can clearly measure which of the pages converts best. This is a very powerful approach in determining which design solutions produce the best results and ultimately increase conversion.