A merchandiser’s work is never done. Just as it is for our colleagues in physical stores, the process of laying-out stores and populating them with products never ends. The work may be incessant, but does it need to be so arduous? Are there a better ways of working?

When search and merchandising systems first appeared they were better than what came before but they were blunt tools, and a generation of online merchandisers have been weened on them, intervening in customer journeys using the (labour intensive and imprecise) methods these first-generation systems allowed.

But we need to think differently. Selling online isn’t like physical retail. The space we have available to sell our wares is extraordinarily limited, more like a shop window than a store. But unlike shop windows, we don’t have to show the same things to the same customers. We can, and should be more mindful and discriminating in how we choose to intervene, but such a change requires us to adopt a new relationship with technology. One in which we set objectives, not direct outcomes.

We have entered a new age of merchandising. Our understanding of the issues has grown, and the latest generation of tools aren’t shackled to the marketing practices of old.

We can work smarter, we just need to choose to do so.


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