Online merchandising can be defined as a range of techniques that help retailers influence purchase decisions and increase revenue, by presenting the most relevant products and offers for new and existing customers. The most known merchandising practise is certainly an eCommerce personalisation, that drives consumer-retailer relationships and creates relevant and effective customer journeys. More than a half of consumers would consider ending their relationship with a retailer if they were not given tailor-made, relevant content and offers.
There are several merchandising techniques to increase sales and managing the strategy involves analasying data, multichannel experience, social commerce, personalisation, customer’s feedback and integrating all of the above. Thanks to so many emerging technologies driven by AI engines that automatically present your visitors with relevant recommendations and give the possibility to up-sell and-cross sell similar products, as well as access to data and insights, businesses can now use a variety of tools to drive conversion.
AI-powered eCommerce merchandising can impact customer experience online, and by setting up zones you want to improve, you can target different customers, effectively drive sales and create brand’s identity. You’re probably wondering- How can I improve my merchandising? Let’s discuss the forms of merchandising and marketing that can help you improve many metrics and build customer confidence.
How does visual merchandising work?
Visual Merchandising has been an ongoing strategy implemented by brick-and-mortar stores. Professional merchandisers are able to recognise the methods and style store’s layout that will attract new customers, keep loyal shoppers happy and communicate with brand’s identity in a better way. A few examples of such strategy may be a specific smell related to the brand or a sound that is used to be played in the background. Combined with marketing practises, visual merchandising can effectively increase the number of purchases. Below we listed a few examples of how brands build customer confidence and boost sales.
- Branded shopping bags
- Free samples and gift wrapping
- Loyalty cards
- Pop-up events
- Fully-trained team of professional sales people
- Insights to new collections
Online retailers use similar forms to bring customers from brick-and-mortar stores to the digital version of it, which is not an easy task. This is where omnichannel strategy steps in and where market becomes more competitive. Online visual merchandising begins with a beautifully designed and easy to navigate website that works well on both desktop and mobile. This is just an entry level step known to every eCommerce merchant. Together with a thoughtful marketing and merchandising strategy, you can build trust and drive conversion.
How to build customer confidence with merchandising and marketing?
Visual merchandising isn’t just about having a beautiful site, but you do need to start there. These eCommerce tips and examples used by different online retailers will help you build customer confidence and sell more.
Storytelling via Homepage
A homepage is the place where customers begin their shopping journeys, get the feeling of your brand, learn about who you are and what you can offer. The brand storytelling is merchandising your homepage that includes a few different elements, such as:
- Eye-catching images and text
- Social proof which can link to customer reviews
- Authority proof which can link to any big names in media or your industry
- Liking and sharing proof that allows sharing your content on social
- Visible and clear call-to-actions throughout the site
- Clear explanation of your product/service and its purpose
- Showing brand’s vision and story
Featured and Categorised Products
Displaying best-selling or featured products on the homepage is a technique used by many global brands. This allows visitors to browse various product categories, check out different collections and see what’s currently trending. If consumers see that items are selling well and are from the newest collection, it automatically builds customer’s trust and encourage them to purchase the product. Make it easy for your user and let him find the way to the product page much quicker, featuring items in hero image, product & collection grid, as well as social and authority feed. Great example of collection-based product display is a world-known retailer Jimmy Choo.
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Video and zoom-in
Bringing in-store experience to online shopping allows users to view different parts of the product, from every possible angle. Thanks to 3D imaging, 360s, videos and intensive media shoppers can now rotate objects, view them in motion or zoom in and out. It has certainly provided consumers with an in-depth visualisation of the product and more realistic look of what they’re buying. This solution can create interactive experiences across devices and channels. Misguided uses product videos not only on their website, but also throughout social to engage their audience.
AI- powered merchandising strategy
AI technology has found its place in eCommerce, creating solutions to many problems that online retailers have always been facing. From personalisation and automated marketing, to customer services without the human presence, it is all thanks to AI. Let’s quickly go over a few examples of AI and its uses in merchandising.
Targeting and first impressions
Offering a personalised experience is nothing new to us. Thanks to AI, you can segment your users looking at their previous behaviour on your website and target your traffic in real-time. AI notices merchandising opportunities- when more than 70% of your current website visitors are male, AI can provide your male shoppers with instant personalised recommendations that will effectively increase your revenue. This gives merchandisers an opportunity to adapt product displays, site navigation and content, that matches individual shopper’s interests.
Machine-learning algorithms help brands optimise on-site search experience to display the right products and categories for different shoppers. With User ID tracking you can collect browsing data of logged in users across all devices to personalise the navigation for each one of them. If they’ve been recently going through denim shirts on your website, next time they access your store you can prioritise this category, make it more visible and redirect your shopper to the right section based on their previous searches.
AI helps merchandisers not only with homepage search optimisation and personalisation, but also with decision making process and placing the right products in front of the right customers. Automatic marketing strategies can be implemented on different pages of your store, as well as retargeting ads placed on social and email marketing campaigns. This process saves merchandisers the time and scale their opportunities across various devices, increasing click-through rates and conversions.
Visual merchandising techniques are effectively working for both brick-and-mortar and online stores that want to personalise the shopping experience and connect with their audience on a slightly deeper level. Customers are becoming more demanding and they are the ones who make the final decision, so undertaking different methods to leave them satisfied is something you cannot leave unattended. Following this merchandising and marketing guide will help you improve your website’s performance and can lead to finalising more purchases, increasing your brand’s revenue.
Best of luck!