Although you may have goods that you know are excellent in quality and must-haves for any household, your customers may not be so easily convinced.
e-Commerce merchandising can therefore help you better present your products, so customers will be more enticed to purchase them, thereby increasing your online business’s sales and revenue.
In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about e-commerce merchandising, including what it is, how it works and the latest trends of merchandising for e-commerce. Read on to learn more!
- What is e-commerce merchandising?
- How does e-commerce merchandising work?
- e-Commerce merchandising trends
- Old vs. new, traditional vs. e-commerce merchandising
- e-Commerce merchandising tips
- Some last words
What is e-commerce merchandising?
e-Commerce merchandising is the practice of strategically displaying products on a website with the goal of increasing sales, revenue and profitability.
More simply put, e-commerce merchandising refers to how you promote, market, or advertise your products and tell your brand’s story online. As such, it’s a vital element for any online business that hopes to maximize the features and functions of its e-commerce site to boost its bottom line.
Apart from being a sales strategy component, however, e-commerce merchandising also greatly influences how your current and potential customers view your e-store.
By promoting your goods or services in a way that increases user engagement, e-commerce merchandising is one way to improve customer retention and encourage repeat purchases.
How does e-commerce merchandising work?
Since your online site is the primary location where people view and purchase your products, e-commerce merchandising relies heavily on the visuals and information that you present on the website.
In particular, calls to action (CTAs) are commonly included to encourage user engagement and purchases.
The three key parts of your online shop — which are the homepage, category pages, and product pages — should accordingly include such CTAs and work in concert to achieve efficient and inviting presentation.
Oftentimes, your website’s homepage is the first place that visitors will land, so it’s one of the prime locations where you can merchandise your flagship products, special promos, and other important information.
If you offer free shipping, this would be the place to put it up for all to see.
Further, as cross-border e-commerce is all the rage, your customers may be coming from across the globe, so personalizing the language, currency and images displayed based on the visitors’ country of origin should be a consideration as well.
2. Category pages
Some customers may visit your e-commerce store without knowing exactly what they’re looking for, and category pages can help exactly with that.
For example, you can group products based on their type, style, size, features, intended use, and much more.
Such category pages would help customers navigate your store with even more ease, find what they’re looking for, and eventually check out successfully.
3. Product pages
Diving deeper into your e-commerce website, product pages provide customers with more specifics, making them ideal for those who are looking for particular items.
These product pages can include close-up shots, product details, and even reviews from other customers who purchased the items before.
e-Commerce merchandising trends
It’s without doubt that e-commerce merchandising is a powerful tool that can help you improve e-commerce conversion as well as achieving other business and marketing goals.
Certain trends and technologies have therefore emerged to further help digital merchants maximize the features of the aforementioned web pages — that is, the homepage, category and product pages — to better gauge customer behavior and drive sales.
1. Algorithms and artificial intelligence
Just as machine learning algorithms are constantly deployed on social media, artificial intelligence (AI) now has an integral role in collecting and analyzing customer data and consumption habits.
Everything your customers click, purchase, and do on your e-commerce site can be processed with algorithms and artificial intelligence to personalize their experiences and help them find whatever products or services they’re truly looking for.
2. Who changed the channel?
As a result of the years-long Covid-19 pandemic, online shoppers’ purchase habits have undeniably shifted, and the channels through which your customers typically obtain their purchased goods have changed as well.
Offering a complete suite of e-commerce delivery options would therefore be a step in the right direction.In-store pickups, home shipping, and same-day scheduled deliveries are among the options you should offer to address your customers’ omni-channel needs.
3. Merchandising through searches: Searchandising!
Another e-commerce merchandising trend is actually once again based in artificial intelligence, albeit deployed in a distinct way that warrants your attention.
Searchandising basically involves the purposeful presentation of certain products in your online store in order to optimize sales. Using dedicated algorithms, a store can automatically feature products that are popular and have higher profit margins while burying less popular ones with lower profit margins.
4. It’s all about customer care
The loyalty of your customers is what can drive your business forward, so creating a holistic e-commerce customer experience has also been a focus in recent trends of merchandising for e-commerce.
To illustrate this, just imagine who would want to buy from a business that doesn’t care for its customers?
A frustrating shopping experience on your online store is likely to drive away current and potential users, so making the entire shopping experience as convenient and satisfying as possible is a must.
Old vs. new, traditional vs. e-commerce merchandising
While e-commerce merchandising is the new kid on the block, it still draws considerable inspiration from traditional merchandising methods. The setting and strategies may have changed, but they still seek to achieve the same goal.
That said, below are three differences between traditional and e-commerce merchandising. Let’s see what they are!
1. Display of products
The usual physical store often consists of rows and shelves arranged in a way that you’d need to keep a mental note of where everything is.
With e-commerce merchandising, you can utilize the power of technology to create categories and pages that can even be personalized or adjusted based on your available inventory.
2. Product recommendations
Although you can train in-store salespeople and staff thoroughly, you can’t expect them to make specific suggestions to customers to significantly raise sales.
As such, personalization in a physical store setting would be very difficult to achieve since a customer is only in your store for a limited time, and they aren’t always attended to by the same staff.
Using AI in your e-commerce store can nevertheless provide each of your customers more helpful and clear suggestions that are actually based on their preferences, habits, and past purchases.
3. Delivery and returns
A customer would have to go through the hassle of going back and forth between a brick-and-mortar store in the event they wish to make purchases or return any items.
However, the aforementioned and convenient omni-channel fulfillment options can be made readily available with their dynamic features in an e-commerce merchandising strategy.
e-Commerce merchandising tips
As digital merchants, you and your competitors have probably already learnt of the importance of merchandising for your e-commerce businesses. How can you stand out from the numerous shops in the online world and engage your customers then?
To answer this question, below are six tips for e-commerce merchandising that you can follow.
1. Start from home, and tell your story
Your products may sell, but your story can inspire.
Where and when did you open your store? How did you get where you’re now? What everyday issue did you hope to address with your business?
All these are questions you can answer in an “About Us” page or in your homepage so that your customers might be further moved to relate with your products and purchase them.
So many successful businesses started from home, and telling your story can add that extra layer of appeal that could in turn lead to higher sales, better customer relations, and perhaps even partnerships.
2. Group your products: Create collections
As mentioned earlier, grouping your products into category pages or collections greatly helps customers narrow down their search until they find exactly what they’re looking for.
That said, grouping your products does have other considerable benefits as well.
Separation can be used to create promotions for certain collections that would appear as attractive deals to your customers. Those purchasing a certain colored shirt from your store, for example, can also enjoy discounts and extra deals if they purchase other colored shirts.
3. It’s easier to sell if you can see it!
Seeing is believing. As such, having clear visuals that positively but still accurately portray your products or services can form a constant and convincing part of your overall e-commerce merchandising strategy.
e-Commerce photography and visual merchandising, in particular, should be deployed wherever possible in your online store in order to zoom functions, 360-degree viewing, and even videos that can paint a clear and appealing picture to your customers.
Since the digital medium also restricts which of your customers’ senses you can engage (you can’t get them to actually feel or smell your stuff), you must capitalize on what they can see and hear.
4. Everyone has their own preferences
Personalization is definitely a feature that can entice your customers to further enjoy shopping in your store and favor your brand.
For instance, you can send personalized homepage pop-ups for those visiting your e-commerce store from a certain part of the world, or have specific product suggestions for those who purchased from or browsed a particular collection.
In the event your customers register important details like their anniversaries or birthdays, you can even offer coupons on those special days to truly win them over.
That being said, encouraging customers to spend more with your business is essentially dependent on creating a solid and trusting connection between you and them.
5. Ease of navigation: Who wants a drive on a rocky road?
What customers would want to experience difficulty in their search for stuff at your e-commerce site:
Just as the journey to a destination is important, the path your customers take towards their desired products is also highly important.
It’s therefore an e-commerce best practice to ensure that your customers can easily navigate through your online store’s products, information, and pages. Including clear buttons that direct users to the homepage or other relevant pages where they can reorient themselves is a good step in such a direction.
6. Data, data and data
You can’t make bricks without clay, and you certainly can’t make effective changes or additions to your store’s platform without clear and conclusive data.
When running your online business, there will come a time when you need to update or make changes to your online store to roll out marketing campaigns, meet the latest trends, or even to launch a new line of products.
As such, your decisions need to be based on past and present user trends, purchase statistics, and other information gathered from your online store.
Some last words
No matter how good your products are, you still need to market and merchandise them to your customers. That way, they’d be further motivated to purchase your goods and come back to support your business even more.
In the journey of scaling and growing your business, the same principle applies. Even though you may have a viable business model, great products, and a team of competitive talent, some extra funding is what could catalyze the growth trajectory and raise your business to further heights.
If you’re interested in fuelling your e-commerce business’s growth, such as by scaling up marketing campaigns, launching a new product line or even expanding to other geographical locations, Choco Up could lend a helping hand.
As a global technology and financial services platform, Choco Up provides e-commerce funding (known as revenue-based financing) and business growth solutions for digital merchants.
We’ve worked with businesses like yours, and so we understand the pain points and needs of running an online business. In the past, we’ve helped clients like BuzzAR and eBuyNow grow their user base and revenue by 10X and 5X respectively.
About Choco Up
Choco Up is a global technology and financial services platform, offering revenue-based financing and business growth solutions for digital merchants and startups.
With data analytics and machine learning at its core, Choco Up employs vast integrations to automate fund deployment, providing fast-growing companies with zero-equity funding in a quick and seamless manner.
We currently have offices in Singapore and Hong Kong and serve clients worldwide, providing smart-growth analytics and global payment solutions to fuel their growth.