Online trade has been snowballing over the past years. In particular, we have seen a big boom of web stores presenting goods in the digital environment. Hence, this development gave birth to new science in the eCommerce industry, online merchandising. In today’s article, we will determine why it matters to a business with practical strategies for SMB owners.
But first, let’s see what eCommerce merchandising is.
What is Online Merchandising?
In the retail world, merchandising refers to the products available for sale, and merchants use them to excite customers’ interest and stimulate them to purchase. To online merchants, web merchandising is the art of displaying products on a website. We can also mention the online store layout, the stunning visuals, product descriptions, and features you use to highlight products.
Benefits of eCommerce Merchandising
Digital merchandising plays a vital role in your online success. The science is no longer a secret of brick-and-mortar stores; instead, the digital world uses its power to get customers closer to the purchase decision.
Spark Customers Interest
Imagine you are a host; what would you do before a guest comes to visit your house? Tidy up and decorate to ensure an attractive house appearance and make your visitor impressed, right? Similarly, the first purpose of online merchandising is to touch up the visual appeal and capture shoppers’ interest. Plus, it allows store owners to take control over the user experience. You can customize any of the pages based on consumer insights to maximize revenue and improve overall performance.
Enhance Product Engagement
Many consumers are on the fence when they visit your store. Without engagement, visitors are likely to leave your site instantly, which means you lose the chance to acquire a new buyer. In other words, the cost per acquisition increases while profits plummets.
To get e-shoppers engaged, you should enable them to find and view interesting products fast. It is the start of feeding online visitors into the final sale.
Looking at the Clearance category of Cook Woods, apart from product images, they manage spaces by adding filters that allow shoppers to browse by species, width, length, and thickness. Therefore, their consumers can play around with products before they make the final decision.
Lower the Bounce Rate
A high bounce rate lets you know that your online store has some problems with the page layout, content, or user experience. Meanwhile, it is one of Google’s ranking factors that impact your SEO performance and traffic to your store.
With eCommerce merchandising, it leaves customers a favorable impression. As a result, it helps boost product discoverability instead of letting them exit the site to visit competitors’ stores.
Best Online Merchandising Practices for SMBs
eCommerce merchandising is an ongoing process. It is a mixture of tactics to achieve your goals. A well-executed homepage, collection page, and other merchandising techniques will boost sales records and customer loyalty as well. Here are four game-changing strategies with merchandising examples for you to better compete with retail giants and marketplaces.
Build An Engaging Homepage
Although this is not always where customers start their buying journey, it is the hub of your online store. The first thing to have in your merchandising plan is a narration of your brand story that resonates with their emotions — a very effective way to promote impulse buying. Look at how Urban Natural Home displays their handmade lighting next to the text-based story.
Beyond static window shopping, use the homepage space to inspire consumers with dynamic banners showcasing featured items or highlighting special offers. And don’t forget to add a CTA and an easy-to-find search bar to drive engagement rates and navigate visitors to different pages.
Yummy Bazaar makes use of the hero slider to feature new arrivals. An eye-catching search bar, a CTA, and a hello bar promoting free shipping on orders over $50 are utilized to drive urgency.
Create Complete and Strong Product Information
In online commerce, the product presentation is the central concern as it needs to display something that cannot be touched physically. Therefore, high-quality descriptions that spotlight product characteristics will convince buyers to stay with you.
In short, excellent product information should give shoppers every detail they need to visualize the product and paint a picture of how they would use and benefit from it. This means that materials, sizes, shapes, prices, colors, inventory, shipping information, and other details should be listed. Besides, accuracy is crucial because it will earn brand trust. That’s why it is essential to keep your content free from spelling and grammatical errors.
Equal Exchange features fresh tea leaves and a clean copy of the product origin, quantity, price, flavors, certifications, and instruction.
In a brick-and-mortar store, consumers can experience a product before making a payment. However, the lack of physical interaction becomes such an obstacle in the online world. Thus, images and videos will help you create a strong connection between your brand and customers. Hence, online store owners had better choose bright and clear photographs at the highest resolution to illustrate each product with close-ups of its unique features.
Lastly, featuring user-generated content is an excellent tool in establishing customer loyalty as it taps a marketing phenomenon – social proof.
According to the statistics on Statista, it makes sense to make customers’ stories become the stars of your site. Need inspiration? Casely would be a great example of presenting reviews from verified buyers. By skimming the comments, we can see the reasons why users love the cow print case. Also, customers can share any feedback if they find it useful – a good tactic to spread positive social proof.
Besides displaying customer images, you can consider using a third-party app to automate review collecting to ask consumers to leave their reviews.
Optimize Site Search
Even the most merchandisable search will not do you any good if the search results do not match shoppers’ intent. 43% of customers on eCommerce sites will go directly to the search bar, so optimizing on-site search is necessary to make your digital merchandising work well.
To help customers find the right products quickly, store owners can consider using the visual merchandising function in your search tool to display thumbnail images. The combination of appealing photos and appropriate tags will drive clicks to product pages.
Red Dress impresses users with a list of necklaces with product images. The presentation gives customers a clearer idea of how it will look on them.
Additionally, providing strong typo tolerance and autocomplete suggestions will help you speed up the search process and guide the visitors to the most relevant and in-demand products. If someone searches for an item, they should never end up on a no search results page, even if misspelled.
Makeup Geek quickly helps customers construct a search query by showing a suggestion ‘Did you mean lipstick?’ when they type in the misspelled keyword -‘lopstick.’
In digital commerce, the order of products in the search results dramatically influences what shoppers add to their cart. By creating ranking rules, merchants can directly change the outcomes for specific search terms.
The product ranking feature in the Boost Product Filter & Search app allows e-store owners to promote particular products.
Improve Personalization On the Collection Pages
Another advantage of eCommerce merchandising that outweighs the traditional approach is the sorting power on the collection pages. Well-organized ones have filter options for consumers to streamline the products. Let’s take a look at the one of Eco Computer.
The All Desktops, All-in-Ones & Bundles collection shows users types of desktops and facets that enables buyers to personalize their search result.
Online merchants can choose to use vertical or horizontal layouts on their pages. However, it would help if you kept in mind that consumers expect to see some snapshots (thumbnails, product names, price ranges, brands) in neat rows.
Leveling up online merchandising is not an impossible task for eCommerce brands. If you play your cards right, you can retain loyal consumers and acquire new ones at the same time. Try and test our top four merchandising tips:
- Set up an appealing homepage with a brand story and CTAs
- Provide detailed product information. Show consumers how your products can solve their problems with high-quality visuals, and authentic reviews
- Optimize the site search function to make sure that visitors can find relevant items fast
- Allow consumers to personalize their search results via filtering options
About the author
CiCi Nguyen is a Content Specialist at Boost Commerce. She loves doing research and writing to share helpful information with readers. Outside of work, she is a food lover and passionate about cooking and reading comics.
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What is bounce rate?
Bounce rate is a concept used in online traffic measurement in digital marketing. It reflects the number of users who come to the site and then leave without viewing any other parts of the website.
How to find out bounce rate on your website?
The total number of one-page visitors divided by the total number of website entries yields the bounce rate. If you use Google Analytics, it will be automatically calculated for you.
How to reduce bounce rate?
Reduce the time it takes for a page to load.
Smart formatting makes the content more accessible.
Use Promotion and Sidebar Widgets sparingly.
Compare the bounce rate to the time spent on the site.
Optimize for relevance ruthlessly.
Make a single, strong call to action.