As important as it is in brick-and-mortar stores, the need to design your online store to sell most effectively can’t be overstated. Building online merchandising equivalents of in-store experiences promises that shoppers will not only find what they came to your site to find, but will discover products they didn’t even know they wanted, until you showed them.
Good brick-and-mortar merchandising can:
- increase traffic by offering attractive visual experiences
- increase sales by featuring products through promotions and displays
- build loyalty through appealing, easy-to-access settings
Likewise, good online merchandising can increase traffic, increase sales and build loyalty with the same techniques, but with slightly different implementation. As you build out the merchandising functionality on your site, keep these best practices in mind.
Let Your Data Drive Programs
Knowing what your shoppers are interested in helps you respond to current trends and anticipate future promotional opportunities. When customers search, they’re telling you exactly what they want. Leverage data from search keywords and browsing behavior to power your email and advertising campaigns to get the most traction for your time and money.
Use shoppers’ behavioral data Pet360.com Rankings for the top-searched or top-purchased products rise to the top of results, and it is easy to spot any unusually high results. With Landing Page Creator™, we can easily create campaigns and pages that target specific customers with specific deals.
Make Discovery Easy
Isn’t it helpful when you enter a store and a sales associate helps you find the exact item you’re looking for? Make the same true for online experiences. Again, it all begins with data. Track your shoppers’ search terms and browsing behavior to discover which products are most popular for top search terms on your site. Then, when customers search for those terms, display the most popular products in the first couple of rows. You’ll be more likely to show shoppers exactly what they want right away, which means fewer clicks, higher sales, and repeat customers.
Go above and beyond your shoppers expectations by tailoring search results to your shopper’s personal preferences. For example, implement tools that learn from individual shoppers’ behavior to automatically refine search and navigation results based on gender, size, or brand preference.
Since personalizing search and navigation results to individual shoppers, Footwear, etc. saw a 10% increase in revenue per visitor. They also saw a 5% increase in conversion rate and average order value (AOV).
You’ll give shoppers the feeling ofSecond, show the most relevant products visually as the search query is entered, through rich autocomplete. And third, tie the most popular keywords to promotions that you feature on your home page.
Zachy’s Wine and Liquor provides an enhanced customer experience using patented Rich Auto Complete™ technology from SLI Systems. As shoppers begin typing into the search box they are immediately presented with pictures, descriptions and pricing of relevant, popular products displayed right alongside the search suggestions. Since implementation, Everlast’s revenue from search grew from 1% to 10% of total revenue.
Merchandise Across Channels
Don’t forget the mobile experience! A streamlined mobile experience that works around the physical constraints of a mobile device will make it easier for shoppers to find (and buy!) what they want. For instance, keeping your search box front and center on every page is critical to keeping shoppers on your site so they don’t waste time navigating an entire site. Additionally, adding refinements in large, tap-friendly dropdowns lets shoppers narrow down to the most applicable results.
Management and Analytics
Sound like a lot of work? It doesn’t have to be. Thanks to the power of machine learning, you can automate all the best practices mentioned above, freeing up your time for other strategic projects. And with little to no intervention required from your IT department.
These ideas just scratch the surface of making your site a super-powered merchandising machine. We recently spoke with Sri PV, E-Commerce Internal Marketing Manager at Dressbarn, about how he puts these online merchandising fundamentals (and many more) into practice every day. You can hear the full discussion here.