Why are Merchandising Strategies Important?
Merchandising is the visual representation of products that are put up for sale. From placing products in a particular order in a store to content display and image display in an eCommerce store, merchandising is critical in that it affects at-least two-thirds of a store’s sales.
In the current digital market, online sales contribute to about 20% of the total sales worldwide. This number, although promises continuous growth for online sales, also poses various challenges for sellers. To be highly successful among their competitors is no easy task. With the sales increasing exponentially, the number of sellers is also increasing, each with their own strategy to sell products and achieve profitability. There are multiple methods and numerous strategies that are available to promote and sell a product.
Now, circling back to the question in hand, “Why are merchandising strategies so critical in driving sales?”
- Keep your customers aware of the products that are available in the store.
- Promote products that work as an accessory to an already purchased product.
- Create a positive shopping experience for your customers
- Improve sales funnel conversion
- Higher retention rates of customers. A customer that visits your website twice is likely to keep buying from you for a longer period of time.
Visual Merchandising in eCommerce
Over the last couple of decades, visual merchandising for eCommerce stores has become a vital part of building and maintaining one. From creating an interest in making a purchase to converting the casual browsing experience to a successful purchase, visual merchandising, if used right, can give any eCommerce store a huge advantage in this competitive market.
6 Merchandising Strategies to Boost Your Sales
Creating an effective buyer’s journey from the time they visit your eCommerce site to the checkout and even beyond is essential for enhanced sales and profits. Several methods are readily available in the market for online Merchandising strategies that will help an eCommerce store drive sales efficiently. Here are the most important and most effective merchandising strategies for visual merchandising:
1. Inviting Home Page
The homepage to any eCommerce store is like the window of a brick and mortar store. It is the first impression that you give your customer and it goes a long way.
How can a home page be designed to inspire sales? Here a few simple steps:
- Use dynamic banners instead of static ones
- Create a personalized entrance for your buyers, especially the more frequent ones by including recently viewed items or coupons for products of interest, etc.
- Display discounts and offers and highlight special promotions for returning customers
- Display order tracking information on the home page
2. High-Quality Content And Images
The quality of your website content speaks volumes about your products in hand while implementing merchandising strategies:
- Use high-resolution images to showcase your products
- Make sure the content is explicit and refreshing and error-free
- Display 360-degree views of products
- Show how customization of the products might turn out to be
- Use fonts and colors that are warm and create a positive impression
3. Displaying Accessory Items
Accessory items are those that buyers don’t intend to buy initially. But after they have bought the main product, these act as auxiliary items which if presented in the right manner end up in the cart of your buyer. eCommerce giants have successfully used this to sell thousands of their products. Some compelling approaches include:
- Use “Frequently bought” recommendations in your Products page along with their pricing
- Display bundling options and offer discounts when they bundle up
- Present a compelling view of how your accessory aids your buyer’s purchase efficiently
4. Easy Navigation
Whether your inventory is small or vast, setting up a consolidated menu that is easy to navigate is imperative in order for customers to not lose track of their shopping spree. A few ways of merchandising strategies by which site navigation can convert clicks to sales:
- A tiered menu showing categories and subcategories in a sensible manner
- Quick and scan friendly search bar that will allow your customers to search for anything they are looking for
- Filters and autocomplete options that make the search even more effective
- Easy-to-understand options for shopping, account management, and order management
5. Quick Loading Time
In this fast-paced environment, buyers want everything to happen at the click of a button. With the use of mobile phones, customers expect quick purchasing of items without having to spend too much time. How can this be achieved?
- Ensure your pages load quickly both on a computer and mobile phone
- Especially, when it comes to mobile shopping, the pages have to be mobile friendly as well as mobile responsive.
- When products are added to cart, the cart should be updated quickly with discounts and other options
6. Simple Yet Effective Checkout Page
Once a customer has finished adding items to the cart, the expectation is to have a seamless checkout process. This includes adding coupon codes, viewing discounts appropriately, multiple payment options, choosing delivery speed, etc. These need to be optimally designed keeping in mind your merchandising strategies so that the customer does not get frustrated at any point in the checkout process.
Also displaying little call to action buttons or widgets for loyalty programs or referral programs tempts the user to be a frequent visitor to your website.
Best Examples of Merchandising Strategy
- Walmart Merchandising Strategy – Winning with “Everyday Low Prices”
With omnichannel services and prices that beat those of competitors’, Walmart’s merchandising strategies have been top-notch in the realm of eCommerce business. Variety of services all from one webpage – grocery pickup, same-day commodity pickup, 24-hour delivery, and brands in all price categories have been clearly presented in their webpage, making their eCommerce store one of the best.
- Amazon Merchandising Strategy – Personalized shopping experience from the word “Go”
Have you ever noticed that the homepage of amazon.com keeps changing in terms of products and discounts every time you log in? Does it get more and more engaging and enthrall you to make a purchase? If your answer is “Yes” to both these questions, then Amazon has been successful in making their visual pitch truly groundbreaking. The key to Amazon’s success is that its merchandising strategy is “data-driven”. Instead of running a broader spectrum of marketing campaigns, they focus on individual buyer campaigns and merchandising strategies that have proven to be highly profitable.
In conclusion, for merchandising strategies to be effective, the key is to understand your customers – The route they followed to reach your site, their likes, and dislikes, their preferences. And the more personalized their shopping experience is, the more likely they are to buy a product of your site, and also return for a future purchase.
EPISODE #7: Product Taxonomy, and Merchandising Strategies in B2B Distribution
Listen to the episode here.