One of the major challenges that every Ecommerce retailer faces today, is the ability to convert visitors into prospective customers.  When a customer logs into an Ecommerce portal, the user experience, the ease of navigation and a glitch free process will strengthen the trust, in turn resulting in sales. The crucial area where an Ecommerce website makes or breaks a deal is the product listing page.  This is the page where customers understand about the product, price, shipping and payment terms.  Here is where visual merchandising assist retailers in creating the perfect product listing.

What is Visual Merchandising in Retail?

Visual merchandising is the presentation of a store where its merchandise are laid out in such a manner that it will attract the attention of potential buyers. It is the activity and profession of developing the floor plans and three-dimensional displays in order to maximize sales.  The end purpose of visual merchandise is to aid in making a sale.

Visual Merchandiser in Magento

Magento Visual Merchandiser (available by default in Enterprise 1.14.1) has tried to replicate in Ecommerce terms what the Visual Merchandising achieves in Retail. This will be a great feature that retailers will love to have, with immediate results.

In AdminManage CategoriesCategory Products, Magento has introduced Visual Merchandiser.

Magento Visual Merchandiser

Highlights of Visual Merchandiser

Drag and Drop Window

Previously in order to change the position order, you will need to change the numbers in admin so that it affects the front end.  If there are hundreds of products, it is difficult to do this because changing the numbers in sequence and keeping them in sync is a difficult thing to do.

Another disadvantage is that it is not easy to visualize how these changes will look like in the admin panel.

In AdminManage Categories – Magento EE 1.14 has a button called Show Visual Merchandiser. When we click on that, it opens up another pop-up window within the admin panel. This pop-up is a visualization of how the front end is displayed.

With Visual merchandiser instead of changing the numbers, we can drag and drop the products in the window.  No more numbers will be involved. Once we drag and drop the products, the front end instantly reflects these changes. Multiple products can be selected, shift clicked, dragged and dropped into place.

Magento Visual Merchandiser

Viewing Product Details

Attributes are also displayed in the drag and drop window which helps the merchandiser do their job easily.  Any attributes from Magento can be displayed in the pop-up window like stock, pricing, color, name etc. These attributes do not need to be displayed in the front end but it helps the merchandiser to visualize it much better.

Magento Visual Merchandiser

Adding Products through Catalog Search

Visual merchandiser is equipped with an  integrated catalog search. All we need to do is search for the product and click on the “Add to Category” link. This allows the selected product to be listed as the first product in the category.

Viewing Different Store Fronts

When there are multiple store fronts, Visual Merchandiser provides the ability to view how the same category will look like in different store fronts. Doing this from an admin panel was not possible before.

Setting Hero Products

Hero products are special products that always appear at the top of the category. There is a field called Hero Products and we can add the SKUs in a comma separated manner. These SKUs can be from anywhere within the catalog and will not necessarily be from the currently assigned category.

Once it’s done, the hero products will be fixed to the top of the page (they cannot be dragged and dropped). It will appear in the order in which it was entered in the Hero Products field. These products can be removed or updated based on the requirements.

Magento Visual Merchandiser

Smart Categories

Smart categories allow retailers to automatically include products into various categories based upon rules. For example, the merchandiser can create a category that has black color products or setup a rule to display products that are priced less than $100.

Attributes like status, color, price that have been defined to set up the rules.  The rule is dynamic in nature, so that when the products change their attributes, they may be included or excluded from one or more categories.

Magento Visual Merchandiser

Note:  Visual Merchandiser is now included in Magento Enterprise 1.14.1 as a standard feature. For earlier versions of Magento Enterprise, the retailer had to contact www.ontapgroup.com  for assistance. Magento did not support Visual Merchandiser in versions earlier than EE 1.14.1. Visual Merchandiser has been tested with Magento Community Edition 1.6.2 to 1.9.0.1 inclusive.

Among various other tools/plugins from Magento, Visual Merchandiser provides a customer perspective which empowers retailers to design the product listing based on their needs. Such a customer centric listing would help retailers to boost their conversion ratios and attain their business objective.

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