Merchandising isn’t just for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. E-commerce sites must pay special attention to developing a merchandising strategy that helps promote sales growth. Below, we review important considerations for any e-commerce business when merchandising their site from product groupings to technical site issues that could be preventing your e-commerce business from making more sales as well as how fulfillment companies can help you scale as you grow.
In today’s competitive e-commerce market, retailers can optimize their merchandising strategies to increase sales, along with using some different data analysis tools to personalize your customer’s experience. More than ever, it is essential to enhance your customer’s journey at every touchpoint in order to convert visitors into satisfied customers. Here are a few things that can help optimize your website’s potential.
Brick-and-mortar retailers have utilized visual displays to engage customers for years. Your landing page should feature specific calls to action (CTAs) to entice your customers to make a purchase or at least explore your site further. Many online retailers showcase their best-selling products and most popular items on their landing pages to draw their visitor’s attention. Some optimized merchandising strategies feature the product your visitor is searching for along with complimentary items that your customer may be interested in, as well. For example, visitors searching for women’s swimwear may also be interested in coverups, sandals, sun hats, and other related items. New site visitors could be offered a discount for their first order in exchange for their email address – this can help increase sales and give your company a chance to target that customer with personalized emails in the future.
According to dynamicyield.com, 80% of visitors opt to search once they hit a site instead of manually clicking through category pages. Your site should be constructed to lead your customers easily to the products they’re interested in buying. Using tools such as autocomplete to display matching keywords and images as visitors type allows shoppers to utilize search filters to zero in on product listings based on their needs (i.e., size, color, price, brand, etc.). You might also try personalizing results based on third-party affinity data. Keeping your checkout page easy to use, with free shipping and several popular payment options, and including “customers also purchased” boxes or “recently viewed items” boxes on your checkout page can help increase sales.
Although online shopping is more convenient than in-store shopping, the trade-off is that online consumers can’t actually feel or try on the products they’re interested in purchasing, as they do when shopping at brick-and-mortar outlets. Because of this, you must include multiple high-quality images from every angle of your product, detailed specifications, and user reviews on your product pages. Determine what type of images your audience responds to better, whether it’s lifestyle images of people wearing your product or how-to and demo videos of electronic or virtual products. Some e-commerce businesses are using selfies on smartphones to allow customers to “try on” items. Virtual reality environments are evolving to offer shoppers more in-store-like environments, along with live chat and sales associate avatars to assist customers with their purchasing decisions. Including live chat on your product pages can also assist in your customer’s purchasing decisions. According to sli-systems.com, “Other merchandising solutions and visual merchandising technologies are also being accelerated thanks to AI. Virtual buying assistants, chatbots, visual search, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) are all designed to help shoppers purchase the right product fast.” Other information you can add to your product pages to drive sales include:
- Showing the number of products in stock, such as “only four left.” This helps to create a sense of urgency.
- Showing social proof in how many views and likes your products are incurring.
- Adding functions to your site that allow customers to view products in another color.
- Allowing customers to zoom in and out of your images.
Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices because as of February 2022, 79% of online shopping occurs on smartphones and tablets, according to outerboxdesign.com. Compress your images and eliminate Flash presentations or any other video that takes a long time to load as mobile users don’t want to wait for your site to load. We also know that 82% of smartphone users look things up while in-store and while making purchasing decisions, so making your site as mobile-friendly as possible can help drive sales.
Automating Data Processing
Gaining a deep understanding of your customer involves analyzing your website analytics, your product systems, and your e-commerce platform transaction system to provide an impressive array of data that can be used to propel your merchandising decisions. With personalized data available about online shoppers, these data sets can tailor your customers’ searches to show specific products, according to useful data types such as gender, age, geographic location, as well as:
- Traffic Channel: How your visitor got to your site
- History: Returning customer or first-time visitor?
- Behavior: What did they do on your site? What did they search for?
- Device: Mobile device, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer?
Your E-Commerce Platform Data
Analyzing existing customer data on your e-commerce channels can give you insights into what products you sold, what sizes, colors, styles, and other product options were purchased, along with data about:
- Pricing: Cost and discount, if any
- Order Quantities: Number of products customers bought per purchase
- Time and Date: When products were purchased
- Payment Method: Credit card type, PayPal, installment plan, Buy Now Pay Later, etc.
- Shipping: Delivery method
- Abandoned Carts: What products were selected but not purchased
- Social Trends: Current hot ticket items with your customers
Then, you’ll need data that your e-commerce business has gathered for:
- Brands: What brands do your customers expect and respond to best?
- Seasonality: Are the holidays your busiest time or are your product offerings more seasonal?
- Inventory: How much stock do you have on hand?
That’s a lot of data to try to analyze. That’s why machine learning and AI are beginning to play major roles in data automation to better serve your customers. Sli-systems.com’s “Q3 2017 E-commerce Performance Indicators and Confidence Report,” revealed that 54% of e-commerce sites “have already implemented or plan to add AI in the future…And 20% expect to add AI within the next 12 months.” As it happens, personalized product recommendations are the most popular application for AI currently, with 56% of e-commerce vendors reporting that AI is already part of their product recommendation strategy and 38% planning to implement AI within the next year. In addition to optimizing your customer’s journey through the online shopping journey, you can also better target your existing customers with laser-targeted emails, social media, and connected TV ads that have been shown to increase conversion rates and ROIs.
Partner With A Fulfillment Company
Along with your highly effective optimized merchandising strategy, as your sales grow, partnering with a reliable 3PL service provider, such as Phase V Fulfillment, for your order fulfillment operations will keep your e-commerce business on track to scale seamlessly as you grow. Leveraging the advanced data-powered warehouse and inventory management technologies your 3PL offers can give you real-time information to optimize inventory levels to avoid stockouts and remind you when to reorder if your stock is running low.
When you partner with a fulfillment company, you’re able to continue to hone your business, developing and introducing new products. Leave the busy work of streamlining your fulfillment operations by automating picking processes, expertly packaging orders accurately to your specs, and finding the most affordable and effective shipping rates for your two-day delivery times to us.
Grow into your next level of success with Phase V Fulfillment!