Offline sales can be increased by placing the goods properly. For the Internet, this is also true. Let’s sort out what techniques of merchandising work for e-commerce.
Classic merchandising can be successfully used to solve the following problems of the online stores and marketplaces:
Now let’s see what and how can be placed on the shelves of an online store to solve these problems through merchandising.
A homepage is the central showcase of your store. Although a visitor can come to the site through any other page, they often come to the main page to get a general impression of the store assortment and see if it can be trusted.
The Homepage should be designed in the same way as the main storefront of the offline store—taking into account the characteristics of consumer behavior and use all possible tools to keep the visitor on the site and convince to go to the catalog.
What to display on the Homepage of the store
Maintain the competitiveness of the online store. The Homepage has to contain brief information about the delivery and payment, guarantees, benefits, and social proofs. Ideally, these elements should be visible on any page of the site and be highlighted to attract attention. Usually, they are placed in a cap or stripe, “sticking” to the top or bottom edge when scrolling.
Draw attention to individual products. New, popular, on sale, bestsellers of this month or season—the main page can display several blocks of the featured products. Each offer should have a heading so that the buyers understand why they should stop at this place.
Select a category of goods from a large catalog. Put a category of chosen products in a separate menu button or blocks on the Homepage. Fill this collection with products in high demand—on sale, low stock, bestsellers, seasonal. Display several categories of products in demand sorted by the different parameters.
Manage the attention and behavior of buyers. You can control the attention of customers with visual elements—color, font, size of elements, etc. Study the results of the Eye Tracking technology experiments and place the blocks in the most viewed parts of the store according to statistics.
Highlight the items in the block that you want to attract attention to in the first place with the help of marketing tags—small labels or icons.
Stimulate buying more goods. Try adding the appropriate promotions and special offers in separate blocks or in the slider under the header. This technique is widely used and has proven its effectiveness.
There is no single structure that works for every case. You need to focus on the number of product categories, the variety of the product range, the features of the goods and the number of blocks that you want to fit on the Homepage. Therefore, here are several common recommendations that need to be taken into account in merchandising.
The Homepage is the main storefront (a showcase). The Category page is the interior of the store—a sales area. Designing an offline store interior plan retailers consider the route of the customers’ flow. Despite the buyers’ behavior is quite a pattern, large retailers conduct their own measurements and experiments in order to find the best location for popular and expensive products along the way of the flows. This methodology also works for e-commerce.
Setting up a Category page and placing the products on the shelves
The tricks of merchandising here are almost the same as for the Homepage, with one difference that Categories are usually 80–90% occupied by blocks with products.
Accessibility is one of the most important principles used in offline stores. If buyers can find or get to the necessary goods without an effort, the turnover increases by 30–70%. This principle is fundamental for online stores and marketplaces and must be taken into account on the early stage of developing a directory structure.
To facilitate the movement of the customers inside the store and search for the desired items, you can:
Thanks to the Product page, we have much more opportunities for product presentation of the product online than offline. People are more likely to perceive information in front of the computer screen, than walking along the shelves.
To solve merchandising tasks with the help of a Product page, you need to thoroughly study the needs of your customers and understand what they pay attention to when choosing. Then it will be possible to arrange the information and display it on the page, placing important blocks on the first screen and in the most viewed zones.
Do not refuse popups. This tool is quite aggressive and can be annoying to users, so it should be used carefully, but you shouldn’t completely refuse it, because it works.
Add interactivity. Give visitors the opportunity to compare similar products on the technical characteristics or vote for the favorite products and form purchasing ratings.
Do not forget about the psychology of price perception. The cost of goods displayed as $200 is visually much larger than $199, and 2K USD looks less than $2,000.00.
Add a wishlist to the site. This will increase the percentage of returning visitors.