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Merchandising Magic
 

Merchandising Magic

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Watch the webinar: http://monetate.com/webinar/merchandising-magic/ ...

Watch the webinar: http://monetate.com/webinar/merchandising-magic/

Learn how to use product recommendations and other proven online merchandising tactics during “Merchandising Magic.” Discover ways to use what you know about your website visitors and how third-party data sources can help guide the customer decision journey, making products discoverable, considerable, and purchasable.

Hear how successful ecommerce businesses use product recommendations, endcaps, badging, and more to increase average order value, conversions, and margins. Retain control of your website while segmenting your traffic intelligently and revealing the most relevant content to your visitors.

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  • … our sites are really software applications, in many ways just like Work or Excel…
  • … except our sites don’t come with manuals or training programs, and people don’t use them every day getting incrementally better with them each time.
  • Our sites are really self serve. Customers need to figure out how to use them on their own. And they do things we would never expect. I believe this is an extremely important point as the self-serve nature of websites makes them really unlike any other software we create. They have to be incredibly intuitive to wide cross sections of customers, and most sites don’t meet this challenge.
  • We’ve also generally got a lot more products available than physical stores. And that amount of product can be overwhelming to our customers if our sites are nothing more than…
  • … a pretty view into our warehouses.
  • Physical stores also have an advantage in they have trained sales people who are actually interacting with customers. They’re able to get all sorts of feedback from customers, both verbal and non-verbal queues such as the way they dress, who they’re with, how they carry themselves, etc.
  • Even Al Bundy enjoyed the benefits from this type of feedback that is not available to us in an online environment.
  • We need to differentiate between lots of customers who might look very different in one sense but act similarly in another.
  • But we have to do it all based on clicks of the mouse.
  • We also many times need to take geography into account.
  • And with geography comes cultural differences. Internationally for sure, but even different areas of the US can be vastly different. If we were physical store chains, we would not merchandise…
  • … our windows the same in NY as…
  • … would in California. So why do we offer the same web experience to everyone?
  • And what about the customer who just isn’t sure what she wants? She can’t search for something specific because she just doesn’t know.
  • So we have to find ways to help her find just the right thing for her.
  • So how do we do this?
  • It’s starts by getting a good understanding of who our customers are.
  • In the past, I’ve seen great discoveries come from taking a laptop into a store and asking real customers to shop on the site while I or someone on my team watched silently. In these situations, it’s very important not to be too prescriptive in the tasks the customer is asked to do. Ask them to “find and buy a new pair of dress shoes” rather than “go to the men’s tab, then select dress shoes and find a pair of black, size 9 shoes.”
  • At OnlineShoes, we’re getting starting on a mental modeling process that will really help us figure out how our customers see the world. We’ll be able to learn what online metaphors would be meaningful to reproduce online to help people better
  • One thing we learned at Borders we saw that almost 100% of the people who came into the store first browsed the book tables we had in the front of the store.
  • So we developed something we called the Magic Shelf that looked and felt like a standard book shelf. This emulated the book tables in the front of the store and gave us the opportunity to present some books to customers that they wouldn’t have otherwise known about. We have them the sense of discovery they got from those book tables, and that was a powerful essence of the bookstore experience for our customers.
  • We also use the power of a website to give them relevance through our Picked for You shelf. Here, customers could tell us their interests and we could then stock that shelf with books that were particularly relevant to them.
  • We also found that people look to look at book covers on the shelves…
  • … so we emulated that experience online.
  • The mental modeling process we’re doing at OnlineShoes is a little more difficult because we don’t have stores where we can observe people, so it will be a little more research intensive. However, in the end I’m very confident that we will be able to develop similar shoe shopping metaphors that will help our customers have a more intuitive and enjoyable shopping experience.
  • But improvements don’t have to always be the big shiny, whiz bang features.
  • More often than not, it’s lot of little things that can make a big difference.
  • For example, there are opportunities to guide people through the search experience. We’ve been testing different options here with Monetate to find the best way to use a search ahead feature that will assist our customers in their search experience.
  • We can also play around with navigational options to find the best wayfinding for customers to help them get to the right products as quickly as possible. This is more akin to the right instore signage that customers can instantly understand.
  • We’ve also been playing around with the location of different elements of the site. We found some great positives in moving our recommendations higher on the right side of the page and moving recently viewed items lower. And we ended up removing a persistent cart from this area altogether to allow for more recommendations as high as possible.
  • We also spent some time emphasizing some confidence zones on the product. While this isn’t “product” merchandising, it is more like merchandising the site and highlighting key selling points of the site itself, which proved very beneficial to conversion after testing through Monetate.
  • … finding that the strike through pricing method that I had seen be effective in the past was not as effective for our customers.
  • We even played around with how we present pricing…
  • We’ve also done some work with badging. In particular, we found that calling out when an item has a video has been very effective.
  • And we moved up the location of video on our pages to make them more a part of the photo display of items, adding a play button and video playback in the photo area.
  • And we’ve got a lot more coming.
  • Soon we’ll be launching our implementation of Monetate end cap feature. I’m really excited about this because it will really allow us to highlight products that we feel our customers will love. And we’ll also be taking advantage of some of the automated features that will, for example, allow us to highlight best sellers in a particular geography for people who are in that geography. This will really allow us to create the right “window” display for each region same way as we would in a physical store chain.
  • So we’re well on the way to giving ourselves the same advantages as Al Bundy had!
  • But we’ll do a lot better with a much higher quality with an amazingly powerful computer brain. 
  • And a massive selection of product that will be better than any physical store.