Online Merchandising - The Basics Of Online Merchandising


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A guide on how to sell your products online and achieve higher AOVs and conversion rates.

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Online Merchandising - The Basics Of Online Merchandising

  1. 1. The Basics of Online MerchandisingWhat is Online Merchandising?Online merchandising describes how you display your products or services on your website. It’s a fundamental taskin making sure your website makes your customers happy and makes you profit. Getting it right means thatcustomers can find what they want easily and maybe pick up some additional items on the way. Getting it wrong canmean customers become frustrated with your site and decide to browse your competitors instead.With the number of websites growing month on month, and the increase in desire for websites that are easy andinteresting to navigate, making sure your online merchandising is effective is vital.Think about your customersBefore you put pen to paper and start mapping out what you want on your website and where, have a think aboutyour potential customers. What will they come to you for? What do you want them to do on your site? Why shouldthey browse your site rather than your competitors?Think about the different types of visitors too. Will they come to your site to browse for ideas for a later date? Willthey make a shopping list and then go to your bricks and mortar store? Will they want to get in, buy a specificproduct and get out as fast as they can? Will they want your advice on what to buy? The chances are you’ll havevisitors who fit into several of these categories – and maybe more.Making sure you understand your visitors and why they visit your site will help you decide how to merchandise yoursite as effectively as possible.How should I merchandise my products or services?In order to meet with the habits of different groups of customer visiting your site, think about the types of browsingoptions you want to provide. These might include: Browse by product type – this is the most obvious option and usually the easiest to structure. For example, clothing sites categorising by Trousers, Skirts, Jumpers etc. Browse by brand – for relevant companies that sell branded goods this is a good option to include. For example, baby products categorising by Tommy Tippee, Mamas and Papas, Fisher Price etc. Browse by occasion – for products relevant for specific occasions. For example, clothing sites categorising by Wedding, Ascot, Black Tie etc or for gift companies categorising by Christening, Birthday, Anniversary etc. Browse by colour – useful for companies selling products such as clothing, jewellery, furniture. Browse by the best deals – many customers will buy based on price and giving them the option of browsing by the available deals can increase conversion significantly. Browse by bestsellers – browsers like to be able to see what products sell best to help them find a product that meets their requirements more quickly.Always provide more than one method of browsing your products. Customers like to be able to choose how theyview your products and what works for one customer one day might not work for him the next time he comes.Equally, what works for one customer, won’t work for another.© indium online 101865 980
  2. 2. I know what navigation options I want to provide, now what?Once you’ve established what types of navigation you want to offer to your visitors, you need to add a little moreflesh around each of these methods, as well as think about what product information you want to give the customerat what point. Category Structure For each of your navigation methods, flesh out a category structure. So for browse by product you might have a top level category of ‘Tops’ and sub categories of ‘Short Sleeve’, ‘Long Sleeve’, ‘Patterned’. Again, make sure you’re thinking what’s likely to be logical to the browser, not to you. Product List Page Once your browser has navigated to a list of products, think about what information you want to offer them at this stage. Do you want to give them just an image, product name, image and link to the full details? Do you want to include an ‘Add to Basket’ option? Short description? This will all depend on your product range and your customer. For example, if your customers only ever buy one product at a time it would make sense to take them straight from this page to the basket but if they are likely to buy multiple items, you may want them to go through to the product page to show them other items they may like. Product Page Once the customer has reached the product page, what information do you want/need to give them. Think about all the different things they may want to know in order to make the decision to purchase. How much is delivery? What is the returns process? How big is the item? Does it come in other colours? Are there multibuy savings?I’ve merchandised my products, what else?You should now have established a solid base for merchandising your products. There are just a few more thingsyou may want to think about: Cross-selling It’s always good to cross sell/up sell additional products where suitable to increase basket size. Think about where is most logical to do this. Is it worth having ‘People who bought this also bought’ on the basket page? Or having items which match the cardigan they’re viewing on the product page? Up-selling On the product page or basket page offer products the customer may want to add to their order based on what they’ve purchased. Would you like the batteries for that product? Would you like the matching earrings? Basket Offers Putting special offers in the basket for customers to add as impulse buys are great for boosting basket size/value.Is that everything?Once you’ve set up your online merchandising, make sure you review it regularly. Have a look at your web analyticsto see what customers are doing. Run customer surveys to see what they think. Think about new product ranges ornew customer types you may need to cater for.There is no one correct way to merchandise your site but as long as you keep your customers at the front of yourmind you’re half way there.© indium online 201865 980