Shopping remains a visual-first process, right from giant billboards to products strategically laid out at storefront windows.
Visual merchandising has long been associated with brick-and-mortar stores. However, in the last few years, ecommerce brands have gradually built their capacity for visually stimulating and interactive experiences.
Digital merchandising refers to various strategies designed to market and sell products online. It enables brands to create a personalized and brand-aligned journey for their customers from the moment they enter their website to checkout.
In the digital-first economy, with the percentage of ecommerce sales jumping from 13.8% of total retail sales in 2019 to 19.6% of total retail sales in 2021, it is no surprise that brands are incredibly focused on creating a seamless experience for their users on their website, and merchandising search banners are becoming an increasingly essential part of it.
Merchandising banners - Taking product discovery to the next level
Search is about more than just retrieving results. Depending on the user’s search behavior, you may want to display custom data in your UI, like ads or promotional banners. Merchandising banners are an effective way of promoting a category of products or sometimes even a specific product that a brand offers.
Banner advertisements are an important part of the visual world. They work because people respond better to visual content or messages than textual or cognitively hefty information. Banners can help brands guide consumers in a particular direction, resulting in higher visibility for some products and categories depending on various criteria.
When promoting any product through merchandising banners, the brand can display the banner in related search results and help navigate the consumer to that product. For example, if someone is looking for a white dress, the search engine will surface a banner ad for their most profitable or highest-selling white dress to make the customer aware of the product and, in turn, encourage them to make the purchase.
This helps in assisting the consumer in discovering what the brand has to offer. Banner ads can also make product suggestions while the consumer is browsing. For example, when you shortlist a product on Amazon, there will be a list of similar products listed below.
Another essential function that banner ads serve effectively is the announcement of sales and discounts. Seasonal sales, special discounts, and new launches are all opportunities for a business to generate new buyers. The most effective way to do this is to announce and promote them through banner ads. When a user opens an ecommerce website and is visually drawn to a strategically placed banner with a strong CTA, they are more than likely to click on that and get encouraged to shop more.
Banners in search results
Banners can pop up for selected queries, filter options, profitable items, and many other factors. Displaying banners on the search results page can help ecommerce businesses promote product-related offers, guide your visitors to other important pages, and drive interest to specific promotions that run on your website.
Further, displaying banners relevant to the search query elevates the user experience (UX) while assisting them in their online buying journey.
An efficient search engine is vital to a seamless and positive UX. When a consumer searches for something, they must remember that they have a higher intent to make a purchase (site search results in 1.8x higher conversions). Therefore, it is essential to maximize this opportunity and provide the consumer with what they’re looking for - relevant and targeted results.
With search merchandising, banner ads can be personalized for consumers while allowing the brand to highlight products, categories, and offers that improve profitability or serve an intended business goal.
Wayfair, the home furnishing giant, has two banners on the page: one right before the search results and one after the first product row (see image). Even if shoppers do not have a specific purchase goal, these prominently placed banners can pique their interest and lead to significant next steps. Banners placed strategically and have a strong CTA, like in Wayfair, ensure that consumers are more likely to make a purchase, especially when they are personalized for the user.
Nykaa is another stellar example of an ecommerce brand that uses merchandising banners extensively throughout its website. This includes search banners as well as the promotion or seasonality-focused banners.
An important function of banner ads is to make product suggestions. When a consumer enters any search word, the brand can display a relevant banner ad in search results similar to what the consumer is searching for. Lacoste has a similar approach to their search engine. When a user enters a particular query, a banner ad for a similar collection will pop up, helping the consumer discover more products and guiding them in their buying journey.
How ecommerce stores use merchandising banners
Below are the three tried and tested strategies used by ecommerce stores to leverage merchandising banners.
1. Keep the banners clean and relevant:
For banner ads to be effective, they should be relevant to what the user is searching for. This is often done by setting a rule which allows you to display only what you want the customer to see. For example: if the customer is searching for a white chair, you can show them the one you want to sell. Banner ads allow you to push what is beneficial for you and at the same, give the customer what they want. Ads also need to be designed clean, sharp, and de-cluttered so that the consumer does not get overstimulated.
Relevant results are undoubtedly the most important part of the site search engine. Still, by combining it with personalization, you can expect even greater results. A user’s search history can be evaluated by using search merchandising tools. By doing this, the brand can display relevant banners to maximize the time the consumer spends on their website and increase the likelihood that the consumer will make a purchase. This gives the customer exactly what they are looking for, without having to browse too much, which may lead to customer drop-off.
3. Promote new/popular products:
Banner ads can promote new launches or existing products that may be highly popular or profitable for the brand. When a customer lands on the homepage or looks for an item in the search engine, the brand can show them a particular product that is profitable for them and is in sync with what the customer is looking for. Brands can also push their new launches in the same way.
Conclusion - Merchandising banners are a powerful tool for enhanced customer experience
Insights based on customer data can catalyze personalization efforts for ecommerce stores, leading to unmatched shopping experiences. Every click counts, and every search query informs businesses about their users. Companies need to take note of these behavioral signals to provide the most relevant product to their consumers.
At Zevi, our goal is to benefit both the consumer and the business by optimizing consumer data through intuitive and seamless AI-powered search engine capabilities. Book your free demo with us today and get one step closer to maximizing the reach of your business.