Digital merchandising has become increasingly important for businesses looking to stay competitive in today's ecommerce landscape, and for all the right reasons. Afterall, many successful brands have leveraged ecommerce merchandising to great effect.
For example, Amazon uses personalized product recommendations to encourage customers to make additional purchases, which has helped the company to become one of the most successful ecommerce platforms in the world.
According to a report by Digital Commerce 360, ecommerce sales in the US increased by 44% in 2020, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shift to online shopping. This highlights the importance of ecommerce merchandising as a tool for businesses looking to capitalize on this trend and stay competitive in the digital marketplace.
This blog will explore how businesses can optimize their merchandising efforts at every step of the user journey -
The zeroth step: Optimizing merchandising by mapping your customer journey
The ecommerce user journey typically consists of several stages, including awareness, consideration, conversion, and loyalty. Each of these stages requires different merchandising efforts.
For example, during the awareness stage (when customers are just beginning to explore their options), brands can leverage targeted advertising campaigns and influencer partnerships to increase brand awareness and attract potential customers to their website.
Once a customer reaches the consideration stage, brands can use personalized landing pages and product recommendations to showcase relevant products and encourage customers to make a purchase. Finally, during the purchase stage, brands can optimize their checkout process by providing a seamless and easy-to-use interface that encourages customers to complete their purchase.
One example of a brand that has successfully optimized its merchandising efforts at each step of the customer journey is Nike. Nike uses targeted advertising campaigns and social media partnerships to increase brand awareness, while its website features personalized landing pages and product recommendations that showcase the latest collections and promotions. Additionally, Nike's checkout process is optimized to provide a seamless and user-friendly experience that encourages customers to complete their purchase.
The structure of your website also has a significant impact on merchandising efforts. A well-structured website can make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for and can help businesses to showcase their products in an attractive and engaging manner. Site search is one of the most important elements of site structure for ecommerce merchandising. By using searchandising tactics, businesses can ensure that relevant products are displayed prominently in search results.
Once you’ve understood how to go about mapping different stages of your customers’ journey, the next step is to begin thinking about your retain, marketing, and inventory goals.
Start with your marketing and retail goals
According to a report by BigCommerce, ecommerce businesses that optimize their site search and merchandising efforts can increase their revenue per visitor by up to 60%. Inventory goals and business KPIs are critical drivers of ecommerce merchandising strategy.
Inventory goals are the targets set by the business for the amount and variety of products they want to sell, while business KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are the metrics that track the performance of the business. By setting and tracking these goals and KPIs, businesses can optimize their merchandising efforts to meet their sales targets and improve their bottom line.
One example of a company that has successfully used inventory goals and business KPIs to drive their merchandising strategy is ASOS. ASOS sets inventory goals by tracking the popularity of different product categories and adjusting their inventory accordingly. For example, if ASOS sees an increase in demand for a particular type of product, such as summer dresses, they might increase their inventory of that product category to meet customer demand.
Winning merchandising strategies that focus on every step of the user journey
Here are some steps you can follow in order to create winning merchandising strategies that don’t miss out on any step of your customer’s journey:
- Leverage your category and collection pages: Category and collection pages are an opportunity for businesses to showcase their products and provide a personalized shopping experience. By using customer data and analytics, businesses can create targeted collections that appeal to specific customer segments.
- Create specialized landing and campaign pages: Landing and campaign pages can be used to promote specific products or promotions. These pages should be designed to provide a seamless user experience and should include clear calls to action.
- Go global with merchandising: Businesses that operate in multiple countries need to tailor their merchandising efforts to the local market. This can include using local language and cultural references, as well as adapting products and promotions to local tastes.
- Geolocation based merchandising (geo merchandising): Geo merchandising involves using customer location data to tailor merchandising efforts. This can include displaying products that are popular in the customer's region or highlighting local promotions.
- Use visual merchandising throughout your ecommerce site (especially at the prime consumer touchpoints): Visual merchandising involves using attractive product displays and imagery to engage customers. Businesses should focus on using visual merchandising at key touch points throughout the user journey, such as the homepage, product pages, checkout process, and even site search.
Optimizing merchandising efforts for every step of the user journey is essential for ecommerce businesses that want to provide a personalized and seamless shopping experience. By leveraging category and collection pages, creating specialized landing and campaign pages, going global with merchandising, using geolocation-based merchandising, and using visual merchandising throughout the site, businesses can ensure that they are providing a compelling and engaging shopping experience for their customers.
To further optimize your merchandising efforts, it is recommended to use a tool like Zevi. Zevi is an AI-powered ecommerce site search and merchandising platform that helps businesses to improve their search relevancy and optimize their merchandising efforts. With features like searchandising, product recommendations, and personalized search results, Zevi can help businesses to provide a truly personalized shopping experience. Request a demo for yourself, and experience Zevi today!