"To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else. "
- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
To find success as an e-commerce business owner, it’s important that you focus on the right kind of digital merchandising strategies which can engage your shoppers, attract and guide visitors towards enticing products, boost your sales and long-term customer loyalty to boot. In short, merchandising is key to the growth and success of an e-commerce business. But utilising the most effective merchandising strategies is easier said than done. In this article, find out some of the most important techniques and tools you can use for the perfect optimization strategy suiting your business.
Narrow down on your target market
Merchandising is most effective when it’s targeted towards the right kind of buyers. For example, showing aftershave to young, female shoppers or sanitary products to your male shoppers isn’t exactly a move towards success. Instead, focus on making sure that your visual merchandising choices are tied to the products currently being browsed/purchased. Research indicates that targeting a particular section of your existing customer base is three times more likely to push your business towards profitable growth than customer acquisition. Therefore by using historical customer data and analytics for segmented merchandising campaigns that accurately fit and hone in on specific sections of shoppers, you are more likely to promote customer retention and business growth.
Making product discovery easy
Any good e-commerce site should make sure that easy product discovery is part of its core build. By constantly updating an array of featured items, banners, and trending products you are likely to get more traction from existing customers who already love your brand and keep coming back to browse your site. Before focusing on product discovery, make sure that you have plenty of site real estate devoted to new and trending items that your customers might find appealing; this information can be found out based on what your existing customers are browsing, what’s new in your store and what the customers most recently purchased. One good strategy for product discovery is using strategies like Facebook Dynamic Ads to promote cross-selling and upselling opportunities. For example, if someone purchased a set of dumbbells, this strategy allows you to target the same person with other at-home workout gear or even sports/fitness wear, thus increasing the chances of bringing them back to your site for a repeat purchase.
Use search functions to your advantage
When someone visits your site, they most likely have an idea of what they’re looking for. But they will still need your help to find the perfect fit. This is where your site’s search function comes in handy. By programming your search tool to visual merchandising instead of straight text-only lists and results, you will be able to lead your customers on a page of visual results in the category they’re searching in as soon as they type in a search term. For instance, if they type in “jeans” send them to a page of pant/jeans options that will match tops currently in their cart. This function- which can be particularly effective in fashion merchandising- is very useful in boosting your sales because it helps visitors discover what they are looking for quickly and easily while also focusing on their individual style and tastes.
Remember to make use of SEO
While customer retention and subsequent customer satisfaction are your major goals as an e-commerce business, it’s undeniable that search engine optimization is what initially drives traffic to your site. Research indicates that 67% of web traffic goes to the five results of the search engine. Thus, it’s important that you give enough time and energy to ensuring the best SEO practices so that your site ranks better for target keywords and higher on the search results, with improved click-through rate as well as on-page and technical SEO. Ultimately, the goal with SEO is bringing in more customers by making sure that you are not missing out on the main keywords for your brand’s product and category pages.
Using the right type of data
No e-commerce merchandising strategy can take off the ground without well-researched, detailed customer data. Enabling Google Analytics is particularly important when looking to access such data because it allows you as a business owner to spot conversion and pathway trends as well as make sure of customer account and purchase data which enables you to come up with a segmented, personalised merchandising strategy. In addition to Google Analytics, it’s also worth checking any in-built metric tools that your specific e-commerce platform may have.
Don’t overcomplicate the experience
While it might be tempting to employ several tools to improve your merchandising and in turn your business, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that your end-goal is for your customer to enjoy their experience of shopping on your site. So what you need to focus on is making sure they first find the products that fit their needs, budget and preferences and then making sure that they are able to navigate to these items with ease. At the end of the day, as long as you offer your customers the products they are looking for and simplify the process to make things easy for them, they will enjoy their experience – and that’s all you really need to be successful!
It goes without saying that each of these strategies come with their pros and cons. But at the end of the day, what you’re doing is convincing customers to part with their hard-earned cash, so what’s most important isn’t what strategy you use but how you use it to improve customer satisfaction in the easiest and most enjoyable way.