Merchandising is all about the presentation of products to best appeal to customers.
In eCommerce merchandising, we blend traditional retail store tactics with modern website functionality, backed by analytical data gathered from online shop customers, to continuously improve our merchandising efforts.
With Annual eCommerce sales in the UK booming (especially this year, where most storefronts are shut) is now the best time to start an eCommerce website and begin merchandising your shop online?
eCommerce sales are on the up year on year:
So the potential slice of pie in the eCom market is only getting bigger across nearly all sectors and verticals.
To take full advantage with your online shop here are some tips on how to optimise and merchandise your store:
Your ecom will have to work extra hard to give customers a personable feel. Being online, we lack the visibility of shop assistants, and managers – and a lot of online shoppers don’t just want to interact with a computer.
So how could you tackle personalisation issues with a website?
- User Accounts
The best way to gain information on your customers is through having them sign up for an account with you, that way you can display their name on your website (often simply by seeing their own name, this creates a strong personal touch). User accounts also give a sense of a bond between a user and a website.
- Leverage Cookies
Cookies allow your site to remember a user’s device, so you can automatically log them back in when they come to your website, it also remembers all their account details like what items they have in their basket, their previous orders, and what products they’re into.
- Team pages
Sure, they might not be able to speak with a staff assistant as easy as a brick and mortar store, but there’s nothing stopping you from adding team photos to show who your staff are behind the scenes of the website. Create as human an approach to online shopping as possible.
Creating a brand can also give a personal touch for returning customers. An easily recognisable and trusted brand website means customers can relax and know they’re on a safe website, focusing all their attention on products and browsing.
How the eCommerce website is designed, can have a huge effect on the success of sales. You want a branded, immersive experience for your shoppers, but at the same time, you don’t want a cluttered website to hinder sales.
Your menu navigation can make or break sales. Easy discoverability of products through the navigation is a must in 2020. Thinking carefully about how to categorise your products can really pay off.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Online merchandising is a continuous process of constant refinement. Regularly making changes to content and placements can make all the difference too so using analytics and other monitoring tools, you can judge and make adjustments to know what’s working for you and what’s not.
- Mobile Responsiveness
In today’s age, there’s thousands of different ways to browse the internet. To optimise a website to take this into account, it’s important to be mobile-ready, meaning no matter what device your user chooses to surf the web on, your website can be viewed easily on all of them.
This mobile responsive solution comes from the huge uptake in mobile internet usage, and traditionally, websites were not best displayed on a mobile phone.
CTAs or calls to actions are short sharp instructions/encouragements on what you want your visitors to do. I.e a button with the phrase “contact us” or “buy now” would be a call to action. Just by using a CTA you increase your chances of a user taking your desired action.
- Loading Speeds
There are multiple components to a website that loads quickly. These include: Compressed images and other assets, fast hosting servers, minifying files, leveraging CDNs, and browser caching.
The concept behind having fast loading speeds is that web users tend to be impatient to wait for a web page to load if it takes too long (3+ seconds is too long). And so you’ll lose potential customers before they even browse your website if it can’t display content fast.
- High Quality Images
It’s all about the images. Visitors can’t browse your product if they can’t see what it is or how it’ll look. So images that are of high quality, showing many angles, and preferably on a white background, will grab a users attention.
Low quality images on the other hand, will work against a website as they look unprofessional and can often scream “this is a scam” website.
Other image features might also be good to play around with like magnifiers when hovering over images, or displaying user-generated photos, to show what they look like in a customer’s hand.
As an online store, getting reviews is a great way to add trust to your brand.
These plenty of review platforms to choose from like Reviews.io or Trustpilot, or even self-hosted reviews can be used and branded – though I think third-party reviews that are distanced from the brand create an ‘independent’ look.
- Offers & Sales
Just like any brick and mortar shop, creating offers for your ecom can bring in more business and sales. Often, big brands will have a sale tab in their navigation menu, where an assortment of products have been knocked down in price.
The Woocommerce platform is great for creating multiple offers that can run simultaneously whether adding 2 for 1, or 20% off etc. it’s easy to setup on Woocommerce.