A great online storefront can make or break an eCommerce website, either turning shoppers away or encouraging them to purchase something. The process of building an attractive and functional eCommerce website and displaying stock effectively is called visual merchandising. Any eCommerce website can reap the benefits of visual merchandising tactics to grow sales and help develop a loyal customer base.
Beyond the initial benefits of visual merchandising in sales is the opportunity to propel your brand into the spotlight to create a positive, lasting impression.
There are lots of different components that make up a good visual merchandising plan, all of which contribute to a positive shopping experience for customers that they will want to return for. Some of the key components of a successful visual merchandising plan include branding, color, and layout.
Visual Merchandising Essentials
Visual merchandising is much more than simply displaying what you sell and hoping someone will buy it. A customer’s buying decision can be influenced by multiple factors. Your brand’s ability to convey a good brand story is more important than ever in holding a customer’s attention.
Visual merchandising that can tell a good brand story will generally leave more of an impression than an attractive website design would. To figure out your brand story, create bullet points which describe your brand, your audience, and what you are selling. This will help to give you focus when you create your online product displays to ensure they are targeted to the kind of people who typically buy from you.
Color is a simple yet powerful component of visual merchandising. It has the power to completely transform your branding, appeal to different types of people, and give a sense of your brand identity. Color can also draw the eye to important focal points on your website, acting as an accent color on what you want to draw attention to.
This can be used strategically to encourage sales of particular products. For example, you may want to draw your customers' eyes to a brightly colored product alongside those in greys or blacks. With a tool like Smart Merchandiser, which provides color management capabilities, you can quickly switch the leading color of products so they are highlighted on your web pages.
This unique feature, "Setting Leading Color", allows you to set a different color for products based on whichever category the customer is looking at. For example, you could show a uni-sex jacket in powder blue in a Women's category and dark blue in a Men's category. Without this feature, the marketing team will need to request a custom code from IT to handle this special color assignment.
Ease of Use
Beyond the style, color, and layout, a website needs to be easy to use or all the previous work is for nothing. The goal of a website is to encourage clicks on multiple things and keeping the customer on the site long enough to make a purchase. But if the customer ends up lost or confused, that’s a big problem.
Retailers should ensure that website navigation is fluid and fully tested. Customers don’t appreciate snags in their buying experience and enough of them can make them shop elsewhere. Ideally, you want customers to find what they want fast with an intuitive search tool. Once they find their products, they should be able to choose the colors or sizes within seconds, add items to their basket and check out without any issue. For this process to be fluid, businesses should think carefully about the eCommerce tools they use on their website.
Layout applies to both your in-store and digital store. In-store, you will want to direct a pathway for customers to enter the store, navigate their way around without any hitches, and find items easily. That may include bundling similar items together such as paint with wallpaper in a hardware store, or similar colors of clothing in a clothes store.
Your online store will work a bit differently, but the careful layout of your website is still important. You will want a layout that looks fresh, inviting, without clutter or confusing menus or popups.
An attractive digital store sounds simple enough but it can be difficult to manage and make changes to when necessary. If you want to mix things up and refresh your layout on a regular basis, you will benefit from a tool that lets you do this without complications.
Manage your visual storefront with ease
While visual merchandising is important in-store, it’s also important with your visual storefront. With many more customers deciding to shop online at the moment, all your efforts with visual merchandising need to be just as strong as they would be in a regular store.
Managing a virtual storefront can be difficult without help. But with a tool like Smart Merchandiser, it’s easier than ever to create and manage a custom virtual storefront. Smart Merchandiser is designed to fully optimize your catalog in a way that boosts sales and reduces management and design time. Catalog items can be arranged with a refreshingly simple drag-and-drop function rather than complex tools or coding.
With Smart Merchandiser, you can drag-and-drop items in order of popularity, to enhance popular products as the focal point on your webpage. Using this tool can lead to a 70% increase in productivity and a 20% boost in revenue.
The great thing about this tool is that you can see just how your layout affects sales. Smart Merchandiser’s analytics tools will show you sales revenue, conversion rate, abandonment rate, and views on each product. This information can be used to inform any necessary changes to enhance your digital displays.
It also makes things easier to manage behind the scenes with its visual attribute management feature. This is a simple way of managing your product database through the use of product attributes. Retailers can add or edit product attributes and publish them with ease. The tool can then enable, reorder, or hide search facets to better optimize the customer’s search experience to help them find the right products.
Online Visual Merchandising with Smart Merchandiser
The components of visual merchandising sound simple in principle but it can take a lot of experimentation to get them right. Your ideal visual merchandising plan may require research into your target market and some close analysis of customer behavior when you try out any new tactic.
With a tool like Smart Merchandiser, it’s a simple enough way to rearrange your digital store, try out new focal points, and customize the layout to see what works and what doesn’t.