Regardless if a store is a brick-and-mortar or of the online variety, it must be strategically designed to appeal to consumer instincts. Product displays, store aesthetics, and color schemes heavily influence their browsing patterns and purchasing decisions. This is where an eCommerce merchandising manager comes in.
eCommerce merchandising professionals are responsible for curating the overall look of an online storefront. They collaborate with marketing and creative teams to develop visual merchandising strategies that ultimately create cohesive digital shopping experiences. In this guide, we will discuss these invaluable managers’ daily routines to better help you understand the role they play in ensuring eCommerce success.
Is Merchandising for eCommerce Important?
With the ubiquity of internet access and the rapid growth of the eCommerce industry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for businesses to build unique online shopping experiences. However, with numerous eCommerce sites competing for the attention of consumers, businesses are hard-pressed to set themselves apart. One of the most popular ways to do this is through visual merchandising. This allows businesses to:
- Gain better control over the eCommerce experience. Product merchandising allows businesses to feature on-sale products, simplify how consumers find items, and make their site easily navigable. In the long run, merchandising can improve the overall user experience and help maximize a consumer’s visit to an online store.
- Create a consistent brand image. eCommerce merchandising helps businesses curate the overall look and feel of an online store. As such, it’s instrumental in keeping your brand image consistent.
- Capture the customers’ attention for longer. Content, engaged customers stick around–and often do so long above to load up a cart. Visual merchandising increases browsing time, which can lead to higher average order values (AOVs).
These aside, eCommerce merchandising is also a great way to promote specific products, showcase special offers, as well as generate website traffic. All in all, this strategy can help businesses make the most out of their online store and retain their edge in the cutthroat eCommerce landscape. The only thing left to do now is to hire an eCommerce merchandising manager to execute this strategy for you.
Planning and Implementing Improved Merchandising Strategies
The eCommerce merchandising manager is responsible for a laundry list of operations. At the top of that list is the planning and implementation of merchandising strategies. They take the time to analyze shopper behavior and recognize their needs to devise plans to drive revenue.
Theoretically speaking, there is a myriad of ways to improve eCommerce merchandising. Here are some of the most commonly leveraged strategies:
- Home Page Storytelling. First impressions last–this makes home pages a critical part of any website. When meticulously designed through merchandising, the home page can help a brand tell its story. For example, if you are a clothing store that values diversity, you can feature models of different body types and skin colors to showcase your products on your home page.
- Site Responsiveness Improvement. A 2021 GoodFirms study revealed that 73.1% of web designers believe that visitors leave a website due to a non-responsive web design. As an eCommerce merchandising manager, and with the right tools, you can create responsive layouts that enable customers to browse with ease.
- Intelligent Product Recommendation. Depending on the tools an eCommerce merchandising manager uses, they can pinpoint what products a customer would like based on their browsing or purchasing history. From there, they can recommend products that a customer will most likely add to their carts to increase conversions. In fact, 35% of Amazon’s 2018 revenue was generated primarily from its recommendation engine.
- User Review Collection. Roughly 9 in 10 customers read user reviews before purchasing an item. So, many businesses make it a point to add a review section on their webpage layout. This helps you get valuable feedback from customers as well as assure leads of the quality of your products or services.
Optimizing Store Layout
As mentioned earlier, customers tend to browse longer on visually appealing sites. So, it comes as no surprise that one of the most important aspects of eCommerce management is the store layout. Among the elements that businesses should consider for this are:
- Images and Videos. In place of physical in-store products, these two elements are what will help customers decide whether they like a product or not. Make sure that the images or videos properly showcase each angle of the product so that customers can assess them as efficiently as possible.
- Catalog Display. Think of this as the site’s window installation or in-store displays. These are the first things that catch the eye of your customers. Choose wisely!
- Color Scheme. Different colors evoke different moods. It’s important to display your products with colors that align with your brand image. You can check out these color management tips to get started.
- Navigation. This includes product menus and search engines that allow customers to easily find the products they are looking for.
There are plenty more elements of an online store that an eCommerce merchandising manager can optimize. However, the bottom line is that they must know how to improve every aspect of the online storefront–from ensuring proper categorization of products to picking which products to feature.
One way to do this is to utilize visual merchandising features. For instance, Smart Merchandiser uses drag-and-drop catalog management, attribution management, and inventory management tools. With these, you can test visual changes to your storefront, ensure all products are labeled properly, and that only available products are marketed.
Receiving and Interpreting Reports to Improve Customer Engagement
While some strategies for brick-and-mortar stores may work for eCommerce shops, the latter has one fundamental advantage–access to customer data. Businesses can use product analytics tools for merchandising to closely monitor the performance of their online storefront.
An eCommerce merchandising manager is in charge of this entire process. They must regularly collect and analyze the site’s metrics to determine what can be improved. They study bestsellers, dust collectors, which pages customers tend to spend time on, and the like. From here, they can tweak elements of the site to improve customer engagement.
Give Your eCommerce Merchandising Manager the Smart Solution
The eCommerce merchandising landscape changes as consumer needs and wants evolve. To keep up with the demands of the market, it’s crucial to continually update your strategies and find profit-driving online merchandising tips that will capture the attention of customers and encourage them to patronize your brand.
However, as you may have gathered, it’s not easy to stay on top of trends, adjust your plans, and execute them flawlessly–all while ensuring your store appears and operates the same across devices. This is why it pays to invest in a reputable visual merchandising solution, like Smart Merchandiser.
Smart Merchandiser is equipped with tools such as inventory management, attribute management, and social analytics. With these, businesses can improve how they present their products and understand how customers perceive them. The platform also has a unique analytics overlay feature that allows users to glance at key sales metrics, like total views, conversion rates, and abandonment rates per product.
To learn more about how our visual merchandising tool can optimize your online storefront, have a look at the Smart Merchandiser features today.