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Online retail is a billion-dollar industry ($431.6 billion in 2020) that continues to grow, with eCommerce sales projected to increase to $563.4 billion by 2025. While online shopping has benefited consumers in many ways, it has created visual merchandising challenges for retailers looking to ensure their products are dynamically presented across channels and devices. Savvy retailers have begun employing innovative strategies like color management to crank up the customer experience on websites.

Color management is a critically important area for any online business and ensures customers have a consistent experience. This notion of "consistent experience" goes beyond just color though–you want all aspects of your brand to look cohesive on every device possible. If not managed properly, this can lead to serious problems as to how customers view your brand online and what they expect from your business when they visit in person.

Thankfully, some eCommerce site owners still know and appreciate the art of presentation. Online visual merchandising simply applies the same concepts as its real-world cousins. But instead of generating oohs and ahhs from a customer walking by, the online version helps prompt interest and engagement. A well-designed online product catalog can stretch on-site times, drive conversion rates, and even increase average order quantities.

The effective use of color can be a deciding factor between making or breaking a sale. However, there are several factors that go into color management and it's important to have a strong understanding of them before starting out.

Why Is Color Important in eCommerce?

ecommerce color management

Most products sell better when they’re offered in various colors, shades, and hues. And while many companies embrace the notion that certain colors evoke particular human responses, recent studies have shown that color responses among individuals will vary according to a person’s experiences, preferences, and cultural background.

That said, color remains a very powerful persuader for purchasing products:

  • Most people need around 90 seconds before making up their minds on products.
  • Color alone will influence this decision by 75%.
  • Around 66% of buyers won’t buy the desired item if it’s not available in their preferred color.

From the clothes you wear to the car you drive, the color choices you make when buying items may give insight into the type of image you are trying to project, making a statement about how you want to be perceived by others. Age and gender can also influence the color choices we make.

Why is color such a powerful force in our lives? What potential effects can it have on our minds? While perceptions of color are somewhat subjective, there are some color effects that have universal meaning.

White is often used to evoke a sense of youth and modernity. People often associate black with “power” with people describing the color as chic, classic, mysterious. Colors on the red area of the color spectrum (red, orange, and yellow) are known as warm colors and evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to urgency and alarm. Colors on the blue side of the spectrum (blue, purple, and green) are known as cool colors and evoke feelings of tranquility, security, and trust. Of course, the color choices we make are often influenced by factors including price, selection, and other practical considerations.

Three effective color management tips for your eCommerce platform include keeping your color descriptions clear; providing product previews with your color options and; and always, always, always, use high-resolution images.

Simplify Color Management With an Online Visual Merchandising Tool

online visual merchandising tool

Trying to manage color across an entire website can be a daunting task. If the colors on your website do not strike the right tone, you could lose customers or miss out on conversions. Adding a splash of color to your online product displays becomes much easier when using the right software.

Smart Merchandiser helps you to easily manage product colors so you can quickly achieve the look and feel you're going for. Based on the color model, updates will be adaptively saved to the database allowing merchandisers to set leading colors for products in each category. With Leading Color, you can, for example, easily show red as the hero image of the product under the ‘Sale’ category while choosing blue as the hero image in the “Men’s” category.

How your inventory is visually represented is a key factor in the buyer’s decision. An easy-to-navigate catalog that is clear, clean, and classy is therefore critically important. Smart Merchandiser allows you to see your online storefront the way your customers do. Merchandisers can quickly see which colors need restocking, which ones are underperforming, and promote certain shades that sell well during a particular season.

Let’s unpack Smart Merchandiser’s 5 key inventory management features:

Visual Inventory Management

No need for tedious manual sequencing behind the scenes… Smart Merchandiser lets you reorder your online catalog in seconds. If you wish to move a product to the top of a category page, simply drag-and-drop product thumbnails around the page. And unlike code, you can see the changes in real-time.

Category Management

Another way to reorder your online catalog is taking a product and adding it to multiple categories so it’ll turn up on different pages. With just one click, merchandisers can quickly add a product to multiple categories.

Color Management–By Color By Size

Smart Merchandiser can be used by marketing teams to monitor popular products down to specific colors and sizes and trigger alerts for reorder. This way, you ensure shoppers never leave your website disappointed.

Leading Colors in Different Categories

Let’s say you wish to display an item in both Men’s and Women’s clothing categories but want to use a different leading color to appeal to the different buyers. You can show a bag in burgundy in the Women’s category or brown in the Men’s if the data shows those are the most popular colors by customer gender. Once the customer clicks on the product page, they can scroll through the different color options.

Drag-and-Drop Color Swatches

Retailers can quickly arrange color swatches with a simple drag-and-drop operation. This lets you minimize or highlight specific colors according to seasonality, stock, or popularity. For example, during the summer, bright or light colors may be more appealing to customers. Deep, warmer colors may perform better in the holiday season and colder months.

The Smart Merchandiser Visual Heat Map tool can also prove extremely effective here. Merchandisers can get a sense of which products are performing well and then make changes accordingly. This feature will be very important during the holiday season when people are purchasing more and more.

Smart Merchandiser is incredibly easy-to-use–even if you don't consider yourself tech-savvy. Updating catalogs that feature multiple variants are now just a click away. Instead of spending considerable time learning how to use the software, Smart Merchandiser allows online visual merchandising teams to focus on how to optimize their digital storefronts and sequence product colors online.

Bringing Colors and Consumers Together on eCommerce Sites

online color swatches

Color management is an important part of your online visual merchandising strategy and a powerful tool for communicating with your customers. Depending on how effective your color management processes are, they can either drive or sink sales. You need to know how colors work together, what messages they are transmitting, which are most appropriate for different seasons… In other words, you have many moving parts that all depend on each other working in harmony if you want to lay hands on that pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow.

Smart Merchandiser can help you get there, fast. Smart Merchandiser eliminates the exhausting need to go back and forth between inventory spreadsheets, warehouse software, and eCommerce software to keep product catalogs vibrant, accurate, and updated. It enables you to implement changes in product catalogs in real-time using intuitive software through simple drag and drop functions.

With our color management tool, you can deliver consistent, enhanced customer experiences, converting shoppers into paying customers who come back again and again.

Looking to add more color to your online store and move your business from red to black? Register for a demo today and discover how Smart Merchandiser makes managing the many different elements of online visual merchandising much simpler and more effective–for both customers and eCommerce retailers alike.