Why does visual merchandising really matter? Think about it. When trying to explain something, you can either spend hours trying to describe it with words or present a picture that can elucidate that something much more quickly, much more clearly. People are much better at remembering pictures than words, with research showing that the brain processes images or visual data 60000 times faster than text.
Visual merchandising, by definition, is the strategic, creative, and artistic display of products to attract the interest of shoppers, enhance product desirability, and communicate brand identity. In a rapidly increasingly digital world and so much of daily life involving visual data consumption from screens and online devices, the importance of visual merchandising for eCommerce cannot be overstated.
And yet, as the numbers show, many marketers still downplay the importance of the visual aspect. In a recent survey, 31% of respondents do not believe that visuals are "very important or an absolute necessity" for their marketing strategies, while just 56% use visuals in every piece of content they publish.
Not being able to visually conceptualize what products look like will turn customers away, quickly. Images offer clarity on any descriptive uncertainties. Visual merchandising therefore hugely influences customer experience, sales, and revenue.
Visuals might just be the most important–and most neglected–marketing tool marketers have. First impressions matter. So, make them count.
The Visual Merchandising Impact on Customer Experience
In practical terms, visual merchandising for eCommerce largely involves website structure, layout, and design. Content that is not visually appealing to a potential eCommerce customer is easily forgettable. Take Instagram, for example. Everyone aims at making their feed aesthetically pleasing because that is what captures attention, gains followers, and sells.
Sales and continued engagement on eCommerce websites and platforms are highly influenced by even seemingly trivial aspects such as colors, fonts, and basic design elements. Unfortunately, the saying, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is not at all applicable when it comes to your website. Why? It takes around 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for visitors to form an opinion about a website, whether they will stay or leave. Looking for an alternative requires little effort on the user's part. It is therefore important to hook the viewer on their very first interaction with your site.
Your website is the window into your world, and for 94% of consumers, first impressions are design-related – poor design, bad use of color, excessive pop-up ads, and too much text. Additionally, 39% of people will leave a website if images won’t load or take too long to load, while 46% of internet users base website credibility on its visual design and aesthetics.
Do Your Website Justice
Modern websites are not good, they are great and should thus be attractive, appealing, and functional. Beyond the aesthetics, your website should be fast-loading easy to navigate for first-time visitors, and, of course, optimized for mobile. With 79% of consumers making purchases using their mobile phones, a non-responsive mobile site can have a make-or-break effect on your business.
Your homepage, in most cases, is the first touchpoint with your business and is likely to determine whether any further engagements will happen with your eCommerce store. Your homepage should offer a clear visual and textual representation of your brand, the products you sell, and the value you add without being confusing or overwhelming.
Since visitors who search for a product are looking for something specific, they are more likely to convert. Effective search functions should entail a clean catalog with appropriate tags. Catalogs should also include images or videos that provide product visualization from different angles, thorough descriptions, and clear CTAs.
If you don’t have the right tools, managing your visual merchandising aspect can be an ongoing battle. With Smart Merchandiser, the battle becomes a breeze. For starters, it eliminates manual data tracking and interpretation in strategizing your product display, inventory, and visual merchandising design.
The tool not only allows catalog management with easy drag-and-drop category thumbnails but also enables you to cross-reference products and categories for a detailed assortment. Smart Merchandiser allows real-time viewing of sales and product updates and consolidates editing, monitoring, and inventory with on-demand analytics, all on one intuitive platform.
No Visual Merchandising, No Omnichannel Commerce
With 62% of US shoppers indicating that they shop more online now than pre-pandemic and 79% expressing that contactless store or curbside pickup is important to them, omnichannel commerce is becoming an increasingly important new aspect of merchandising.
Omnichannel merchandising merges online and offline shopping environments to meet customer needs where and when it’s most convenient for them. Effective eCommerce merchandising on various channels including social media, sales platforms, and your website gives shoppers the freedom to access product information regardless of the time or location restrictions.
In-store retailing, meanwhile, offers a contact point to evoke the customers' senses by touching, feeling, seeing, hearing, and even tasting products. Integrating these aspects enrich the all-around customer experience and will thrust your business offerings to new (and highly sought after) levels.
Risking Lagging Behind and Missing Out on eCommerce Growth
With 57% of consumers saying they won’t recommend a brand with a poorly designed website, it clearly doesn’t matter how small your business is, smart merchandising matters. If another small business has a more appealing website than yours, they’ve already got the upper hand within the first few milliseconds.
For any business to be successful it has to be present where its customers are. With online shopping growing rapidly, those without a digital footprint have already fallen behind and will need to play catch-up to earn some room in the eCommerce playing field. Even brands with an online presence cannot afford to be complacent.
Dynamic visual merchandising involves constantly adapting to customer interests, needs, and trends and making sure your content visually connects each of these points. This not only keeps consumers engaged but creates loyal brand followers.
Sitting back as customer needs change and trends come and go will quickly render your brand irrelevant. Another supplier is just a click away. The good news is that there are tools to simplify visual merchandising, allowing you to grow your eCommerce offerings consistently.
Boost Your eCommerce Business with Visual Merchandising
Visual merchandising is a concept that extends the idea of window dressing from physical to virtual. By displaying products and collections in a visually appealing way, eCommerce sites can boost sales and drive higher levels of customer loyalty. This is important for a world where digital design and digital shopping are quickly becoming the norm.
The power of visual merchandising continues to grow amid the rapidly rising popularity of eCommerce. Within such a competitive market, you need all the tools available to boost your eCommerce business and remain competitive.
With Smart Merchandiser, you have a simple but robust system for your website’s inventory management functions. This dynamic platform not only maintains data on your products’ inventory levels but also gives you an attractive visual interface and organizes your store in a manner that’ll optimize the customer experience.
Smart Merchandiser enables businesses to do away with separate tools for tracking inventory, trend analysis, catalogs, and design to keep product catalogs vibrant, accurate, and updated. The single tool brings all these considerations together, allowing you to strategically and effectively display your business products and services in a digital consumer-friendly way.
Register for a demo today and discover how Smart Merchandiser makes managing the many different elements of online visual merchandising more simpler, more effective, more visually attractive–for both customers and eCommerce retailers alike.