Ever wondered whether your website is the right fit for your potential customers? How often do your shoppers find what they are looking for? What should be your visual merchandising strategy?

If your answer is yes to one of these questions or to all of them, then read on.
So, here goes –

Your website should reflect your brand values

Think of your website as a profile on any social platform. Your business’ website is your window to the world of opportunity and the world’s sneak peek into your idea. So showcase the vibrancy, utility, and philosophy of your business personality.
Incorporate your USP in every aspect of the website. Impress your target audience with features and offerings that will blow their minds away and you’re already winning hearts!

Optimize landing pages

The idea of a landing page is very similar to the front page of a newspaper. It’s imperative to make sure you get your priorities right on this one and grab those eyeballs! Display the most pertinent content – key category/product sales, hot deals and discounts.
According to a study by HubSpot, businesses with over 40 landing pages generated a whopping 12 times more leads than those with 1-5 landing pages. Personalization of landing pages is another key activity that would engage a diverse target demographic to interact with your products more effectively.

Do multivariate testing

Multivariate testing aids the detection of possible outcomes of a hypothesis by changing multiple variables. For visual merchandisers, this means figuring out what strategy works best in given situation. The sum total of variations in outcome can be expressed as,
[# of Variations on Element A] X [# of Variations on Element B] … = [Total # of Variations]
Try different product mixes with different layouts and product positioning with multivariate testing and find out which combination works best. You should also be looking at different target groups for a comprehensive test outcome.

Best sell your Bestsellers

Effective use of your site’s layout is key to making optimum conversions. You can sell things better by merely positioning products in areas of high visibility.
The first step in this process would be categorizing your store’s inventory based on parameters like discounts, sales volume, search history and the like. Experiment with different product placement mixes till you hit the sweet spot.

Use PIMs

Product information management systems or PIMs are like Wunderlist for visual merchandisers. You can maintain entire databases of your product lineup.
Data from different domains can be compiled in one centralized PIM and this permits a smooth interchange of electronic catalogs between vendors, purchasing firms and marketplace operators. This greatly aids better decision-making for visual merchandising. Salsify, Akeneo, pimcore and Bynder are some popular PIM tools.
For more on how PIMs work and why you should use them, check out this neat video from Intricity101

Harness the power of visuals

Shoppers buy with their eyes. Studies show that the average shopper attention is predominantly captured by pictures. Train customers to think the way you want them to with visual cues. Highlight a potential best-seller in category with different product positioning visually.

Dealing with Out-of-Stock products

One of the most common problems faced by eCommerce stores is products going out-of-stock. In the world of online shopping, this is perceived as customer disservice along with delayed shipping, price surges and the like. There are two ways to handle this situation – hide the out-of-stock pages or leave them up and running.
By using automated collections in your inventory management program, you can set the condition to display the product page only if the ‘inventory stock is greater than 0’. As soon as the product in question is back in stock, it will automatically be included in the relevant collection.
In the scenario where you choose to keep the out-of-stock pages visible, there are benefits to the SEO side of things. Also, this is a need-based opportunity for up-selling and/or cross-selling other relevant products of the same category.

Act on analytical insights

As a B2C enterprise, it is common practice to monitor customer behavioral patterns. But how many businesses really act on this data? Understanding customers with analytics and formulating better strategy will boost loyalty and sales enthusiasm. While we are on the topic, take a look at MineWhat, our sister concern. Minewhat is a merchandise intelligence solution that lets you discover what categories, brands & products work for you! On marketing campaigns, across acquisition channels, your landing pages, site banners and more. They help rue21, Swimsuits For All, Young & Reckless and others focus their product strategy to drive more sales.

Mobile first

According to a March 2016 report by SimilarWeb, digital shopping experiences are slowly changing from desktops to mobiles. In the UK, a dominant 65% of total eCommerce traffic came from mobile devices and figures for mobile users were at 54% for the US and 52% for India.
This is a leading trend that is sure to change the way shoppers interact with online stores. As a Site Merchandiser, you can take heed of this by creating mobile-friendly user experiences with responsive designs, front and centered product images, minimal text and layout. Don’t forget to slap on the quintessential sticky add-to-cart button.

Hot tips:

  • Intersperse your hero banner with warm and engaging retainers like seasonal greetings and milestones achieved. Make your new visitors feel at home, right on your landing page.
  • Flooding your pages with images won’t make sense unless you are Google Image Search. Unclutter is the mantra.
  • Collate the feedback you get from individual customers with analytical insights pulled from your site’s traffic to build a successful platform.
  • Prevent out-of-stocks with inventory buffers.
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