eCommerce Merchandising 101: How to Convert Shoppers Online
Once your SEO strategy has done the hard work bringing shoppers to your online store, how do you get them to add to their cart and through to checkout?
The answer lies in eCommerce merchandising — the art of engaging website visitors by showcasing your brand and products in a way that resonates, excites, and converts.
Perfecting your approach to eCommerce merchandising can increase your store’s appeal, drive sales and increase average order value (AOV).
Find out how with these five strategies.
5 eCommerce Merchandising Strategies to Boost Sales
1. Simplify Product Discovery
Ninety-four percent of customers say easy website navigation is the most useful feature of a website, which makes simplifying product discovery your most important eCommerce merchandising strategy.
Shoppers aren’t going to waste their time scrolling through endless pages of your website to find what they’re looking for.
Make product discovery easy by creating product categories or even adding an instant search bar with search result filters using a solution like Boost Commerce. What’s more is you can even collect data on shoppers' filter behavior and search activities to then make data-driven marketing decisions to increase sales.
To help make product discovery even more enjoyable for shoppers, create collections (grouping similar products together), implement advanced search filters (such as style, fit, or review stars), and regularly update hero products on your homepage and category pages.
2. Highlight User-Generated Content (UGC)
Shoppers that interact with UGC are 5x more likely to convert than customers who don’t.
Why? Because shoppers see user-generated content (UGC) as a personal recommendation. It provides shoppers with relatable and reliable information, covering everything they need to know from someone they feel they trust.
This makes your current customers your best visual merchandisers.
Display UGC at key conversion points across your website such as your homepage, product pages, checkout, and product recommendations to help shoppers make a confident purchase decision. You can even take it one step further by allowing shoppers to filter reviews based on customer or product attributes most relevant to them.
For example, if you’re on a skincare brand’s product page searching for customer results that will address your personal skin concerns, you can filter by attributes such as “redness”, “dryness”, “oiliness”.
Okendo helps you collect UGC through post-purchase emails that encourage customers to share product ratings, reviews, photos and videos. You can then showcase this content across your website and even marketing channels — something that every eCommerce merchandising strategy should seek to do.
3. Include Product Recommendations
Nine out of ten consumers are more likely to buy from someone who provides relevant offers — because it makes shopping easier and negates the need to head to an alternative site.
For example, say a shopper has found the perfect bridesmaids dress on your website. Naturally, they’d want to head straight to find a pair of shoes that match.
By providing complementary shoe recommendations (along with other matching accessories) you don’t give them the chance to shop with another brand. Instead, you provide them with a perfect combination of items to buy together.
AI-powered product recommendation plug-ins such as Rebuy analyze browsing and purchase behavior to generate intelligent recommendations. This helps you merchandise products to the right-fit shopper, increasing their chances of converting. This also allows you to up-sell and cross-sell products on your product pages and shopping cart, giving you a satisfying boost in revenue.
4. Enhance Product Descriptions
Your product descriptions are the superstars of your online merchandising strategy. They have to shine and give shoppers the information and confidence they need to convert.
Enhancing your product descriptions starts with your copy — make it clear and easy to read while detailing how the product benefits your shoppers and solves their problems.
For example, if selling a high-end moisturizer, lead with the immediate benefits (reduced lines, brighter complexion) and then expand into more detail (ingredients, application). This allows customers to continue reading until they have the information needed to convert.
Complement your product descriptions with high-quality photographs. Use a combination of professional shots taken at different angles so shoppers can get the full picture of your product. Add in one or two influencer pictures to highlight how your top customers use the product in real-life for an even greater appeal.
Foursixty allows you to request and secure the rights to influencer content on Instagram. You can even receive insights into how your UGC is performing so that you showcase content that resonates with your audience the most.
And don’t forget video content, either. Video gives customers a more realistic view of a product while also ranking well for SEO.
5. Add Live Chat
Live chat is an excellent — but often overlooked — tactic for online merchandising.
Seventy-nine per cent of consumers prefer live chat because it provides an instant response. Live chat also has the highest consumer satisfaction rate, at 92%.
Think about it... When you walk into a brick-and-mortar store, there’s someone there welcoming you, directing you, and answering all your questions. It should be no different online.
But live chat isn’t a ‘set and forget’ tactic. To be successful, proactively send customers a welcome message as they click onto your website, and be ready to offer help, advice, and product recommendations throughout their journey.
For example, if a customer accesses your live chat from a product page, you can use that information to retarget them with additional ads for that item to increase their eagerness to buy. You can also use the data to upsell or cross-sell items through live chat to increase the overall value of each order.
Gorgias lets you engage with shoppers through automatic, personalized live chat campaigns, to help shoppers find the right product they need to convert.
eCommerce Merchandising Best Practices
Before you put these online merchandising strategies into action, take into account these three best practices:
- Mobile responsiveness: meet the growth of mobile commerce by making your website responsive on computers, tablets, and mobiles.
- Discoverable: use an SEO and marketing strategy to increase website visibility across search engines and social media.
- Storytelling: captivate your audience by telling them a brand story they can’t wait to be a part of.
Now that you have a list of solutions to bring your strategy to life, find out how each integrates with Okendo.