Mastering eCommerce Merchandising: 7 Strategies to Elevate Your Store to Expert Level

In the fast-evolving world of eCommerce, standing out from the competition requires more than just having a great product; it demands a strategic approach to eCommerce merchandising that captivates and converts your online audience. 

In this post, we dive into the advanced strategies that can transform your online store into a powerhouse of customer engagement and sales. 

Whether you're aiming to polish your product presentation, optimize inventory management, or create unique and engaging shopping experiences, each of these expert online merchandising strategies is a building block to long-term profitability.  

Let’s jump right in.

1. Implement Advanced Personalization and AI Integration

When it comes to mastering eCommerce merchandising, advanced personalization and AI tools should be top of your list. Investing in the right AI technologies enables you to analyze shopping behavior and preferences in real-time to personalize the shopping experience for each visitor. It also allows you to recommend products more likely to convert at that moment. 

Here are three important eCommerce merchandising elements you should be optimized for advanced personalization and AI: 

  • Smart product sorting and collection management 
  • Enhanced product discovery
  • Personalized (1:1) product recommendations 

Let’s dig a little deeper into how advanced personalization and AI can upgrade each of these elements. 

Smart Product Sorting and Collection Management 

The first place in your eCommerce merchandising strategy that you want to incorporate AI is your product sorting and category management. This is because AI-optimized product sorting and collection management means a better customer experience, boosted conversion potential, and streamlined product discovery processes.

On an intermediate level, the right AI technology enables you to automatically sort products and manage store categories based on customer behavior, trends, and preferences — boosting product discoverability and personalizing the browser's shopping experience. 

On the other hand, an expert tool, such as Kimonix, takes it one step further by integrating your product sorting strategy with important retail KPIs and business parameters. 

Enhanced Product Discovery

AI implementation is vital if you want to take product discovery to pro level. One example of this is incorporating visual search capabilities that allow customers to upload images and instantly find similar products on your store. 

Brands like IKEA and ASOS have been taking advantage of the benefits of visual search technologies (a shortened path from search to conversion) for some time now, with great success. It also helps them better link their digital marketing strategies and influencer campaigns to their product pages, as browsers can upload pictures they have seen on social media and find product options in sections. 

visual search example asos

[Source: Raked]

AI offers other advanced product discoverability capabilities, such as voice-activated search, which allows a potential customer to verbally describe what they're looking for — making the product discovery process more accessible and aligned with natural user behaviors. Or personalized browsing paths, which can create unique pathways that guide customers to the products they're more likely to purchase.

Personalized (1:1) Product Recommendations

AI-driven product recommendations enable you to tailor recommendations (on your store and in your digital marketing channels) to individual users. 

How? By leveraging deep learning algorithms to analyze each customer's interactions, purchase history, and browsing behavior in real-time, you can offer 1:1 product recommendations that resonate with each shopper's specific preferences and needs. 

This hyper-personalization not only enhances product discoverability but significantly increases the likelihood of conversion by presenting the most relevant product at the right time to each shopper. 

This also ensures you are creating a more engaging and satisfying customer experience across all your digital touchpoints, which doesn't just drive retention and loyalty.

2. Upgrade to High-Quality Product Visuals and Optimized Descriptions

The next item on your eCommerce merchandising strategy to-do list is upgrading your visuals and descriptions. At the bare minimum, you should be using product photos or videos that highlight every angle — or feature — for each product. And you need your product descriptions to be engaging and informative — and optimized for both humans and bots. 

But in today's competitive landscape, is that enough? The short answer is, maybe. It all depends on the products you are selling, the niche you are selling in, and who you are selling to. Sometimes, less is more. But that doesn’t mean you can’t harness new technologies and trends to step it up a notch. 

Let’s quickly discuss some eCommerce merchandising product page optimization tools and technologies worth looking into. 

Interactive 3D Models

Taking 360-degree images to the next level, interactive 3D models enable product browsers to move and view products from any angle. To do this, you will need tools like Photoshop or Blender to create your product models. 

3d visuals example for shopify
3d visuals example for shopify  3

[Source: GenovaWebArt]

Augmented Reality Visualization

AR technology takes 3D models even further by enabling customers to digitally place products in the ideal setting. This allows them to see how products would look in their own spaces or on themselves, bridging the gap between digital marketing and visual merchandising with physical shopping experiences.

AI-Powered Product Descriptions 

The implementation of generative AI technologies into digital merchandising elements is relatively new, but it’s taken off in a big way. These generative tools can help you automatically produce diverse and creative product descriptions that capture the essence of each relevant product, ensuring content freshness and reducing manual copywriting efforts. 

Here’s an example of an AI-powered product description Shopify app that does exactly that. 

Alternatively, you could use the power of generative AI to include dynamic, personalized descriptions for your product pages. AI technology can modify your product descriptions based on each specific shopper’s browsing history, shopping preferences, and more. 

This is something that online retailer Stitch Fix has had a lot of success with, using OpenAI’s GPT-4 to efficiently distill text on a large scale and generate concise recaps based on extensive information a customer has given the brand. 


[Source: Stitch Fix]

3. Harvest the Right UGC and Reviews

Another critical element of a winning eCommerce merchandising strategy is your customer reviews and/or ratings, as well as UGC (user-generated content) initiatives. 

On a basic level, you want to make it easy for your shoppers to leave reviews and rate products, providing social proof for potential customers. However, for an intermediate strategy, you may want to consider implementing a program that rewards customers for leaving detailed reviews and sharing their product experiences on social media to increase UGC's quantity and quality.

To really step it up a notch, you should be leveraging AI for UGC curations and then integrating UGC into personalized campaigns. Here’s an example of what this digital merchandising strategy may look like… 

Let’s say you’re an apparel retailer who specializes in activewear. You could leverage AI to sift through thousands of customer reviews and social media posts, highlighting the most positive, sentiment-driven UGC directly on your product pages for your yoga pants.

This AI-enhanced curation ensures that potential buyers are immediately greeted with enthusiastic reviews and authentic action shots of real customers using the products in their workouts. 

Simultaneously, you could then use tools like Kimonix’s Collections for Marketing to create personalized email campaigns that feature these curated products (with their reviews and user images), targeted at customers who have shown interest in similar items. This means you’re effectively using real customer experiences to bolster product credibility and encourage purchases.

Some other UGC-powered eCommerce merchandising strategies worth looking into would be incorporating video reviews or testimonials instead of static images. Or using UGC (customer) comments to create product FAQs that you then use on product pages to provide authentic answers to common customer questions. 

4. Invest in Seamless Navigation and Search on Your Store 

As we have already discussed, advanced technology is vital if you want a high-functioning digital merchandising plan. And as the market gets even more competitive, any upgrade you can do to one-up your competitors is a must. Site search is one area where you can get ahead of the curve — with the right upgrades, that is. 

Let's focus on two strategies that streamline the shopping experience to create seamless navigation and boost search capabilities: 

  • Intuitive store designs 
  • Advanced search filters 

Intuitive Store Designs 

You want to regularly test to ensure your websites have a logical, easy-to-navigate structure that allows customers to quickly find products. After all, isn’t that the aim of all off and online merchandising strategies? 

Your store design is another eCommerce merchandising element in which AI optimization is worth investment. Deploying advanced AI that tracks user interactions and preferences will enable you to offer better instinctive design, customized content, and product recommendations. This dynamic personalization means that each customer’s search and browsing experience is uniquely aligned with their interests and past shopping behavior.  

Other simple tactics you can implement today to ensure a more streamlined and intuitive store design include: 

  1. Implementing a responsive menu that adapts to user behavior
  2. Testing homepage product highlights often to find optimal CTCs 
  3. Tweaking your checkout process to ensure it’s as straightforward and intuitive as possible 

Advanced Search Filters 

Advanced search filtering may be worth testing to further enhance your eCommerce store's user experience. 

While dynamic filtering leverages AI to adjust options based on a user’s browsing habits, personalized filter presets enable users to save their most-used filter combinations, allowing for quick access in future searches. 

Additionally, by incorporating contextual filters, you add a layer of sophistication by offering relevant subsequent filters — like size options after a color selection in apparel — you can make finding a relevant product an even smoother process.

Shopify apps such as Searchanise will help you do that and more. 

5. Modernize Your Inventory Management and Product Sorting

By modernizing your inventory management and product sorting (also collectively known as inventory optimization), you also modernize your online merchandising. 

Tactics such as real-time inventory updates (which ensure you are never selling what you’re out of stock on) and collection curation (which ensures your product collections factor in both your customers' interests and your business goals) will not only boost merchandising success but also drive profitability. 

In fact, inventory optimization will enable you to use advanced customer data and analytics to predict future product demand, anticipate demand, and factor those market changes into your collection and product sorting in real-time. This approach not only improves your stock levels and reduces dead stock but improves overall retention and customer satisfaction.

Let’s say you are a leading online beauty store specializing in natural skincare products. 

You could implement a smart inventory optimization system that dynamically adjusts inventory based on real-time sales data, customer behavior analytics, your business marketing and retail parameters, and seasonal trends. By leveraging machine learning, you can predict which products will be in high demand each season and curate those collections accordingly.  

You can then take that a step further by incorporating inventory optimization into your visual merchandising strategy so that you are showing customers the products that fit into those demand trends. This is where smart collections — and their power to boost conversions — come into play. 

For instance, JD Sports switched to a smart collection and saw a 142% improvement in their collection conversion rate! They did this by combining advanced inventory optimization, which factors in retail and marketing parameters, with the power of machine learning. You can see how they did that here

6. Provide Exclusive Offers and Limited-Time Promotions to Push Loyalty 

Promotions and offers are the cornerstone of online shopping. The right promotion can boost vitality and brand/product awareness, drive conversions, or turn satisfied customers into loyal shoppers. 

Onsite promotions go a step further by also improving your store’s shopping experience and product discovery. This is because on-store exclusive offers and limited-time promotions do more than just incentivize purchases; they create an engaging environment that encourages shoppers to explore and discover new products they might not have otherwise considered.

But the true power comes from combining these promotions as rewards for loyalty. By doing so, you not only acknowledge and appreciate your repeat customers but also motivate them to maintain their loyalty. 

Here are two tactics you can try: 

  • Flash sales and limited editions 
  • Loyalty rewards and early access perks 

Flash Sales and Limited Editions

Flash sales and limited editions are good ways to create urgency and exclusivity while also helping product visibility. By incorporating them into your digital merchandising strategy, you can draw attention to specific products or collections, increasing their discoverability. They also help build retention that leads to brand loyalty. 

Here are two tactics you could test: 

  1. Use customer data to target flash sales toward specific segments of store shoppers who are most likely to be interested in certain products, making promotions more personalized 
  2. Leverage social media platforms to hype limited edition releases, using exclusive previews or behind-the-scenes content to build anticipation and drive traffic to your store for the launch

Loyalty Rewards and Early Access Perks 

By using your onsite promotions to offer special deals and perks to loyalty program members, you not only encourage repeat business and brand loyalty but also incentivize a new, potential customer who sees these promotions to buy with the intention of becoming a loyal customer.  

This is even more effective if you can tailor these promotions to reward loyal customers or provide VIP early access on a more personal level — making your shoppers feel valued and improving their overall experience with your brand. It also has the added effect of making the association between exclusive benefits and loyalty, making the customer more likely to return in search of special deals.

7. Embrace Augmented Reality (AR) Experiences

As of last year, there were well over 1.4 billion AR technology user devices in active use.

AR is no longer used exclusively for content marketing and social media! When combined with eCommerce merchandising and personalized recommendations, it can help you dominate your niche while driving product sales. 

An excellent example of this is virtual try-ons, which use white-background AR features to enable potential customers to see how a personalized product recommendation actually looks on them. Or in the case of furniture or home products, to visualize products in their space.

You can also take this digital merchandising strategy offsite by creating social media AR filters for each social media platform. This enables potential shoppers to interact with your comments (and share them) before they have even gotten to your product pages.  

Let’s quickly take a closer look at the impact of AR on eCommerce.  

AR Tech for eCommerce

AR technology is transforming the eCommerce landscape by offering immersive and interactive shopping experiences. By enabling customers to better visualize products in their own environment or on themselves, AR reduces the uncertainty that often accompanies online shopping. This leads to higher satisfaction and lower return rates.  

This innovative technology not only enhances customer engagement but also provides eCommerce brands with a competitive edge by blending the convenience of online shopping with the tangibility of in-store experiences.

How well does it work? 

According to Google Analytics. over 90% of customers state that they found AR helpful when conducting online shopping, according to Google Analytics. In addition, Shopify found that product pages that include AR features, were over 90% more likely to sell.

using AR to shop online

[Source: Google]

Wrap Up

There you have it: seven expert strategies for boosting the effectiveness (and profitability) of your eCommerce merchandising. As you can see, it’s not only about homepage merchandising and professional product photography anymore. 

Unlike traditional merchandising, it requires more creativity and the early adoption of new technologies to create a more tactile, holistic experience for each potential shopper. Even better if that experience can be personalized to their specific interests and needs.

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