7 Online Merchandising Ideas You Can Steal [+ Examples]
If you’re looking for winning online merchandising ideas, you’ve come to the right place.
Your merchandising strategy is the most important aspect of your online retail store. After all, if they can’t see a product when they are actively looking for it, how can they buy the product?
And it takes more than just a strong foundation, site navigation, and layout.
A truly successful merchandising example is creative, data-driven, and constantly evolving in real-time to changing supply, trends, and markets. It also drives the overall customer experience to ensure your shoppers are able to find the right product at the right time for your target customer.
In this post, we give you seven advanced merchandising ideas that you can adapt and optimize for your specific market and store — and include some winning merchandising examples and hacks.
Let’s jump in.
1. Take Your Product Pages to Pro Level
Your product pages may be perfect, but it’s not enough if you want to compete. Yes, the basics are a must if you want to grab a customer’s attention from the get-go — basics such as:
- Good product photography
- Well-crafted and optimized descriptions
- Displayed product features
- Clear CTAs
But more often than not, that is just not enough. Not in today’s increasingly saturated eCommerce market.
Instead, you should be aiming to take basic product merchandising a step further — not just in terms of visual displays but strategy. A good example of a brand killing it is Belroy.
You may not be able to duplicate this eCommerce merchandising idea exactly for your products. Still, it offers heaps of inspiration that you can use to upgrade your product pages. Some other unique merchandising ideas for product pages include:
- Interactive feature sliders
- Product video integration
- 360-degree product photos
- Product image close-ups
- AR (augmented reality) features
2. Opt for Multi-Parameter Category and Collection-Based Merchandising
How you sort your products in your category and collection pages matters. And no, using either personalization or best-selling as a single product sorting criteria is not advanced enough for the current climate.
Instead, to stand out, you need a multi-parameter approach.
Because the more factors you take into account, the more likely you will be to not only make a sale, but make it a profitable one.
You want your potential customers to immediately see products they are interested in in the first rows of your collection and category pages. And if you can also ensure that these products are aligned with your inventory optimization goals — it’s a big win-win!
An example of a brand harnessing the power of using multi-parameter categories and collection sorting to drive conversions and profit is one of our top merchants, DAVOSA.
To implement this merchandising strategy, you will want to choose from various parameters — such as the ones below:
Of course, this is even better if you can automate the process, which brings us to the next eCommerce merchandising idea.
3. Automate Your Product Sorting for Marketing and Retail KPIs
To really be able to take advantage of the strategy above, you will need machine learning and automation. But, not just any automation.
To truly optimize your online merchandising and product sorting strategy, you need to automate based on multiple parameters that answer both retail and marketing KPIs. This is about far more than just customer data and personalization.
In fact, personalization is no longer enough — it’s vital for long-term growth and profitability to also consider inventory optimization. And to achieve this, you should be considering AI and automation tools that are focused on advanced merchandising optimization. Kimonix is one such tool.
Advanced product sorting is something that online retail store brand Swarovski (IL) has had a lot of success with. In just four weeks of introducing this strategy, they were able to increase their profits by 8% — while increasing their conversion rate by 18% and reducing their dead stock by as much as 29%.
You can read more about this and similar merchandising strategies in our How to Create Merchandising Strategy That Answers Retail and Marketing KPIs post.
4. Upgrade Your UGC and Customer Reviews Strategies for Off-Site Merchandising
As they dramatically influence a shopper's buying decision, they can be an incredibly powerful conversion-driving tool when strategically considered as part of your overall merchandising strategy.
Let’s look at the “why” — with some reviews and UGC (user-generated content) stats — before we dive into the “how.”
- A PowerReviews report found that over 99.9% of shoppers read online reviews while browsing online retail stores.
- According to Medill Spiegel Research Center (SRC), there is a 270% higher chance of a product selling if there are at least a few reviews over having none at all.
- A BrightLocal survey showed that just under 50% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation from a family member or friend.
The bottom line is that reviews, ratings, and UGC impact the success of your overall merchandising strategy.
And this isn’t just about on-site merchandising. Reviews should be driving off-site merchandising strategies as well. A good implementation of this merchandising idea, in practice, is email marketing.
Here’s an example from a restaurant brand that used reviews to hype up their holiday promotions — something you could duplicate for your online store.
When thinking of on-site eCommerce visual merchandising, specifically, Thinx product pages offer great merchandising tips and inspiration. They also prove that adding reviews or UGC to merchandising strategies doesn’t have to be complicated.
For more eCommerce merchandising ideas with reviews, head over to our How to Use Product Reviews to Optimize Merchandising Strategies and Increase Profits post.
5. Match Visual Merchandising to Key Digital Touchpoints
Visual merchandising is an online product display on steroids. In fact, it plays one of the most critical roles in your overall on-site customer journey to ensure you can move potential shoppers and target customers through all your digital touchpoints — and beyond.
The key visual merchandising types that you should be focusing on — in terms of matching to digital touchpoints — if you want to optimize your overall merchandising strategies to pro level, include your store’s:
- Product pages
- Layout and navigation
- Category pages
- Product collections
- Shopping cart
- Checkout pages
[Source: Visual Merchandising Guide]
When it comes to eCommerce visual merchandising, you want to think about it similarly to how a brick-and-mortar would handle their retail merchandising. This means strategically placing just the right displays at just the right point to elicit a product sale. Or, as it’s often referred to, cross merchandising.
Let’s take a look at an online retailer who is doing just that.
Cross merchandising is essential in ensuring that your visual merchandising strategy carries potential shoppers through each digital touchpoint along the buying journey. It also has the added benefit of improving your customer experience and improving your standing with search engines — while increasing retail sales and AOVs (average order values).
This brings us to the next merchandising idea and strategy inspiration.
6. Overestimate the Power of Store SEO
Your online merchandising strategy doesn’t start on your store.
It starts off-site in your social media marketing, digital ads, product reviews, and on search engines. The latter is vital in new brand discovery, with 60% of shoppers going online first when on the hunt.
This means your SEO optimization and how you incorporate it into search engine merchandising is vital to long-term growth and success.
Because when done right, it not only increases traffic to your store but acts as the first retail display for highly relevant products. Additionally, over time, the better your SEO is the higher your store’s rankings will be, and the better your search results will be — a winning circle.
Here are some tips on how to use SEO to boost merchandising — and vice versa.
- Elicit product interest. Use your product and store metadata to attract potential customers and ensure its most relevant feature or problem-solving ability is highlighted.
- Enable brand and product discovery. Focus on on-page optimization, optimizing site navigation, and using optimized page titles and tags.
- Engage shoppers to engage with your products. Invest in a content marketing and blog strategy for your store to help answer your target customer's biggest questions or solve their most relevant niche-related problems. Then use that content to pull them into your visual merchandising journey.
And when you combine this strategy with the right Google remarketing strategies, you can attract customers from every stage of your buying journey — bringing them back to your store.
7. Optimize Your Cross-Selling Strategies with Real-Time Data
The last merchandising idea worth considering is optimizing your retail store’s cross-selling visual display beyond simple personalization or bestsellers.
Whether you are offering a complementary product in your shopping cart or shipping-threshold product pages, cross-selling promotions should seamlessly fit into your merchandising and a shopper’s in-the-moment journey experience.
This means using advanced product sorting for cross-selling product recommendations.
Remember that merchandising strategy above that highlighted the importance of optimizing your product sorting with marketing and retail KPIs? You also want to test applying the same advanced product sorting techniques with your cross-selling retail display.
Cross-selling merchandising placement doesn’t have to be overly complicated to be successful.Here’s an example from Outdoor Voices.
Now imagine if these add-on and product recommendations could be adapted in real-time based on retail and marketing data. This would enable them to not only show products that are relevant enough to the customer to elicit a sale but also factor in your margin goals — ensuring each sale is getting you the maximum profit possible.
You can do this manually or with the only merchandising automation that enables you to use advanced product sorting on autopilot — Kimonix.
Final Thoughts: Boost Merchandising with Quality Customer Experience Strategies
There you have it, online retail merchandising tips and ideas from top brands that you can “steal” from.
Adapting and testing any of these merchandising ideas can do wonders for product discoverability, on and off your store. And the more outside the box in terms of your own market and audience, the better.
However, having a good visual element or store design isn’t enough. Yes, merchandising strategies need to grab attention, but they must also be backed up with good shopping experience tactics.
Let’s say you are using advanced product sorting automation to create product recommendations. And your potential shopper reaches out to customer service because they have a question, but your customer service either doesn’t get back to them on time or isn’t helpful.
Or, if you successfully make a sale but don’t have a good enough customer service strategy in place to keep them updated on delivery bottlenecks — which could hurt long-term retention potential?
Yes, you would have made the same sale, but for long-term growth, you want to nurture each customer. This means ensuring that your merchandising and customer experience strategies are completely in sync for them both to succeed.
You can read more about this in our Most Important Digital Touchpoints for eCommerce Stores and How to Optimize Them post.
Got questions or eCommerce visual merchandising ideas of your own? Reach out to us here!