November 2008

The Importance of Online Merchandising

In today's world of the empowered consumer, retailers must meet unprecedented expectations regarding online merchandising. Building a profitable ecommerce site takes more than just design and technology. For an e-commerce site to succeed, it has to merchandise its products effectively.

To achieve this goal it is necessary to take full advantage of your ecommerce solution's built-in merchandising features and to creatively implement tactics and techniques that have proven effective. Here are some tips for properly merchandising your online products.

Think like your customer
Imagine that you've just landed on the site for the first time. Can you find what you're looking for? Place products in more than one category when applicable, or wherever relevant. Place links to information wherever it's needed. The easier it is for your customers to find what they want, when they want it, the more likely they are to buy.

Are your prices, offers, and terms easy to understand?
Keep it simple. Make sure your toll free phone number, pricing, shipping, add to cart button, etc. are all clear and easy for anyone to find with as little thought as possible. It's a fact that the more you make people think, the more likely they're moving on to another site. A confused customer is a lost customer.

Are your pictures your best salespeople?
A picture is really worth a thousand words. Therefore, add additional product pictures to close the sale wherever applicable. Keep in mind that most people don't actually read ecommerce sites, they scan them. Make sure you're getting their attention with the right information to convert them into buyers.

Advertise. Up-sell. Cross-sell.
Your ecommerce platform should allow you to implement a host of cross-selling and up-selling techniques aimed at putting the right products in front of the right customers at the right time.

Homepage ads are a must and category ads are just as important. Consider organizing your products into categories and developing a series of ads for the top of each category page.

Advertisements designed to draw a visitor to various product groupings or promotional items can be extremely effective (for example, “Gifts for the Nature Lover”, “On Sale Now”, “Best Sellers”, etc.). Be sure to implement strategies for cross-selling and up-selling and if your ecommerce solution offers specific features to help you perform this task… use them to their fullest extent! Mountain Commerce sites come equipped with “popular products,” “also purchased products,” “related products,” and special and featured products. Call us if you need help or have questions about using these Mountain Commerce Up-selling features.

Have you marketed your website today?
Market your website once it's live and continue doing “something” to market it every day thereafter. A website that isn't actively working to market itself on a continuous basis, isn't going to grow and thrive. As with any endeavor there's no free lunch.

Eureka!

Did You Know?

Forrester Research is predicting that online sales in November and December will increase 12%. They describe this as a “significant slowdown.” Yes, it's a slowdown from years' past. But, compared to the 2.2% growth that the National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts for overall retail it's pretty good.

And, earlier this week, Amazon provided their own insight into the holiday season. Their Q4 guidance is for between 6% and 23% revenue growth. That's quite a big range, but expected given the volatility of our economy.

Source: Shop.org

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