Merchandising has much in common with usability. To say more – usability is a part of merchandising.
During one walk in a supermarket I thought about merchandising having incredibly much in common with usability. To say more – usability is a part of merchandising. Inspired with such observation I decided to write an article on how actually use in practice the key ways of merchandising in the context of online stores.
Merchandising is a set of technologies aiming at improving communications between goods and a customer in the points of sales. The task of merchandising is making the goods to be seen and bought.
And now let us consider the ways of merchandising that allow to substantially increase online store conversion:
1. Show the “face” of the goods
The golden rule of merchandising states that the goods on the shelves must be arranged showing the face of the packaging to the customer. It is this position that helps achieve the best view of the goods. Thanks to that the probability to increase the sales is multiplied.
2. “The golden shelf”
The goods that are placed on the customer’s eye-level are the most sold. Thus, it is crucial to occupy this very “golden shelve”. It is easy to identify such area in supermarkets, but in online stores the situation is quite different. How do you understand where the “golden shelve” area is? We should remember the “I-Tracking ” technology which helps fix the most viewed areas. If you cannot apply it for some reasons, you should look at the clicks heatmap in web-analytics systems, study the experience of successful online stores, experiment.
3. Price tags and other POS-materials
POS-materials are all sorts of material marketing details that accompany the goods in the points of sales and aim at increasing the demand for it. Here belong the price tags, wobblers, promo-stands, stands, stoppers, flags and other things attracting attention.
Price tags require your special attention. The information on them should be easily read. Use the “price range” – was / is. Highlight action prices with red. Specify the discount rate. All these methods make possible to increase the sales manifold.
4. More space to the sales leader
The goods which are in greater demand should occupy more space on the shelves.
If we apply the above mentioned rule in online stores, it means that the sales leaders should occupy significant space on the page. For instance, you can make a block on the page where the key leaders should be shown in various, the most marketable categories. In the search you should make sorting from the most sold to the least sold by default. The same should be done concerning the catalogue pages, where the sales leaders must be given credit for. Trust us, they will be grateful to you by increasing their sales.
5. Newbies must be closer to the leaders
It is the rule of life. If you want to be famous, stick to those who are already popular. It works in trade too. Pay attention to the supermarket shelves: new products are situated near the mastodons there. People strive after the proven leaders and, by chance, they try something new. And, as something reliable and trustworthy is nearby, even conservatives feel psychologically free to try themselves as innovators.
6. Arrange the goods in the best-selling places
There are areas in supermarkets where the flow of customers is the fullest. These are the entrance areas, cash desks, corridors between the departments. In online stores this role is played by the main page and the pages of the most frequently sold goods. So, if you want to increase the sales of some particular goods, we recommend placing it on the most viewed pages.
7. Shelves should not be empty
The empty shelf in the store is a signal for a customer about going to the other store, as something is wrong with this one. Personally I feel uncomfortable when I see emptiness in sales points. I have an instant impression that this place is in a crisis, and who wants to be with losers? As I said before, everyone sticks to the leaders.
For online stores the sign “the goods is not available” takes the place of empty shelves. If the customer sees too many of such signs (that is, at least a quarter of the goods available), he will not purchase from you. He will go to the sales leader where the shelves are full to satiety.
8. Urgent sells must be closer
The goods you need to sell pretty much must be on the most visible places. In supermarkets, for example, they put the goods with the very nearest expiry date closer to the customer There are few people who look deep inside, only those who know about the expiry date. In case of online store few people dig into multiple pages of the catalogue searching for something that can be found on the first page.
9. Attention 70/30
Every merchandizer knows that 70 percent of a customer’s attention is paid to the shelves to the right of him and only 30 – to those that are on the left side. But being offline, a person can move in different ways and thus something to the left of him becomes something to the right. In case of online stores the right side will stay the right one. That’s why, distributing the information keep in mind the areas of maximum attention.
10. To touch, to smell, to listen
In order to inspire the customer for buying the goods you should give him a chance to get acquaint with it closer: to feel, to measure, to take in hands. The relevant music and fragrances help stimulate the sales. Even lighting is essential.
What should be done in case of an online store where the communication area is limited with virtual frames? In the first place, you are to introduce the possibility to “turn the goods” from different angles. Secondly, you should make a video review, a quality one! Thirdly, offer a guest try-on. You can also make a program where the customer’s photo is downloaded and he could try on the things he is interested in (a game “dress a doll” of sorts). The situation is more complicated with aromas, of course, as the technologies are still far from transferring the aromas in space. But there is still a design due to which you can arouse the necessary associations!
As you see, classic marketing can no way be charged off, as, judging by experience, its efficiency is quite high. You just have to adapt this knowledge to your benefit.