E-Merchandising Tips to Improve the Customer Experience

Sep 29, 2016


The E-Tailing Group’s 8th annual mystery shopping study shows that online shoppers continue to ramp up their expectations for features and functionality of online retailers.

“As best-in-class merchants raise the bar, keeping up with requisite functionality will be just the beginning,” says Freedman, president of E-Tailing Group, “More differentiation and more creative execution of merchandising, both onsite and via e-mail, will be the next initiatives to require resource commitments.”

In order to meet the current and future expectations of the consumer and deliver a great customer experience, retailers need to move beyond traditional website merchandising tactics. The time has come to implement an e-merchandising strategy.

What is E-merchandising?

Marketers and merchandisers have traditionally approached merchandising the website and corresponding marketing efforts from a campaign basis. This approach works well for home page and high level landing pages, but it's not as effective at the product list level because campaigns are tied to customer profiles rather than behavior.

That's where e-merchandising comes into play: e-merchandising adds the important element of context to the experience. Contextual merchandising involves dynamically targeting and changing promotions, product recommendations and even navigation based on the real time shopping behavior of each individual visitor.

E-Merchandising Tips for Success

  • E-merchandise your search results — This sounds like a no-brainer, but it's surprising how many retailers don't maximize the performance of the search results page and/or product detail pages with relevant product recommendations such as - Other people:
    • Also added to cart
    • Also purchased
    • Also viewed
    • Hot now
  • Personalized Cross Sell and Up Sell — Personalized product recommendations take it to the next level by incorporating individual shopping behavior and preferences into the recommendation strategy. Thanks to technology like Hawk Search, you don't have to be Amazon or Netflix to deliver personalized product recommendations.

  • Integrate Relevant Content — Today almost everyone is a content marketer and have content assets ranging from blog posts to case studies to user guides that add value as an integrated part of the search and browse customer experience. Being creative about incorporating relevant content into the shopping experience can lead to increases in conversion and customer satisfaction.

Effective e-merchandising isn't about just labeling the product recommendations with "you may also like," "these items are frequently bought together" or "other customers who bought this item also bought."

The recommendations need to be contextually relevant to the product category or individual product a shopper is viewing. In other words, don't promote patio furniture as a cross sell item for exercise equipment even though they may be commonly viewed or purchased by the same customer. A more effective technique would be to recommend items related to patio furniture, such as accessories and/or similar patio sets.