The way that products and buying opportunities are presented on an ecommerce site can have a significant impact on sales. Making good merchandising choices especially around how search results are managed, how complementary products are displayed, and how the site's hierarchy is arranged will help some merchants sell more and be more profitable.
Online merchandising is focused on presenting product or service information so that shoppers are able to find and buy items easily. It should also introduce shoppers to complementary items. Put another way, online merchandising should in someway entice site visitors to buy.
When online merchandising is done well, it may lead to higher conversion rates, larger orders, and more sales overall. Unfortunately, a poorly merchandised site may frustrate visitors and discourage purchases.
What follows are three tips for improving online or — as it is sometimes called — on-site merchandising.
Tip 1: Merchandise in Search Results
Search results pages present a great opportunity for retailers to display products and offer suggestions. But sometimes sellers overlook these opportunities, imagining that retail site search needs to resemble a Google search results page. This notion could not be further from the truth.
Consider the search results page for the current Target website. The page resembles a product category page complete with layered and faceted navigation and large product images. It looks nothing like a Google search results page, but instead it seeks to merchandise to the customer.
Target's search page also highlights items that are on sale, again using merchandising to shoppers.
On the Harry & David website, which sells fruit and treat baskets, shoppers searching for Thanksgiving baskets also see a banner ad promoting Halloween gift baskets, a related product.
According to a paper from analytics and marketing firm Omniture, about half of a site's visitors will use search as their primary form of navigation. Be sure that search results pages are enticing shoppers to buy.