If you build it, they will come. While that might be true for Fields of Dreams, running an online store is different.
Ecommerce merchandising is more important than ever due to increased familiarity with online shopping. Your website and digital content are your shop windows, and they need to stand out against the competition.
Merchandising is all about how a website sells products to its customers. Its main objective is to effectively sell your products. This includes product placement, site navigation, branding, and innovative strategies to motivate online shoppers. The online retailer’s ultimate goal is to get people to add to carts. Merchandising gently persuades customers to make a larger or more frequent purchase.
Here are 4 ways to merchandise effectively:
Add prominent site navigation
Move to Social
The goal of cross selling is to sell more while creating a satisfied customer. This means curating products with complimentary attributes in order to increase your average order value. What is the job to-be-done or the need that your customers are solving? Odds are, there are products outside of your current catalog they could also use to solve that same problem.
It’s important to consider which products you recommend to customers. Cross-selling should enhance a customer’s experience, so your cross-selling attempts should provide value and fulfill customer needs — not come across as a sleazy sales tactic.
Whatever your merchandising goals may be, Carro expands your catalog by letting you add the products your customers would buy elsewhere, all without the upfront investment and huge hassle of inventory.
You sell swimsuits, add towels
You sell nail polish, add remover
You sell e-bikes, add helmets
You sell makeup, add brushes
These are simple examples of products that your customers could buy together. Anticipate what your customers need and meet them at that moment. It creates an easier shopping experience for them and it increases your bottom line.
Blendjet does this well. They sell blenders and everything that goes in the blender. A smoothie with just ice and protein is gross — I checked. That's why they sell smoothie mix, nut butter, protein powder, and frozen fruit.
Bundles are another great way to increase your average order value. Grouping products that are frequently used together or purchased together anyway encourages customers to spend more. For example, a sunscreen company might offer an after-sun lotion. A toothpaste company might bundle floss and mouthwash.
Bundles increase sales and customer loyalty. Great bundles combine a primary product with a tasteful, complimentary one. Consider which products to pair together. If you sell makeup, then bundle eyeshadow brushes and makeup remover. Two brands named 100% Pure and Vanity Planet partnered to offer exclusive sets of their facial tools and skincare products.
They identified the job-to-be-done with their products and saw that the other brand had what they needed to give their customers the full experience.
By pairing with a brand they trust, they increased convenience for their customers by providing everything they need with one click.
3. Add prominent site navigation
Does the look and feel of your online store help customers conveniently discover your products? Keep it simple and use visuals. Your homepage is the front window display of your online store. Make it easy for the customer to find what they are looking for.
As you add great partner products to your store, use intuitive navigation so that your customers find everything that appeals to them, including promotions and special offers. If you have multiple category pages, put them where your customers expect to find them.
Add top-level site navigation
First impressions matter. Your header is the best way to catch your customer's attention.
People spend 23% of their time on the header of a website. Highlight your new products and collections. Include links to important webpages so that users find what they want with minimal searching and clicks.
Campmor built a clever "Gift Guide" on their website. In the guide, they featured network brands and products they knew customers would love. If they buried it in the dropdown menu, then visitors may not have found these products.
Create a banner
Banners are another effective way to drive eyeballs to new products. They use attention-grabbing imagery across a large portion of the webpage to get in front of your customers, no matter where they are. In general, banners work best as ephemeral tools. Use them to notify customers of time-sensitive deals and then take them down.
Link from blog posts
Your homepage is the front door to your brand, but it's not the only door. There are other valuable places to draw brands to your offerings. As more ecommerce brands lean into content, your blog is a great place to promote products. Use storytelling to tell customers about new products, then take them to the check-out page with contextual CTAs.
Link to it from product pages
It may sound counter-intuitive to link to another brand's products from your website, but there's way to do it wherein you always win. Partner products enhance your customer experience and add to your bottom line. When someone visits a product page, try suggesting relevant products that'd be good to buy as one-offs. Or, if the product rolls up to a larger collection, then upsell with the bundle to increase AOV.
4. Enable shopping on social channels
Social media networks enable brands to sell in more ways than ever before. Platforms like Instagram or TikTok have become the main way users interact with brands. Social channels let you meet buyers on their preferred platform and capture the sale without them leaving the channel.
To create a Facebook Shop, you’ll need a Facebook business page and a business manager account. After that, it only takes a few simple steps to connect your Shopify store to your Facebook account.
Facebook is an authorized Shopify seller. Once connected, it will sync your entire inventory. You can then customize your Facebook Shop and create collections to highlight your products and bundles.
If you have a professional Instagram account, you can connect your store to Instagram Shopping at the same time you set up your Facebook Shop.
With Instagram, you can feature products or collections in posts and stories to catch your followers’ attention.
Your Shopify inventory is synced so you can make individual posts shoppable or your followers can hit View Shop in your profile to see your full catalog in the app.
A brand named June & January set up Instagram Shopping for their products. Now their 275k+ followers can easily find the products they sell and check out through the native Instagram functionality.
TikTok crossed the one billion users mark last year. Shopify introduced TikTok Shopping integration to capture that audience.
Like the other platforms, it requires a business account. Once you link your Shopify store with the app, navigate to the Shopping tab where you can feature your products and collections.
Business accounts can also tag products in their videos so that followers can click and go to the shop straight from the video. There’s even a feature that automatically creates videos from your product images.
Making products available in the right places in your store and social channels is the first step toward selling them. The next step is thinking about how to promote and market these products so that even more people can find them. Check out our Marketing Guide to learn more.
Ecommerce merchandising is essential for any eCommerce site. Don’t just place new products anywhere on your site and wait for the sales to roll in. A well-defined strategy guides shoppers through the sale and establishes a loyal customer base.
Through deliberate, intelligent placement of products on your website, you can increase your average order value, the total number of customers, and their purchase frequency.
Ready to get started? Subscribe to our Growth Plan and receive a free consultation with a Brand Pairing Specialist that will help guide you identify the right partnership strategy for your brand. For a limited time and in preparation for Black Friday, we're providing that service for free. Contact us today to join the largest curated network of brands.