Wildly Successful Online Stores Use Visual Merchandising to Drive Sales

Visual merchandising has long lived in the domain of brick-and-mortar stores. It is how retail professionals decorate, organize and reorganize a store’s layout and aesthetics to improve the customer experience and better communicate the brand’s identity.

How you visually merchandise a store touches on all aspects of your brand, your products and your bottom line. Effective visual merchandising increase and improves many metrics, such as:

  • Engagement and time on site
  • Store navigation and ease of use
  • Average order value
  • Conversions

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What is visual merchandising for online retailers?

Visual merchandising is how online retailers pull customers in from the streets (think display windows), and create an inviting, branded experience within their stores. And, visual merchandising often goes far and beyond just vision. Often, all senses of used to by merchandisers. Here are a few examples you may easily recognize:

  • Smell: The smell of an Anthropologie store (They always have a Volcano candle lit)
  • Spatial Feel: The in-store colors and layout of a Whole Foods (Floors are almost always polished concrete. Green accents pop around the store. Customers gather often around the salad bar and health and beauty sections).
  • Sound: The co-op reminder, and friendly sales staff, present at all REIs (“Well, we are a co-op so that means we don’t abide by board members. Our customers are our board members!”)

And, most stores also combine elements of psychological marketing known to drive increased purchases. These include:

  • Social proof: For example, branded shopping bags which clue other shoppers into what (and where) others are buying.
  • Reciprocity: Think free gifts and gift wrapping
  • Commitment and consistency: This is about getting a customer to commit. Think about all the stores with loyalty programs or their own cards. REI’s co-op is also a commitment.
  • Authority: This is why brands do events with influencers like book signings or pop-up shops. They want you to think they hang out with the authorities of particular topics.
  • Liking: This is why friendly salespeople are essential, as well as why more subtle tones (like Anthropologie’s smell) matter. You need to like the space you are in and the people you are with.
  • Scarcity: This is why there is always more of any given item in the stock room, but not on the floor.

** Contact us at tylerharrisseo@gmail.com  or  feel free to add tylerharrisvip on Skype for a quick chat. **

Visual merchandising isn’t just for retail stores, though. More and more online store are bringing these concepts to life on the web. This is because ecommerce has gotten more and more competitive.

With a majority of brands adopting an omnichannel strategy (selling on their site, on Amazon, on Facebook, etc.) there becomes an increased need to differentiate each selling channel. Given the limitations of selling on channels you do not own (Amazon, Facebook, etc.), your website becomes the hub for increasing engagement and conversions in a controlled way.

Customers are looking for experiences from webstores, ones they cannot get on Amazon or Facebook. And this is where visual merchandising comes in.

Misconceptions About Visual Merchandising Online

Visual merchandising isn’t just about having a pretty site –– but it does start there. Your site needs to be easy to navigate, attractive and work well both on mobile and desktop. These are entry level needs of any online business.

Beyond this, many online brands stop with the merchandising work. This is for a few reasons –– and all are misconceptions:

1) I have a small product catalog, so I don’t need to merchandise my site.

Historically, online brands with small catalogs has ignored visual merchandising. Business with larger catalogs and a high number of SKUs, on the other hand, have long merchandised online. This was to help customers find the category of product they were looking for, and move them further down the conversion funnel.

** Contact us at tylerharrisseo@gmail.com  or  feel free to add tylerharrisvip on Skype for a quick chat. **

This is a misconception. Brands with small catalogs also need to merchandise their site, though the tactics for doing so might vary from those with larger catalogs.

Why do you need to merchandise? Because customers are looking for an experience, not just a website selling products. The examples below will walk through a few small catalog tips and ideas to drive this home.

2) I use faceted search, so I don’t need to merchandise my site.

Brands with larger SKU counts often use faceted search to allow customers to take their own journey on a site. This means a customer comes in, and uses the search tool to narrow down to the product keyword they are looking for.

** Contact us at tylerharrisseo@gmail.com  or  feel free to add tylerharrisvip on Skype for a quick chat. **

For some customers, this works well –– especially those that have already bought from you before. For new customers, however, it is important that you merchandise your homepage or landing page (if you are sending them to a specific page from an advertisement) to move them down a purchasing funnel and drive increased brand engagement and understanding.

What merchandising helps to do is introduce and reinforce your brand, as well as highlight your best aspects –– ideally earning a sale much faster than you would without merchandising.

Source – https://goo.gl/jbCcWp

** Contact us at tylerharrisseo@gmail.com  or  feel free to add tylerharrisvip on Skype for a quick chat. **


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