5 Ways to Master Onsite Merchandising for Your Online Store

In my last post, 3 Things Your Ecommerce Site Needs to Make a Powerful First Impression, I discussed the importance of providing site visitors with a great first impression of your brand. Now we need to address what to do once you have their attention. The next step in making an ecommerce site successful is optimizing for conversion. Remember, no detail is too small if it removes barriers along the path to purchase. How do you accomplish this? With onsite merchandising.

The goal of onsite merchandising is to showcase products and create a strong desire to purchase. Onsite merchandising should always add value to the shopping experience. Below are five great ways to enhance your online store’s merchandising.

1. Internal Site Search

It is a fact that 30% of visitors will use your site search. A well-placed and functional site search tool will enhance a user’s shopping experience. For maximum effectiveness, consider these important points when implementing site search:

  • Place a prominent, easy-to-find search box in a consistent spot on every site page (usually the header/masthead), including mobile and tablet versions of your site.
  • Fine-tune your data to ensure site search delivers relevant results.
  • Offer user-friendly site search functionality such as auto-complete, helpful search suggestions, quick product ID/SKU search, etc.

Etsy has a great internal site search.

  • The search box is front and center and the contrasting blue search button is hard to miss.
  • The text inside the box prompts visitors to use the tool.
  • And it offers auto-complete.

Site search exampleTIP: Keep in mind every audience is different, so test what works best for your site visitors. Play around with the size and color of the search box.

In addition to enhancing the website shopping experience, site search equips retailers with important data and great opportunities to merchandise. First, if tracked, site search provides retailers valuable insights on what customers are looking for. Second, site search provides the perfect place to showcase and merchandise products. This brings us to the second item on our list.

2. Search Result Page

The search result page is very important. Why? If someone has searched for a specific item, that means they are probably farther along the conversion path. In fact, visitors who conduct a search are 70% more likely to convert. As a smart retailer, you need to make sure your pages offer a great experience. I’ve put together the top seven things your search results should do, and not do.

  • Never offer visitors zero search results. Always suggest an alternative or offer useful search tips.
  • Provide filter and sort options to allow visitors to customize their search. These can include options such as price, brand, color, or product category.
  • Order search results by relevancy.
  • Display product images to allow visitors to easily scan the page for the product they want.
  • Include enough product details to help visitors confirm if this is the right product.
  • Consider a Quick View function to provide even more detail, if needed, before requiring a click to the product page.
  • Prompt visitors to take the next step through clear Calls to Action, including Add to Cart or Buy Now buttons.

Take AllModern for example.

  • Their search result page provides the option to sort by price, recommended, bestselling, etc., or filter by a variety of specifications including special offers, color, reviews, style, brand, price and even ship date.
  • Each result has a clear product image and necessary product information.
  • When the mouse hovers over an item, the visitor is prompted to investigate further with a Quick View option which provides more product details and a clear call to action.

Search results pages example

3. Product Recommendations

Product recommendations showcase your product line and allow you to capitalize on up-sells and cross-sells. Remember the 60×60 rule: 60% of customers will buy an additional product worth 60% of the one they just bought when offered an upsell.

But the timing must be right. Offering a product customers aren’t ready to buy is an easy way to get them to leave your site. Also, personalized product recommendations are most effective. Use browsing history to add that personal touch to your online store and tailor product recommendations to each customer. It will pay off in the end as 40% of consumers buy more from retailers who personalize their shopping experience. And don’t forget to take advantage of metrics such as traffic source, location, page views and past purchases.

TIP: Product pages provide the perfect opportunity to suggest a similar product or show what other customers have purchased.

Take Pinrose for an example.

Pinrose is a luxury fragrance brand that has created a scent quiz to help customers find the fragrance most suited to them. In this example, a scent quiz personalizes the experience, and allows Pinrose to make better product suggestions. This feature provides Pinrose valuable consumer information, while also giving its customers a memorable shopping experience.

product recommendation example

4. Banners

Banners are a great option for onsite merchandising. Display them prominently on the homepage to promote a sale or place them at the top of the browser window on all site pages to entice visitors while they are browsing. Banners let shoppers know about what’s going on in your online store, similar to a sale sign at the entrance of a brick and mortar store.

Banners example

5. Badges

Savvy retailers use badges to differentiate between products and make specific products stand out. When used on product results pages, badges highlight product attributes such as clearance items, best sellers, most popular, new items or staff picks. This provides any easy way for customers to “self help” and easily find products that are meaningful and relevant to them.

Badges Example

When done right, and with attention to detail, onsite merchandising can lead to increased conversions. By making products easy to find and offering relevant suggestions, you provide customers with a better shopping experience.

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  1. […] my last post we discussed 5 Ways to Master Online Merchandising for Your Online Store. Now it’s time to focus even more closely on the buying experience. When a visitor enters your […]



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