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7 eCommerce merchandising techniques to try (with examples)


eCommerce merchandising best practices

In the same way that retailers dress up their store windows, there’s a reason why eCommerce sellers invest in smart merchandising strategies. Whether in the real world or the online world, the goal is to be able to stop people in their tracks. 


Below, we’ll discuss eCommerce merchandising strategies that can keep shoppers on your site longer and guide them toward a purchase. Keep reading for practical tips and real-world examples to learn from. 


Looking to revive your online store? Try Wix’s eCommerce website builder.



What is eCommerce merchandising? 


Ecommerce merchandising is the practice of organizing and displaying products attractively throughout your online store to entice a sale.   


Unlike traditional retail merchandising, which relies heavily on physical store layouts and displays, eCommerce merchandising relies on your website layout and interactive elements. For example, when building your eCommerce site, you may choose to display your newest products on your homepage while making personalized recommendations throughout your product pages. Ecommerce merchandising techniques can (and should) be applied all across your site, from your homepage to your checkout page. 



The evolution of eCommerce merchandising and how it works today


When it comes to eCommerce merchandising, we’ve come a long. 

In the early days of eCommerce, merchandising simply involved uploading your products to your website (which alone was an arduous process). Today, it's a much more dynamic process that involves engaging with customers through various touchpoints and personalizing the shopping experience.


Technology has been a game-changer in how merchandising strategies across all types of sites are developed and applied. Modern analytics provide an in-depth look at customer behaviors, allowing for more targeted marketing efforts. Tools like AI and machine learning offer predictive insights into shopping trends, making it possible to anticipate customer needs before they express them.


In short, eCommerce merchandising is much more agile and data-driven today, entailing techniques like:  


  • Product selection 

  • Product placement

  • On-site navigation and search 

  • Pricing and promotions 

  • Upselling and cross-selling 

  • Personalized recommendations 

  • Social proof and reviews

  • Content marketing



7 eCommerce merchandising techniques to improve sales


There are infinite ways to set up your website to help shoppers out. For starters, here are several best practices to keep in mind: 




01. Think like a curator


The job of any curator—be it for a museum, art gallery, library or eCommerce site—is to thoroughly research a topic and ensure that information is presented in a compelling, easy-to-understand way. In the same vein, you’ll want to become an expert on your audience and industry, and then curate your online products in a logical way. 


Group similar products together, while being intentional about how you create categories and subcategories. For instance, jewelry brand Yam groups its products in a few different ways: by jewelry type (necklaces, earrings, bracelets & rings), popular collections (silver edit, flowers, hoops, collaborations) and appeal (new, best sellers). 



Yam product merchandising example


This allows shoppers with varying interests to find what they need quickly. Meanwhile, a typical clothing store may group products by gender or age group first, then by clothing type. On the other hand, a furniture store might group products by room, then material or aesthetic. 



02. Think mobile


As you’re making a website, it’s easy to become fixated on the desktop experience. But given that “mcommerce” is expected to make up 62% of all retail sales by 2027, you’ll want to pay attention to how your site displays on smaller screens. 


While you might be able to promote several products side by side on your desktop site, you may only be able to show one product at a time on mobile devices. So, be deliberate about how products are arranged across your mobile homepage, category pages and product pages


Prioritize your most important content first, and adjust your navigation menus so that shoppers can easily move around your site without getting distracted or fat-fingering anything. 

 

Did you know? With Wix’s mobile editor, you can adjust your layout, remove certain elements from view and make other customizations specifically for mobile screens. Create a free Wix account and try it out yourself. 



03. Don’t skimp on your visuals 


When customers can’t touch and physically examine your products, visuals like product photos, videos and user-generated content (UGC) become ever more important. For this reason, you’ll want to pay extra attention to how visual cues are used throughout your site to keep visitors engaged. A few pointers:


  • Put your best foot forward in all of your product photos, bearing in mind that the quality of your photos may reflect the quality of your products and the professionalism of your brand. Offer multiple photos for each product, showing all its variations and angles. 


  • Provide visual confirmation, e.g., show product photos in addition to their names in on-site search results or dropdown menus so shoppers know that they’re searching for the right things. 


  • Validate purchase decisions via visuals, e.g., UGC, star ratings and photos of influential brands or people who’ve shopped at your store. 

  • Tell a story with your pictures, e.g., use lifestyle photos or videos that demonstrate who your brand is for and how your products can be used. For example, Chairigami uses inviting imagery to flaunt the strength and cleverness of its cardboard furniture.  



Chairigami product merchandising example


  • Be consistent in your branding. Think of your website as a showroom where your layout, logo, colors and fonts all make up your brand and make it easier for people to remember you.

  • Don’t sacrifice user experience for style points. Keep the UX simple and clean, so shoppers don’t have to expend too much effort trying to find what they’re looking for.



04. Less searching, more showing


For your customers, the best shopping experiences are easy and enjoyable. They don’t involve too much clicking or scrambling around to find the right products. 


Just like how a salesperson might help you find the right shoe size while you’re shopping in stores, you can connect your online shoppers with the right products in various ways. As ideas:  


  • On your homepage, feature the best-selling, highest-rated or newest product above the fold.

  • On your category pages, prominently display subcategories, filters and sort bars that help shoppers quickly narrow their options and avoid choice paralysis.  

  • On your product pages, offer product comparisons or ways to style your product, so buyers don’t have to look elsewhere for inspiration and/or validation. Also, show crucial product details, such as size charts, care instructions, fit details and more.

  • On your checkout pages, recommend add-ons or other products that are frequently purchased with the products in a visitor’s shopping cart.  


Draw inspiration from Chairigami’s product pages, which included a “related products” section and “trade show booth sets.” Both of these sections present how products can be used and purchased together, without requiring customers to click off the original product page. 



Chairigami related products section


You can further assist customers through things like autocomplete or auto-suggestions in the search bar, or through pop-up promotions and more. 



05. Get personal


Take advantage of the data and technology at your fingertips; personalize the shopping experience to your customers’ unique tastes, values and behaviors. 


You can use tools like Wix’s AI-powered product recommender to showcase related products based on various factors—like products from the same categories, items that are frequently bought together or those that are frequently viewed together. 




Try Wix's website builder for free.



Help customers shop more efficiently by personalizing your recommendations and promotions in these ways. Utilize the space on your product pages, checkout pages, emails and more to highlight them. 



06. Let your brand advocates do the talking 


Give your satisfied customers a space to champion your brand. Invite and incorporate customer reviews, social proof and/or star ratings across your site to build credibility. 


If you’ve collaborated with other brands or influencers, or have been featured in prominent publications—show that off. For example, Koketit (a brand started by artist Shira Barzilay) gives visitors a way to admire all the recognition that the artist has received over the years. In both the hero image and farther down on the homepage, the brand features its latest collaboration with Polish brand TATUUM. 



Koketit product merchandising example


07. Remember off-site techniques 


Your work doesn’t end when a shopper exits your site. Rather, every touchpoint should be optimized for engagement, from the moment customers land on your homepage to the moment they leave. 


No matter if a shopper leaves with or without a purchase, follow up with tailored emails, engaging blogs, creative social media posts, retargeting ads and more. Aim to provide real value as opposed to simply shoving your products in people’s faces. 


This can be done by offering thoughtful discounts and promotions. You can even set up a loyalty program, where buyers are incentivized to continue engaging with your brand. For instance, Jule Dancewear offers “Jules Rewards.” Frequent shoppers can expect special discounts every time they refer another shopper. Or, they can rack up points by ordering a product, following the brand on Instagram or celebrating their birthday. 



Jule Dancewear loyalty program


Challenges in eCommerce merchandising


Navigating the world of online retail comes with its own set of hurdles. As an eCommerce business, you'll face challenges that can stall or impact your merchandising efforts. 


One significant challenge is staying ahead of the competition. The digital marketplace is crowded, and standing out requires a mix of creativity, marketing savvy and a deep understanding of your customers. Another hurdle is managing inventory effectively to avoid overstocking or stockouts, which can hurt your margins or credibility. Beyond this, it’s nearly impossible to avoid issues with shipping or other unexpected events when you’re selling online. 


To minimize these obstacles, take these preventative measures: 


  • Leverage data analytics: Use customer data to make informed decisions about your inventory. Study up on different demand forecasting and inventory management strategies, perhaps even testing things like accepting preorders to right-size your inventory.

  • Have a contingency plan: If you still wind up with too much or too little stock, what will you do? Will you sell excess inventory at a lower price or bundle them with more popular products? How will you respond if you accidentally oversell a product?

  • Keep customers in the know: The last thing your customers want is to feel duped. Create an atmosphere of transparency. When the unexpected happens, find a way to communicate with customers without raising alarms or throwing mud over your issues. 

  • Streamline the checkout process: Minimize cart abandonment by keeping the checkout process simple. Accept multiple payment options (which solutions like Wix Payments make possible) and only ask for essential information.

  • Optimize for search engines: Invest in long-term organic marketing strategies like SEO. Check that your site pages are SEO-friendly, and consider other content marketing methods for driving traffic to your online store.

  • Sell on multiple channels: Avoid becoming over-reliant on a single channel for your sales. Explore opportunities to sell on other marketplaces or social channels to diversify your sales strategy.

  • Monitor market trends: Stay updated on industry trends so you can quickly adapt your merchandising strategy as needed. Stay open to integrating tools like chatbots, AI-driven analytics and AR into your online store (as examples).

  • Invest in training: Encourage your team to stay current with digital marketing skills and eCommerce best practices.



Trends shaping the future of eCommerce merchandising


Ecommerce merchandising is constantly evolving. What works today may not necessarily work tomorrow, and new technologies regularly shape how customers discover and experience products online. Future-proof your business by looking into these emerging trends. 



Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies 


You can expect AI to open up even more opportunities to hyper-personalize product recommendations, search results and marketing messages (among other things). Not to mention that AI will continue to refine the efficiency of inventory management systems, reducing waste and ensuring that popular items are restocked promptly. Other advancements, like AI website builders, will further simplify and evolve the web design process. 


“In the coming years, AI will allow you to offer hyper-personalized and zero-friction shopping experiences like never before. Imagine entire storefronts, catalogs, promotions and products that look completely different for every customer. “ - Oren Inditzky, Wix VP & GM of Online Stores


Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and omnichannel 


Already, we see AR and VR shaping a new reality for eCommerce and taking omnichannel concepts to new heights. HOKA, as an example, allows buyers shoppers to virtually try on sneakers or view them in AR, mimicking a real-world shopping experience.   



HOKA VR and AR example


Meanwhile, more and more DTC brands are using their brick-and-mortar stores as showrooms. Reformation is one brand that has been using AR to upgrade the in-store shopping experience for years; customers can explore different sizes, colors and styles of any item from touchscreens placed throughout the store. 



Virtual influencers


Virtual influencers are staking their claim, with brands like IKEA and Calvin Klein hiring these virtual models for creative ad campaigns. In the same vein, you’ve got companies like Meta, hoping to push the envelope with AI chatbots—even buying the rights to model AI characters after cultural icons like Tom Brady and Kendall Jenner. 


“Once you are digitized, you are immortalized,” says Cameron Wilson, CEO of The Diigitals and the creator of Shudu, the world’s first digital supermodel. 




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