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5 Merchandising Strategies That Can Boost Your Online Retail Conversions

Merchandising does to your retail business what jet fuel does to jets; it helps your business take off, and drives it to where it needs to be. You’re probably well aware of the basics of using merchandise to drive sales on your e-retail store. In the cut-throat world that is online retail though, the little details make a world of difference. Seemingly insignificant nuances of your merchandising strategy can help you drive sales up. With a  couple of tweaks, you can cause a healthy shift in your online retail conversion rates.

What changes can you effect then, to ensure that online sales go through at an optimal rate? Here’s a list of 5 effective merchandising strategies in use today.

1. Streamline The Online Shopping Experience

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The average online shopper prefers an e-retail store that’s simple, attractive, and easy to use. This is exactly what your website needs to be. Tailor the features of your online store to strike an effective balance between its visual appeal aspect (User Interface, or UI) and the convenience it offers shoppers (User Experience, or UX).

When a shopper visits a website and finds it unappealing or overcomplicated, guess what happens. That’s right! They simply up and leave your web portal. What you can do to address this is to run an analysis on your store using retail analytics software. Here are some great tips you can follow additionally, to reduce the likelihood of abandoned carts on your e-store.

Enhance Your Search Results

50% of an online retailer’s clientele prefer shopping by searching for products they need on your website. Optimizing this can make a huge difference in lead conversion rates.

Consider the case of FootSmart, an online shoe retailer. By displaying top sellers alongside search results, they were able to boost conversion rates by a whopping 82%.

Advertise Features Like Free Shipping

Letting customers know your policies on free shipping eligibility helps too. As much as 93% of shoppers are willing to take steps to make sure they qualify for free shipping.

2. Using Software As A Service (SaaS)

E-Commerce solutions, through SaaS, help smaller online retailers provide fully functional online retail portals at minimal capital costs. There are many advantages to using such a system.

A modern retail merchandising software platform is usually managed by an experienced, professional organization. This means that your site is always up and works efficiently 24/7.

Consider iNOptimizer from Intelligence Node; this software takes care of your entire retail cycle from—manufacturing facility to warehouse to retail outlets—and uses data-driven insight to adjust brand position, product bundling, cross-selling and up-selling strategies, and pricing to ensure higher profit margins and greater efficiency.

SaaS organizations also provide an advantage when it comes to security. If you’re using an on-premise software solution, the onus lies on you—the merchant—to take care of software updates and patches to deal with vulnerabilities. With third-party retail merchandising software solutions, this is all dealt by the service provider for you.

3. Cross-Selling And Up-Selling

When you merchandise your site, this provides a great opportunity for you to cross-sell and up-sell products. This is one of the most effective strategies to boost online retail conversion rates. 

Cross-selling is the act of showing your client similar products at a similar price point, while up-selling refers to offering a similar—but costlier—premium product to increase your margin on a sale.

This technique works on one simple underlying premise; just because your customer is on a product page, doesn’t really mean that they’ve found exactly what they’re looking for. By displaying itemized product sections, such as “frequently bought together” and “people who bought this product also bought,” you can increase the total purchase value and drive lead conversion rates up.

Cross-selling lets you lead your customers into buying other products by offering alternatives, while displaying a “top rated product” (up-selling) helps drive up margins.

4. Dynamic Retail Pricing Optimization

Given the blitzing speeds of the fast-paced online retail industry, it should come as no surprise that this is a prime market for dynamic pricing.

Initially, automated repricing based on consumer data seemed to be an exclusive—and expensive—option reserved solely for the likes of Amazon, Walmart, and other industry titans. With their considerable resources, they were able to build effective dynamic pricing engines in-house.

Dynamic pricing can make for effective sales; take the case of Walmart and Amazon, for instance. Both these organizations can be classified as loss leaders. This means that they have a reputation for stocking the lowest priced commodities. This perception is so deeply ingrained into the average customer. Even when (say) Amazon doesn’t sell a 2GB graphics processor at the industry’s cheapest price, it is still widely believed to be the cheapest 2GB graphics processor around.

With a number of third party repricers offering your business cheap retail pricing optimization services, now is the time to ride this wave all the way to the top.

5. Studying Your Customer Base’s Behaviour

A key component of every good merchandising strategy is to keenly study your customers’ desires and needs. Using this, you can align your contents, products, cross-sells and up-sells to fit individual customers’ preferences.

There’s no rocket science involved; today’s technology has given rise to things like big data analytics, which helps you—the retailer—gain some meaningful insight into your customer’s psyche. Modern-day personalization technology lets you use these insights to build intelligent customer profiles through a few clicks.

Using this insight into the behavioural, historical, and contextual information, you can dynamically deliver the right product recommendations, offers, and content to the right customer. Shoppers are less likely to be bombarded with irrelevant promotions, and subsequently less likely to be turned off your service.

Analyzing your customer base is a technique that’s on the up and up, poised to climb higher, and delve deeper with emerging technologies like wearable devices and the internet of things.

Rethink your organization’s digital marketing strategy and make use of the massively convenient technology at hand. Your customers can be promoted to—so effectively—that they don’t even realize what hit them just that they want to buy more. With today’s technology-driven population, you can actually do this with much ease!

James Anthony

By James Anthony

A senior FinancesOnline writer on SaaS and B2B topics, James Anthony passion is keeping abreast of the industry’s cutting-edge practices (other than writing personal blog posts on why Firefly needs to be renewed). He has written extensively on these two subjects, being a firm believer in SaaS to PaaS migration and how this inevitable transition would impact economies of scale. With reviews and analyses spanning a breadth of topics from software to learning models, James is one of FinancesOnline’s most creative resources on and off the office.

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