Merchandising goes “E”
Themes : e-commerce, customer behavior
We talked One-to-one. We talked Personalization. We even talked about Cross-sell. But what is the ultimate aim ? What is the context for all these discussions ? For those who are still missing it : we are fond of Merchandising. And this small word means a lot more that what most of people think. And sadly, most of the time, especially online, this notion is limited to managing stocks and sometimes a little bit of ergonomic. Let’s clear up what Merchandising was, is and will be.
Physical store – Merchandising
Basically, merchandising is how you deal with your product offerings inside your shop. What product, how many, where, when and how.
Example : choosing what products to down-sell, to put in the center, the lower or the top shelves in a supermarket … or at the entrance.
Physical store – Visual Merchandising
We call “visual merchandising” our own kind of art, just us merchants, marketers and merchandisers. The art of concealing commercial objectives with aesthetique, customers understanding and guidance. It is our own product “mise-en-scene”, our own sense of dedicated eye-friendly to sales.
Example : bias between lining up clothes by color and shape in a luxury store or choosing a more graphic window display mixing shape and colors
Online store – E-Merchandising
Why shouldn’t this concept get an online twist ? You may not realize it now, but E-merchandising does rime with ergonomics. And with analytics. The way you display products, the strategies you chose, the element you decide to put on each page is merchandising. And the retargeting campaigns you run, is also based on what products your merchandising emphasized.
Example : this is online merchandisingAlwaysRiding home page reflects a part of its inventory and that involves the visitor online (“just for you”).
We wrote a white paper, available in french only for now, about how E-merchandising can be one-to-one.
As merchandising is showing the right product, or the part of your inventory in the right place, on the right moment according to the right stock and sales strategy inside your website, why not add “to the right person visiting your online store” ?
Frequently asked question : how to differentiate between marketing and merchandising ?
In the E-commerce community, many people assume that merchandising is inferred by their global marketing strategy. And they miss crucial steps to an efficient strategy. To keep it simple :
– First there is your store brand strategy: its identity, its universe and its image.
– Then, there are your products and their targeted audience, your distribution channels and your acquisition strategy (advertising, promotions …)
– Finally, we arrive at the in-store experience (including product placement) and actual sales. This is where Merchandising step in.
People coming to your store because of an ad won’t make a purchase 100% of the time. Not if the experience around the purchase does not satisfy them, not if their need is not fulfilled at every level. For us, merchandising is part of the overall marketing strategy to create a unique experience and generate revenue and satisfaction. It is the cornerstone in boosting turnover (stocks and margin) and a comfortable user experience whether in-store or online.
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