Visual merchandising is something that we're all familiar with when it comes to an in-store environment. From shop window displays to the sweets around the checkouts, it's hard not to be influenced by careful product positioning. But when it comes to online visual merchandising, working out how to adapt in-store techniques and where to start can seem like a daunting task.
Intelligent e-Commerce visual merchandising allows you to target global customers, offer valuable recommendations and drive visitors to the right products. Not only does visual merchandising help to increase revenue and AOV, it also helps to provide an experience that resonates with your customer, supports your branding and encourages return visits. Investing in the knowledge and techniques to help get your online visual merchandising right is vital for any online business.
So where should you start?
Here are my top five tips to help you ensure your online visual merchandising is as effective as possible:
The best online retailers have a visual merchandising strategy. Decide on your strategy and adhere to it consistently. Don't get too wrapped up in what your competitors are doing – think about what will work best for your business and what will engage your customers. If your company has a mission statement or motto you can use this to inspire what the focus of your strategy should be. This will deliver better results than just copying the leading competitor or following the crowd.
Invest in strong product photography and styling. Your model images are your shop mannequins; they should help encourage outfit purchases by recommending complimentary pieces and should represent your brand. It's equally important that the quality of your product photography is strong and as detailed as possible. It's the one chance you have to show your customers your products and should be treated as an opportunity to sell, sell, sell!
When manually merchandising category pages remember to consider composition. Products are much easier to view when there is an order to the page. Try and place similar scale images together, for example, keep full-length images or cropped images together in rows. Keeping to one clear colour palette and one or two complimentary prints on each page will create a strong visually merchandised theme. If using algorithms to merchandise pages it can be useful to create rules that consider the trend or season of your products to help you gain a visually appealing balance.
Keep your navigation and category hierarchy simple. Don't put any obstacles in the way or make it difficult for customers to find what they're looking for. There can be a temptation to add every single category link into your navigation but this can clutter the appearance of your menu and cause customers to become overwhelmed. Review your top categories on a regular basis and ensure that these can be located easily, in the fewest clicks possible.
Treat your homepage and any category header imagery as a shop window. It should grab the customer's attention and have a clear message. Use this space to inspire customers and, where possible, personalise content to lead them to categories where they are more likely to convert.