eCommerce Visual Merchandising: How to Increase Conversions Using the Rule of Three

Don't underestimate the power of visual merchandising. Learn how the right visual presentation of your products can help increase conversions, specifically through the rule of three.

Ali Shah - Writer for Fast Simon
By Ali Shah
Michelle Meyer - Editor for Fast Simon
Edited by Michelle Meyer
Oli Kashti - Writer and Fact-Checker for Fast Simon
Fact-check by Oli Kashti

Updated May 15, 2024.

There are some things you can just count on. In visual merchandising, you can trust that the rule of three helps you make an impact. By displaying your products in groups of three, you can draw your customers' attention to key products and increase sales. Over 80% of customers agree that their buying decision is influenced by product displays, so isn't it time to make sure your eCommerce merchandising is optimized?

What Is the Rule of Three?

The rule of three is a merchandising principle in which three items are grouped together to create a more aesthetically pleasing and balanced composition.

A classic example of the rule of three in visual merchandising is the mannequins in a clothing store window. Three mannequins are placed together and dressed in coordinating outfits. This creates a sense of unity and linkage amongst the products while also allowing each individual item to stand out and grab the customers' attention.

Group of three mannequins in a clothing store window as an example of the rule of three in visual merchandising

» Delve deeper into why product recommendations also need merchandising rules

How to Use the Rule of Three to Your Advantage

Product Listings

Improve your product listings by implementing the rule of three in your product images, especially when your products come in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors. With a single image, you can demonstrate your product range to your customers at a glance.

For example, Staghead Designs showcases the variety of a particular jewelry design in one image (different metal and gemstone types). By placing the items asymmetrically in a pyramid or triangle, customers are encouraged to consider all three products because their eyes constantly move between the jewelry pieces, and their attention remains on this core merchandising display.

Screenshot of Staghead Designs' online store implementing the rule of three in product images to improve visual merchandising

» Follow these eCommerce merchandising best practices

Product Recommendations

Promoting products in small groups not only allows your customers to compare items but also gives you the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell if you group products that are related but not variations of the same product.

For example, Princess Polly implements the rule of three in their product recommendations. If a customer is looking for a prom dress, Princess Polly suggests three of their other items that will complement the dress and "complete the look". This visual merchandising technique doesn't overwhelm the customer and encourages them to stay on the website.

Screenshot of Princess Polly using the rule of three in product recommendations to improve their visual merchandising

The Best Things Come in Threes

The rule of three is a beneficial move if you want to make an impact with your visual merchandising. It can help you improve your customers' experience and engagement, as well as showcase your products in the best possible way. Optimize your automated visual merchandising techniques to empower your brand and marketing strategy to reach your ultimate goal: boosting your sales.

» Consider these additional critical visual merchandising strategies to drive sales