The Fast Lane
Discover the world of AI-driven shopping optimization and fast-track your way to increased conversion rates, AOV, and customer loyalty. Explore expert insights on e-commerce personalization, merchandising, site search, and more.
MerchandisingeCommerce Merchandising for Every Season: 5 Best Practices for Selling Seasonal ProductsSeasonal product sales in the online marketplace can only be described as a rollercoaster ride. It's exciting and certainly profitable when done well. To help you make the most of seasonal ups and downs, we explore different eCommerce merchandising best practices for selling seasonal products. 5 Best Merchandising Practices for Selling Seasonal Products Add compelling product descriptions and imageryOptimize product recommendationsImplement dynamic pricing strategiesCreate seasonal bundles and gift setsLeverage influencer collaborations 1. Add Compelling Product Descriptions and Imagery Well-crafted product descriptions and visual merchandising are powerful tools for selling seasonal products. You can: Highlight each product's seasonal appeal and benefits.Connect with your customers on an emotional level.Create seasonal themes and décor.Place your seasonal products strategically in your store for maximum visibility. For example, Tail Bangers, a specialist dog treats seller, promotes their Spring products by connecting them to baseball season. Phrases like "Play Ball", "What says Spring more", and "a day at the ball park" reinforce this. Pro tip:Consider what information your target audience finds relevant and useful. Identify their language preferences and whether they're okay with certain words or phrases. This will help you craft informative and persuasive content that meets the buyer's intent. Plus, it will help you optimize your site search, making it easier for customers to find what they're looking for. » Are your seasonal products niche? Try these tips to optimize your merchandising efforts 2. Optimize Product Recommendations Seasonal products have a limited timeframe when they sell well. So, you want to make sure you get the best out of your seasonal products. Product recommendations create good opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, especially if they're personalized to each customer. For example, clothing retailer Tulio recommends products based on the seasonal style the customer is browsing in its store. While looking at a pink knit winter jacket, Tulio recommends other pink cardigans and knits under the "Shop the Look" section. » You should merchandise your product recommendations too: Here's why 3. Implement Dynamic Pricing Strategies While putting your merchandising strategy together, remember that dynamic pricing and seasonal products go hand-in-hand. By adjusting prices and offering discounts based on seasonal demand, you can create a win-win situation where customers get more value for their money, and your business grows. For example, outdoor gear retailer BackCountry raises prices on ski clothing and snow gear as winter approaches. During the summer, it runs flash sales and offers discounts on those products to maintain sales momentum. » Unsure how to bring these merchandising strategies together? Find out how AI can help 4. Create Seasonal Bundles and Gift Sets By bundling related seasonal items or curating seasonally-themed gift sets, you can: Increase your average order value by encouraging customers to buy multiple items.Create seasonal promotional campaigns on your store, social media channels, or email.Manage your seasonal inventory by including overstocked items as add-ons or free gifts in product bundles. For example, CURATEUR, an eCommerce brand founded by style expert Rachael Zoe, uses gift sets as cross-selling opportunities. Its summer-style box curates different products that complement each other. Pro tip:Leverage different product bundle strategies to refine your merchandising efforts. Test and adjust your approach based on seasonal trends, customer feedback, and data analysis. Done well, seasonal bundles and gifts can boost sales and drive repeat purchases in your store. 5. Leverage Influencer Collaborations Influencer marketing is a great way to build awareness for your seasonal products. It involves partnering with TikTok, Instagram, and other platform creators to generate content that captivates and delights your audience. These creators are full of engaging content ideas, and you can pitch your own ideas for the seasonal campaign. For example, influencers collaborating with Sephora creatively unbox its gift sets on Instagram, captivating their followers and fueling excitement for the brand's seasonal offerings. Pro tip:Partner with creators who have a decent following and a knack for creative storytelling to captivate your audience. With the right influencer collaborations, you can build a credible campaign and amplify your growth and reach. Swiftly Adapt Your Seasonal Merchandising If you want to drive sales and foster customer engagement, it's critical to tap into the best practices of eCommerce merchandising. This is true in every area of eCommerce, including seasonal sales. By prioritizing thorough market research, you can understand your customers' preferences and anticipate their seasonal demands. In turn, this can help you optimize your seasonal merchandising strategies. Remember, your store and products are unique, so it's important to test different methods until you find what works best for your store and customers. » Need more merchandising tips? Find everything you want to know in this ultimate merchandising guide
MerchandisingMerchandising in eCommerce: 4 Best Use Cases for eCommerce Stores in 2023Effective merchandising is the linchpin for any business looking to thrive in eCommerce. This strategic art involves meticulously planning, presenting, and promoting your products for the express purpose of turbocharging your sales. But how can merchandising reshape your eCommerce sales strategy as a whole? Buckle up because we're about to dive deep into eCommerce merchandising and uncover the best use cases for growing your eCommerce store. Meet the Expert Jameela Ghann is a seasoned online store owner with over a decade of eCommerce experience. Apart from running Alora Boutique, she's also the marketing manager for Fera Product Reviews. 1. Cross-selling and Upselling While closely related, there is a difference between cross-selling and upselling: Cross-selling: You encourage a customer to buy additional products that complement what the customer is already buying.Upselling: You encourage a customer to a more expensive or upgraded version of the product they're buying. As a dynamic duo, cross-selling and upselling are powerful tools in merchandising because they can boost sales and improve customer satisfaction, especially if your product recommendations are personalized. Princess Polly, an online fashion store, promotes upselling at two touchpoints: product pages and checkout pages. By suggesting customers "Complete the Look" on product pages, Princess Polly encourages their customers to keep on shopping, hopefully adding more products to their cart. By encouraging "The Perfect Addition" on checkout pages, Princess Polly aim to capitalize on impulse buying because the customer is at the point of purchase. The name of your cross-selling and upselling sections should be enticing and resonate with your customers. Popular choices include:Frequently bought togetherShop the collectionYou may also likeTop picks » Explore further how and why to use eCommerce upsell and cross-sell recommendations 2. Product Bundles Product bundling is when you sell multiple items together as a package deal, instead of letting customers buy the items individually. This has two main advantages: Increased AOV: Your average order value (AOV) can increase because customers are buying more items in a single purchase. This in turn can increase your revenue.Product management: You can sell slower-moving items with higher margin items, meaning you won't end up with deadstock. Spiceology, a premium spice and herb manufacturer and seller, offers a bundle deal on pickling spices. The product description clearly communicates why this is an effective bundle, plus it emphasizes value for money through the 15% off button and the slashed price. » Try one of these product bundling strategies for merchandising success 3. Seasonal Merchandising Seasonal merchandising means aligning your product offerings with the seasons and holidays. This merchandising strategy allows you to capitalize on seasonal demand, meaning your products match the specific needs and preferences of your customers during that season. Plus, you can incentivize customers by creating a sense of urgency. Seasonal items tend to be available for a limited time only, making customers more likely to buy because they know the products won't be available year-round. Steve Madden, the global fashion brand, is running a fall promotion to match the season. Once the season has passed, the discount will also fall away. This encourages shoppers to stock up their fall wardrobe now to make the most of the reduced prices. » Improve your seasonal merchandising efforts with these tips 4. Showcasing Social Proof You increase your credibility when you showcase real feedback from real customers on your eCommerce store. This is particularly effective in convincing first-time buyers you're trustworthy because seeing other successful transactions reduces their purchase anxiety. Social proof includes: User-generated content ReviewsTestimonials Plus, social proof is very versatile. You don't have to restrict it to your store—you can also incorporate it into your email marketing and social media activities. Satya Jewelry showcases customer reviews on product pages including star ratings, verified buyer statuses, and their replies to the review. This shows their reviews are transparent and they value their customers' opinions. Why eCommerce Merchandising Matters Enhanced shopping experience: Effective merchandising enhances the overall shopping experience of your customers. It makes products easier to discover, helping shoppers quickly find what they're looking for.Boosted sales: Just as a captivating window display draws people into a physical store, a well-structured homepage and product layout can entice online visitors to explore further. Hence, improved product visibility translates into increased sales.Conversion rate optimization (CRO): Proper merchandising can also contribute to better conversion rates. When products are thoughtfully presented, visitors are more likely to make a purchase and stick around to see more.Inventory management: Merchandising enables you to strategically manage inventory, push slow-moving products, and optimize your stock effectively. Let eCommerce Merchandising Deliver Fast Results Effective merchandising is not just a strategy—it's the cornerstone of success in eCommerce. It involves meticulous planning, presenting, and promoting your products to supercharge your sales. As we've explored some of the best use cases for growing your eCommerce store, it becomes evident that merchandising isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, it's a dynamic set of strategies that can reshape your eCommerce sales strategy in meaningful ways, ultimately leading to growth and success in the competitive world of online retail. » Need a merchandising partner? Discover how Fast Simon's merchandising solution can help
MerchandisingEcommerce Visual Merchandising Guide: Improving the Online Shopping ExperienceVisual merchandising is an essential aspect of eCommerce that can significantly impact customer experience and sales. As a merchandiser, you have many tools to create an engaging and visually stunning eCommerce experience for your customers. From designing navigation and product categories to using images and videos, every element of your online store can be strategically arranged to captivate and convert your customers. What Is Visual Merchandising? Visual merchandising is the process of designing and arranging the physical or digital presentation of products in a way that engages and entices customers. In eCommerce, visual merchandising refers to using online visual elements to create an appealing and intuitive shopping experience. Your website's design, layout, and product displays are the first things your customers see, and they can significantly impact their purchasing decisions. An effective visual merchandising strategy for eCommerce can help your business stand out from competitors, improve customer engagement, and ultimately drive sales. Pela: Sustainable Visual Merchandising Practices For example, by using high-quality product images, you can give your customers a clear idea of the product they're interested in, thereby increasing the likelihood of converting and purchasing. Plus, if you couple this with effective calls to action, such as prominent "Shop Phone Cases" or "Shop Watch Straps" buttons, it can also help guide customers toward the right category. A Look at Visual Merchandising in Traditional and Online Retail The goals of eCommerce vs. retail merchandising are the same: Drawing in customersBuilding brand awarenessEncouraging repeat purchasesStreamlining the shopping experience However, your visual merchandising strategy will vary depending on whether you're working in a brick-and-mortar store or an online marketplace. The key features, benefits, and drawbacks of each strategy are as follows: Retail Visual Merchandising Retail visual merchandising refers to curating product displays and layouts within physical stores to entice and captivate customers. ProsImmersive shopping experience with physical interactionEfficient product placement & optimized store layoutInstantaneous feedback for quick adjustmentsOpportunity for in-person engagement & personalized assistanceConsLimited reach due to physical locationSpace limitations affecting display optionsTime-consuming updates with static displays eCommerce Visual Merchandising eCommerce visual merchandising involves presenting products and arranging displays within online stores to maximize customer engagement. ProsPersonalization based on customer behavior and preferencesFlexibility with dynamic updates to adapt to trendsWider reach, accessible to a global audienceEnhanced data insights for data-driven decision-makingConsLack of physical interaction with productsTechnical challenges in managing an eCommerce platformSecurity and privacy concerns with customer data » Delve deeper into the similarities and differences between retail vs. eCommerce visual merchandising Creating a Visual Merchandising Plan Creating a cohesive and consistent visual identity is crucial for your eCommerce store. By ensuring that your website's visual elements, including colors, typography, and imagery, align with your brand values and target audience, you can establish a memorable and trustworthy image for your business. This, in turn, creates an immersive shopping experience that captivates your customers and drives results. Popular Visual Merchandising Elements Some examples of visual features that you can use to create an effective visual merchandising plan are as follows: Product images and photographyVideos and animationsColor schemes and typographyGraphics, icons, and illustrations Product displays and arrangementsNavigation and category designCalls-to-action (CTAs)Social proof elements » Here's how to optimize your eCommerce merchandising management The Benefits of Visual Merchandising 1. Increased Customer Engagement By creating an immersive and interactive experience, you can hold the attention of your customers for longer. Whether this is through videos and animations showcasing your products in action or giving your customers more options than they bargained for, the right visual merchandising strategy will keep your customers engaged. For example, popular designer Steve Madden gives their customers a view of their products from all sides. Each image is clickable and can be viewed in a larger format. Even the color variations of the particular shoe design are merchandised and easy to navigate. Because these merchandising elements help make the website easy to use, customers are encouraged to engage more. 2. Higher Conversion Rates Visual merchandising, coupled with the right prompts, can help you increase your conversion rates and sales. Effective calls-to-action can encourage your shoppers to take action and complete their purchase, while showcasing related or complementary products can encourage customers to make additional purchases. Keeping with the Steve Madden example, if customers are unsure how to style their purchase, the "Wear It With" section provides suggestions with clearly merchandised items to create a complete outfit. This gives Steve Madden the perfect opportunity to upsell and cross-sell. » Find out why product recommendations also require merchandising rules 3. Improved Brand Recognition Visual merchandising can improve brand recognition by establishing a consistent and memorable visual identity. When you use consistent branding across different touchpoints, you can create a strong visual presence that helps customers recognize your brand and strengthens your position in the marketplace. Additionally, incorporating user-generated content, such as customer photos and videos, can also help build customer trust and authenticity. For example, apart from social proof elements like product reviews and ratings, Steve Madden also encourages customer engagement on social media, where customers can share photos and stories of enjoying their purchases. » Discover how user generated content influences brand loyalty Boost Your Customer Satisfaction the Fast Way Visual merchandising is a vital aspect of your eCommerce store that significantly impacts customer experience and sales. By strategically arranging every element of your online store, from navigation and product categories to images and videos, you can create an engaging and visually stunning shopping experience for your customers. Implementing effective visual merchandising strategies such as high-quality product images, calls to action, consistent branding, and social proof elements can increase customer engagement and loyalty and ultimately lead to higher conversion rates. Therefore, it's essential to have a cohesive visual merchandising plan aligned with your brand identity, target audience, and business goals to drive results and stand out from competitors. » Explore this ultimate merchandising guide for more best practices
MerchandisingHistory of Merchandising: How Strategies Have ChangedWhen you think of merchandising, you probably think of a modern-day storefront that's online or brick-and-mortar. But what many people don't realize is that the history of merchandising goes back to ancient times. Even in the cradle of civilization, bustling bazaars and vibrant trade routes depended on core merchandising principles to sell and exchange goods. Below, we explore the history of merchandising and how strategies have changed through 3 main periods: Ancient roots of merchandisingGolden age of brick-and-mortar retailDigital revolution and eCommerce merchandising Ancient Roots of Merchandising Merchandising and trade go hand in hand—and trade can be traced back to the earliest human civilizations, like Mesopotamia and Egypt. These ancient cultures laid the foundation for commerce and trade practices that continue to shape and influence merchandising as we know it today. Just picture it: lively marketplace scenes that go on for miles. Packed bazaars adorned with exotic goods. Buzzing trade routes connecting villagers from distant lands. In these environments, sellers used different merchandising strategies to make sure their businesses were noticed and patronized: Visual display: Merchants skillfully displayed their wares, enticing customers with colorful textiles, fragrant spices, and precious metals.Product demonstrations: Merchants often demonstrated the quality and usefulness of their wares to prospective buyers. For example, they might showcase the durability of a tool.Bartering and haggling: Buyers and sellers engaged in lively interactions and negotiations until a mutually agreeable exchange was reached. Golden Age of Brick-and-Mortar Retail Fast forwarding through the medieval period, Renaissance, and Industrial Revolution gave rise to trade fairs, printed materials, mass production, and department stores. The result of these advancements is the 20th century, when brick-and-mortar retail was at its high point. Specialty stores, supermarkets, and grand shopping malls lured in shoppers with: Impeccable visual displaysCaptivating store layoutsUnforgettable in-store promotions From the bright lights and shiny floors of department stores to the cozy atmosphere of mom-and-pop shops, there was something for everyone. Shoppers loved to browse through aisles of merchandise, interact with friendly salespeople, and take home new purchases. Brick-and-mortar retailers understood the importance of creating a memorable shopping experience, and they went to great lengths to make sure that their customers felt special. The golden age of brick-and-mortar retail may be over, but the impact it left on our consumer culture still lives on. Up to 85% of US consumers are returning to in-store shopping to rekindle the physical shopping experience. What does this mean for online retailers?A bigger investment in omnichannel merchandising can help sellers to give their customers the right engagement at the right time. Seamless integration of online and offline shopping experiences is crucial and allows customers to move fluidly between various channels and touchpoints. » Explore more differences between eCommerce vs retail merchandising Digital Revolution and eCommerce Merchandising The digital revolution led to a massive shift in the retail industry, giving rise to the booming world of eCommerce. With the birth of online platforms, traditional brick-and-mortar stores faced new challenges and opportunities. Merchandising strategies swiftly adapted to the online landscape, leveraging technology to enhance customer experiences. This includes: Data analytics: A powerful tool that provides valuable insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and trends. Today's retailers harness this information to refine their merchandising approaches and create tailored shopping experiences for each customer.User-generated content (UGC): Reviews, ratings, and social media interactions influence purchasing decisions. Savvy retailers integrate UGC into their product displays and promotional campaigns, building trust and engaging with their customer base. The digital revolution disrupted traditional retail, but it also opened up new doors. Retailers can reach global audiences, operate 24/7, and leverage targeted marketing strategies. The boundaries between physical and digital worlds blurred, making way for concepts like click-and-collect and showrooming. » Need more merchandising guidance? Follow these eCommerce merchandising do's and don'ts Popular Merchandising Strategies We Still Use Today Upselling and cross-selling Upselling encourages customers to purchase a higher-priced item, while cross-selling suggests complementary products. In a physical store, a salesperson skillfully recommends a pricier version or additional products at the checkout counter. But in eCommerce, personalized recommendations and "Customers who bought this also bought [x]" sections take center stage.Product bundling Product bundling involves grouping related items together and selling them as a package at a discounted price. For example, a hardware store may bundle gardening tools, fertilizers, and seeds to entice gardening enthusiasts. Similarly, an online grocery store may offer a pantry essentials kit with snacks and certain dry, bottled, or canned staples.Personalization Personalization means customizing shopping experiences to match customers' preferences. In a physical store, salespeople can remember and suggest suitable products during future visits. In eCommerce, algorithms analyze customers' browsing and purchase history to deliver tailored product recommendations. Imagine an online bookstore suggesting books based on your favorite titles or preferred genres.Influencer marketing Influencer marketing involves collaborating with individuals who have a substantial public following and leveraging their reach to promote your brand. In traditional retail, a beauty store might partner with a local influencer and host a meet & greet to attract customers. In eCommerce, a cosmetics brand may partner with a beauty vlogger to promote products via Instagram or TikTok. The Future of Merchandising It's easy to live our day-to-day lives without realizing how deeply ingrained the history of merchandising is in the fabric of society. From ancient trading routes to the golden age of brick-and-mortar to the digital revolution, merchandising grows and morphs along with us. Merchandising practices have continuously adapted to meet changing consumer demands and technological advancements. It's critical to understand the history of merchandising if you truly want to inform effective strategies in the present and future retail landscape. » Keep an eye on these future merchandising trends to stay ahead of your competition
MerchandisingTransforming eCommerce Merchandising With AI: 6 Strategies and Tips for SuccessIt's estimated that by 2032, the eCommerce AI market will reach a staggering $45.7 billion. Brands are increasingly recognizing the transformative power of AI, starting with their customer experiences. Integrating AI into online merchandising practices unlocks a store's potential for improving the shopping experience, nurturing customer relationships, and driving sales. Here are six strategies and tips on using AI to transform your eCommerce store's merchandising. 6 Ways to Transform Your eCommerce Merchandising With AI Harness AI for personalized product recommendationsOptimize pricing with AI dynamic pricingStreamline inventory management with AI forecastingEnhance visual merchandising with AI image recognitionOptimize customer service with AI chatbotsLeverage AI for sentiment analysis and customer insights 1. Harness AI for Personalized Product Recommendations AI is revolutionizing the way companies offer personalized product recommendations. Using smart algorithms, AI tools are able to analyze vast amounts of customer data, such as purchase patterns and browsing history. This information allows businesses to leverage personalization and enhance the post-purchase experience. Some benefits of using AI for personalization include enhanced customer experience and improved conversion rates. Pro tip:Use an AI-powered recommendation tool to provide personalized and valuable suggestions to shoppers. For instance, the online clothing retailer, Fashion Nova, uses Fast Simon's personalized recommendation engine to display the best items based on site search queries, purchases, and other behavioral data. » Learn why product recommendations require merchandising rules for maximum returns 2. Optimize Pricing With AI Dynamic Pricing Have you ever heard of the Amazon effect? It's essentially the continuous adjustment of prices to outpace competitors and maximize profits. AI can help you replicate this effect by implementing dynamic product pricing. This means that AI can analyze your product's demand and adjust prices in response to market shifts. This approach offers several key benefits, including maximizing average order value and improving cash flow. Returning to our example of Amazon, they're estimated to change the price of their products 2.5 million times a day, which has helped increase their profits by 25%. How do they achieve this? Using AI to track and analyze vast amounts of data, like inventory levels, shoppers' buying and browsing history, and competitor pricing. Pro tip:Utilize AI-driven pricing algorithms, like predictive analytics software, to dynamically adjust prices and optimize revenue. These algorithms analyze diverse data sets in real time, providing accurate pricing models aligned with customer preferences. 3. Streamline Inventory Management With AI Forecasting It goes without saying that optimizing stock levels is one of retail businesses' top priorities. AI is a key tool in this regard, reducing the costs and time associated with inventory optimization. AI algorithms analyze historical sales data, market trends, and external factors to accurately predict future demand. For instance, they can forecast whether your best-sellers have low or high inventory. This allows you to make informed decisions regarding their placement. It also helps to ensure that you have sufficient stock to meet customer demand while avoiding inventory depletion. As a result, you'll save valuable time and resources that you can allocate toward other critical areas of your business. Pro tip:Implement AI-powered inventory management systems to forecast demand and ensure optimal stock availability. These systems automatically update inventory as new products arrive, existing ones sell out, and new eCommerce trends emerge. 4. Enhance Visual Merchandising With AI Image Recognition Visual merchandising is the new way for stores to promote their products. It involves using rich imagery to promote and display products at their best. However, the images must be properly optimized and easy to navigate. That's where AI comes into play. Using image recognition technology, the tool improves visual merchandising by automatically tagging and categorizing product images. Accurate product categorization leads to better merchandising and intuitive customer navigation. Pro tip:Use AI visual discovery to create an immersive shopping experience. With features like auto-tagging and product categorization, shoppers can find relevant products in your store fast. They no longer have to sift through menus to find their desired product/category—visual discovery puts it in front of them. 5. Optimize Customer Service With AI Chatbots Potential customers may have questions before making a purchase. Answering them instantly can set you apart from others competing for their business, and AI-powered chatbots can be immensely valuable in this regard. These chatbots enhance customer service experiences by addressing customer inquiries, offering product recommendations, and facilitating seamless transactions. You can configure them to answer customers in your brand's voice as well as connect to a human agent in case someone wants real-time support. Pro tip:Add AI-powered chatbots to your customer service toolkit. They can free up your time by answering simple questions without intervention. Chatbots are accessible to all shoppers, and even those who aren't tech-savvy can use them without hassle. The curated shopping membership company, CURATEUR, conveniently offers shoppers customer service even when their support staff is offline. They do this through their easy-to-use AI chatbot, as shown below. 6. Leverage AI for Sentiment Analysis and Customer Insights Understanding customer sentiment regarding your merchandise is crucial to developing an effective business strategy. Analyzing this can be challenging, but AI makes it much simpler for everyone. AI can evaluate customer feedback to provide granular insights into their preferences and needs. It can also analyze social media posts' likes, shares, and reactions to understand how customers received them. This can help you determine what customers are looking for and optimize your eCommerce merchandising strategy for the best results. Pro tip:Use AI sentiment analysis to gain valuable customer insights from interactions. Use them to guide your decision-making, inform product development, and create targeted marketing campaigns. This is just one way AI can improve your conversion rates. eCommerce 2.0: Using AI to Transform Your Business Fast When done strategically, AI can drastically impact your brand's performance. If you're looking to grow sales and stay competitive in today's ever-evolving online marketplace, start implementing the six strategies and tips now. AI in eCommerce merchandising isn't just a passing trend—it's a growing practice that will only continue to evolve and revolutionize the industry. » AI's not only making waves with merchandising. Discover the benefits of AI in eCommerce personalization