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7 Creative Ways to Display Your eCommerce Merchandise

Visual displays in online retail play a crucial role in engaging customers and driving sales.

a woman with glasses sitting in front of a wall
By Arjel Vajvoda
Joel Taylor - Editor for Fast Simon
Edited by Joel Taylor
Oli Kashti - Writer and Fact-Checker for Fast Simon
Fact-check by Oli Kashti

Published June 22, 2024.

A small shopping cart sitting on top of a laptop computer depicting an eCommerce store

Visual displays hold a pivotal role in eCommerce merchandising, serving as a bridge that connects customers with products in an online environment. In addition to aesthetic enhancement, they are foundational to creating an engaging, informative, and trustworthy shopping experience.

Meet the Expert

Arjel Vajvoda, Head of Product at Motomtech, leverages her extensive experience in customer support to craft user-focused SaaS products with innovative documentation solutions.

» See these evolving eCommerce merchandising trends

The Significance of Visual Displays

Visual displays in online retail play a crucial role in engaging customers and driving sales for several reasons:

  • Enhanced product understanding: High-quality images and videos help customers better understand the product, reducing uncertainty and the gap between online shopping and the in-store experience. A case study from VWO found that simply adding more detailed images to a product page increased conversions by over 9%.
  • Increased conversion rates: Using high-quality images and videos to showcase products in a way that they appear attractive and desirable can persuade customers to make a purchase decision. The strategic use of color in visuals can also impact customer behavior, with studies suggesting that color can influence up to 90% customers.
  • Reduced return rates: Detailed and accurate visual representations of products can decrease return rates by ensuring customers know exactly what they are buying. A report from Shopify indicates that online stores with comprehensive visual displays have seen a reduction in return rates by up to 22%.
  • Improved customer engagement: Engaging visual content like 360-degree images, videos, and interactive zoom can increase a customer's time spent on a product page. The International Business & Economics Research Journal indicates that creative and visually appealing displays have a direct impact on customers’ perception of product quality.

» Need more info? See our eCommerce visual merchandising guide


Fast Simon infographic showing seven creative ways to display your eCommerce merchandise


1. Leverage High-Quality Product Imagery

Leveraging high-quality product imagery in eCommerce is about using visually appealing, detailed images to showcase products. This strategy is crucial because it helps bridge the sensory gap customers face when shopping online. High-quality images can vividly depict products, offering a virtual touch-and-feel experience with detailed visual information, such as texture, color, and size.

High-quality product imagery works best where design, detail, and quality are most important, such as fashion, electronics, and home goods.

Pro Tips for High-Quality Product Imagery

  • Use high-resolution images: Aim for the ideal resolution of 3000 x 3000 pixels and 300 dpi, which requires appropriate photography equipment and editing software.
  • Balance image quality and load times: Too many high-quality images could impact your site's load times. You'll need to balance this drawback by carefully managing your file sizes and formats. Adobe recommends JPEG or PNG.

Example: Bare Performance Nutrition

This nutrition company leverages high-quality lifestyle images for their products, helping customers visualize themselves using the products in real life and strengthening the brand's connection with its audience.

Screenshot of a the Bare Performance Nutrition website showing their high-quality product imagery



2. Optimize Navigation and User Experience

Optimizing navigation and user experience through effective site search involves creating a clear, intuitive, and user-friendly search system that guides users through your website efficiently. This method often uses AI autocomplete and enhances the visual appeal of products by making them easily discoverable and accessible.

What makes this method unique is its direct impact on the usability and efficiency of an eCommerce site, reducing user frustration, minimizing bounce rates, and improving conversion rates.

» Take a look at our eCommerce site search best practices

This is ideal for all online shoppers, regardless of demographic, but is particularly beneficial for websites with a broad range of products or complex information architecture.

Pro Tips for Navigation and User Experience

  • Use responsive design: Ensure the navigation system works seamlessly across devices, especially optimizing your site for mobile.
  • Leverage search bar optimization: Integrating a functional and efficient search bar requires sophisticated search algorithms and UX design considerations to ensure users can find products quickly.
  • Use dropdown menu design: Craft dropdown menus that are both comprehensive and easy to navigate without overwhelming users.

» Don't forget about using AI in your eCommerce search

Example: Amazon

Known for its user-friendly navigation system, Amazon features a simple and organized main navigation menu with dropdown menus for each product category. The search bar is prominently displayed, allowing users to find what they're looking for quickly. Amazon also uses breadcrumbs to help users navigate back to previous pages.

Screenshot of the Amazon homepage showing their prominent contrasting search bar




3. Incorporate Color Schemes and Branding

Incorporating color schemes and branding into eCommerce involves carefully selecting colors that align with your brand's identity and values, helping you differentiate your brand in a crowded market. Color psychology is used consistently across your website to create a visually appealing and coherent look that enhances the products' presentation.

This is ideal for brands targeting specific demographic or psychographic segments that respond well to visual cues. The right color combinations can evoke specific emotions, communicate your brand's message, and make products more attractive to consumers by establishing a strong visual identity.

» Learn how brands use visual search to improve product discovery

Pro Tips for Color Schemes and Branding

  • Ensure color consistency: Consistent color representation across different devices and platforms can be challenging due to varying screen calibrations, but is a necessity.
  • Remember cultural sensitivity: Colors can have different meanings in different cultures, so it's essential to choose a palette that communicates the desired message universally or is tailored to specific target markets.
  • Testing and optimization: Finding the most effective color scheme for your brand and audience requires continuous testing and optimization.

» Think you missed the mark? You can use Google Gemini to test your content quality

Example: Kuoni

Kuoni uses a color scheme of dark gray and cool blue on its website, conveying sophistication, trust, quality, and reliability that aligns with the brand's identity as a provider of luxury travel experiences. The use of white complements the primary colors, reinforcing a sense of cleanliness and elegance.

Screenshot of the Kuoni website showing their well-optimized brand colors



4. Incorporate User-Generated Content (UGC) and Social Proof

This method involves showcasing customer product reviews, ratings, images, and videos within product listings. It enhances the visual appeal by providing authentic and relatable perspectives of the products in use, making them more attractive to potential buyers.

This is ideal for brands seeking to build trust and deepen connections with their audience and is particularly effective for target audiences that value authenticity and peer recommendations.

» Here's how to harness social proof for eCommerce merchandising

Pro Tips for UGC and Social Proof

  • Content moderation: Ensure user-generated content is appropriate and aligns with brand values.
  • Integration: Seamlessly incorporating UGC into eCommerce platforms requires technical capabilities for collecting and displaying content.
  • Consistency: Maintain a consistent flow of high-quality UGC for active engagement strategies to encourage customer participation.

Example: Under Armour

Under Armour has successfully integrated UGC by including customer reviews, Instagram stories, and feedback from "wear testers" like Dwayne Johnson and Stephen Curry on their eCommerce site.

Screenshot of the Under Armor website showing their user-generated content and reviews from real users


» Learn more about how social media marketing drives consumer behavior



5. Personalize Shopping Experiences

Personalizing shopping experiences involves tailoring product recommendations, content, and promotions to match each individual customer's preferences and behavior. Personalization technology enhances the visual appeal of products by presenting shoppers with items that are more likely to interest them based on past behavior and preferences, increasing the likelihood of engagement and purchase.

» Not sure how? Leverage AI for personalization

This is ideal for all brands but is particularly effective for customers who may feel overwhelmed by extensive product choices or who seek personalized attention and recommendations.

» Start with these key elements you should personalize

Pro Tips for Personalized Shopping Experiences

  • Robust data collection and analysis: Implementing personalized shopping experiences requires the ability to gather and analyze large amounts of customer data effectively to segment your audience and generate accurate recommendations.
  • Ensure privacy and data security: When collecting and using customer data for personalization, it's essential to prioritize customer privacy and data security, ensuring compliance with regulations such as the GDPR.

» Find out how personalization is shifting towards voice search

Example: Sephora

Sephora uses its mobile app to collect customer data and provide personalized recommendations using predictive analytics. This method is unique as it combines online and in-store data for a seamless shopping experience, making customers feel valued and understood.

Screenshot showing Sephora's mobile app collecting customer data for personalization



» Have your own mobile app? Here's how to add search functionality to it



6. Use Cross-Selling and Upselling Techniques

Cross-selling involves suggesting related or complementary products to customers based on their current selection, while upselling encourages customers to purchase a more premium or upgraded version of the product they're considering. Showcasing these additional products alongside the main product enhances the visual appeal by offering a more comprehensive solution or a higher-value option, enticing customers to consider additional purchases.

» Confused? Start with the differences between cross-selling and upselling

This method is particularly effective for eCommerce stores with a wide range of products or accessories.

Pro Tips for Cross-Selling and Upselling

  • Seamless user experience: Integrate cross-selling and upselling features into the shopping journey without disrupting the user experience.
  • Optimized product presentation: Ensure that suggested products are strategically placed and presented to maximize effectiveness without overwhelming the customer or turning them away.

» Need more help? See our top tips for cross-selling and upselling tactics

Example: Best Buy

When customers browse for a specific electronic device, such as a laptop, Best Buy displays related accessories and add-ons in a section titled "Recommended Accessories" or "Complete Your Purchase." For instance, when viewing a laptop, customers are presented with options to add a laptop bag, external mouse, antivirus software, and extended warranty.

Screenshot of a the Best Buy website showing their laptop upselling and cross-selling techniques




7. Create Engaging Homepages and Product Pages

Creating engaging personalized homepage and product page designs involves visually appealing layouts with high-quality images, engaging copy, and intuitive navigation. These elements work together to captivate visitors' attention, showcase products effectively, and guide them seamlessly through the browsing and purchasing journey.

The ideal users and target audience for this type of display are online shoppers who value aesthetics and user experience. Businesses catering to fashion, lifestyle, or design-conscious consumers can particularly benefit from visually appealing homepages and product pages.

Pro Tips for Homepages and Product Pages

  • Compatibility with various devices: Ensure that the design is responsive and optimized for different screen sizes and resolutions.
  • Page loading speed: Large images and multimedia elements can slow down page loading times, so optimizing performance and page loading speed is crucial.
  • Consistency in design: Maintain a consistent visual identity across all pages while incorporating engaging elements simultaneously.

Example: Gymshark

Gymshark, a popular activewear brand, exemplifies this method with its eye-catching homepage with strong headlines, minimalistic design, and high-quality imagery that conveys the brand's quality, value, and authenticity​​.

Screenshot of the Gymshark homepage showing their eye-catching visual design



Make eCommerce Design Easy

As eCommerce businesses strategize their display merchandising, my final advice would be to prioritize continuous optimization and innovation, leveraging data-driven insights and customer feedback to refine and evolve their visual strategies in line with changing market trends and consumer preferences.

Digital tools like Fast Simon play a crucial role in enhancing merchandising displays by offering advanced features such as AI-powered product recommendations, visual search, and personalized shopping experiences. These tools analyze customer behavior and preferences in real-time, allowing eCommerce businesses to deliver tailored product suggestions and improve the overall shopping experience.