5 Inspiring Digital Merchandising Examples to Emulate

Customization and personalization are no longer just for the Apples and Nikes of the world—small eCommerce stores can deliver tailored experiences, too.

Jameela Ghann - Writer for Fast Simon
By Jameela Ghann
a woman wearing a suit and a black shirt
Edited by Nelsy Mtsweni
Oli Kashti - Writer and Fact-Checker for Fast Simon
Fact-check by Oli Kashti

Updated May 15, 2024.

a woman holding a tablet showcases a product in an e-commerce store

Shopping online is now the norm, meaning that brands have to keep evolving to meet rising customer expectations. Today's shoppers demand immersive digital experiences that mimic the real world, and implementing innovative merchandising strategies is crucial for eCommerce success.

This article explores 5 examples of digital merchandising done right, from customization to upsells, all of which can help you increase conversions.

Meet the Expert

Jameela Ghann is an e-commerce and marketing expert with over 10 years of experience. Apart from running her own successful online store, Alora Boutique, she's the marketing manager of Fera.ai.

» Learn how to create the ultimate personalization experience for your shoppers.

Why Digital Merchandising Matters

Digital eCommerce merchandising refers to creating and managing product displays and promotions on digital platforms such as websites, mobile apps, and social media.

This is an important aspect of eCommerce because it:

  • Attracts more website traffic by making products stand out.
  • Converts visitors into buyers more effectively through engaging content.
  • Provides a better customer experience that keeps shoppers coming back.
  • Gives brands a competitive advantage with innovative features.
  • Boosts sales revenue.

To convert and retain customers, eCommerce brands must craft compelling digital shopping experiences for customers. This means using engaging visuals, interactive elements, and innovative tools that inform, excite, and assist customers.

Additionally, brands that provide an emotive, user-friendly digital experience build loyalty and see higher sales. Conversely, low-effort websites that fail to engage users quickly lose out.

» Create an appealing and engaging shopping experience with visual merchandising.

A diagram showing the five steps involved in digital merchandising

1. Personalized Shopping

Screenshot of Nike's personalized shoe shopping example

In recent years, customers have increasingly valued unique and personalized products tailored to their preferences, enough to influence their buying decisions. To cater to this desire, some innovative brands have introduced customization features allowing customers to put their creative twist on products.

One stellar example is Nike's custom shoe design experience:

A pair of yellow and green sneakers with blue laces customized on Nike's store

Nike introduced a robust customization feature that empowers customers to design their own one-of-a-kind shoes, tapping into the rising customer demand for personalized products that feel unique to them. Key elements of Nike's successful approach include:

  • An interactive tool for designing shoes made customization easy. Users can add colors and patterns seamlessly.
  • Customers could visualize their designs in an advanced 3D preview, setting proper expectations before ordering.
  • Customization increased engagement and loyalty among Nike members, enhancing community feeling.
  • Production logistics and maintaining a user-friendly interface posed challenges that Nike overcame through iteration.

Smaller brands can also allow customization through apps like Product Options Customizer for Shopify. Overall, personalization offers an engaging experience that satisfies customer cravings for uniqueness.

2. Product Recommendations

A web page for Pattern Beauty hair salon with a product recommendation quiz

Finding the right products that fit specific needs is crucial for customer satisfaction, but can prove difficult with the overwhelming choices online.

Pattern Beauty's hair quiz aims to solve this customer pain point:

A web page for Pattern Beauty hair salon with a product recommendation quiz

A web page for Pattern Beauty hair salon with a product recommendation quiz

Their quiz determines hair type to make personalized product recommendations for each individual. Key details of their approach include:

  • The same personalized advice a hairdresser would give, but conveniently at home.
  • Easy and enjoyable for the customer to take and understand.
  • After completing the quiz, product suggestions are displayed in a clean, navigable section.
  • This tailored approach is expected to increase sales and email sign-ups.
  • Most importantly, customers get a custom consultation that improves satisfaction.

Product quizzes like this enable eCommerce brands to provide personalized algorithmic recommendations that mimic the tailored guidance of in-person shopping experiences. Typeform is an affordable tool that e-commerce owners can use to offer quizzes.

3. Augmented Reality (AR) Technology

Screenshot of a product page on Crate and Barrel with a chair in augmented reality

When buying furniture or decor online, customers are often deterred by the inability to see items in their own space before purchasing. AR technology bridges this gap by allowing virtual visualization.

Crate and Barrel reduces furniture shopping uncertainty with an AR feature that lets customers visualize products in their homes:

Screenshot of a product page on Crate and Barrel with a chair in augmented reality

This gives online shoppers a spatial understanding similar to viewing furniture in a physical showroom. Important aspects of their approach include:

  • Realistic 3D models of products to give customers a life-like preview through AR.
  • Direct AR integration on the product website makes visualization simple and convenient.
  • Decreased returns and improved satisfaction by setting proper expectations.

AR technology like this gives online customers an enhanced spatial understanding that simplifies purchase decisions, leading to more realistic expectations and decreased dissatisfaction.

4. 360-Degree Product Views

A screenshot of a product page with a bar stool featuring 360-degree views

When shopping online, customers lack the ability to view products from all physical angles. Only seeing images from certain perspectives can make it hard to fully understand a product before purchasing.

360-degree product photography solves this by allowing customers to digitally view items from all angles.

Crate and Barrel also uses 360-degree product views like this:

Benefits include:

  • Customers gain a more comprehensive visual sense of a product's details.
  • Advanced rendering makes smooth 360-degree interaction easy even on mobile.
  • Seeing a product fully gives customers greater confidence before purchasing.

360-degree views mimic the real-world ability to examine a physical product from all sides, providing the dynamic visual experience customers expect when shopping online.

5. Cart Upsells

Once customers are ready to checkout, brands have a prime opportunity to suggest relevant complementary products. Cart upsells seize this moment through personalized product recommendations.

Bite Beauty (now liplab.com) implemented a simple yet effective "Why Not Add?" upsell feature:

Screenshot of the checkout banner on Bite Beauty showing upsell functionality

It increased order values by suggesting related products when the cart was viewed. Key features include:

  • The upsell section shows products commonly purchased together.
  • Recommendations are tailored to what is already in the cart.
  • This technique successfully lifts average order values.

When you feature cart upsell technology in your store, offer personalized add-ons at checkout to enhance the shopping experience and boost order values.

» Here's how to optimize your eCommerce merchandising management

Preparing for the Future of Digital Merchandising

Automated digital merchandising will likely become more immersive and personalized through innovations like AI visual search and expanded AR capabilities.

Brands should prepare by:

  • Investing in understanding and integrating emerging technologies.
  • Focusing on seamless, engaging online experiences.
  • Testing new technologies, such as better internal site search, through small pilot projects first.
  • Staying updated on digital merchandising trends.

As retailers invest in emerging technologies to enhance the digital shopping experience, consider AI-powered technologies to provide personalized, seamless, and engaging online experiences.

» Need help enhancing your site? Discover how to create an optimized design for your eCommerce store