3 of the Best Ways to Personalize Online Merchandising for Your Website
eCommerce offers an “endless aisle” of products to browse, but that infinite selection can be a challenge to navigate. Online merchandising brings order to the chaos – and adding personalization supercharges the results. Leveraging that combined power, your website can feature tailor-made product assortments and promotional offers that match shoppers’ needs in the moment and create compelling incentives to buy.
In the digital marketplace, personalization is essential. It transforms your website from a simple product catalog into a curated experience, resonating with individual preferences and lifestyles. This approach isn’t just about offering options; it’s about creating an engaging, intuitive shopping environment that puts the customer at the center.
As we explore three key ways to implement personalized online merchandising, we focus on making every customer interaction unique and tailored, enhancing the overall shopping experience and fostering customer loyalty.
What is Online Merchandising?
Think of what sets eCommerce apart from shopping in a physical store, and “unlimited selection” is a top differentiator. Whereas a store has a set assortment of items, eCommerce websites can feature tens of thousands of SKUs without needing physical retail space to display them.
But this benefit also poses a challenge. Screen real estate is limited, especially on mobile devices, and consumers’ patience is low for scrolling. Four in 10 shoppers have abandoned a website after being overwhelmed by too many choices, according to Accenture.
Enter online merchandising – the practice of grouping, prioritizing, promoting, and displaying products on an eCommerce site to ensure shoppers see the right products at the right time. Online merchandising strategies leverage such features as search results, homepage hero displays, themed category pages, cross-sell and upsell recommendations, and more – in short, all the ways shoppers encounter products on the site.
Personalization and Online Merchandising
Personalization is increasingly at the core of online merchandising. Consumers believe digital experiences should reflect their preferences and context, with 61% expecting companies to adapt to their changing needs, according to research from Salesforce. Personalized merchandising helps deliver on that expectation by tailoring product assortments on the fly to factor in past purchases, location, gender, and other profile information.
Brands that meet expectations for personalized experiences not only foster goodwill; they can also realize benefits to the bottom line. According to McKinsey, effective personalization can boost revenues by 5% to 15% and increase the return on investment of marketing initiatives anywhere from 10% to 30%.
Benefits of Personalized Online Merchandising
Infusing your website merchandising with personalized products and offers helps strengthen your brand at every stage of the customer lifecycle. Benefits include:
- Meaningful customer engagement – Shoppers discovering your brand may start out searching for specific items, and delivering search results and recommended categories that are on-point is crucial. But you can also persuade shoppers to explore further with merchandising that inspires, surprises, and delights.
- Higher conversion and order value – As shoppers add items to the cart, displaying useful add-ons and related suggestions helps drive higher overall order totals, while the right promotional offers can provide the incentive to complete orders.
- Growth in lifetime customer value – Existing customers have already shown what they want, so entice them back with merchandising that reflects their preferences. Flexible loyalty rewards that can be used for individual priorities are a top way consumers want brands to personalize their offerings, according to PwC.
The power of personalized online merchandising extends far beyond immediate sales. By aligning your eCommerce strategy with the unique preferences and behaviors of your customers, you create a more intuitive and engaging shopping experience.
This not only cultivates customer loyalty but also enhances your brand’s reputation as a customer-centric entity. The increased customer engagement, higher conversion rates, and growth in lifetime customer value are testaments to the effectiveness of personalized merchandising.
The Best 3 Ways to Personalize Online Merchandising for Your Website
Thanks to modern personalization tools, practically every eCommerce feature or module related to sorting and displaying products can be tailored to reflect individual tastes. But they all draw on three major types of personalized merchandising:
#1: Personalized Product Recommendations
Boosting the relevance of product suggestions can increase revenue by as much as 30%, according to research from the University of Helsinki. Personalization tools can leverage a wealth of data points, starting with identifying products that complete a set or accessories for items already in the cart. If shoppers use filters or sorting tools to refine product listings, those settings can apply to the entire browsing experience. Location data can prompt picks popular in the region. Returning customers’ purchase histories help recommend products that are in the right price range in preferred styles and sizes.
#2: Personalized Content
eCommerce content can drive traffic, boost brand credibility, spawn social media buzz, and support product research and evaluation, leading to an uptick in engagement and sales. Tailored content can take the form of customer reviews from buyers with similar preferences, localized seasonal content on social media, email newsletters showcasing relevant products, and more – all demonstrating your brand’s relevance to shoppers’ individual priorities.
Expanding on this, personalized content should also include interactive elements that engage customers. Interactive quizzes or tools that help shoppers select products based on their needs or preferences can be particularly effective. For example, a skincare website might offer a quiz to help visitors find products suited to their skin type.
#3: Personalized Pricing and Promotions
Online shoppers are motivated by discounts, and personalizing deals creates a perception of exclusivity that can spur action. Discounts on favorite products are the most popular type of personalized shopping experience, PwC found; consider offering extra incentives for recurring or bulk purchases of items shoppers favor. VIP pricing for loyal customers, deals on preferred brands or styles, and savings on gifts for specific recipients all demonstrate that your brand recognizes shoppers as individuals and caters to their unique needs.
How to Measure Performance of Online Merchandising Strategies
As you deploy different types of personalized merchandising, careful tracking will help determine which tactics are most effective and which need further refinement to achieve your goals. Key performance indicators (KPIs) tied to merchandising effectiveness include:
- Bounce rate – The percentage of visitors who leave after viewing a single page tells you whether landing pages and other destinations incorporate effective merchandising.
- Time on site – Engaging merchandising will prompt visitors to explore multiple pages and spend time learning about products.
- Search metrics – Relevant search results are a key merchandising component, so study performance carefully. If abandonment is high, consider enabling different types of results filters to help shoppers zero in on what they need.
- Cross-sell and upsell performance – Close tracking of these merchandising features reveals whether recommendations are resonating with users.
- Add-to-cart rate – A high percentage of visitors adding items to their shopping carts is a strong indicator of effective merchandising.
- Average order value – Order total growth suggests that merchandising offers and suggestions are convincing shoppers to buy additional items.
- Repeat purchase rate – Effective merchandising for existing customers should prompt return visits and re-orders.
Your existing analytics package can likely track these metrics for your eCommerce site overall, but you also need to dive deep into how individual merchandising experiences perform. Personalization vendors can track results for modules and features and enable real-time monitoring so that you can optimize experiences quickly. Look for built-in reporting that delivers analysis and insights beyond raw data and easy-to-use tools so groups across your company can access the information they need to succeed.
Drive results with personalized merchandising
Online merchandising helps consumers connect efficiently with the right products on even the largest of eCommerce websites. Personalization showcases your brand’s offerings to their best advantage by customizing assortments and promotions to align with individual shoppers’ interests. Thanks to personalization-powered merchandising, your eCommerce site can deliver one-of-a-kind experiences that engage shoppers and convince them to buy.