Merchandising in the Online Age: Part Two Making the Most of the Online Environment

shoe-and-sock-cross-sell-mainWhile classic merchandising techniques such as cross-selling and up-selling remain important in today’s retail environment, eCommerce has brought many changes to the world of merchandising. There are new merchandising tools and analytics and algorithmic display techniques. Sales influencers have also changed dramatically with the increased importance of social media and customer reviews.

Perhaps the biggest difference is that while most bricks and mortar merchandising is designed to promote certain products for a fixed period of time, online merchandising operates in real time, and can be changed immediately depending on customer behavior.

Leveraged correctly, and with the right tools, these changes hold the promise of an effective, agile merchandising environment. Let’s take a look at how to make that happen.

Unlike many eCommerce platforms, EasyAsk was designed with the merchandiser in mind. Using information from the product catalog, and based on the products a visitor is looking at, merchandisers can configure truly dynamic merchandising programs.

And while most platform merchandising tools allow very limited data to drive merchandising, EasyAsk allows merchandisers to enter any number of fields or attributes, and can even derive attributes for specific promotions. Operational attributes, such as sales data, product margin or inventory level can also be used to drive merchandising efforts.

Product promotions can be displayed in a number of different locations on an eCommerce site using EasyAsk. Landing pages, product detail pages and the shopping cart are all options for cross-sells, upsells and promotions.

Banner ads are the online equivalent of promotional store signage, but with greater functionality. The banner can link to any group of products which the merchandiser can create through a natural language search query.  So a banner ad promoting “The Season’s Hottest Shoes” could execute an EasyAsk rule for “5 best-selling pumps.”

Landing pages can also be configured to show products based on dynamic, natural language rules.

Smart merchandisers are already using social media and product reviews to better position products and increase sales. In addition to reaching customers with sale and promotional information via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, retailers are leveraging customer feedback, product reviews and Facebook “Likes” to drive sales. EasyAsk makes it simple to raise and/or promote products based on reviews, stars or “Likes” using natural language rules.

For example, a merchandiser could use product review data to group products and display specific items at the top of the page. A plain English rule, “lawnmowers rated 4 stars or higher” would create a group of “4-Star Lawnmowers” for the customer to shop. Or a rule “top 5 rated televisions” would find and present the most highly rated TVs, honing the customer’s search and bringing the sale closer.

With buyers increasingly interested in purchaser feedback, this becomes an extremely powerful merchandising tool.

EasyAsk Commerce Studio makes it easy for merchandisers to take advantage of the promise of online merchandising by making it easy to define, maintain, and manage merchandising programs.


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