In the broadest sense, merchandising is defined as ‘the activity of promoting the sale of goods’. Whether this is in a store, over the phone or online the principle is the same – ‘Sell more stuff (Profitably)’; the differences come in the techniques employed to do this.

A traditional retail store will use gondala end displays, clip-strip cross-sells and sales assistants to maximize revenues, but without the advantage of face-to-face sales influence how can we sell online?

Let’s consider those methods of merchandising that will significantly increase the conversion of an online store:

1. “The Golden shelf “

Goods that are located at the eye level of the buyer are the best-selling. Therefore, it is incredibly important to occupy this “golden shelf”. It is easy to define such zone in supermarkets, but in online shops the case is different. How to understand where the zone of the “golden shelf” on the pages of the site?  There is eye tracking , which allows you to fix the most viewed areas. If it cannot be used for some reason, we look at the indicators of the heat map of clicks in web analytics systems and study the experience of successful online stores.

2. The sales leader has more space
Those goods that are in greatest demand should take considerably more space on the shelves.

If you apply this rule in online stores, then the sales leaders should occupy a significant place on the page. For example, on the main page you can make a block in which customers could see the key leaders in different, most running categories. And in search results, do the sorting, by default, from the best-selling to the worst.

3. Beginners are closer to the leaders
This is the rule of life 🙂 If you want to become famous, stay close to the already popular ones. In trade, this also works. People are drawn to already proven leaders, and, accidentally, they try the new one. As something reliable and authoritative from the side, few of the buyers will refrain from buying new products.

4. Place products in running places
In supermarkets there are the zones, where buyers spend most of their time. These are the entrance areas, cash register, halls between departments. In online stores, this is usually the main page, as well as the pages of the best-selling products. Therefore, if you want to increase sales of a particular product, you should place it on the most visited pages.

5. Shelves should not be left empty
An empty shelf in the store is a signal for the buyer that it is better to go to another store, because there is something wrong. It seems that this place suffers a crisis and who wants to deal with losers?

“ In  online store, empty shelves are replaced by a “no-stock” sign. When there are too many such signs ( at least a quarter of the quantity of goods in stock), visitor will not make a purchase from you. He will go to the leader, with filled shelves .”

6. Closer is what you need to urgently sell
In prominent places should be the goods that you really need to sell. In supermarkets, for example, put closer to the product that will soon become expired 🙂 Few people climb into the depths, except those who know the rule about the expiry date. In the case of an online store, few people dig through the many pages of the catalog in search of something that can be found on the first page.

7. Caution 70/30
Every merchandiser knows that 70 percent of the buyer’s attention is paid to the shelves that are located to his right, and 30 percent to the left. But in the case of offline, a person can move in different directions, and thus what is on the left becomes s on the right. But in the online stores, the right side will always be right. Therefore, during the distribution of information, remember about the zones of maximum attention.

8. Feel, smell and listen
To ignite the client’s desire to buy goods, you need to give the opportunity to get to know product better: try, fit , twist in his hands. Also, an appropriate music and flavors can stimulate sales. Even lighting plays a role.

And what about online store, where the communication zone is clearly limited to the virtual framework? First, you need to introduce the ability to “twist the goods” from the different angles. Secondly, it is necessary to make a qualitatively video review. Third, offer a dressing room. You can also make a program where the client’s photo will be uploaded, and he will be able to try on things interesting for him. With smells, of course, it is more difficult, because the technology has not yet reached the possibility of transferring in the virtual space. But there is a design, thanks to which you can call the necessary associations!

“ As you can see, classical marketing in any case cannot be written off, for practice shows that its efficiency is high. You just need to be able to adapt this knowledge to your advantage. ”

9. Feature of individual products, personalize.

Lower down on the home page, all 10 retail sites featured the individual products or product categories. On at least a few of these websites, the products shown were personalized based on the visitor’s shopping and viewing history.

10. Follow popular conventions. 

Specific products on the category pages were displayed in accordance with long standing e-commerce conventions. There was a product image, a product name, a price, and a means of either getting more information or adding the product to the cart.

Customers expect category pages to look a certain way and provide some basic information. So, do not disappoint these shoppers.

11. Use filters and layers.

With the exception of Apple, which has significantly fewer products than the other sites examined for this article, all of these large retailers use some form of layering and filtering on category pages to help merchandise their many products.

Walmart, for example, allows shoppers looking at women’s graphic tees to filter by price, size, color, brand, and even shipping options.

12. Show the product from many angles.

One advantage brick-and-mortar stores have over e-commerce is that shoppers can hold the product.

Perhaps to compensate for this, many sites considered in this article included multiple product images — showing the item from many angles. It seems it is smart e-commerce merchandising to show off your products.