12 Wildly Successful Online Stores Use Visual Merchandising To Drive Sales and How You Can, Too

  • Engagement and time on site
  • Store navigation and ease of use
  • Average order value
  • Conversions

What is visual merchandising for online retailers?

  • Smell: The smell of an Anthropologie store (They always have a Volcano candle lit)
  • Spatial Feel: The in-store colors and layout of a Whole Foods (Floors are almost always polished concrete. Green accents pop around the store. Customers gather often around the salad bar and health and beauty sections).
  • Sound: The co-op reminder, and friendly sales staff, present at all REIs (“Well, we are a co-op so that means we don’t abide by board members. Our customers are our board members!”)
  • Social proof: For example, branded shopping bags which clue other shoppers into what (and where) others are buying.
  • Reciprocity: Think free gifts and gift wrapping
  • Commitment and consistency: This is about getting a customer to commit. Think about all the stores with loyalty programs or their own cards. REI’s co-op is also a commitment.
  • Authority: This is why brands do events with influencers like book signings or pop-up shops. They want you to think they hang out with the authorities of particular topics.
  • Liking: This is why friendly salespeople are essential, as well as why more subtle tones (like Anthropologie’s smell) matter. You need to like the space you are in and the people you are with.
  • Scarcity: This is why there is always more of any given item in the stock room, but not on the floor.

Misconceptions About Visual Merchandising Online

1) I have a small product catalog, so I don’t need to merchandise my site.

2) I use faceted search, so I don’t need to merchandise my site.

3) Merchandising allows you to own the experience, rather than giving the customer full reign.

I’m not a fashion brand or a consumer-facing, so I don’t need to merchandise my site.

4) Visual merchandising takes time and effort I’m best spending on driving traffic or optimizing email campaigns.

  1. Increase the average order value (AOV).
  2. Increase the frequency of purchase, or the average number of times each customer buys from you.
  3. Increase the total number of customers.

Visual Merchandising Tips and Examples

  • Clothing and Apparel
  • Hardware
  • Gifts
  • Food

1) Homepage Storytelling

  • Images and text
  • Clear storytelling line throughout the page (use the inverted pyramid journalists often employ, where the most important information comes first, and gets more and more detailed throughout)
  • Explain your product, how it works, why it is great (as visually as possible)
  • Use social proof (customer reviews)
  • Use authority proof (accolades from top tier media like Mashable, The New York Times, Racked, etc.)
  • Liking proof (Typically social buttons or call outs)
  • Have a clear call to action (these are CTAs throughout the site)

2) Collection-Based Only

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  • Use attention grabbing images to attract users to each collection
  • Make sure each collection is clearly named (and that the photo doesn’t over shadow the text)
  • Place collections in a grid style, to keep the site looking clean and give the reader a clear reading line
  • Collections organized like tiles (similar to Pinterest) are popular right now

3) Collection Based + Featured Products

  • Hero image
  • Collection grid
  • Product grid
  • Social proof
  • Authority proof
  • Liking proof

4) Quick and Easy Visual Merchandising

Wrapping Up

Source: Business 2 Community