Selection vs. Merchandising for E-commerce Success

The way we sell and buy just about everything has changed in the last decade. Even in the last few years, new technologies and evolving consumer behaviors have caused e-commerce teams to rethink their strategies and tactics to drive sales success.

Today’s omnichannel world means we need to be specific and deliberate in our engagement with buyers if we are to be successful in e-commerce. One of the biggest challenges facing e-commerce teams is how to drive traffic to different sales channels while meeting customer needs. Selection of product is hugely important across any channel, but the merchandising of products is often what has the most impact.

To understand the meaning of merchandising and how it differs from selection, PIMtalk host Thomas Sjöberg, sat down with inRiver chief marketing officer, Steve Gershik, this week to discuss the topic that many struggle with.

Imagine a hypothetical situation of a clothing store with racks of unorganized garments and poor arrangement of items. Gershik said that this is what shopping is like when selection is the primary focus. It’s a “brand-damaging notion” to say the least. This disorganization is the last thing a company can afford to do. To avoid this mistake, companies must clearly and effectively display their products and create an experience for the consumer, otherwise known as merchandising, according to Gershik.

Think about the ideal in-store experience. “You see manikins beautifully displaying a shirt, a sweater, a scarf, and other accessories all perfectly matched and presented in a way where you can imagine yourself wearing that entire ensemble — that day — right out of the store,” Gershik said. “That’s merchandising, and that’s the goal of all good e-commerce selling.”

When e-commerce teams are successful in merchandising, the experience feels personalized. “It is a curated experience, designed to generate faster turnover of products, higher sales, happier customers, fewer returns and higher revenue per visit,” Gershik said.

Providing a clear, comfortable and engaging customer experience via merchandising is critical to success. Learn from the big brands like Apple and Best Buy and modify to fit your needs.

Merchandising Apple products

For more insights into how to practice proper merchandising and the countless benefits that come from it, listen to the full PIMtalk podcast here