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Two women window shop in front of a mannequin wearing a new coat and hat for sale.
Merchandising

Unlock Visual Merchandising Magic to Captivate Shoppers & Boost Sales

Transform your online store with visual merchandising: Engage customers and create an immersive shopping experience that makes an impression.


  • Online retailers can capture attention, build trust, and drive more sales by strategically placing products, personalizing the shopping experience with recommendations, and using high-quality visuals.

  • Highlighting new arrivals, top sellers, and related items on the homepage, product pages, and shopping cart can drive engagement and conversions.

  • Online visual merchandising is not just about aesthetics; it's about creating an emotional connection between customers and products.

 


 

Picture this: You're walking down the street...

Woman walking on the street shopping and looking at windows

...and spot a high-end clothing boutique with a beautiful window display.

A well-dressed mannequin catches your eye, and you walk in. Inside, the store layout guides you effortlessly through various sections. Racks and shelves are arranged to create a natural flow. Signs offering discounts and specials are prominently placed throughout the store. The checkout counter is stocked with last-minute purchase temptations.

All these elements work together to create an immersive shopping experience. It's visual merchandising at its finest.

Now, let's bring that same energy to your online store. Sure, websites may lack the sensory stimulation of physical stores, but online visual merchandising provides an opportunity to engage customers in a different but equally powerful way.

Your homepage? That's your window display. Your images and videos are your digital mannequins — they bring your products to life in the customer's world. And your promotions are perfectly timed and tailored recommendations that make your customers feel seen and appreciated.

Let's explore how you can use online visual merchandising to create a virtual environment that showcases your products and inspires and delights your customers.

Casual woman wondow shopping and looking at shoes

What Is Visual Merchandising?

Visual merchandising is a powerful marketing technique used by retail businesses to shape how customers see and buy products. It involves displaying products in an attractive and engaging way that encourages customers to purchase. And it's not just about looks — it's about forging an emotional connection between the customer and the product, effectively communicating its unique features and benefits.

While visual merchandising strategies are often used in physical stores, they can also be applied to ecommerce. By carefully curating product images, videos, and interactive elements, you can guide customers through their shopping journey, highlight specific products, and boost cross-selling and upselling. The result? A consistent and captivating brand experience that captures attention, builds trust, and ultimately leads to more sales.

4 Ways to Use Visual Merchandising to Enhance the Customer Experience

The key to replicating the engaging and immersive in-store experience lies in these four effective visual merchandising techniques. Let's look carefully at each of them.

Place Product Strategically to Grab Customers’ Attention

Every aisle, shelf, and display in a bustling retail store is crafted to grab customers' attention and maximize sales. Use the same game plan when it comes to your ecommerce store. Strategically position your products to captivate visitors, get 'em hooked, and turn 'em into die-hard fans. That's how you drive engagement and ultimately boost conversions.

Here are some places you can do that on your ecommerce store:

  • The home page. This is the first page customers see, and it's the perfect place to showcase new arrivals, top sellers, or seasonal offerings. The products you feature should get your customers hyped for the shopping spree they're about to embark on.
  • The product page. This is a prime real estate area for cross-promotions and upsells. For instance, a “customers also bought” or “you might also like” section can spark interest in related items.
  • The shopping cart. This is where you plant those seeds of temptation. Here you can showcase add-ons, extras, and upgrades that perfectly complement what your customers have already chosen. 
  • The checkout page. This is the final step in the customer's journey. It's a crucial moment to enhance the buying experience and maximize sales with relevant last-minute recommendations. It's like the impulse-buy heaven you see near the checkout in physical stores.

Take a look at Apple. Their approach to product placement is all about simplicity and laser focus. When they drop a new product, they typically take over the entire homepage to spotlight it with stunning visuals, detailed product benefits, and clear calls to action. They make sure that the new product is the star of the show.

apple visual merchandising

Source: Apple

Follow the same approach with your store. Whether it's a new item or a complementary product, make sure it's strategically placed to grab attention and drive sales.

Personalize the Shopping Experience with Product Recommendations

Personalized product recommendations are essential for your visual merchandising strategy. Why? Because people are more likely to drop cash on stuff that feels tailor-made for them.

Think about it: By recommending items that folks might vibe with based on what they've bought or looked at before, you're increasing their chances of stumbling upon that perfect product they didn't even know they wanted.

You can supercharge your product placement strategy with tailored recommendations. How do you do this? By tracking how customers interact with your products, analyzing their preferences, and using AI product recommenders to hand-pick products for each individual shopper.

AU Vodka, for instance, showcases beverage products and accessories on its product detail pages (PDP) that will change based on a customer's browsing habits. 

AU PDP recently viewed

Source: AU Vodka

By serving up suggestions that align with your customer's interests, you're not just selling products. You're delivering an experience. This isn't just about moving merchandise. You're building lasting relationships and setting the stage for consistent business growth!

Use High-Quality Visuals to Elevate Your Brand Image

You can't have an online visual merchandising strategy without high-quality visuals. It's like trying to win the Super Bowl without a quarterback. High-quality visuals transform your online store from a mere marketplace to an immersive, interactive experience. They also help create an emotional connection with customers, make them remember your brand, and get them to hit that “buy” button again and again.

When it comes to your online store's visuals, here are some key elements to consider:

  • Product photography. High-res, detailed images of products from multiple angles are crucial. These should ideally include zoom-in capabilities to highlight the finer details of the product. A great photo can be the difference between a sale and a bounce. 
  • ​​Videos. Videos can provide a dynamic and comprehensive view of a product, demonstrating how it works or looks in real life. This can be especially valuable for complex products or items like clothing which customers may want to see in motion. And And 84% of people say watching a brand's video convinced them to buy a product or service.
  • 360-degree views. Your customers want to see every inch of what they're buying. A 360-degree view is like letting them hold the product in their hands. It shows them what they're getting, down to the tiniest detail. This helps reduce the chances of disappointment when their delivery arrives, leading to fewer returns.
  • User-generated content (UGC). Including UGC on your ecommerce site is like a stamp of customer approval. It's powerful social proof that inspires others to hit that “buy” button. Plus, it lets prospective customers see your product in real-world settings — not just professional photos. And get this: 62% of US shoppers say they're more likely to trust photos and videos from fellow consumers when they're sizing up a new product.

Bose, for example, nails it with high-res images and 360-degree views of their products. Their visual content often focuses on product design, quality, and features, leaving no detail unexplored.

bose visual merchandising

Source: Bose

They even kick it up a notch with an Augmented Reality demo, letting customers see how their products would fit into their homes.

Optimize Your Store's Site Search to Make Your Products Easier to Find

Site search is a critical feature of your online store. It's the digital equivalent of asking a salesperson for help in a physical store.

When customers visit your online shop, they may already know what they're looking for, and your online store's site search function steers them directly to the items they want. It optimizes the user experience and allows customers to find what they're looking for quickly and easily.

Just like an attentive shop assistant in a physical store, a well-tuned site search ensures a smooth shopping experience. It's the difference between a pleasant shopping spree and a wild goose chase.

Ecommerce Personalization: The Complete Guide for Founders, Merchants, and Marketers

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Here are five ways to improve your site search:

  • Include the ability to filter by visual elements like color swatches or icons that represent product features — a pair of pants or a shirt, for example, or a lamp to indicate lighting.
  • Use thumbnails in auto-suggestions. When a customer starts typing in the search bar, show them thumbnails of the products.
  • Implement visual search. Incorporate a visual search tool that lets customers search by images instead of text. It's super handy when they've seen a product they like but can't quite put it into words.
  • Enable saved searches. Allow customers to save their search queries or favorite items for future reference. It's like a shop assistant remembering their preferences, adding a personalized touch.

Remember, the goal of optimizing site search is to provide an intuitive and seamless shopping experience. When customers find what they need easily, they're more likely to make purchases and return to your store.

Get Visual with Your Visual Merchandising Strategy

The world of online retail has evolved tremendously, transforming from a simple scroll-and-click exercise into an interactive, engaging experience that, when done right, can leave a lasting impression on customers.

It's a whole new ballgame now, driven by technology and digital innovation, and visual merchandising is the key to thriving in the ecommerce arena. To truly capture the attention and loyalty of today's consumers, you'll need to equip your online store with smart merchandising tools that break through the digital noise and create meaningful connections. 

 

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