IT’S CLEAR THAT the more information retailers give about their products, the better equipped shoppers will be to make buying decisions. How much detail do leading IRUK Top500 retailers use to describe their products? How many images do they use? What’s the role of reviews and videos? Does using these merchandising techniques make it more or less likely that retailers will eventually discount their goods?
We wanted to answer these questions in a way that might define practical approaches used by top retailers, approaches that UK retailers of all sizes might then be able to adopt.
The Product and Merchandising Tracker monitors the discount strategies and merchandising deployment of Elite and Leading Top500 retailers across six product categories: grocery, appliances, toys, fragrance, DIY and electrical.
It takes a regular snapshot of how retailers in these categories merchandise products on their websites. Performance is measured through metrics that assess the detail of product descriptions and the number of images that are used, on average, to illustrate products, and whether product videos and reviews are used to enhance information still further. The tracker then looks at whether retailers in the different categories are discounting their products.
In 2016, key trends that emerged from this research included a move towards filling the gaps that occur when product descriptions are missing, when items lack product reviews, and when items are out of stock.
It was also clear, post-Brexit, that while wholesale prices were rising, supermarkets were keen to maintain competitive pricing. We will continue to monitor these trends in 2017.