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PFS: Increasing conversion through online merchandising

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Sufficient merchandising resources and an efficient strategy can be crucial for online retailers who focus on increasing conversion rates. Jeremy Lepiece, merchandising manager for LiveArea, The PFS Agency, discusses emerging merchandising trends that will help retailers promote their products online

WHEN CREATING AN online experience, the desired outcome of any retailer is to make the sale. While many proven digital tactics are already well known to online retailers, the importance of a merchandiser’s role can sometimes be overlooked. As it has become easier for consumers to browse, compare and find similar offers online, staying up-to-date with emerging merchandising trends and deploying tactics such as localisation and personalisation can be important to retail success.

Localisation can improve consumer satisfaction throughout their online retail experience. Depending on cultural preferences, consumers will respond differently to the same promotions. Retailers may want to consider these differences in order to understand and effectively communicate promotions in the future. Merchandising tactics such as sorting can help consumers easily find the product they are looking for and can be utilised to more accurately target individual shoppers. “Certain products sell more in some countries than in others and to capitalise on this trend, retailers may want to further understand their audience’s expectations in order to target the right customers with the right products,” says LiveArea’s Jeremy Lepiece.

Personalisation is another strategy that retailers may want to implement to create product interest and entice consumers to make a purchase. “On-site A/B testing, or testing two different ways of executing the same promotion, is an accessible and cost-efficient personalisation tactic that can help retailers analyse their customers more accurately,” says Lepiece. “Personalisation can also include the use of tailored geographic messages as well as different designs that are customised to appeal to specific shoppers.”

Finally, keeping up-to-date with and deploying emerging trends such as interactive content will help pique the curiosity of consumers. As a cohesive experience is now expected both online and offline, retailers should consider focusing on innovative interactions with their online customers since it can be more challenging to hold their interest in comparison to shoppers in a physical store. “Augmented reality, for example, is increasing in popularity in online retail strategies. Features that allow shoppers to virtually try-on clothes and accessories via webcam technologies are also becoming more accessible,” says Lepiece.

As technology continues to evolve, it can be important for retailers to stay current with merchandising trends, and to utilise localisation and personalisation tactics. By recognising and considering what will appeal to consumers based on their geographical location and cultural preferences, retailers may improve customer satisfaction and effectively market their products. The ecommerce industry has largely become a consumer-driven market, and retailers will continue to change digital expectations and needs in order to create blended shopping experiences between physical and digital channels.
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