Chapter 2:
5 eCommerce Merchandising Strategies that Drive Online Sales

How to Use eCommerce Merchandising to Increase Digital Sales

Digital eCommerce merchandising strategies use the visual commerce tools described in the last chapter to maximize sales conversions for online retailers and brands. You can dramatically enhance shoppers’ eCommerce experience by combining compelling 3D graphics and immersive Augmented Reality (AR) experiences with best practices for eCommerce merchandising.

Here we’ll show you how to do it. First, we’ll define eCommerce merchandising and highlight how eCommerce merchandising strategy compares with traditional merchandising in brick and mortar stores. Then, we’ll walk you through five proven eCommerce merchandising strategies that can help you increase online engagement and drive sales. 

What is eCommerce Merchandising?

eCommerce merchandising is a digital marketing strategy that optimizes the appearance and structure of products on an eCommerce website to help customers easily find the right products, learn about its features, and confidently make a purchase decision. Beyond ensuring a positive aesthetic appearance, eCommerce merchandising focuses on reaching potential customers at every stage of their customer journey and optimizing their path to conversion once they land on your site. A solid online merchandising strategy will also address the knowledge gap and hesitation that users experience when shopping online due to not being able to experience the product in a physical store by providing an immersive virtual shopping environment using 3D product visualization and AR try-ons.

Comparing eCommerce Merchandising vs. Traditional Merchandising

While eCommerce merchandising shares many general similarities with traditional merchandising, some critical differences distinguish these sales approaches:

  • Where traditional merchandising relies on getting shoppers into stores, eCommerce merchandising depends on attracting website visitors to eCommerce sites.
  • Traditional shopping experience depends on store atmosphere, while eCommerce shopping experience depends on web design features such as mobile-friendly design, user-friendly navigation, and engaging graphics.
  • In traditional stores, physical product placement defines which products customers are most likely to see, while in online stores, product placement can be customized based on online behavior.
  • An in-store shopper forms impressions of products and makes purchasing decisions based on what they can see, touch, read, and learn from the staff. In contrast, online shoppers make buying decisions primarily based on what visual and textual information they can obtain online from product images, product descriptions, product reviews, and social proof.
  • Retail stores rely on staff to recommend new products and product add-ons before customer checkout.  eCommerce businesses develop cross-selling and upselling opportunities based on users’ online behaviors, recently viewed products, and recently purchased products.

These differences underscore why web design and graphics quality drive eCommerce sales. Digital shoppers make purchase decisions based on their experience of your website and how your site presents your products.

Five eCommerce Merchandising Strategies That Drive Sales

Your eCommerce merchandising sales results depend heavily on your web design and your use of graphics. Here are five essential strategies to follow:

1. Prioritize Your Website User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI)

User experience refers to the level of satisfaction your website customers feel after visiting, while user interface refers to the design elements contributing to the user experience. Both these elements contribute to the effectiveness of your eCommerce merchandising strategy. For best results:

  • Optimize your home page, category pages, and product pages to highlight your highest converting products.
  • Lay out navigational features to make it easy for online shoppers to see how to find products and product categories.
  • Include a search bar to help shoppers find what they’re looking for.

Testing your UX and UI will help you verify that your customers are getting a positive experience when they visit your site. You can use heat map analysis to see what customers do when they visit your site so you can make improvements.

2. Categorize Your Products

To help customers find a specific product, you need a sound content management system to organize your product categories. Group your products by tagging them with characteristics such as brand, product type, color, size, features, and uses. This makes it easier for customers to search your inventory and enables your site to suggest customized product recommendations based on visitor behavior.

3. Invest in Compelling Visuals

Shoppers’ online experience of your product revolves around visual elements. Compelling visuals can help you make your products more appealing and differentiate your brand identity from your competitors.

Capture shoppers’ attention with high-quality visual commerce graphics tools such as 3D, 360-degree, interactive images which let customers see your products from multiple angles, try out products against live backgrounds and read callout captions for more information. The VNTANA 3D Web Viewer makes it easy for you to add 3D to your site for viewing by customers on any device. See our visual merchandising checklist on what to include to make your site visually compelling.

4. Provide In-Depth Product Information

As customers look at your site’s graphics, they’ll have questions requiring text to answer. This makes it critical that your graphics include accompanying product descriptions that give shoppers the information they need about features and benefits, which can’t be conveyed through photos alone. The VNTANA 3D Web Viewer hotspot feature lets you add interactive buttons to 3D images so shoppers can see callouts with important textual details.

5. Create Immersive Customer Experiences

The more immersive you can make your eCommerce store’s online shopping experience, the more it will engage customers and the more prone they’ll be to buy. You can make digital experiences more immersive by leveraging 3D and augmented reality tools to combine the realism of 3D with the ability of AR to merge digital and real experiences.

For example, you can use a 3D commerce model to create a highly realistic digital replica of your product which can be viewed from multiple angles. You then can use AR to let customers virtually try on an item such as clothing or shoes and see how a selfie photo or video of themselves looks when they’re wearing your product. Using a similar strategy, you can allow customers to see how a digital 3D replica of your product would look in their room or yard.

Add 3D and AR to Your eCommerce Merchandising Strategy with VNTANA

Effective use of eCommerce marketing strategies depends on a technology platform that can support website design best practices and visual commerce tools such as 3D and AR. VNTANA 3D and AR eCommerce solutions help you optimize your site for online sales by providing content management tools that make it easy for visitors to find your products and immersive images to capture customer attention.

Our 3D web viewer works for any site and comes with AR support compatible with all devices. Optimization algorithms let online visitors load your 3D images fast without losing image quality, preventing slow downloads, which can cut sales. We index your images for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to ensure your products appear in search engine results. Our clients see a 100% growth in conversion rates, a 60% Average Order Value (AOV) increase, and a 40% return reduction.

Set up a demo to see it in action. Or read on to see our eCommerce visual merchandising checklist, showing you exactly how to implement the strategies from this chapter.