Successful e-commerce merchandising is all about making sales.
But what happens in between setting up shop and selling online is critical for any online retailer.
Everything from inventory, selection, price, product photos, and customer reviews are a must for competitive online merchandising.
“Merchandising means getting the right products and the most attractive assortment that customers want. It also means having the correct quantities and setting the right price,” says Anne Driscoll, a Rhode Island-based e-commerce consultant who is teaching UVM’s E-Commerce Merchandising course. “There’s a lot that goes into all that but at the heart of it is determining how you can support your company’s profit goals.”
UVM’s E-Commerce Merchandising Course
The four-week, online course, offered in collaboration with the eCommerce Professionals Association, allows participants the opportunity to learn the art and science of attracting customers to their website and converting web traffic into sales.
Specifically, UVM’s e-commerce merchandising course will cover the foundations of merchandising, requirements for a successful e-commerce website, promotional strategies, merchandising reporting, tools, and technology.
Driscoll, who has worked in e-commerce merchandising for 20 years, says the tools that online retailers have are very different from brick-and-mortar establishments.
Those tools include Google Analytics that tracks things such as page views and or time on site, or business intelligence software such as MicroStrategy, which allows retailers to drill down to see what items have been selling, through which channels, and at what rate.
“It’s like reading a story in the data,” Driscoll says. “But if your merchandising is off, there go your profits.”
What Customers Want and Mistakes to Avoid
Customers visiting a product website want easy navigation, customer reviews and product photos.
“You want to make it super easy for customers to find something and have a filtering system,” she says. “You don’t want to be more than three clicks away from the product that customers want. You want to have a good and robust onsite search and navigation.”
Meanwhile, poor navigation and lack of information are two of the biggest mistakes in e-commerce merchandising, she says.
“On the product detail page, are you displaying one photo or multiple photos? Can you zoom in on the swatch to see the detail? Do you have product reviews?” she says. “Bad navigation and not being thoughtful about your customers are big mistakes. So are not using photos or giving as much information as you possibly can about the product.”
On a more granular level, Driscoll says e-commerce merchandising is all about collaborating with other team members, especially those in digital marketing.
“SEO is all about content, and content is all about your product detail page and what you’re saying about your products. You need to make sure you understand how your merchandising site impacts all digital marketing techniques,” she says. “And you have to work together as e-commerce is all about working as a team.”