Offline merchandising is the art and science of displaying products, offers, customer review, customer satisfaction, shop location etc on social websites, social media, eCommerce aggregators, online stores and internet with the goal of increasing footfall, calls and inquiries to a physical brick and mortar store.
Offline merchandising refers to the variety of products available for sale and the display of those products in such a way that it stimulates interest and entices customers to make a purchase. “Display of products in such a way that stimulates interest and entices customers to make a purchase” that is at the heart of offline merchandising. Offline merchants typically select or manage the inventory, and they optimize the performance of the inventory in the all possible online channels, social media, e-stores, digital environment after doing customer behaviour analysis to implement hyper personal marking.
Effective offline merchandising with help of digital technology yields:
- Higher sales
- Faster inventory turnover
- Buyers who spend more time in the store
- More satisfied customers
- Increased customer loyalty
Shopping in a brick-and-mortar store is an experience that engages all five senses, which is why merchandising long ago became something of a science for brick-and-mortars.
Merchandising for physical retail shops often includes engaging customers from the moment they walk by (think elaborate window displays) to the moment they exit, purchase in hand (think scents, music and other elements aimed at driving sales and leaving a lasting impression).
The very basic responsibilities to achieve above effective merchandising results are following:
- Product display: How can the customer be inspired and enticed to buy specific products?
- Navigation structure: How does the customer find his way on the website by using the navigation?
- Product facets: How can the customer filter the offered assortment down to the right product for him or her?
- Sorting: How can the products be shown best be sorted to offer an optimized experience?
- Product information: How will you make sure that the customer will find all the required information?
- Internal search: How does the customer find his way on the website by using the search function?
- Size guides: How does the customer know what the perfect size of a product is for him?
- Localization/Segmentation: How can the online shop be customized towards specific customer segments or local preferences?
Some of the most popular ways to entice buyers to purchase include:
- Window and in-store displays
- Grouping related products together
- Shelf signage
- In-store ads featuring the merchandise
- Samples and giveaways
- In-store demonstrations
- Well-stocked shelves
- Spotlighting promotional items
The anonymity associated with online customers is one of the biggest challenges to overcome in successful eCommerce merchandising. After all, if I don’t know what you want, how can I sell it to you?
There is, however, a wealth of data available relatively easily within your analytics; you just need to know what to look for.
- Marketing Channel – Where did your visitor come from? E.g. if natural search, what was the keyword they used – this is the biggest clue as to what they are looking for. Internet of things is best possible solution to this. All the personal, psychical, social, movement, liking, current product purchase etc can be connected to forecast accurately what commuter will want in future.
- Visit history – Is this their first visit to your website? If not, what did they look at last time?
- Device – Are they on a mobile device, tablet or traditional desktop?
- Geography – Where are they in the world – do they have a store nearby?
- Seasonality – What is happening in the macro-environment? Is it Christmas/Easter/Summer?
Basic Aspects of Offline Merchandising based on online feedback:
Product photos are your number one sales tool as lots of customer put photos of dress, accessory, product on social media such as Instagram, Facebook and other websites. Some time they are ugly with bad rating on Google search review.
Today, customers don’t trust branded product photos anymore. Rather, they’d prefer to see customer photos of a product.
Genuine Customer Experiences
User-generated content (UGC), like customer reviews, photos, and videos, is the most authentic and aesthetic way to tell customers’ stories straight to prospective buyers.
Your store’s look and feel should be professional, inviting and suitable for your industry and target market.
Since huge numbers of customers call/chat and ask to shop exclusively on their phones and computers, your physical store merchandising must be mobile responsive.
All of your products and features should be mirrored on your mobile site, including images, product descriptions, and reviews. Google Business is free for small and micro shops.
Be data driven
Analytics can help retailers make better merchandising decisions. More than half of retail leaders (63%) already do it—so if you want to keep up and get ahead, you should, too.
Keep your enemies closer
Tracking competitors and their inventories can clear this up once and for all. Then retailers can fill in the gaps in their inventory and effectively become a more successful competitor. The more you know, the better your sales can be.
Keep it short
The fewer steps to purchase, the better. When retailers ask for too much information or otherwise complicate the process, shoppers drop out of the sales funnel.
The clearer, the better
Add interactive tools that aid customer purchase decisions. Improve your search function. Provide shipping policies and estimations as early as possible in the checkout process.