Fashion Merchandising and Design Tactics

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1 Fashion Merchandising and Design Tactics An Amazon Webstore Guide

2 The concept of merchandising is as old as retail itself. In its broadest definition, online merchandising is delivering the right product with the right promotion to the right customer in the right place at the right time. It s any activity that contributes to the selling of products, or increasing a customer s likelihood of purchasing. While its exact scope varies by company, brand, and retail channel, it generally means offering and displaying products in such a way that customers are enticed to purchase. much like shopping in a physical store as possible others look to the interactivity of web technology to create new shopping experiences. Either way, conversion is easy to track and improvements can often be made and tested with shorter learning cycles than in physical storefronts. Online merchandising impacts customers in three ways; specifically it encourages them to explore, imagine and connect. Online merchandising presents a world of new opportunity for retailers steeped in the traditions of brick-and-mortar merchandising. While some strive to make the online experience real that is, as EXPLORE The ability of customers to find what they re looking for and discover relevant products they hadn t expected. IMAGINE The ability of customers to visualize the product and in turn entice them to purchase. CONNECT The ability of customers to establish a relationship and feel engaged. 2

3 EXPLORE Exploration is the element closest to the top of the funnel without it, imagining and connecting are ineffective. Exploring is all the different ways a customer can discover products on your site. This includes search, sorting, navigation, and category pages. Here are a few best practices we ve identified as some of the simplest and most important: Guided navigation Internet Retailer found that poor navigation is the most common problem consumers face on ecommerce sites and the most common reason they go to a competing site. 1 Since customers are not always likely to encounter what they re looking for right away, it is essential that search results and general listings are sortable by feature. Allowing a customer to filter by a variety of choices such as size, color, brand or price gives the customer the power and flexibility to explore the site in their own way Customers can refine searches by using the filter by navigation on the left. Shown: Marks and Spencer Outlet 3

4 Buying guides or gift guides Create buying guides to help customers narrow down product choices by features and pricing buckets. In this example, Fruit of the Loom creates a great buying guide where customers are able to compare various features of boxers and briefs side-by-side to find the right fit. 4

5 Smart Search Internet denizens are used to semantic search meaning their search terms mirror the way they talk. When a customer searches for a two-word phrase such as black socks, they expect to only see black socks in their results, because the search engine understood their intent returning brown socks or unrelated products can result in a negative shopping experience. Friendly Error Pages When a customer conducts a search on a site with no results, the customer should always be presented with products or information instead of a standard search error page. Presenting customers with product choices when their search yields no results prevents them from leaving the site. 5

6 Category Pages Features like quick view enable customers to bypass the need to click on individual product pages. The customer can get a snapshot view of the product, basic features, immediately add it to the cart and then continue browsing. A Quick view button allows customers to view product details and even add products to their shopping cart immediately. Shown: Fit Couture 6

7 IMAGINE With regard to visual stimulus, the online shopping experience needs to be as analogous to the physical shopping experience as possible. The homepage, high resolution images and other details on the product page all help bolster conversions at the point of sale. To create a visual experience that will entice customers to buy, consider these best practices: Homepage New or personalized product recommendations on the homepage draw loyal and new shoppers into exploring new items or promotions. When a customer returns to the ecommerce site, it is important to let the customer know that this is his or her online shopping experience. Include a callout of recent purchases or suggestions based on shopping history to make the experience personal. Product Detail Pages Most online shoppers make purchasing decisions while on product detail pages. For this reason, it is essential that these pages help the customer visualize the product using images, color swatches, and descriptions. Product Images Online shoppers pay close attention to images that deliver content messages and tend to ignore feel-good images. 2 To make sure your product images are not ignored, use high resolution images of the product at various angles, use real people and implement features like an automatic zoom to recreate a real shopping experience. Color swatches Provide color swatches, text based color descriptions and product views in all available colors. If a product comes in a pattern, show a high-res swatch for each pattern. 7

8 Product Descriptions Provide customers with an in-depth product description including style, material, washing instructions and fit. Cross-sell and up-sell products. The product page and shopping cart page are both great opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell products. Groovecommerce found cross-sells can increase conversion by 3 percent when shown on the checkout page. 3 Feature products that complement the product in the cart, complete the look or are similar in style on the shopping cart page. 8

9 Videos. Videos are a great way to show the product in-use and provide customers a 360-degree view of the product. According to comscore, online shoppers who view video on ecommerce sites are 64 percent more likely to purchase than other site visitors. 4 Videos attract and engage an audience, are very shareable and ultimately boost conversions. 9

10 CONNECT Shopping in a brick and mortar establishment is often a social experience. Provide human contact, feedback and engagement by including widgets or site content with a personal element. Here are a few best practices we ve identified as some of the simplest and most important: Customer Reviews Shopping for clothing is a social activity that involves getting the opinions of others. According to emarketer, consumer reviews are significantly more trusted - nearly 12 times more - than descriptions that come from manufacturers. 5 Customer reviews help gather opinions and experiences and help shoppers feel more comfortable with a purchase. Customer reviews also help companies re-evaluate the products they carry and can make great marketing assets. 6 10

11 Social Media Widgets In today s connected world, customers want to share their new purchases and new finds on social media platforms. Conversion rates from social media channels have been skyrocketing, with Facebook having posted the highest growth rate of any single channel (social or not) as a source of traffic. 7 Adding buttons that allow customers to share on major social networks completes the social experience and can drive additional traffic. 11

12 Be Connected It s important to show customers that your business is connected and active in online communities. Displaying content from social media channels and using social media hashtags are great ways to drive consumer engagement and create brand advocates. 12

13 SUMMARY The art of online merchandising is all about the customer experience and every customer is different. The way in which products are presented on a site should encourage customers to explore, imagine and connect. Encourage exploration by giving customers different ways to discover products on your site through guided navigation, smart search, friendly error pages and category pages. Use visual stimuli on the homepage and product detail pages to encourage imagination and entice customers to buy. Encourage customer connections by providing customer reviews and widgets for social experience. Although every company implements these three facets of merchandising differently, they remain the driving forces behind the customer s likelihood of purchasing. Successful retailers understand that the needs of customers fluctuate. By engaging visitors with relevant content based on their unique, in-the-moment needs, these online retailers are able to drive higher conversion, decrease cart abandonment and increase units and dollars per transaction. 1 Evans, Katie. Navigation is top complaint about e-commerce sites, survey finds, Internet Retailer, Accessed December 10, 2013, 2 Nielsen, Jakob. Photos as Web Content, Nielsen Norman Group, Accessed December 10, 2013, nngroup.com/articles/photos-as-web-content. 3 Keegan, Robyn. ecommerce Merchandising Strategy: The Art of the Cross-Sell, Groovecommerce, Accessed December 11, 2013, ecommerce-merchandising-strategy-the-art-of-the-cross-sell-2. 4 Invodo. comscore Statistics. Accessed December 11, emarketer, Social commerce statistics. Accessed December 11, Anicic, Toni. Customer reviews and their influence on conversion rate and search engine CTR, Inchoo, Accessed December 11, 2013, 7 Business Wire. RichRelevance Unveils New Insights for Online Shopper Behavor in Run-Up to Holiday Accessed December 11, Unveils-Insights-Online-Shopper-Behavior-Run-Up. 13

14 Amazon Webstore is a complete commerce platform that enables companies to leverage Amazon technology and expertise in building and managing their directto-consumer business. Commerce sites built on the Amazon Webstore platform utilize Amazon s powerful cloud infrastructure and payment processing technology to deliver a scalable, secure online shopping experience to customers. Amazon Webstore also integrates seamlessly with selling on the Amazon Marketplace and using Fulfillment by Amazon, Amazon Prime, and other Amazon Services. To get started with Amazon Webstore, visit the website at or contact the Amazon Webstore team directly. 14

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