The process of merchandising is one that takes place – or rather, should take place – on every page a customer might reach. The homepage, the category pages, the product pages, the cart summary page and checkout form, the post-sales messaging – each page can influence either how likely a customer is to make a purchase, or how positive their experience is after doing so (which, in turn, influences their likelihood of buying/visiting again in the future.)
In this series, we’re going to examine the kinds of decisions an entrepreneur might make at each phase of this process. But, since merchandising influences literally every decision a seller makes, we’re going to limit it in scope to just the decisions made on the homepage and category pages, the product details pages, and post-checkout merchandising, just so as not to totally hijack the company blog.
Free Merchandizing 101 Robert Mayhew. Content Manager and passionate copywriter from Boston. Baseball is the only thing that captures his attention more than writing. Retail merchandising is subtle. When customers walk into the store, they don't consciously think about the sensory experience. Rather, the colors, sounds, smells, temperature, and the way the merchandise feels combine to deliver an experience to the customer psyche that they may not even realize. Retail merchandising is an art and science.As users have become more adept with – and reliant on – search engines, more traffic is landing on deeper, query-specific pages. Social has had the same effect: if someone is sharing a link to a page, it’s likely to be a specific category or product they want to show you, or a specific article they think you should read. For this reason, we’re going to talk categories first, and we’ll revisit the homepage in a further write-up.
Note the use of both the brew method and coarseness as part of the category name.
Beyond that, does it make sense to have subcategories, or just the single level? For this site, this offers an opportunity to brand ourselves exotically.We can assume the effect of this: users will mouse over the “Fine Grind” category, and then click in succession on the different regions within it, since the “popout” style submenu seems to imply that “Fine Grind” itself is not able to be visited. (It is).So, we're displaying the information shoppers need to be told about our products, a little bit about the flavors they can expect from each region, and we're helping to guide them to specific products, or away from this category if they're interested in something else.
We have a few tools at our disposal to help with this. We can use the product description short field to quickly inform customers what they can expect from a particular brew. Similarly, utilize the category description to summarize the flavor profile of the region. You can also change how your products are displayed by using the Default Sort By: Most Popular feature, which allows you to manually set the order in which your products will be displayed. This is a good idea because we want the products that best represent the subcategory show up at the top.
Here’s what our subcategory for “Coarse Grind/French Press->Ethiopia & Kenya” looks like before implementing these techniques: