Recreating in-store allure online: 5 ways to give your ecommerce site a glow up

 

Here are five straightforward techniques for enhancing multi-channel customer journeys, to ensure that in-store attraction translates online and drives ecommerce sales.

 

Creating allure is vital to every brand’s customer appeal. But while it’s easy to generate impact in a bricks-and-mortar setting, many shoppers are seduced by in-store visual merchandising, but then feel let down when they follow up or spend time online.

For truly successful customer relationships, brand experiences must be consistent and connected across all channels, with consumers compelled to engage on ecommerce sites as they would do in the store. Online visual merchandisers can achieve this by connecting data-driven digital insights with creative inspiration from the shop floor – to give your website an instant glow up.

Here are five straightforward techniques for enhancing multi-channel customer journeys, to ensure that in-store attraction translates online and drives ecommerce sales…

1. Create a website experience that’s tailored for your customers

Consumers are used to being tempted into the store by creative visual merchandising. Online shopping needs to perform in the same way and additionally be armed with digital marketing intelligence to optimise the customer journey effectively. Your website should establish and convey brand identity and show visitors your ability to guide and assist at every opportunity –from the homepage right through to the product listing pages. 

Online visual merchandisers have the power to personalise the experience for shoppers at each step of their journey. Farfetch does a great job of this; its homepage has a high-end, editorial feel not dissimilar to a glossy magazine, which is ideal for a site where the average customer spends $700 per order. They also focus on functional personalised experiences. Shoppers create their own fit profiles in facets such as preferred style, and can filter by same-day delivery. These are the sorts of levers that offer shoppers experiences that feel tailored to their individual needs. 

 

 

2. Give shoppers multiple ways to explore your site

Just as bricks-and-mortar guides customers to the shelf edge, your website needs to create customer journeys that start from whatever page they land on – with multiple options to explore the site, based on their individual needs.

While it’s easy for shoppers to choose their own route through the store, web users require more direction. Visual merchandisers should consider different scenarios for how the customer journey can evolve, making sure they are carefully signposted on every page. For example:

  • Adding links to your latest collection or hot offers encourages people to browse
  • Inspirational edits catch the eye of those looking to take style cues from your brand
  • Visible, easy-to-find search bars support targeted product queries
  • Optimising wish lists and save for later features captures customers who aren’t ready to commit straight away
  • Newsletter sign-up options nurture relationships through marketing

The brand experience shouldn’t start and end on one page – something Forever New knows well. The fast-fashion retailer has increased website conversions by 135% as a result of using AI technology to make visually similar product recommendations based on shopper behaviour, enabling customers to discover more of its catalogue through the website.

 

Forever New: watch the video case study

 

3. Strip back navigation so it’s sleek and simple

Curation is key to both a well-designed store and a well-conceived website. We’ve all gone to a sale rack and been put off by the jumble of clothes in different sizes and price points – so why is it acceptable for some brands to still throw the kitchen sink at online navigation?

Rather than stuffing your nav bar with every single category for SEO purposes, sleek and simple menus are far more effective. The customer journey needs to be developed around user experience, as well as traffic-driving opportunities.

Creating an intuitive experience for shoppers is central to ensuring an easy browsing experience. Keep navigation bars straightforward, making sure categorisation is easy to follow, and stop trying to include every sub-category in your catalogue. At the same time, it’s important to pause and assess what your shoppers are typically looking for and refining navigation accordingly. For instance, if you see search terms frequently appearing that include sleeve lengths, occasions or styles then it’s worth making those refinements.

Beauty Bay is an example of a website that does navigation well, using a combination of logical product groups and helpful editorial advice to guide shoppers.

 

 

The ultimate aim is to drive sales, and this is far better achieved with user-friendly navigation than covering off every possible search term. It’s a useful exercise to put yourself in the consumer’s shoes and ask whether it’s easy to understand the product selection on offer, and whether you’d find it easy to locate the item you want.

 

4. Push hot products to the top of each category

Online visual merchandisers have an advantage over store colleagues when it comes to capitalising on trends; you’ve got instant access to real-time data, and it’s quicker to update product hierarchies online than change store layouts.

Just as mannequins showcase key looks in-store, the right look will seal the deal online, so product relevancy is critical. Make sure items selling well or tapping into a key trend take centre stage on each category page; nailing this basic can generate a huge uplift in sales.

Online shoppers usually only view 30-50 products on their desktop or laptop, and even fewer on mobile, so prioritisation is poignant. In addition to putting hot products first, you can generate a sense of scarcity by telling visitors how many are available where stock is limited.

Intelligent software makes it efficient to adapt product hierarchies and rankings based on specific customer behaviour. Harvey Nichols is a good example of how to utilise automation; the premium department store changes product ordering on its website based on customer search and navigation behaviour – generating a 31% uplift in conversions in the process.

 

Harvey Nichols: read the full case study

 

5. Use your knowledge of the customer journey

While data insights and automation technology can maximise content relevance based on consumer behaviour, a creative eye is still critical in creating alluring customer experiences across all touchpoints.

There’s no substitute for human knowledge; as an online visual merchandiser, it’s your role to interpret customer data and make informed decisions as to how products should be presented, for instance, trading the site and promoting key styles to affirm brand identity and influence sales, and showcasing your catalogue to its full potential.

Consider not just the site as a whole, but also the opportunity to influence behaviour based on where the customer is in their online shopping journey.

For example, behavioural studies have shown that the checkout is the best place to influence impulse purchasing, particularly if the add-on item is low value or discounted. A US study found that 85% of impulse purchasers bought items to take advantage of a deal, so last-minute promotions can encourage bigger basket sizes.

 

Small changes make a massive commercial difference

With the benefit of data at your fingertips, ecommerce merchandising becomes a combination of creative control and smart automated insights, giving your website the glow up it deserves.

As our 5 tips have shown, translating the store’s allure online doesn’t have to mean a huge website overhaul. Looking beyond core metrics like conversion rates to the finer detail, such as click-through rates, save for laters, add to bags and micro-conversions, can generate significant enhancements – which have a major cumulative impact on customer spend. 

And just as importantly, these changes ensure that customers get a great experience however they shop with your brand, to build long-lasting multi-channel relationships.

Attraqt helps retailers deliver highly relevant online customer experiences, from optimised search to personalised recommendations. Check out our full list of solutions.

 

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