With 2.05 billion global digital buyers in 2020, eCommerce is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing trends in retail. What’s more -- this number is expected to rise to 2.14 billion people in 2021. And just like brick-and-mortar retailers have long used visual merchandising to drive sales and generate shopper interest, eCommerce retailers must focus on online visual merchandising to achieve the same goal.

What is online visual merchandising?

Visual merchandising is a marketing term that refers to the visual techniques used by retailers to sell a product. This can include pictures and video, as well as the words used in the description and consumer reviews of the product. With the rise in ecommerce sales, online visual merchandising has become a focus within the digital marketing world.

As with brick-and-mortar tactics, visual merchandising and content marketing is one of the easiest ways to influence purchasing behavior. According to a 2019 survey from Salsify, nearly 70% of consumers chose a lack of product information as a reason they’ve left a page. This factor was even more important than the price tag of the product, with concern that the product is possibly fake/counterfeit and low-quality images being the third and fourth reasons consumers decided not to buy.

What do online shoppers expect from your product page?

As online purchase trends have changed, consumers’ expectations have evolved, as well, particularly relating to the content available on a product page. The Salsify report mentioned earlier discusses the following trends occurring in ecommerce visual merchandising:

Product Reviews
  • Consumers under 65 rely more heavily on product reviews to determine whether the product is something they’d like to purchase. In fact, reviews are more of a concern than brand, and this trend is not affected by purchase price.
  • Online shoppers need at least 112 reviews, on average, to make them confident enough to trust a product being sold.
  • Consumers in the 18-24-year-old bracket expect more than 200 reviews per product.
  • Reviews fulfill two major needs for prospective buyers. Namely, positive reviews demonstrate both quality of product and past purchases made by others.
Customer reviews are important to shoppers
Product reviews are important to your sales
Photos and other media
  • Product photos are the most important tool for online product sales.
  • Shoppers in the 18-24 and 35-44 age groups expect 8 images and 4-5 videos for each product.
  • In 2016, consumers wanted an average of three images per product. Three years later, in 2019, shoppers across nearly every age group expect double the images and expect a minimum of two videos.
  • Customer-generated photos work to increase trust.
Content merchandising
  • Clean, organized product descriptions allow customers to find out the information they need quickly, improving the customer experience.
  • Details such as size, shape, and product features should be clearly outlined in one section, followed by suggestions for ways your customers could use your product.
  • One way to increase the visual power of product descriptions is by placing them next to customer photos.

The Best Practices for Improving Your Ecommerce Visual Merchandising Strategy

  1. Focus on telling a story. This is always attractive to customers looking for an immersive shopping experience.
  2. Photos must be high quality, provide detail, and show your product in action. This helps consumers imagine using the product in their own lives.
  3. Use creative ways to display products, such as an interactive 3D viewer, which gives shoppers a chance to view, rotate, and zoom in or out on your products from web or mobile browsers on any device.
  4. Encourage and incorporate user-generated content as much as possible – not only does this show that others are buying your product, it is a visual cue that others are happy with their purchase.
  5. Optimize browsing by providing multiple categories and keeping your products searchable.
  6. Make sure all of your pages and products are mobile responsive for consumers who are shopping on-the-go.
  7. Apply Augmented Reality to your online store. A ‘view in your space’ feature will allow your potential buyers to see how the product would look in their home, and ultimately helps consumers make better purchasing decisions.

As eCommerce continues to thrive, looking into best practices for online visual merchandising is the easiest way to gain momentum in your online sales. Not only will these steps make your customers’ shopping experience better and more immersive – it will build your website’s reputation as a top online retailer.

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What do your shoppers expect from your product pages? 7 Best Practices for Improving Your eCommerce Visual Merchandising Strategy

Haidi Kelly is the CMO at Modelry. Formerly at WeWork, Haidi loves the challenges the B2B space brings. Excited about the transformative power of digital assets and content in eCommerce, Haidi helps individuals, teams, and companies reach their full potential. In her downtime, she is also a foodie, world traveler, and enjoys live music.

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