Category Archives: Merchandising

#Marketing Tips from an Unsuspecting Italian Leather Shop Owner

The leather aroma emanating from Dante’s Leather Shop Sas in Florence– or Firenze, as the Italians call it, was hard to resist. There were many pop up tents on the cobblestone street with vendors displaying leather jackets, but this store seemed real—something requiring rent and a permit.  I wasn’t looking for a fake coat, but a reputable product as a birthday present for my husband.

Greet the Customer.Italian store

After two minutes eyeballing a multitude of coats, I spotted one I liked and a stocky, older gentleman approached me.  He asked in Italian if he could help me. When I asked in Spanish if he spoke English, he quickly obliged and began his pitch.

But, I wasn’t ready to buy. I just wanted to know if

  1. the leather was real,
  2. would the coat fit my husband,
  3. and how much the coat cost.

Demonstrate the Product.

He showed off this particular long jacket like it was a prop in a Penn and Teller act.

To answer my first question, he pulled out a lighter and held the flame against the outside of the coat. It did not ignite. “If it was a fake it would burn,” he said.

I don’t know if the lighter thing is true or not, but having grown up around saddles, I could smell the leather and trusted my nose. I was intrigued by his magic trick and felt comfortable moving from question one to question three.

Overcome Objections.

How much? (That would give me another indicator as to the validity of his answer to question one.)  He gave me a price and I put the coat back on a hanger. Holy cow. These are expensive.

He paused, stopped me, and walked to his counter, returning with an envelope.

“Let me show you how I’m going to save you 14%,” he said, as he detailed the duty free procedures he’d and I‘d follow, so that I’d receive a refund of Italy’s retail tax.  He pulled out past receipts and explained how it worked for other customers. (So, jump on the bandwagon.)

Since this was my first store and leather shopping experience in 2015, I wasn’t sure if his base price was legit.  I wasn’t ready to buy, but kept listening.

“This is a gentleman’s coat,” he said, brushing the length of the jacket with the back of his hand and straightening the collar. “A beautiful coat!  Notice the two tones. This is a popular style for men today.  What size is your husband?”

I had no idea. “He’s taller than you, but not as stocky in the shoulders,” I said.

Without missing a beat, the man put the coat on and said, “And he probably doesn’t have as big of a belly. I apologize. I enjoy our Italian pasta too much.” The ice was broken and I smiled.

The coat looked tight. Then, I remembered pictures I had on my phone and found them. Before holding my phone to look at the pictures, the salesman politely asked, “May I?” Just a small detail, but he knew enough to ask permission before he continued moving me through the sales funnel.

In the photo, I was standing next to my husband on the beach. The craftsman immediately put the coat back on the hanger and pulled out another size.  “This is the one,” he announced.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

He wasn’t insulted, but assured me after fitting so many men, that he knew his sizes.  He also gave me his card and said that if he was wrong, I could return the coat and he’d send the correct size.  This didn’t 100% comfort me, as I imagined shipping charges between countries and the uncertainty of dealing with issues from afar, but he was trying and answered with patience.

My final concern was the train travel ahead and the coat getting stolen during the journey. I once again put it back on the hanger and the man’s face fell. I’m sure he thought he’d never see me again because time and distance kills many sales. “I am coming back through the area in a couple days,” I said.  “I’ll swing by then.”

He nodded and I left.  Truthfully, I wasn’t sure if I’d be back.  I breathed easier after leaving. I was free of the pressure to buy, but over the next couple days, I looked online at leather coats and found most to be more expensive. I also browsed other leather shops in the area and found that Dante’s price was indeed reasonable.  The coat would be a good buy and a classy gift for my husband.  So, I went back and bought it.

Apply Interpersonal Salesmanship to Digital Marketing

We can learn from this Italian businessman.  He did not intend to teach anything, but we can connect these parallel digital applications.

Invest in a legitimate website.

Don’t skimp on a pop up tent that’s a few pages with thin offerings of products and content. Invest in a mobile-friendly site and plan your navigational flow to include each category offering you sell.  By now, you’ve heard that Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm goes live April 21, 2015. Pay the money to sell from a proper site and hire writers to produce relevant and convincing content. Shoppers want to shop where carts are secure, pages quickly render, and flawless images and words are helpful.

Offer your assistance before the customer leaves.

Give customers a few moments to look through your store, but do greet them.  Many online businesses provide chat services to help shoppers find products or ask questions.  These can annoy, so configure your settings appropriately to avoid chasing away potential customers with pushiness.

Anticipate shopper questions.

Shoppers ask the same questions and have the same concerns that other shoppers express. Overtime, you learn what customers will ask. Answering these repetitive questions can get tiring.  However, customers want to feel important. Thoroughly and patiently answer each question. Whether in person or through the Internet, you’ll improve sales with a one-on-one approach.

The Italian shop keeper answered questions in the order I asked them.  He didn’t jump ahead to other predictable topics. He answered what I wanted to know when I wanted to know it. Another customer might have asked the same questions, but in a different order.  He didn’t assume I was someone else.  He personalized his answers to my agenda.

Your website should thoroughly answer the questions that are asked every day in your store. Create videos or FAQ pages to explain common or complex information. Give customer traffic the flexibility to choose what they want to know when they want to know it. Offer product reviews on your site for the insight and comfort other customers provide.

Speak your customer’s language.

Later in my trip, I walked into a café where the cashier was not going to try to speak English or even meet me in the middle with Spanish. Ridiculous, right?

Not really.

It’s easy to forget that your website might be giving the same cold shoulder to potential leads from abroad. If you want more tourists to buy, communicate in the language and with the expressions they understand. The leather shop owner quickly adapted his initial greeting from Italian to English, overcoming my first sales hurdle—language inadequacy. You might consider offering an online chat service in multiple languages for customers who visit your site.  Thank goodness for Google Translate, but even so, can you make your site friendlier to foreign shoppers? Is your site’s reading level accurate for various ages and fluencies of your customers?

Know and love your product like a craftsman.

The Italian store owner knew his product and business. Your website should also demonstrate your breadth of expertise. Provide details and demonstrate passion for what you’re selling. Think of concrete word pictures, phrases, and examples to help customers visualize using your products. Offer images with close ups and 360 degree views. What might the product look like on a small, medium, or large person?

Know your competition and how well your products are priced, as compared to competitor’s products.  Some companies have in-house experts write their content and then hire content companies to edit for SEO-friendliness, grammar, and usage.

Be polite.

Your brand’s tone does make a difference.  Respect your customer’s intelligence and interest with the words you choose.

Offer a no hassle return policy.

If you offer a great product, then your return policy ought to be friendly to offset customer indecisiveness or concerns about your legitimacy. A no hassle return policy communicates that your business is for real.

Let your customer leave.

If you’ve accurately priced your product and you know that your product is of quality, then don’t sweat when a customer leaves.  Sometimes people need space to see that you offered a good deal.

But honestly, the Italian shop owner knew my leaving wasn’t ideal. You will lose a percentage of sales when potential customers leave, so address their concerns while in your store without being pushy. Some retailers provide competitor comparison charts on sub-category or product pages to demonstrate competitive price or product details. The Italian shop owner offered to directly ship the coat overseas so I wouldn’t have to carry it with me—an alternative that I determined was too expensive, but at least he was accomodating.

After the sale, invite customers to return.

It was a simple phrase the man said after the coat was in the bag and I was leaving the store…

“Thank you for shopping with us.  I hope next time you visit Florence, you will treat yourself to something, as well.”

Oh gosh. That was good.

He’s right. What about me?

Unknowingly, I wrestled with my pragmatic inner-voice. It scolded, “You got the trip. Your husband gets the birthday coat.” But, another inner-voice snapped back, “The salesman is right. You deserve this. You could be getting a good deal, too!”

What a smart phrase to zing customers with at the end.

Be an expert salesman online.

Whether you’re a shop keeper with one store and no online presence or a major retailer with thousands of SKUs and hundreds of global stores, finely tuned inter-personal skills applied to each and every transaction add up over time.  Bring those traditional business practices to today’s platforms and you’ll increase sales like a pro.

 

~Jean

 

 

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Filed under Algorithms, Audience, Branding, Capturing Audience, Customer Profile, E-Tail Category Content, Marketing, Merchandising, Personas, Product Descriptions, Reviews, Sales, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Words Which Sell

What Have We Learned about Consumers from Parsing Big Data?

If you’ve shopped recently (whether in a store or online), you may have been asked for a phone number or email address, or maybe both. Have you ever wondered why you’re being asked for information more often than previous years? The answer is simple—companies are gathering data and watching buying patterns to learn more about consumers as a whole. Even if your information isn’t collected, your transaction is later analyzed to determine when certain items were bought and what to send to that store’s inventory for the following year, as most companies base their performance against last year’s (LY’s) numbers. This data that is collected is referred to as big data, a term that is essentially used to explain the large growth and quick availability of both structured and unstructured data and information (SAS).

Categories of Data

The SAS Institute explains three categories often looked at when analyzing this data: volume, velocity, and variety. While the volume of data being collected is growing higher all the time, storage of the collected data is not as big a problem as it previously was—data storage costs are decreasing. So, with the volume of data being collected at a fast pace, the question becomes how to determine the relevance of the data collected and how to make the data valuable. Data comes in a wide variety of both structured and unstructured formats—everything from structured numeric data (such as data gathered from transactions) to unstructured text documents such as emails or social media activity.

What Can the Analysis of Big Data Change?

In an article with Forbes, we learn from Kurt Abrahamson (CEO of ShareThis) exactly what can be done with data gathered. Data gathered by companies through social media is as simple as clicking a “like” button on something and then “sharing” it on with your friends and family on a social media network. Whether it’s an article, a blog post, a product, a video, or anything else you can think of, once it’s “liked,” analytics companies create a profile which is then given to advertisers. This is how major companies reach out and find new customers.

Once companies have data on potential customers, they must find a way to appeal to new customers while keeping current customers happy. Thinking about this from a content perspective, we must sell products (in a storefront or online) by making them appealing to customers. In a physical store, the story is told with the products themselves, through the way they are organized. However, as Internet Retailer points out, many more consumers are shopping online. This means that insightful content is going to continue to be valued on company websites.icons

Specific and detailed descriptions of products and services will make a huge difference when it comes to the success or failure of e-stores. Look at some product descriptions on an e-store. Are they clear and concise? Do they give you a reason to want the product? Is there a way for the product to be rated by the consumer? Perhaps they even suggest a use! For example:

  • These jeans are made with a stretch denim and come in a variety of sizes to fit everyone.
  • Our most-loved, boot-cut jeans feature the classic, 5-pocket design and are made with soft, stretch denim. All are available in sizes 0 to 13!

Which would you buy?

What Does Big Data Tell Us About Consumers?

Essentially, by watching and tracking what is bought and read online, we can learn a lot about consumers. There are some things that are bought a certain seasons, such as school supplies. However, when a family that buys the standard yearly school supplies also buys a new laundry hamper, shower caddy, storage totes, cleaning supplies, and a closet organizer, it’s an indication that they are either moving or their child is going away to college—that’s a major life change worth tracking. According to an article in the New York Times, the most common time of life for buying patterns to change is around the time a child is born. Not during the planning stages, but during the last few weeks leading up to the birth and the first few weeks after, when parents are exhausted and begin weighing options of cost, brand, and reviews. After the baby is born, parents are often hit with a massive flow of offers, deals, coupons, and other things pertaining to their new baby—content and reviews may play a part in which product parents will buy.

Analyzing big data can tell us a variety of things about consumers—what’s going on in their lives, what their favorite brands are, during what time of year they purchase certain items, and so on. Companies are also able to make data-driven decisions about what products to bring out at what part of the year, what products are in a higher demand with consumers, and even in what part of the country certain products sell better. By tracking and gathering data, companies will be able to watch where the traffic is going to better concentrate their marketing and content efforts. ~Holly

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Filed under Analytics, Business Strategy, Holiday Blog, Merchandising, Product Descriptions, Sales

The Latest on the Ever-Evolving Pinterest

By My Web Writers

Back in November 2012, Pinterest released, Business Pages, a new feature geared towards businesses and marketers. These Business Pages are not brand pages like what one would expect to find in other social networking sites. These pages actually look the same as the other pages. There are a couple features that set Business Pages apart from other Pinterest pages.

PinterestFirst, website authentication is now part of the sign up process.  Also, businesses are able to enter business names when signing up for their accounts instead of dealing with the hassles of entering individuals’ first names and last names. There are new terms of services for businesses (before this launch, Pinterest was strictly “non-commercial”).

Why should businesses be excited? The evolution indicates possibilities for the future. Pinterest is undoubtedly expanding their reach by adding more business and marketing related tools.  The added features could bring brands on board to further merchandise goods through business pages. Will Pinterest be the next Amazon?

Researcher Eric Gilbert from Georgia Tech and Loren Torveen from the University of Minnesota recently teamed up to use statistical data to answer the question of “What drives activity on Pinterest?” They used their data to …

  • help understand the motivations behind Pinterest activity,
  • determine what roles gender plays among users of Pinterest, and
  • investigate the factors that distinguish Pinterest from other social networking sites.

Gilbert and Torveen ultimately found that:

  • Female users have more repins, no matter what their location geographically.
  • Men tend to typically have more followers on Pinterest.
  • There are 4 verbs that set Pinterest apart from Twitter: “use,” “look,” “want,” and “need.”

Gilbert noted that “You can use the word ‘this’ after all of these verbs, reflecting the ‘things’ at the core of Pinterest. Many press articles have focused on Pinterest’s commercial potential, and here we see verbs that illustrate that consumption truly lies at the heart of the site.”

If you were thinking about using Pinterest for marketing, all systems are “go.” According the researchers, a recent market survey “showed that a higher proportion of Pinterest users click through to e-commerce sites — and when they go there, they spend… more money than people who come from sites such as Facebook or Twitter.”  In fact, Venture Beat reports that Sephora’s fans on Pinterest spend 15 times more through Pinterest than from Facebook. Additionally, shoppers on Pinterest average spending at $140-$180 each checkout, which is truly remarkable when compared with the $80 from Facebook and $60 on Twitter.

WorldSo, who should you be marketing to on Pinterest as Business Pages accelerate and features change on the site to appeal to businesses? Well, moms are 61% more likely to visit and spend time on Pinterest than the average American, according to a recent Nielson report. Internet Marketing reveals that for those U.S. Pinterest users, they are more likely to be pinning from the Midwest.

Oh, and that Georgia Tech and University of Minnesota research collaboration also gave us this takeaway:

“After conducting this research, if I had to choose where to put my money and marketing, Pinterest would probably be my first choice.”  ~Sara

Other Posts You Might Like:

Managing Social Media in a Crisis- Best Practices & Case Studies

Using Social Media to Help Brand Your Company

What is the Real Value of Pinterest to Your Business?

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Filed under Business Strategy, Merchandising, Pinterest, Social Media

Is Your e-Store Prepared for Summer Shoppers?

My Web Writers

E-StoresAre you marketing and merchandising your website for this summer’s sales potential? According to Internet Retailer, the U.S. Commerce Department said that U.S. online sales totaled $225.5 billion in 2012, up 15.8% from $194.7 billion in 2011.  With the exception of sales in categories not commonly bought online—

Internet Retailer estimates that e-commerce accounted for 7.6% of total retail sales during the year, up from 6.8% a year earlier. Commerce Department estimates are based on a quarterly survey of more than 11,000 U.S. merchants.

It’s no wonder that such a large marketing emphasis is placed on preparing shopping web sites for each new season and sale.  Every effort counts.   As the weather finally heats up for the summer, many e-stores have rolled out their new merchandise and revamped their web sites. All businesses, regardless of size or industry, can learn from other creative and competitive websites. Let’s take a look at three examples of big name brands and how they’re poised to sell more this summer:

 

1.  Target.com

Target is known for its chic and trendy styles and its unique in-store shopping experience. Target pays special attention to creating this same vibe in its e-store. The web site design is simple, clean and incorporates the signature Target red color to promote brand recognition. Though this main design remains the same year-round, the homepage content is customized to the upcoming holidays and season. Going on right now is a sale on patio furniture and family swimwear.  Aside from the featured sales, Target has changed the photos to represent each of its main shopping categories to be summer-themed. For example the “Women’s” category shows a summery dress and the “Sports and Outdoors” category is represented with an above ground pool. These images, though subtle, entice shoppers to click and browse in areas they may have had no original interest in shopping.

What you can learn: The takeaway from Target’s summer-poised marketing is that images are powerful. If you are trying to sell seasonal items, then every image should be carefully chosen to remind shoppers of all the things they enjoy about that season. Even if they weren’t originally in the market for a pool, customers will be intrigued to click on images that pique their interests.

Target.com’s weakness is its lack of content.  It’s missing tips or suggestions to help customers visualize how to use its products.

Target.com is ready to go for the summer, though the "d" in "deals" should be capitalized.

Target.com is ready to go for the summer, though the “d” in “deals” should be capitalized and the exclamation point should be dropped. Oops. Can you spot the other capitalization errors?

2. Petsmart.com

Petsmart’s images are ready for summer.  The web site’s main sliding banner greets customers with various pictures of dogs running outside on sunny days. The other still images on the homepage are also of animals in outdoor settings. Moving beyond the homepage, the main items featured are geared toward use in the summer. For example, the dog section has leashes, harnesses and bike trailers aimed at outdoor lovers on the go.

What you can learn: While it’s only April, Petsmart has already positioned its web site with the most summer-related items first.   Like end-caps in physical stores, identify your store’s most desirable and in-demand products and place them at the forefront of the e-store.

Petsmart needs to add seasonal content.  Currently, its homepage bottom content is duplicated on several category pages, which isn’t great for search or for customers.  Petsmart.com could address pet owners’ most frequently asked questions about each category in those spaces.  It’s missing opportunities to educate new animal owners about the pros and cons of buying fencing, habitat accessories, and other pet supplies.

 

Petsmart.com was ready to take us outside for the summer, even though it was still snowing in the East and Midwest.

Even though it’s a cold spring in many parts of the United States, Petsmart.com helps consumers visualize summer outside with Fifi and Fido.

3. Gap.com

Gap is a brand that adapts to every new season. The colors and styles of their clothes act as decorations for the web site and can change the whole tone from summer to winter.  Clothing stores start advertising their new lines nearly a season in advance. Today, Gap.com is vibrant, bright and cheery with summer apparel.  Even the background graphic on the web site has been changed to read “Be Bright” in art-deco style lettering. From shorts and capri’s to sundresses and tank tops, one would think it’s already August at Gap.com.

Gap.com employs a clever trick with it's images. Notice the blue highlight of phrases that look like hyperlinks. You're encouraged to click the phrase, which leads to products.

Gap.com employs a clever trick with some images. Notice the blue highlight of “uniform shorts.” This phrase looks like a hyperlink. It’s not, but when clicked, the image is linked to the corresponding shorts store. Also, on this page, Gap transitions from spring to summer through use of a jacket with shorts and words that close out spring, while promoting summer.

What you can learn: Not all e-stores and web sites can be as adaptable to changing for each season as Gap, but if you are – utilize it! Tailor your font, graphics, background and colors to represent each season. Summer products seem to “pop” so much more when accompanied by other summer colors on the site and when your products look good, they sell.

However, the Gap is content light.  Sentences are placed over images like memes; but, there are very few words in text above or below page folds.  The Gap performs fairly well in search, but it’s likely that online conversions would improve with carefully-crafted content that adds value to the customers’ shopping experiences.

Overall, the common theme among these e-stores is to move your seasonal and most desirable products to the front. Incorporate the colors of the seasons, but stay true to your brand.  Place seasonal items on your homepage and tailor your images and content toward creating vibes that put shoppers in the mood for summer.

Don’t forget those whose experiences are enhanced beyond the layout, art, and images by the words they read.  Store content should educate the consumer, complement images, and describe the feel of the season.

Is your e-store prepared for summer shoppers?

~Stephanie & Jean

Other MWW Articles:

National Websites without Physical Stores Struggle to Rank

Guidelines for Writing E-Tail Category Content

Five Ways to Prepare Your E-Store for the Holidays

Nab These Call-to-Action Verbs

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content, Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Favorite Websites, Local, Marketing, Merchandising, Mobile, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases for E-commerce Content

by My Web Writerscall to action

“Click here!” “Buy today!” “Limited time only!” We’ve seen them all, and ignored most of them. Not all e-commerce call-to-action phrases are creative. Most of them are incredibly cliché and really don’t motivate the reader to do much of anything.

You want to be different. You want to stand out. In order to do this put on your thinking cap and let your creative juices flow. Don’t use the same words that everyone else uses. Turn to a thesaurus if you need to and make sure you’re thinking outside the box.

Try these 25 effective, call-to-action phrases in your ecommerce content:

  1. Just hit Reply and we’ll email you the details.
  2. Entice him with x, y, and z.
  3. Impress when you dress in x, y, and z.
  4. Think (insert topic here).
  5. Get the 411.
  6. Come hang with us.
  7. Write!
  8. Tell us you want it.
  9. Put it in my closet.
  10. Use it ASAP.
  11. Make my friends jealous.
  12. Explore the product.
  13. Book a table.
  14. Take a chance today.
  15. Achieve more now.
  16. Build my collection.
  17. Learn how to profit.
  18. Improve my life.
  19. Make me (look, smell, dress, etc.) better.
  20. Check it out.
  21. Some of our customer favorites are x, y, and z.
  22. Try popular styles like x, y, and z.
  23. Our top sellers, such as X and Y, receive outstanding reviews.
  24. Shop for other items like x including y and z.
  25. Our most linked to products are x, y, and z.

Remember that calls to action aren’t only about the words. Experiment with fonts, size, and placement on the page.  Feel free to be creative while enticing shoppers to buy more!

~Natalie

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Filed under Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Merchandising, Product Descriptions, Words Which Sell

Five Ways to Prepare Your E-Store for the Holidays

Shindigz.com is an example of an e-tailer that grooms its e-stores for the holidays.

by My Web Writers

Prepare your e-store for the holidays.   Delight and encourage shoppers, while providing unique opportunities to increase your potential customers. It goes without saying that if your site is a landing destination, your customers are going to shop more and spread the word about it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking media.

There’s no time like the holidays to make subtle, effective improvements to your e-store, all in the name of getting ready for the upcoming festivities.

Put up some decorations

It doesn’t take much these days to change a heading or personalize a background. If you don’t want to use your own pictures, search for public domain and free licensing ones to create an atmosphere of holiday cheer on your site. Include a few holiday specific articles, highlighting your best products with previous customer testimonials.

Make your e-store very user friendly

Keep your site stress free for your customers, providing easy access to product, ordering and shipping information. Update return policies and include all information pertaining to receiving items as gifts too. While you’re doing this, it’s undoubtedly a good idea to make sure your return policy is consumer friendly, as well.

Other important user friendly features on your e-store include navigation. Make products on your site easy to find and access. Product descriptions should be thorough and readily available, upon landing on each product page.  Refresh your product and category descriptions for SEO.  Eliminate unnecessary clutter. Minimize eyestrain by softening colors, and reducing glaring bling.

Give gifts and goodies to your customers

Free shipping is huge, but so are coupons. Perks are fun to find and receive when shopping. Provide ample opportunities for customers to save money, and receive special promotions and offers with minimal effort. This might include running a 3-Day sale, and posting a special coupon on Facebook for consumers to print. It could also be a “Refer a Friend” opportunity, where linking to your site sends your customer an extraordinary deal for their kindness.

Eliminate shipping worries

Flexibility is vital when it comes to shipping, especially for those last minute shoppers. As an e-store owner, you can make sure you’re able to deliver customer product in a timely manner; you can also extend the shipping time required by the customer. Give those frazzled shoppers a little breathing room, and make it easy to receive items in record time, even if they’ve been ordered a little later than expected.

Serve your customers well

Treat your customers like royalty. Make them feel wanted and special, by providing multiple ways to contact you. Set up a live chat or forum for their immediate questions and concerns. Make “Contact Information” easy to find and easier to use. Respond graciously and as soon as possible when you are contacted by a customer.

Preparing your E-store for the holidays is an opportunity to make your site stand out among the crowd. Take advantage of this opportunity, so you can drive traffic and increase sales opportunity well into 2013!

~MJ

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Filed under Business Strategy, Customer Profile, E-Tail Category Content, Email Campaigns, Marketing, Merchandising, Product Descriptions, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media

Merchandising to Writing — Build Better E-Store Category Pages

By My Web Writers

Internet stores are open to anyone who wants to be a business owner, but not everyone knows how to effectively  merchandise products.

Consider these five merchandising tips to create a solid e-store with well-organized products and content.

  • Visit physical locations of retailers.  If you’re able to see and understand a space’s layout, you’ll have a better chance of organizing your e-store in a way that is appealing, informative, and in-sync with the physical space.  Also look at other e-stores.  Researching competitor pricing and product picks will help you to shrewdly build your e-store’s category pages.
  • When you begin the organization process, clarity is essential.  Keep your pages and categories clear and concise, not only for SEO purposes, but also so that site visitors are able to easily find specific items without relying on your site’s search tool.  How far you break down categories depends on the store’s range of products and which keywords you’re trying to capture.  If products are clothing-related, categorize them into men’s, women’s, juniors, toddlers, and babies.  Then, drill down into sub-categories such as tall, plus, petite, girls, boys, 12- 18 mos., 2T, newborn, and so on.
  • Organize each page’s display by size, price, color, or another common filter for your particular customers. Typically, if you organize by price, you’ll want to list products in order from most expensive to least expensive to promote bigger revenue items.  If you choose to organize by color, do so in the order of the rainbow or in the reverse order of the rainbow.  Many stores organize their pages with the best selling items up top, followed by the most expensive items, and then the least expensive, slow-moving items.

  • Replace out of stock items, dead inventory, and seasonal products with fresh products and top sellers.  By all means, move the best selling products to the top of your e-store and offer a deal of the day to move old inventory.  Continually monitor your store to keep it up-to-date.  Invite customers to write product reviews.  Attract new customers through the recommendations of your loyal customers.  Add product suggestions with help from IGoDigital.com.
  • Refresh product and category content on a regular basis for both search engine rankings and the interests of your repeat customers.  If you provide fresh content, customers will come back to read it and they’ll share it with others.  No one wants to read the same, corny phrase or click on out-dated links on their sixth visit to your site.  If writing was never your area of strength or if you lack time, office space, or human resources, outsource category and product content to content providers like My Web Writers.

If you’ve worked in a retail store, your foundation will help you organize an Internet store.  Detailed merchandising can be the difference between e-tail success and failure.

~Holly and Jean

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Filed under Content, E-Tail Category Content, Merchandising, Mobile, Product Descriptions, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)