It’s important to note that there needs to be a degree of flexibility when applying business objectives, which AI can help with

If you’ve used Google’s conversion optimized ad settings, you’ll know just how powerful artificial intelligence (AI) using machine learning and predictive analytics can be. But can retailers squeeze more out of AI on their own sites?

Conversion optimization – Smoothing the way to sales

Conversion optimization is used by retailers to smooth the bumps in the road on the way to a sale or stated goal such as signing up to a store card. This can involve the merchandising of bestsellers both in-store and online, training of staff to better identify customer needs and uncover opportunities to upsell and cross-sell along with tinkering with the UX on websites to see if a blue button leads to greater sales than a green button. …

Retailers in the UK are still using online merchandising techniques from the last century to try and compete and, in the process, making their jobs and survival much harder

Here’s the problem: UK retailers are under massive competitive and economic pressure. Stores are closing and thousands of jobs are under threat. Online behemoths like Amazon, powered by innovative service delivery and technologies, are steamrolling all in their path. Yet retailers in the UK are still using online merchandising techniques from the last century to try and compete and, in the process, making their jobs and survival much harder. Find out how AI-powered applications can deliver solutions to the business challenges and opportunities in online merchandising with our report 'Making the case for AI in online merchandising', written with Apptus.

The product exposure challenge

Let me explain. Product display and merchandising should ensure that the right product is in the…

There are two types of product descriptions: those that tell and those that sell

Words have huge power to turn even the most ordinary product into a must-have. There are two types of product descriptions: those that tell and those that sell. Most e-commerce businesses simply tell their customers about products, instead of turning them into a revenue-generating buyer. According to research, 20% of online shopping fails as a result of missing or vague product information. Some 87% of customers rate the inclusion of product content as critical when making the buying decision. Beyond dispute, product descriptions have a huge impact on your sales. They should give consumers the information they need. They should be short, clear and to the point.

The importance of creating product descriptions

Product descriptions are just like an in-store sales assistant. They are your around-the-clock sales staff. They help you increase…

Chart of the Day: How will Disney buying Fox assets affect their entertainment media?

In the coming months expect to see one of the biggest entertainment mergers in the history of...entertainment. Walt Disney Studios Inc (Buena Vista) is the powerhouse of the last two decades. In that time they have acquired the entirety of Marvel in 2009 ($4.24bn) and more recently put down the bucks for Lucasfilm in 2012($4bn). This might seem like a lot of money, it is, but it has taken them no time whatsoever to start paying them off. In 2018, Marvel movies alone had grossed $14bn+ and as of December 2017, Disney had already made back the $4bn they paid for Lucasfilm in under 5 years. Their acquisition prowess is undeniable and the ROI speaks volumes. They have money to throw around with annual revenue sitting at $55bn and a company value of $150bn+. This chart shows the…

Chart of the Day: Which are the most popular merchandising techniques used by online retailers?

Best practices for creating effective user experiences for Ecommerce sites are often discussed along with how to improve experiences through conversion rate optimization. However, it's less common for retail merchandising techniques to be discussed. To help retailers learn best practices, we've created a new online merchandising guide by retail Expert Mark Hall which is available to Business members. To highlight some of the merchandising techniques available this research reviews techniques used based on a review of the Ecommerce sites of some of the 50 top global Ecommerce brands. The results suggest a variation in merchandising adoption with some techniques such as top sellers, trending now and top-rated products having a surprisingly low adoption. This in turn, suggests, the challenges of including merchandising features when retail brands are looking to simplify experiences on mobile devices…
Sales guru Jim Rohn aptly said:

‘Success is neither magical nor mysterious; it’s the natural consequence of consistently applying the fundamentals.’

I agree wholeheartedly. In order to sell better online you need to know the fundamentals, or essentials, of persuasive selling. These same principles apply whether you’re selling face-to-face or on a website. Only by doing so will you achieve your overarching merchandising goals: more add-to-carts and conversions, triggered by higher click-throughs on your website’s sales pages. In this post I cover essential selling practices. I discuss best practices and optimisation techniques separately.

Start with the essentials

For us humans, the essentials are food, water and rest. For online merchandising, selling essentials are more emotion-based, and include: Understanding your prospects needs and desires Earning the trust of your visitors Using persuasive selling tactics Tailoring your pitch to your shopper’s stage Creating a Product Finder tool Offering proactive customer support

Understanding your prospects

Here’s another saying…

Jakob Bignert examines the spectre of automated merchandising and tries to reassure us that there is nothing to worry about – no seriously, you’ll be fine!

Since the industrial revolution, automation in the workplace has been met with extreme reactions. As a business owner you would rub your hands in glee as you realised you could punch out more widgets, more quickly while employing fewer people. However, if fate had dealt you a different hand, you’d be quaking in your boots as you realised your widget making skills were no longer required and unemployment beckoned.

Retail automation

Retail, though, has seen remarkably few significant step changes when it comes to automation. And understandably; buy products, display them attractively, take the money, count it, bank it and repeat. OK, an oversimplification I grant you, but you get the point. There are some though: Cash registers and subsequent EPOS systems have removed the need for a counting…

5 steps to getting started with merchandising for Online Trading

In the broadest sense, merchandising is defined as 'the activity of promoting the sale of goods'. Whether this is in a store, over the phone or online the principle is the same – 'Sell more stuff (Profitably)'; the differences come in the techniques employed to do this. A traditional retail store will use gondala end displays, clip-strip cross-sells and sales assistants to maximise revenues, but without the advantage of face-to-face sales influence how can we sell online?

[si_guide_block id="74974" title="Download Expert Member resource – Online Retail Merchandising guide" description="This guide examines all aspects of the buyer journey and gives great tips along the way to improve your customer's experience and make them more likely to buy. Via detailed examples of sites including, B&Q, Asos and more, in both desktop and mobile views, the guide lets you learn from market leaders…

Research reviewing factors that can limit conversion

Retailers will know that there are many factors that can limit online conversion resulting in between 95 and 98% of visitors to an online store not converting  on average (based on our compilation of cross-device online retail conversion rates).  This infographic combines the results of different surveys to give a summary of these factors that limit conversion One of the main factors is simply that site visitors do not intend to buy online because of cost. This influences cart abandonment with 28% of online shoppers not buying products online due to the hidden or unexpected shipping costs. Another 23% don’t like account registrations followed by the 12% that have trouble understanding the checkout page. Cart recovery programmes using remarketing through email or ad network retargeting are one solution. Price-led promotions targeting high priced products with flexible discounts were responded to positively by 54% of the…

How optimised sales messages on category pages can give your revenue a huge boost

On many ecommerce websites one of the first things that is discussed is the design and 'feel' of the site. Phrases such as 'I want the site to look clean' and 'slick' are a frequent occurrence. Yet it is important to note that a balance has to be struck between being representative of the brand, heritage, look / feel,  and actually selling stuff (luxury brands tend to be the exception to this rule). Offline stores maintain the design and look that you want, with your sales assistants being the ones that can step outside of the 'design', be human and actually do the selling. Online your website has to achieve this to ensure that you end up with a website that converts as well as looking pretty. To test the impact that sales messaging alone can have, we looked at a client's website whose site…

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