In a recent interview with The eTail Blog, Tom Maryniarczyk, associate vice president of ecommerce analytics and promotions, at Sears Canada, talked shop about successful online merchandising and how to personalize a shopping experience without scaring your customer away.
When it comes to merchandising your product online versus in-store, Maryniarczyk told the eTail Blog the key thing to keep in mind is that traditional brick-and-mortar customers are shopping because they made a conscious effort to do so.
The shopping experience, he said, wasn’t just a spur of the moment idea – they took the time to get in the car, drive to your store and shop. Because of that additional effort, he said, “they will put up with more clutter and work harder to find what they need.”
But when it comes to online shopping, Maryniarczyk, it’s a completely different story since online consumers generally have a short attention span. In the blog post, Maryniarczyk said, “customers have made a comparatively small commitment and are therefore much more likely to abandon their shopping trip if they are unable to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently.”
So what do you do to make your site more enticing for online shoppers? Here are a few tips from Maryniarczyk in his own words on how to keep your online shoppers engaged:
- Make it easy for them to get to your key categories, hot products, headline promotions by limiting distractions and making the destination reachable by as few clicks as possible.
- An effective internal search engine combined with logical and clear navigation and filtering options are also key to driving online conversion.
- Offer an easy, guest checkout option and ask for as little information as possible to complete the purchase.
- Offer clear and concise marketing messages and generate a sense of urgency; customers need to understand what you’re selling, why they should buy and why now in a 1 or 2 second glance.
- Push well reviewed best-selling, well stocked products to the top of the search results and first pages of product thumbnail pages.
When it comes the layout of a product features on your site, Maryniarczyk said in the post that it’s best to try to emulate what a customer would see in a store such as material content, technical specs, and key features. Customer reviews should also be placed prominently on the site. According to Maryniarczyk, products with positive customer reviews convert at a higher rate than those that do not.