Building Your e-Commerce Merchandising Toolkit Part

Building your e-commerce merchandising toolkit part – 3

In two earlier posts, we looked at an increasingly complex set of merchandising requirements that a merchandising product must provide to a modern online retailer. In this post, we’ll further increase the complexity. My aim continues to be that product managers and merchandising managers get an insight into the use cases their tools need to be geared for. Lets dive in!
    1. Create a landing page for a SEM campaign for deals on men’s accessories. The landing page must display only products from three sub-categories: wallets, belts and bags and show only 3 top-selling products from each category. Within the three products from each category, the products must be sorted in a descending order of discounts, i.e. highest discounts to least discount percentage.To understand the challenge behind executing such a rule, one needs to understand that the page must be rendered on-the-fly every time a visitor comes to the page. This is to ensure that:
      • the top sales data is the latest from the latest transactions records for the selected products.
      • that the page does not have to be manually recreated or edited every time a change takes place in the order of products or discounts on products.
      You can imagine that on a real world ecommerce site, the creation of the page will have to be dynamic so as to avoid the turn-around time required for creating the page through a developer or the engineering team. Every time the sales trend changes, the merchandising team will have to go to the engineering team to refresh the contents of the page. This is not a scalable approach whereas generating the page on-the-fly is. The need to generate the landing page on-the-fly brings in a few more challenges. Firstly, it requires that the merchandising tool enable the creation of such a page in a merchandiser-friendly approach. Secondly, it must keep track of top selling products and the discounts being offered on them. Thirdly, it needs to execute such a rule for three different categories and display them on a single page.
    2. On the catalog navigation menu, when a visitor clicks on the the category Apparel, the results page must always display products from sub-category T-Shirts first. However, this rule must not apply when a visitor searches through the search box for products from the apparel store.The first challenge in this rule is to apply it to only the results page of the catalog navigation and not to the search results through the search box. This is more of an engineering problem and it needs to be communicated clearly to the engineering team.Second problem with such a rule is that it assumes that the underlying ecommerce platform, whether using a commoditized platform like Magento or an in-house one, enables you to change the way results are presented for catalog navigation clicks by the visitor. If it does not, there is simply no way to introduce such a rule. This could be a problem because most of the time, ecommerce platforms assume that the catalog navigation menus are simply supposed to extract the contents of the product database and display them on the web page. In reality, what we need the platform to do, is to let us apply some rules to the catalog before displaying them.The third challenge is to find some way of giving higher priority to the sub-category T-Shirts. Even though it sounds simple, it generally requires a restructuring of the database to allow such a priority attribute to be attached to a sub-category or the products belonging to the sub-category.
  • During search, give highest priority to model-name field in mobiles store, book-title field in books store and for all other stores highest weight to brands field in the product catalog. In an earlier post, I spoke about the need to have a clear understanding of the product catalog to determine which parts or fields are more important than others. The reason I wrote that will be clear here.
You may need a rule where, for the purposes of search, you want that if a product’s name field matches a query, then this product needs to be considered more relevant than another product whose description field matches the query. This is simply because of our understanding that a product name is more important than the description in helping a visitor locate the product of interest. For the above rule, not only are we asking the merchandising team to prioritise model-name for mobiles store catalog but requiring that the search engine understand that there are different stores in a site’s catalog. Being able to specify such store specific rules is another of those challenges that need to be resolved by a merchandising product. That is all for this post. We covered three complicated merchandising use cases. Dont shy away from reading these again because a good understanding of these is a key ingredient in maximizing conversions. Please do leave your comments below or email me directly at: shehjart AT unbxd DOT com. Thanks!

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