E-commerce merchandising is not easy to start with. If you don’t have the tools of the job, it will probably be the hardest thing in the world. Your tools should be such that your merchandising machine involves the least amount of human effort while generating maximum customer happiness. These are not simply ideas that sound good but goals that translate into real merchandising scenarios. With the right tools, you too can achieve Zappos-style customer satisfaction. The problem arises when either the tool does not support your use cases or there isn’t enough clarity yet within your merchandising organisation what those use cases should be. So let me walk you through some of the scenarios that I believe an in-search merchandising product must support. This is Part 1 of a series of posts. In each post, I will increase the complexity of the scenarios to help you make a decision.
- Displaying a particular product after a recent launch. When Iphone 5 launched recently, some of the online stores I searched on continued to display old 3 and 4S models as the top results. I think it is obvious that if I am searching for “iphone” around the launch of iPhone 5, I am most probably looking for the latest product. A merchandising tool must allow your merchandisers to request such changes or better still provide a dashboard where they can promote a product, iphone 5 in this case, in sync with a product launch. The consequences of not syncing your in-search merchandising with a product launch can be as severe as loss of revenue in the short run to diminished customer lifetime value due to poor UX.
- Displaying a group of products from a specific vendor because that vendor offers you higher margins. You may like to promote certain products from a single vendor whose prices give you the maximum margins. There may be situations when you would like to run this campaign on a given day of the week and not on other days. Your merchandising tools must enable you to create such rules without restricting you to only a few factors or parameters such as margins or discounts.
- Promoting the latest inventory. The latest inventory generally gets more attention from users and consequently has higher chances of being purchased so you want to ensure that recency of addition to the inventory is one of the factors used in displaying a product on the search results page. The latest inventory rule applies most famously to book-stores and apparel where latest editions and styles are preferred over older ones.
Or, please feel free to leave a comment below.