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How to create an omnichannel merchandising strategy

Jessica Farelly
By Jessica Farrelly

Omnichannel merchandising is more than just a buzzword. It can be the difference between a brand that thrives, and one that’s easily forgotten. 

In today’s digital-focused retail environment, it’s more important than ever for brands to cut through the noise and connect with their customers. An omnichannel merchandising strategy is essential if you want to resonate with shoppers, convert them into buyers, and nurture those relationships so they become lifelong fans. Read on for our top tips for creating and implementing an omnichannel merchandising strategy.

What is omnichannel merchandising?

Omnichannel merchandising means creating a consistent shopping experience across every customer touchpoint, including brick-and-mortar, ecommerce, and third-party marketplaces. The omnichannel approach to promoting retail goods is centered around the customer, rather than the product. It’s about creating a seamless brand experience across every sales channel. 

An omnichannel merchandising strategy is critical even if your business only exists online. Think about creating consistency between all of your online platforms: your ecommerce store, social selling platforms, mobile app, influencer campaigns, and third-party sellers.

How to create a consistent omnichannel merchandising strategy

Here’s some inspiration for creating a seamless shopping experience across all touchpoints to keep customers coming back.

Product placement

omnichannel merchandising product placement

No omnichannel strategy is complete without a seamless visual merchandising experience.

Let’s say you’re a women’s apparel retailer that sells a house brand as well as garments from various vendors. It’s financially in your best interest to prioritize sales of your house brand, so you optimize your product placement to highlight the house brand whenever possible.

In your store, this means giving your house brand prime shelf space and displaying it prominently. On your ecommerce website and mobile app, this translates to pinning and boosting house products to appear above other brands on category pages and in search results. When it comes to third-party marketplaces, you might incentivize the reseller to feature your brand.

Not only does this approach increase your margins, it also guarantees that your house brand is the most recognizable line that you carry, making it synonymous with your shopping experience across all touchpoints.

Featured products

Now let’s imagine you run a homewares chain that has its own mobile app. A customer opens your app and sees a collection of Easter-themed decorations, pillows, and tableware featured on the homepage.

Enticed by the seasonal products, the customer comes to your store to browse the new arrivals in person. As they approach, they see the window displays are decked out with the same Easter products they saw in your app. The shopper goes home with some festive spring pillows.

A few days later, the customer regrets not buying an Easter basket they saw in store, so they visit your website to look for it. Just like your app and window displays, your website’s homepage features a curated selection of Easter items, and the customer doesn’t have to look too far to locate the basket they had in mind.

Consider the impact on the buying journey if the same shopper had initially spotted the Easter products in store but later found your website was still highlighting Christmas decor. With an omnichannel approach to retail, every customer touchpoint should provide a similar, recognizable experience. 

How the experts do online merchandising

how the experts do ecommerce merchandising

Promotions

sale promotions ominchannel merchandising strategy

Consistency in sales and promotions shouldn’t be overlooked in your omnichannel merchandising strategy.

If you’re running a Valentine’s Day sale that discounts all of your pink and red merchandise by 20%, make sure that promotion applies in your brick-and-mortar shop, ecommerce website, third-party resellers, social selling platforms, and mobile app.

Boost brand recognition by using consistent visual branding on each platform to promote your sale. The sale signage in your shop should match the digital signage on your website and other online sales channels.

If you’re running a limited time offer or sale, consider scheduling your online campaigns accordingly. While an in-store promotion is relatively easy to set up for “one day only”, there is more room for error online. 

Avoid adding banners or adjusting prices on the morning that your sale launches, this leaves room for mistakes or technical crashes at a time when your site is probably attracting more traffic than usual. By creating and pre-scheduling landing pages or campaigns to begin and end at specific times, you can deliver a consistent merchandising experience with precision and confidence (without having to manually restore your standard merchandising at midnight).

Product recommendations

Let’s say a customer discovers your brand by visiting your brick-and-mortar sporting goods store. They’re looking for sneakers and a sales associate guides them toward the products that best meet their needs, and offers some suggestions.

Perhaps the customer wasn’t able to make a decision while in the store, so they visit your website a few days later. With a user-friendly site navigation, they should quickly find the same category or set of products that the sales associate pointed out. As they browse, the product recommendations they encounter should become increasingly personalized as they show an affinity for certain styles or colors.

Say they leave without making a purchase. You might target the shopper with an ad on social media that features some of the products they viewed. Maybe this prompts them to return to your site to buy, or maybe they make a purchase via social media – either way, their experience of interacting with your brand is consistent.

Keep customers coming back with omnichannel merchandising

Shoppers today have endless options at their fingertips, and are also savvier than ever. By delivering a consistent shopping experience on every platform, you’ll form a stronger connection with your customer, create a recognizable brand, and keep shoppers coming back for more – whether in store, online, or both.