Skip to main content

What is Online Merchandising?

The Purpose of Online Merchandising is Simple: Get the Right Product in Front of the Right Shopper at the Right Time

If you’re new to the ecommerce, you might be ask yourself, “what is online merchandising, and why do I keep hearing so much about it?”

This quick guide will give you an induction into what online merchandising is and why it matters. Think of it as a crash course on what online merchandising is, its implications, and strategies that can be implemented immediately.

What is Online Merchandising?

The purpose of online merchandising is simple: get the right product in front of the right shopper at the right time.

Why Does it Matter?

Ecommerce platforms make it easy to start an online retail business. This is excellent for entrepreneurship and ecommerce has soared thanks in part to this increased accessibility. 

This also means that shoppers have more options than ever before. These options can be a blessing and a curse – decision fatigue is all too real.

For online retailers, increased competition means working harder to stand out. Ecommerce stores that put little thought into site navigation, product arrangement, personalization, and search features will be less successful. On the other hand, when retailers create solid online merchandising strategies, they create a better shopper experience, convert more customers, and grow revenue. 

Tried and True Online Merchandising Strategies

1. Optimize Product Arrangement

Arrange products on category and search results pages in a way that they make sense for your ecommerce site and shoppers. Instead of using the ecommerce platform’s default arrangement, optimize how products display based on sales goals. 

Fabletics is an expert at merchandising their site in this way. When they releases new monthly collections, they feature the line prominently on their homepage. Later in the month, Fabletics switches up their homepage arrangement with a mix of new products, bestsellers, and sale items. 

Fabletics Homepage featuring the Kevin Hart Collection

2. Customize Results Based on Location

Another way to stand out from the competition is to configure your ecommerce store to display specific products, categories, and landing pages based on location. Geo-merchandising brings ecommerce personalization to the next level.  

For example, an online garden shop can use geo-merchandising to display plants that thrive in the customer’s growing zone. A sports merchandise store can leverage geo-merchandising to feature apparel from a customer’s local team. 

Webinar: Black Friday Follow-Up: Black Friday is Over, Now What?

3. Highlight and Hide Products 

Boost and demote products to show the right items at the right time. Highlight bestsellers, highly-rated items, and highly-profitable products – like your house brand – by pinning them to the top of category and search results pages. Hide products that don’t sell as well, have lower profit margins, or are out of stock to keep them from detracting from other items.

Need inspiration? Inmod knows how it’s done. In the example below, the furniture and home decor company placed its house brand, Inmod Signature Collection, and sale items at the top of search results and category pages.

Inmod product results page featuring desks; Search results for "desk"

4. Highlight Promotions

Discounts leads shoppers to spend more. An NYU study found that one in four people who used a coupon to purchase soup spent 30% more than those who didn’t use a coupon. Boost sales by calling attention to discounted items. 

Hartville Hardware implements this by promoting a sale on outdoor lighting in three ways: creating a landing page, a display banner to reinforce the promotion, and highlighting sale prices in red and comparing them to the regular prices.

Hartville Hardware product results page featuring outdoor lighting

5. Create an Omnichannel Merchandising Experience

Omnichannel merchandising is when you create a consistent shopping experience across every customer touchpoint. This includes website,  in a brick-and-mortar store, across social media, and third party marketplaces. 

Create an omnichannel experience by unifying marketing and merchandising efforts. Align marketing campaigns with landing pages, email, and social media posts. 

Australia-based online costume retailer CostumeBox creates landing pages specific to holidays like Star Wars Day and Cinco de Mayo, which they also promote through their marketing efforts. 

costumebox homepage: May the 4th be With You, Star Wars Day; Various Star Wars costumes for kids and adults

CostumeBox elevates its online merchandising efforts even further by optimizing the display order of categories to match customer demographics. The shop displays women’s costumes first, followed by men, kids, and then pets.

online merchandising costume box star wars page. Womens star wars costumes, mens star wars costums, kids star wars costumes, pets star wars costumes, star wars accessories, star wars party supplies, star wars games and gifts

What is Online Merchandising?

Getting the Right Products in Front of the Right Customers at the Right Time

Congratulations, you’ve successfully completed your intro to online merchandising! Now that you understand the definition of online merchandising, why it’s important, and how to take advantage of it, it’s time to apply what you learned. 


Request a Searchspring demo or check out our guide to how the experts do ecommerce merchandising.