Picture this: it’s a beautiful summer’s day, you walk into the grocery store, and you are greeted with a new section focused on barbecue season. Grill-friendly meats, hamburger and hot dog buns, condiments, and more – it’s all right there for you, everything you need for a barbecue in one perfect cross merchandising display.
During a different time of year, if you wanted to get all the same items, you’d have to go to different sections of the grocery store, but here it’s all put together for you. Not only is it convenient, it also might just inspire you to change your dinner plans and start purchasing.
But cross merchandising isn’t just for grocery stores and other brick-and-mortar retailers. It should form an important part of your ecommerce strategy, too.
So, why is cross merchandising important in ecommerce?
The basic principle of cross merchandising is to group complementary products together to help the customer easily access all the products they’ll need, and inspire them to purchase items they may not have thought about before.
Cross merchandising in retail stores is important, but one might argue that it’s even more critical in online stores because items aren’t always easily found. If you’re on the page for women’s tops, you might not think to visit the accessories category, even if you’re also in the market for a new pair of earrings. You may not even be aware that the store in question offers accessories.
Strategically placing complementary items on product pages using personalized recommendations can eliminate this problem, allowing you to promote new lines of products or items that customers typically don’t realize you have in stock.
Cross merchandising can also be helpful in showing customers products that they might have otherwise forgotten, or never considered in the first place. In the grocery store example, maybe you were inspired to cook a hamburger dinner but would have forgotten that you ran out of ketchup last week if it weren’t for the display reminding you to pick some up.
The secondary benefits of cross merchandising include customer loyalty. By taking all the guesswork (and “oh-sh&t-I-forgot-the-ketchup” moments) out of the shopping experience, customers end up feeling supported. And who doesn’t like to know their favorite stores have their proverbial backs?