Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Robert Bredlau, COO North America, e-Spirit Inc.

By Robert Bredlau

When strolling through the local shopping mall I see window displays featuring the stores’ latest products, masterfully arranged to entice shoppers. Selecting and organizing products to attract customers has always been an important brick-and-mortar store tactic.

Full disclosure: I don’t know a lot about styling a mannequin for a window display or showcasing products on a store shelf. But, after helping companies including Speedo, Berghaus  and MediaSaturn  improve their e-commerce practices, I do know a thing or two about using cloud, analytics and other technologies to “virtually merchandise” products.

We live in an age of empowered customers, where they have unlimited access to information and can instantly share it with the world.  Companies are transforming their e-commerce operations to focus on the customer, and, in doing so, they can deliver personalized, highly relevant, and seamless experience across touch points, leading to greater customer loyalty.

When it comes to e-commerce strategy, it’s critical that companies take a page directly from their brick-and-mortar playbook. Similar to a shop’s window display, an e-commerce portal should be well organized, appealing to customers and reflect current merchandise. However, unlike in-store visual merchandising, virtual merchandising presents a golden opportunity to connect with both local and global customers. Virtual merchandising also boasts an unlimited amount of space for displaying products and information. In a brick-and-mortar store, all of this season’s sweater styles might be neatly displayed on one small table, but on an e-commerce portal, virtual merchandising allows for images of the season’s sweaters to be displayed along with details on sizes, colors, matching accessories or customer reviews.

Consider how Speedo transformed its virtual merchandising practices.  The company, which produces more than 5,000 new products a year, from swimming goggles to bathingsuits, kickboards and snorkels, distributed in more than 170 countries. Turning to software, Speedo launched a user friendly, easy to manage e-commerce site that boosted sales by maintaining brand consistency while appealing to local and global customers. To virtually merchandise products on their e-commerce portal, Speedo regularly posts videos, news, athlete profiles and podcasts to attract consumers.

Nowadays, a good e-commerce site is just as important as a good window display. Whether the company sells clothing, electronics or widgets, products can be visually merchandised in-store and virtually merchandised on an e-commerce portal to attract a variety of customers and increase sales. Using analytics tools, organizations can even determine what products are more likely to be purchased in their brick-and-mortar store and what sells better online.

Learn more information about how Speedo is virtually merchandising their products.

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