The first thing you notice when you walk into a retail store is the front-of-store display. Usually this display is seasonal in nature – it may be related to an upcoming holiday or local event. For instance, a grocery store will feature pie making supplies around Thanksgiving and a sporting goods store will feature college basketball t-shirts during the month of March. The reason that they do this is twofold:
- To conveniently put popular products right in front of people that are already interested in them
- To get the attention of people who may not have sought these products out initially but are likely to feel connected to the display and possibly have their interest piqued as a result
Your online store needs to be timely with their promotional efforts as well. Changing out your static homepage image or slideshow images is a great way to tie your business’s products/services into current events. Showcase current promo codes, seasonal suggestions and other timely items. For apparel stores, this strategy is also a great way to showcase new seasonal collections.
Feature Hot Products
Grocery stores have end caps where they put the week’s hot products. Often times these products are placed there not just to increase sales of those products, but also to increase sales of other products as well. For instance, there may be hotdog and hamburger buns on an endcap on sale to help drive meat sales during the spring when these products start become more in demand.
Your homepage and your main category pages should do the same thing – featuring some of your top sellers and newest arrivals in order to increase product awareness and sales. Showcasing your best products visually on your homepage and on main category pages is the online equivalent of using an end cap to draw more attention to a particular product or grouping of products.
Put Premium Items Where Eyes Will See Them
In retail stores, the products that are placed on the middle of the shelves at eye-level sell the best. This is why the big name brands ensure that their products are located in these coveted retail spots. The generic equivalents, however are at the extremes of the shelves – located way up top or down along the bottom because shoppers pay less attention to these locations.
Your ecommerce store has more valuable and less valuable real estate as well. According to eye tracking studies, online shoppers view webpages like they read – from left to right and top to bottom. This means that the top left of your site is the most valuable space and the bottom right is the least valuable. This explains why many online stores showcase their log on the top left and the bottom right is usually just whitespace. When arranging your categories and navigation menu, this principle is important to consider because often the tabs and buttons towards the top left of your site enjoy the best Click-Through-Rate and their accompanying pages receive the most traffic. Using this information can help you to prioritize the order of your navigational menu.
Encourage Related Purchases
Retail stores are laid out in a way that encourages purchases of related products. Tomato sauce is next to pasta, soccer balls are next to soccer cleats, etc. The reason stores do this is because it makes your trip to the store more convenient if you can find everything you need in one place and it also encourages you to make splurge purchases. Why force a shopper to trek all the way across the store after picking up a box of macaroni to get the accompanying sauce, when you can have them together and create better customer satisfaction? Why not show off your cool, shiny, new soccer balls to athletes that are already looking to spend money on a pair of new cleats in case they want new equipment that matches?
Your online store can encourage additional sales by having a logical category and subcategory structure so that shoppers can easily find related products. Displaying related products on each product page is also a great way to increase sales of these accessories!
Remember that Branding Matters
Retail stores stock products that are packaged a certain way to help them sell, but these stores themselves have packaging also. All of the stores signs, displays, racks, rugs, carts, shelves, etc. make up the “packaging” that is that store’s brand identity. This branding conveys whether the store is a more premium/luxury store or a bargain/value store.
Your website’s design is made up of a bunch of smaller elements that all combine to form a greater brand picture. The quality of your images, detail of your product descriptions, thoroughness of your FAQs, availability of your customer support, etc. all speak to how your online store should be perceived.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!