How Merchandisers Can Quickly React to Market-Changing Trends
Retail merchandisers are responsible for ensuring that the most relevant products are presented to shoppers at any given time. However, unexpected events further emphasize the need for merchandisers to quickly pivot as they deal with potential disruptions, out-of-stocks or an uptick in e-commerce purchasing. Any sudden change in shopping habits showcases the critical role merchandisers play within a retail organization, and how they must be able to analyze and adjust their strategies to accommodate market changes at all times.
Critical Insights Into How Visitors Are Shopping
As trends change, merchandisers must account for variations throughout the consumer’s purchase journey. Depending on the current climate, merchandisers need the ability to quickly analyze search behavior and product performance reports to make informed yet swift decisions. For example, in a scenario where an omnichannel brand witnesses a shift from offline to online sales, it's crucial that merchandisers can capture this full online-only experience in their reporting and adapt their merchandising strategy as shopping habits evolve.
Go Beyond Sales Data to Create Actionable Insights
To stay ahead of changes in shopping behavior, merchandisers should refocus their data strategy to go beyond just sales data and dive deeper into understanding what shoppers want. For example, merchandisers can scale pay-per-click and search engine optimization efforts by gathering data on shopper interactions and keyword searches. By utilizing keyword reports, product landing pages and inventory performance, they can create highly relevant inbound marketing campaigns.
Merchandisers can also develop a synonym directory based on their most searched keywords, which can be useful when it comes to writing product descriptions and implementing search redirects.
An additional strategy is to pinpoint products or brands that consumers are looking for but aren't currently available, and work to redirect that search traffic to a similar brand or product to avoid "no results found." If demand is high enough, merchants can identify where to expand inventory to meet customer needs.
Keep in mind that the end result of going beyond sales data is to create a bigger picture of consumer intent and how it's driven by current search trends, such as work-from-home apparel, house slippers, exercise bikes, or DIY.
In-the-Moment Merchandising Decisions
As consumer demand and purchasing habits continue to shift, merchandisers need to have strategies in place that allow them to quickly react to market trends. It's also critical to have a plan in place for future-proofing their evolving strategy. E-commerce merchandising tools are designed to make boosting products easier, as well as to provide simplicity in displaying best-selling items at the top of product pages or hiding items that are out of stock to reduce consumer friction. When consumers’ shopping habits head in multiple directions or make a sudden shift, merchandisers can lean on an advanced merchandising strategy to make informed in-the-moment decisions that keep their organization top-of-mind for the consumer.
James Bathgate is vice president of implementations at Searchspring, the search and merchandising platform that e-commerce teams rely on to skyrocket conversion rates and revenue without sacrificing the shopping experience.