Article: Disciplined Merchandising Required
for e-Retailing Success
performance is a key driver of retailing
success and is the global process through
which products are produced, sourced, and
sold all over the world. Merchandising is
also using the retail space or your website
as a medium of communication.
merchandising whether in stores, on the
Internet, or through catalogues can place
your products in front of high value
consumer segments, strengthen retail brands,
and enhance both your top and bottom line.
It’s well known that the best retailers make
merchandising the core of their business.
developing a successful on-line presence
requires an investment of time, effort, and
money, plus retailing and on-line commerce
experience. It is not easily fulfilled
utilizing rigid, template driven shopping
cart software that allow little flexibility
with their ‘One size fits all’ credo.
For example, as
customers enter a retail location, they
build impressions of that retailer based on
what they experience. Merchandising helps
create the experience that you the retailer
want them to have. Merchandising may include
a wide range of features that may be special
displays, signs that promote certain
products or offers, and collateral material
that provide more detailed information, yet
you are the experienced retailer that
determines the impression. It is through the
effective use of these and other
merchandising techniques that you generate
the selling opportunities.
merchandising processes are somewhat
different for e-Retailers compared to store
based operators as they require a greater
emphasis on Visual Merchandising, the basic
principles are the same for all types of
traditional retailer you should leverage
your "physical" assets to build a "bricks
and clicks" organization that can deliver
seamless offerings across multiple channels
to build and strengthen customer loyalty.
You have an inherent advantage of a name
that is already recognized in your market.
This strong brand name provides many
benefits of awareness and credibility for
establishing your web presence.
existing ‘brick and mortar’ retailer, you
already have several relatively low cost
mechanisms for your promotion. This can
include your web addresses in advertising
campaigns as well as printing your web
addresses in your store catalogues and store
receipts. Moreover, you can also tie your
store loyalty cards and catalogues
circulation lists to in-house mailing lists
in order to increase awareness and usage of
your online channel.
discussed in previous articles, establishing
an online presence can help you track the
URL that shoppers came from or the email
message that motivated them to shop. You
will know how many unique shoppers come to
your site and how many of them ultimately
make a purchase. This knowledge is often too
expensive to obtain in real world retailing.
As a retailer,
whether large or small, you should try the
click-and-mortar strategy. After all, it is
an additional sales channel that addresses
the consumers' demand for having a product
when, where, and the way in which they want
it. This will also allow you to improve your
financial performance without adding stores.
With today’s increased pressures of
competition and eroding margins, then
growing store sales and increasing your
margins can be made through more effective
merchandising and sales on the Internet.
John Shenton - March, 2002