If your Magento 2 site is underperforming in relation to conversion and bounce rates then you may need to rethink your category merchandising strategy. We’ve put together a helpful guide to help you make the most of your categories to provide a seamless experience for your customers.
What is Category Merchandising?
Category merchandising is just like visual merchandising, but for an online store rather than a physical one. It’s the process of organising and displaying products in a particular way to encourage customers to progress through the buying journey.
In a physical store, products are displayed in a certain way based on a number of different factors including historical sales, newness, seasonality etc. Marketing collateral is then utilised to enhance the customer experience and promote certain lines. This concept is exactly the same in eCommerce, except it’s easier to organise your products digitally, you can be more granular with the way you prioritise products and rather than physical marketing materials, you can make use of category banners and cross-sell/up-sell features.
The order in which products are displayed is just a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to category merchandising. There are a number of elements that are equally important when optimising your categories:
- Category landing pages
- Search-optimised copy
- Banners including cross-sell & up-sells
- User-friendly product filters
- Product recommendations
- Relevant search result pages
How to Merchandise Categories in Magento
Merchandising is an ongoing activity that requires a fluid approach, so manually sorting products within every category of your Magento 2 store could prove somewhat tedious and inefficient. Native options for merchandising include a simple drag and drop for Adobe Commerce merchants and for both Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce merchants, you can set up some simple rules using Product Listing settings. Although, these are quite basic such as boosting new products and moving out-of-stock products to the bottom of the category.
If you find the native options are too basic or manual for what you’re trying to achieve then you could consider an SaaS platform like Algolia. Amongst other sorting options, SaaS merchandising can use machine learning to serve your products to customers in a particular way, using historic data such as product views and purchases. By combining AI merchandising with your own boosting rules you can get the best of both worlds, using customer insight alongside your own expert knowledge of your product range, sales history, and stock.
Algolia offers a simple visual drag and drop editor which allows merchandising teams to organise both search and category results to improve customer browsing experience. You can get a demo here.
Why is Merchandising Important for eCommerce?
The most important function of merchandising of any eCommerce store is to help guide customers through their customer journeys. With clever category merchandising you can optimise the sequence of your products in a way that encourages more clicks and conversions. With machine learning you can even order your categories to best serve each individual customer based on their previous interactions and historic data, allowing you to highlight products that are more likely to convert.
In a nutshell, merchandising your categories is important because it has the power to significantly boost your conversion rates whilst providing a better user experience for your customers.
How Should I Organise My Categories?
- Boost products that have featured in a particular marketing campaign so that customers can easily find them
- Show the most popular products first as you know they have a strong sales history so are likely to convert
- Prioritise slow movers if you have a large amount of stock to sell-through
- Feature your highest-rated products based on reviews, highly-rated products are more likely to convert
- If you have a sale coming up, Adobe Commerce and some SaaS platforms allow you to schedule a merchandising campaign. That way you can temporarily prioritise products that feature in that sale.
Category Landing Pages
If your product has a significant number of sub-categories or products, then you may want to simplify the layout with a category landing page. Rather than having your customers browse through thousands of products, a category landing page allows you to create a more ‘attractive’ page with imagery, clear sub-categories and product recommendations. Category landing pages work particularly well for increasing conversion rates via PPC campaigns, where you might be directing traffic to a more generic top category and need to add in more information about your brand USPs.
Although landing pages can provide a better user experience, it’s important to know when to use them and when to stick to a traditional category of products. For example, for fashion and lifestyle brands, customers might prefer to see a large number of product images and if you have a clearance or sale page, your customers might be expecting to see a wide range of products.