Merchandising leads to successful product and service sales. Customers can't be expected to come to a store and riffle through crates of products; nor expected to come to an office and shuffle through file cabinets for brochures on services.
A successful store or office will have products and services prominently displayed. The same goes for websites.
Companies must promote, advertise, and display their offerings prominently. Hidden or hard to find products and services tend to push prospects on to the next competitor in their Google search.
The following guidelines help ensure the business is properly promoting and merchandising its products and services:
- Product or service names must be clear and visibly branded.
- Make sure brands are easily recognized.
- Do not obscure offerings with random graphics or diversions.
The name of the product or service is extremely important when it comes to brand awareness, and must be prominently displayed so that there is no question as to the brand offered.
- Prominently display the description of the product or service.
- Clearly describe the benefits for the consumer, and what problem will be solved with the selected offer.
- Provide clear details on how to use the product or service.
The description must leave no doubt as to what is offered, how to use it, and what problem will be solved with the purchase.
- Visitors should not have to search for the price of a product or service.
- Lack of prominent pricing may cause the appearance of "above normal accepted pricing" compared to competitors.
- Lack of complete price disclosure may cause fear of hidden fees or charges.
Be upfront with pricing.
If a product or service is something that requires customization and perhaps an individual estimate, then state this and prominently display a "Request an Estimate" link.
- Online consumers rely solely on images, graphics, and videos of the product or service.
- Visual collateral should be clean and clearly discernible.
- Quality of visuals can determine whether or not a consumer buys a product or service.
- Poor representation can cause users to look elsewhere for competing brands and services.
Visuals should only enhance the online experience when learning about a product or service; they should by no means distract or deter a user from relevant information.
- Proper merchandising should include frequently asked questions.
- For every one consumer question, 100+ have the same question, but are just afraid to ask.
- The Q & A must be in a prominent location for visitor awareness.
- Lack of answering common questions can result in the loss of the sale to a competitor.
- Chat services are a great tool for overcoming the need for someone to answer questions in real-time.
Unless that chat service is available and manned by a knowledgable representative of the company 24/7, then answers to the most common questions must be available in the website's public content.
- Having related resources prominently displayed is helpful to the successful sale of products and services.
- Resources may be as simple as:
- links to help,
- instruction guides,
- links to articles,
- or consumer reviews.
Normally the more information provided to users that allows them to make an informed decision, means the more likely they are to purchase from the business; versus a competitor that doesn't offer such resources.
Related Products & Services
- Providing related products and services helps promote the sale, and get users to convert to customers.
- Showing complimentary services or products that accessorize, adds to the inherent value of the original product.
Ease of Purchase
Once the brand is prominent with clear descriptions, visuals, FAQ's, resources, and related items; the question becomes, "how easy is it to buy?"
- Make sure the Buy, Purchase, or Request an Estimate button is clear and easily visible.
Don't lose an informed and ready-to-buy customer, to a competitor because figuring out how to buy, and complete the purchase takes a degree in computer science.
Summing It Up
In order for a website to be an effective business marketing tool that generates sales and leads, it must properly merchandise and promote the products and services within.
By covering the aspects mentioned above, the business will be providing visitors with the information needed to make an informed decision and purchase the company's products and services, without worry of losing them to the competition due to lack of clarity.