Welcome to the Omniture Merchandising blog. I’ll be sharing insights, best practices and stirring up conversation from the Merchandising team, both here in the US as well as abroad. I spend quite a bit of time on the road visiting customers helping them develop merchandising strategies that align with their Key Business Requirements (KBRs).
The dust has settled on 2008, and many of retailers experienced significant challenges in achieving their goals during the past 12 months. While a handful are merely trying to stay afloat, there is a refreshing abundance of customers who recognize the opportunity in 2009 to rise above the competition by offering enhanced user experiences that engage the customer and drive conversion rates. They also realize that in order to stay ahead of the pack that they need to be savvy about the tools they have invested in.
As I read through my field notes here are the highlights of what I expect we’ll see in 2009 — two themes we’ll be building on in future posts:
Metrics, metrics, metrics: It is no longer sufficient to monitor a few parameters: the almighty AOV (average order value), conversion rates and gross margin are still very important, but we can dig deeper. Most of today’s retailers and online merchants have the tools to mine their data at least one or two levels deeper and make changes to their marketing or merchandising based on this insight. For example: Is “Search” driving better conversion rates than “Browse”? If not, why? Do product views translate into purchases? And if so, are shoppers buying what you want them to buy? If we can recognize a customer or the segment they belong to, can we provide them a “personalized” shopping experience?
Products, products, products: In the last month at least three customers told me that one of their KBRs is to grow their catalog by at least 50–100%. This is great — offering more products, to a hopefully larger audience, in the hopes of driving more revenue. BUT how do you expose all of these products, how does the customer find the needle in the very large haystack? The answer is retailers need to leverage both their merchandising smarts and the right merchandising tools to not just sell ANY other product, but the RIGHT product that not only meets your customers needs, but also the business objectives of you the retailer.
As I said, the dust has now settled on 2008 and retailers are now more than a quarter into 2009. I don’t need a crystal ball to tell you that online is going to continue to be the winning channel for retailers. The smart retailers I work with are looking for those quick boosts that will give them that edge and deliver the numbers. I look forward to sharing more observations with you. My next post will look at what’s going on in the UK merchandising world.