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.


Yes, it is true that future will be more online marchandising. I am curious to read your observations.