How We Merchandise



pepsi merchandisingMerchandising is what we do to sell. Retailers strategically place products in certain areas to draw our attention to them for us to buy. In grocery stores, we see sensational displays for items that are seasonal and/or impulse buys. We know it is no secret that the chips, salsa and beer are front and center the week before the Superbowl or the candy bars at the register, as, when placed properly, we will be stimulated to buy. We grab them many times not even realizing that we are now taking them home to consume. We are develop the want that is far beyond the need.

Merchandising In Our Communities

Merchandising is so very broad as we can think of so many of the displays that we see but we forget about how merchandising is allcommunity lifestyle around us. The townships, cities, neighborhoods that we live in all merchandise. They are packaging and selling a lifestyle that includes lower crime rates, a superior school system, a concentrated business district and of course the stigma that is associated with living there while others are touting the young family with the “starter homes” and the parks and recreation for which the family can grow and move to a bigger home. Certainly not what comes to mind when we think of merchandising.

How We Merchandise

Bringing this closer to “home” in designing our websites and blogs, we are merchandising. How well? Not always as well as we can. It seems like every day something is changing and trying to keep up is not easy. Too many times we are quick to jump on board without taking a moment or two to think about how this change will affect our goals. We saw this play out this past week with Twitter’s new button and Google’s +1. The new Twitter button is not that big of a change as if you have had the Twitter follow on your site, not much thought is put into this change (unless you are like me and the Twitter follow is written into the skin) but the +1 does involve some more thought but are we thinking in terms of how by adding this button will enhance the experience of the readers and ultimately help us attain our goals? I know I really was not thinking about it at all until Jason Keath of Social Fresh brought it to my attention and made me stop drowning in the social buttons and go back to the basics. How will these buttons help Kherize5 and the visitors of the site?

In building our websites and our blogs, we search for the platform and theme that will be the most functional for us and our needs. We think about the audience secondary as if we are just starting, there is no audience. We are basing our audience on who we want them to be but never become them. Is our site what they want and expect from us? How much research do we do before we create the site and hit publish for that first blog? If you are like me, a lot. As someone who spends countless hours studying behavior and how people react to the marketing messages, this comes easy. However, that research is reflected in the client work but not always in this site. Why? We know it is their work first and then at the bottom of the list is our site. Not very credible is it?

How To Merchandise Your Website

Merchandising your website is incorporating some simple changes that when we think about them make a lot of sense. If you have not yet familiarized yourself with Derek Halpern and his blog Social Triggers, I strongly suggest that you do. I have been a reader and follower of Derek for quite some time and while not everything that he suggests is proper for this site, there is a whole lot that is. Recently I tuned into two of his Conversion Strategies videos where he  analyzes a website and suggests some changes. Both of these have been such eye openers as WOW how under-performing this site really is. This video is roughly 25 minutes so if you do not have the time right now, do yourself a favor and bookmark this and return later on. You will be glad that you did. A few of the highlights include two of the simplest changes that are that OH, moment.

1. About Page. The about page is our page, the page where we share the inside story about us. While this is true, it is only half true. What is missing here is the WIIFM. Why should people who you want to convert read that page? What is in it for them? What can they learn? A great example, which Derek talks about is We know the success that Brian has and while we know he can pretty much put up anything, he is not going to have throwaway page. An about us page that does not give visitors the WIIFM is a throwaway page.

2. Resources. The resources is a big one! I did not realize it  until I watched that segment 3x and then reached out to Derek for more information. Watching the video once it was like ok, I think I know what you mean until I was sitting here rubbing my eyes completely confused and abandoned ship. Derek directed me to this cornerstone content article which did connect the wires upstairs and though mapping this out, I got it. The recent articles is great but is every recent article your best performing or helpful and useful to your niche insofar as they would read them, trust your abilities and be compelled to hit the contact button to hire/inquire for more information or hit the “buy now” for your ebook that you have for sale as much as they would if you created a widget that contains targeted articles as Resources? This builds your credibility.

These are just 2 little nuggets that you can take away and think about while you prepare to watch the video. It is how we merchandise our site. Our home page that draw them in and tells them what they can expect from our site, the pop up slide over subscription to our newsletter, our about us page – all are out big displays that we want our target to pay attention to. There is opportunity on each of these pages to capture them and then guide them through the other pages on your site. The menu navigation is always just there and does not really vary site to site but your displays, they need to get visitors converted to subscribers and buyers. It all starts with merchandising.

How are you merchandising?

Pepsi display photo credit: Ecstatic Mark

Playground photo credit: stevendepolo

  • I am well aware there are countless mistakes we do in our everyday life about we “sell ourselves” to the others, including through our website. I believe it comes down to understanding how does it work for you, and if you believe it could work better (it often can) and what can you do to make it happen. I’m looking forward to taking a look at that video you linked, I fall in the “no time now” category but I promise I will 😉
    One last thing regarding the About page: it’s the most terrifying part of your website to prepare, ever. You’re never sure what to add, how to present it, and how to make it stand out. You don’t want to be too pompous, you don’t want to be too subtle, you don’t want to be too… common. The right equilibrium is painful to find, and no one can really help you out fully. Counsel perhaps.

    • Gabriele

      I fell into the not now myself which is why I said to come back and watch it. It is so hard to listen to all the advice and determine if it is right for you, your voice, tone, style and for your audience.

      The about us page – this changes so rapidly as people are trying new things. Mine is still reflective of being authentic and giving people some insight into who I am. Time to refresh that up a bit (which you know is never something we look forward to as the inner critic comes out and we have the hardest time hitting publish). I have it set to be done no matter what by Sunday (my son graduates kindergarten this week so a bit of a mommy moment which makes me a emotional wreck!)

  • Suzanne. I heart you.

    Merchandising was one of the things that kept me in retail for 5 years. Done right, it can reduce the sales effort related to an item/site/service drastically. It’s so important to conversion on the web – and gets so little respect.

    Thanks for this.

    • I actually heart you too and probably more as seeing you in the SEO chat the other day got me to jump on in and whoa did I learn.

      You captured what I was trying to say – the sales process becomes easier with some minor changes. We know we have to ask for the subscription, the sale as when we guide people and ask them, they do act. It seems so strange and I am in amazement of it as we can spend hours and hours on copy, content and never ask for it as it seems so intrusive and bold. Funny part is that from a behavior standpoint, we never thought that by simply asking would be effective. What is even funnier I guess if that is the proper word, is that we hear over and over people not wanting the hard sale so it is a non verbal of sorts cue that they take in being responsive when we ask them while they are reading. Interesting concept. I need to hit the books on this and delve into the behavior behind this!

      Always my pleasure when you stop by. Thank you so much!

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