Visual merchandising ecommerce strategies for the small business owner

In today’s era of rapid digitalisation, businesses are quickly realising the importance of creating captivating online experiences. For physical storefronts, visual displays and layouts have long been tools to mesmerise shoppers and boost sales. But how do we replicate this effect on a digital platform?  

So, what is concept of ‘ecommerce visual merchandising’. 

In the brick-and-mortar world, it’s about window displays that make passersby stop in their tracks. Online, it’s about presenting your ‘shop’ in a way that makes scrolling fingers pause and eyes light up. 

At its core, visual merchandising in physical stores is about creating engaging displays that grab a shopper’s interest. In ecommerce, the essence of visual merchandising tactics remains, aiming to enhance the online customer journey. It’s about presenting a harmonious, and appealing online presence to maximise customer experience, ensuring a potential customer not only stays but also makes that all-important decision to click ‘buy now’.  

Why Small Online Businesses Need to Prioritise This 

For growing businesses, creating a good first impression is the key to success.  

Your website is your digital ambassador for your brand. If crafted thoughtfully, it can echo your brand’s ethos, resonate with your target audience, and establish a memorable identity. The efficacy of digital visual merchandising isn’t just about being visually pleasing. It’s about creating a holistic experience that guides, engages, and ultimately convinces the visitor of not just the value of the product, but also the ethos and authenticity of the brand behind it. Nailing digital visual merchandising could be the differentiator between you and the countless others in your niche. 

With the right visual merchandising strategies, it could also be the reason someone decides to stick around and better yet, make a purchase. 

Here are Some Visual Merchandising Principles to Get it Right! 

Inviting Shopfront (Ideal Landing Page Display) 

A clutter-free, striking, and targeted landing page can be your brand’s best advocate. Aim for simple design aesthetics that seamlessly guide visitors through the buying journey. – It should make customers think, “This is exactly where I want to be!” 

Sensory Appeal (Quality Imagery and Videos) 

Consider your product visuals as the window to your online ‘store’. Invest on high quality images, showcasing your products from diverse perspectives. If possible, embed videos demonstrating the product in action. This transparency builds trust – bring your products to life! 

Clear Navigation 

Designing store (in this case your online store) layouts that guide customers seamlessly through different sections/pages. Imagine your website’s structure as the aisle layout in a physical store. Clear demarcations, coherent categories, and easy-to-locate products are the core of an online shopping experience. – Make your categories clear and journey smooth for customers like you would in a physical store. 

Engaging Interactions 

Introduce tools like magnifying options, views from different angles, or even augmented reality integrations, if able for your product. This doesn’t just enhance user experience; it mimics the tangible feel of in-store shopping. – think about ‘try before you buy’ concept look how you can optimise this form an online interaction. 

Understanding your Customers (Personal Touches) 

Tailoring your website to resonate with the preferences and demographics of your target audience. Implement personalised product suggestions, drawing from a user’s browsing or purchase history. This subtle touch makes the shopping experience resonate more with each user, similar to a shop display knowing customers preferences. 

Storytelling Through Design 

The design isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a strategic tool that tells a story, evokes emotions, and fosters brand loyalty. While aesthetic enhancements are valuable, always keep your products at the forefront, ensuring they shine as the primary focus of your platform. Let your website design narrate a story, whether that’s your brand’s legacy, product advantages, or a theme appropriate to the season or any ongoing campaigns. – Just like store layouts are designed to be intuitive, guiding customers on a journey. 

Seasonal Adaptation (Stay Updated) 

A regularly refreshed digital façade retains customer interest. Strategically shuffle products on your main page, spotlight seasonal specials, or initiate time-sensitive offers. – Just as with a physical store where rearranging the layout optimises product placement for a better customer experience, the same principle applies online. 

Omnichannel Optimisation (Mobile Compatibility is Non-Negotiable) 

With an ever-growing segment of consumers shopping via iPhones, your online design must transition seamlessly to mobile views, retaining its functionality. When we discuss mobile compatibility in relation to visual merchandising there are a few tactics to consider product placement in essence the most important information or products should be immediately visible without excessive scrolling. – In physical stores new arrivals can be place towards the front or in supermarkets optimal product placement is at eye level. Prime product positioning within a mobile environment is achieved by placing it at the top of the page. 

Wrapping Up. Visual Merchandising Goes Beyond Just ‘Looks’ 

Bringing the strategies of in-store visual merchandising to the digital domain goes beyond mere looks; it’s about creating an immersive experience that deeply connects customers. For small businesses striving for their spot in the world of ecommerce, it’s not just about the item on sale. It’s about narrating a memorable story with each customer interaction just as you would in the brick-and-mortar world. In the ever-evolving digital ear – Shopify is one platform leading the way in ecommerce and a great starting point for small businesses to implement best practice digital merchandising strategies and the customer journey. 

In the words of the creative Steve Jobs, “Design isn’t just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Taking inspiration from this, it becomes clear that visual merchandising strategies are about more than just appearances. It’s about creating an intuitive and meaningful online environment that truly represents your brand. Properly executed, these strategies help brands craft an online persona that’s not only visually engaging but also encourages authentic interactions. So, create your online identity with care, and let your brand shine and create a space where screens fade away, and genuine connections begin. 

If you need support in developing best practise ecommerce to optimise your online business, get in touch with the Purple Giraffe team today. It’s what we love!  

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Lynda Schenk

An energetic and strategic marketing professional with over twenty years’ experience in industries ranging from wine, not for profit, transport, logistics and manufacturing. Lynda founded Purple Giraffe Marketing Consultancy in 2014 offering an end to end marketing service that draws on her proven ability to formulate brand strategies and marketing communications plans that build brand equity, growth and profitability.

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