The importance of online visual merchandising: build your story

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Angela de la Vieja

In a physical store, visual merchandising is taken for granted. We know that the aesthetics and how the merchandise is laid out in the store or locale greatly influences the subsequent generation of sales. This is an aspect that shouldn’t be neglected in the online environment, though.

Many brands already have an omnichannel sales philosophy. When this is added to the reality of those that only sell online, having a good appearance and functionality becomes more than necessary to enhance the positive user experience and improve your conversion capabilities.

Online conversion and the user experience

In online commerce, the biggest source of conversion power lies in the design and presentation of the purchase page. This includes everything from the choice of colours to the messages shown. 

Now that the use of the internet has expanded and a large part of the consumer population is either a digital native or a recurring consumer, the knowledge of online language has become globalised to the point where eCommerce businesses must consider this when expressing their identity.

The user experience (or UX) is already one of the areas that digital professionals specialise in. This is increasingly in demand to reach that very important concept of engagement. For many, this has become a fundamental pillar. It becomes even more relevant if it’s considered to be a differentiating element for achieving conversion.

There are already differentiating elements for certain types of purchase pages that the user can quickly identify and that will make them more or less inclined to purchase, which will also depend on their characteristics as consumers and idiosyncrasies.

  • An eCommerce business that has all of its products grouped together, almost without separation, and without a good search function incorporated in its catalogue will give off the sensation of being unsafe or untrustworthy. Large marketplaces use this aesthetic to suggest the appearance of a cheaper price, making them seem more accessible.
  • In the online catalogues for luxury brands, the stamp of their aesthetics and identity is clearly preserved in their eCommerce websites. This, in turn, can be limiting if you don’t maintain open contact with a consumer that doesn’t have an expert in front of them to clear up any questions. Here, the user experience is transformed directly into sharing as many details as necessary or even allowing user to easily contact the brand to request guidance.

The key is to find the design and the elements that go best with the style of the eCommerce business to enhance your conversion no matter what.

How to display the products in an eCommerce business

In terms of graphic elements, the user experience trends to encourage conversation are clear. A clean, simple, and unified aesthetic is the best way to make potential clients feel like they’re in a specific environment, which accompanies their purchase. This is a vital point, especially for those stores that do have physical establishments. Maintaining the same aesthetic and concept will help to give more weight to your brand identity.

When it comes to displaying the products in your catalogue, there are hundreds of recommendations. You can use as many as you need to optimise the product pages in your eCommerce business. Nevertheless, there are common elements that you ought to highlight if you’re using visual merchandising in an eCommerce business.

  • Let your catalogue breathe. Blank space (also called “negative space”) is indispensable if you want to offer a clear and clean view of all products. This will also prevent elements from mixing and causing confusion.
  • Define your aesthetics. Your eCommerce business has to tell its own story. The colours you choose will define the idea of the brand, but you have to go a step further and establish these as specific guidelines based on the type of eCommerce store the user is in. If you consider the construction of the website in terms of an ad hoc design for each area, there will be a common thread that unites your entire catalogue. In addition, this will help give consistency to your featured elements.
  • Highlight what’s important. Selecting the main elements using criteria will help you to centre your sales in what really matters to you. It’s been proven time and again that the products that are shown most are the best sellers. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to highlight the ones that are of most interest to you.
  • Build a balanced catalogue. Avoid showing products without rhyme or reason (even though this strategy may work for some) and group them in a coherent manner. This is the only way to clearly share your range of products without overwhelming consumers.

The role of price in visual merchandising

In addition to the aesthetic characteristics of the catalogue, you must also consider the presentation of the price as another element in your visual merchandising. While not as important in a traditional business, this is yet another detail to consider on each page and for each highlighted item in online shops.

For example, keep in mind that the capacity for matching offered by psychological pricing in eCommerce businesses is essential. It will help you keep this element from clashing with the eCommerce business’s image while organically accompanying the user in their shopping experience.

As you can see, the appearance of your eCommerce business is more important than you might have imagined. Apart from providing you with a good number of sales, this forms part of a long-term strategy that will help you to establish yourself in the online market.

  • Da aire a tu catálogo. Los espacios en blanco (también llamados ‘negativos’) son indispensables para una visión limpia y clara de todos los productos. Esto además impedirá que se mezclen elementos y pueda haber confusiones.


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