Retail Dogma

Online Merchandising: Definition, Tasks & Needed Skills

What is Online Merchandising?

Online merchandising is a function in ecommerce that ensures all the products available for sale are merchandised on the online store in a way that maximizes their visibility and sales.

What Are The 5 R’s of Merchandising?

The 5 R’s of merchandising are the right products, at the right place, on the right time, in the right quantity at the right price.

5 R's of Online Merchandising

Those same 5 R’s apply to online merchandising but with different modifications that adapt to the different sales channel.

  1. Right Product: The right products for the season being displayed on the online store.
  2. Right Place: The product being in the right place on the website according to its category, so that it can be found by customers.
  3. Right Time: Ensuring products are launched on the website at the right time for the season’s launching.
  4. Right Quantity: Ensuring that all the products that are displayed for sale on the website are available in stock to avoid bad customer experience.
  5. Right Price: Actioning the right pricing and markdown strategy and ensuring that prices displayed online are correct.

What Does an Online Merchandiser Do?

The job description of an online merchandiser will typically include the following tasks:

  • Ensures the navigation of the online store is set correctly to facilitate product finding by the customers
  • Ensures the search functionality of the website is set and functioning properly
  • Optimizes product & category pages for SEO
  • Ensures product images and product description copy is optimized to communicate all the necessary information to the customers
  • Generates and analyzes daily reports to track sales, conversions, bounce rates and average order value (AOV)
  • Generates and analyzes inventory management reports and takes actions accordingly
  • Actions markdowns and promotions on the online store and ensures correct price display
  • Responsible for the stock allocation for the online channel and works with the brand merchandising team to action it
  • Analyzes the customer experience on the website through online monitoring tools and makes suggestions to optimize conversion rates

Skills Needed for Online Merchandising

In order to be a successful online merchandiser, you will need a very unique set of skills that bridge the gap between traditional retailing and online marketing.

  • SEO: You will need to understand the basics of SEO and how to set up the online store architecture and copy to maximize visibility of your product pages on the search engines.
  • Online Monitoring: An online merchandiser needs to be familiar with the online monitoring tools, such as Google Analytics and how to interpret the findings and generate reports.
  • Spotting Trends: The online world is changing rapidly, and an online merchandiser will need to be up to date with the latest trends in online shopping and digital marketing.
  • Data Analytics: Analyzing sales and inventory data for his online store and taking actions accordingly.
  • Competitive Analysis: Analyzing what the competition is doing and how they are ranking in search.
  • Business & Financial Acumen: Understanding retail dynamics and how to deal with the numbers involved in managing a retail business and how to interpret them.

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