Leveraging digital merchandising to elevate grocery retail
Merchandising is a core skill for both online and offline retailers. Merchandising is the skillful presentation of products in order to promote sales. In the case of brick and mortar, merchandising mainly revolves around store displays in combination with assortment planning, packaging, pricing and offers, all done to entice customers into making purchases.
But what is it about digital merchandising that grocers can leverage to impact sales?
To begin with, utilizing tools such as cross-sell, they can easily set up basic online catalogs. Early themes and new virtual categories are then added to help as a guide for customers to navigate through large selections to find what they want.
What makes digital merchandising stand apart is its ability to generate data that gives a true insight into the customers’ shopping behaviors. It further enables retailers to track what their customers want and how they want it, scaling merchandising as a concept to new heights.
Why is Digital Merchandising Important for you?
Digital merchandising essentially mimics the in-store merchandising environment, only using a different set of tools to promote the sale of their products. Here, customers can understand more about the product without being constrained to its physical limitations. Digital merchandising allows grocers to impart more knowledge about the product via storytelling and more information about its usage. For grocery retail, digital merchandising can display several pieces of information including meal planning, complimentary food products, etc.
Here are some areas that digital merchandising differs from a brick and mortar setting:
Flexibility: Online content including digital imagery can be personalized at any time, unlike in-store displays which depend on store labor to manage.
Accessibility: Customers can access online content from anywhere such as from mobile phones or computers, and at any time. They are not restricted to the store timings and can do shopping right from their fingertips.
No Shrinkage: In the case of digital merchandising, replacing physical products with digital imagery eliminates the shrinkage that occurs with merchandising perishable products in the store. This way, grocery retailers can show the products the way it is meant to look like and are not restricted by the packaging of the products
How can Grocery retailers benefit from digital merchandising?
Digital merchandising is an essential part of a grocery retailer’s toolset.
Currently, grocery retailer websites showcase products by displaying rows after rows of individual images of products taken against a white or light background following up with a flashy introduction page. The challenge does not end here, grocery retailers must move beyond creating a product catalog.
For example, leveraging digital merchandising, grocers can efficiently market perishable products.
Real-time recommendations can encourage customers to buy items that have shorter shelf lives, thus enabling them to improve margins on perishables. Furthermore, they can elaborate on the products by educating the customer about where it comes from, who grows it, and how it can fit into a meal plan. The information does not end there, customers can even learn about health benefits and food preparation via video.
Connecting digital merchandising with your customers’ needs
Digital merchandising can help create environments to suit customer needs and interests. The advantage is the ability to understand customer behavior and even predict it to a certain extent. When the holiday season is in full swing, many grocery retailers out there would immediately pivot their marketing efforts toward ovens and bakeware.
If a customer has never bought or consumed a turkey, then the holiday theme can be centered around another protein. Also, selling salads next to raw meats in a store may be a problem, but online, they can be easily combined to create a meal plan or even a recipe!
Visually appealing product imagery already sets your product apart from that of your competitors’. That being said, the imagery alone cannot grab your customers’ attention. It needs to be followed up with a story that educates them about the farm that the produce is sourced from, the nutritional value of the meal and even recipes it can be used in or the story of the chef who came up with it. Social media can play a massive part here to help spread the word about the product as well as their journey in your online store. All of this information is to be organized in such a way that your customers can access it from one page. Finally, the online aspect ties to offline to the actual products that are delivered, making this a cohesive experience for your customer.
Content is clearly the king when you want to tell a story and connect with your customers. Digital merchandising takes into account how and why a customer will choose or like a particular product. Personalization is also another great opportunity presented by merchandising. Remember who forms your target audience while leveraging advertising. Grocery retail is all about selling ordinary products in the freshest and best way possible and we are here to help you elevate that by leveraging Digital merchandising.
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