Posts categorized ‘Merchandising’

Dads & Grads Season Presents Opportunity for Gift Retailers

It’s that time of year again for what marketers and retailers call “Dads and Grads”. With Father’s Day on June 16th and college and high school graduations happening throughout May and June, this is of course a big time for celebrating and gift-giving . And that means marketers and retailers will be competing to capitalize on these occasions by promoting relevant content and products during this time.  Think not only presents for Fathers and graduates, but also food and beverages, party supplies, apparel and new outfits for these celebrations (suits, dresses, etc.).


Fathers' Day Gift


How can online magazines and catalogs like Zmags helps your brand stand out?

Answer: By making it easy for kids, spouses, parents, friends and party planners to get inspired, and/or buy everything they need in one convenient place.

This type of immersive shopping experience lends itself nicely to shoppers that know they need a gift for Father’s Day or Graduation, but don’t yet know what that gift is.

Grant Coleman says it well in his post, Search is Not  Shopping. Expecting that online shoppers will stumble upon the right products, or ones they didn’t even know they wanted (!), is  like telling your brick & mortar customers to go in the back room and look for an item themselves.

These digital publications open up new merchandising opportunities for retailers as well. Via creative design and intelligent analytics, online catalog layouts can be tested and adjusted over time – in a way that’s not so easy for print catalogs or in-store merchandising displays.

Ecommerce brands and online publishers can take one of at least two routes for making the most of “Dads & Grads season”:

Lawncare Gift1.  Start From Scratch

Retailers can capitalize on the Dads & Grads period by quickly preparing and publishing new assets online.  Brochures, lookbooks, or flyers make sense for this seasonal content and promotion.  Any pdfs designed for print can be embellished online, with interactive elements like videos, widgets, quizzes, etc. added on top – to make the shopping experience that much more fun.


2.  Reuse or Re-Purpose

Tweak an existing catalog, magazine or collection of digital assets. This might mean pulling out relevant pages and products from a bigger digital publication, or combining imagery taken for other areas of the website and putting a holiday spin on it. This is a great option for those of you who are pressed for time or have limited resources to create new content.

For instance, even if you didn’t overhaul an editorial spread to say “Give Dad a Gift He’ll Love” (though that might be a nice idea), you could still feature products that skew towards males more prominently during the weeks leading up to Father’s Day.


A season so closely associated with gifts, such as Dads & Grads, offers tremendous opportunity for online retailers and merchandisers.  Zmags makes either project  possible and ensures that your brand comes out on top during this celebratory season.

Have you already put together a guide for Dads or Grads?  Please share your examples with us; we’ll post the best ones across our social networks!


Merchandising via Digital Catalogs: Your Online Storefront

Online merchandising is a less-talked about part of ecommerce that, in theory, should achieve a similar goal as its in-store conterpart:  to “display products in such a way that stimulates interest and entices customers to make a purchase”.

traditional site

However, the layouts of most traditional ecommerce websites look more like image libraries (organized by item type, size, gender, etc.), rather than well-thought out displays or showcases!   Despite good intentions, even website features such as  “You may also like”, “Recommended for you” and “Related products” just don’t have the same effect as in-store merchandising — where products often pack more punch in combinations than each would individually.

Why are websites so far behind?

And how can online catalogs help?   By enabling the creation of orchestrated e-commerce experiences.

In other words, if done well, online merchandising within digital catalogs blends tactics from both traditional offline and online sales channels — bridging the gap between stark websites and creative brick&mortar window displays.  While print catalogs allow for the same kind of curation, they don’t give you back the same kind of data to learn from!   Digital versions can be rearranged and segmented based on analyses of user behavior within the catalog, such as which pages are attracting the most attention, which products are clicked on most, etc.

Some ways to make the most of your digital storefront:

-Start with traditional merchandising tactics:  Product groups or displays used in stores can provide the basis for website layouts, before in-catalog web analytics comes into play.

-Experiment with creative combinations:  Look at recent sales data.  Which types of items are people often buying together?  How can you encourage them to purchase additional items?  One great example, below, from The Container Store, places shoe storage containers alongside mothballs and air fresheners.

Container Store Merchandising

-See what’s attracting attention:  Heat maps (or in-page analytics) show what your site visitors are clicking on most; shopping cart funnel data reveals which items are carted but for some reason not checked out.

-Look at other key performance metrics for your digital content:   Analyzing what works and what doesn’t work over time (test, adjust, retest!) can  paint a clearer picture of how to combine your online content and merchandise for optimal performance.

-Vary merchandise combinations by segment, such as website entry point:   Where a visitor came from can help predict what they’re looking for.  Product images or combinations shown could be served up differently for users who come from social networks vs. search engines vs. particular referral links (etc.).

The results will be better sales, higher conversion rates, and better engagement metrics for your catalog.  (Recently, a kids’ toys and apparel brand saw an increase of over 300% more dollar spent, and 250% more items carted, when they featured related items on the same online catalog pages!)

How to Improve Conversions

The goal of all marketers is conversions. Marketers launch marketing campaigns and nurture leads in the ultimate hope that leads will convert. If not, the entire exercise is futile.

How to increase conversions with digital catalogsIn the past, a well crafted campaign was enough to secure the prospect’s conversion. However, it today’s digital age where the customer has access to multiple sources of information from many channels, a well crafted campaign is only the basic requirement to entice customers. Making sure that they convert requires greater effort.

The marketer needs to understand the shopping trends and patterns. For instance, they not only have to craft an attractive catalog that serves the customer’s exact needs, but they also need to understand where they land in the catalog, where they stop to read, what they click and other factors. This understanding allows the marketer to optimize the viewer’s experience. The flow and layout of the digital catalog in a way is the digital equivalent of the real estate utilization of a brick and mortar store.

Digital catalogs have an advantage here over other mediums as experience suggests that one in every two viewers would click through the entire catalog anyway. However, marketers cannot afford to take this for granted and even if viewers click through, they may stop and consider purchase only when the page appeals to them. The marketer needs to lure the viewer to stay via appealing color and designs, providing surprises that coax the viewer to turn to the next page, and more.

With over 40 percent of all purchases being impulsive purchases, the extent to which crucial mediums such as the digital catalog succeed in attracting viewers and prompt them to buy can make or break a business.

Want to increase conversions? Learn more from our research in our Why We Buy Stuff whitepaper. Find out what you need to do to improve your bottom line.

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Infographic: Tablet & Mobile Shoppers Holiday Plans

In concordance with our recent survey, we’ve produced an infographic displaying some of the data from our Tablet & Mobile Shoppers Holiday Plans research. Nearly half of online shopping will take place on tablets this year. Have you optimized your experience across multiple touch points to make sure you’re encouraging sales?

We dive into how people plan to shop across devices, including PCs, tablets, and mobile, as well as gender and age specific trends. What surprises you?

For more information on this topic, download the full 2012 Tablet & Mobile Shoppers Holiday Plan Survey. It dives into deeper detail of what we found!

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Tablet and mobile shoppers holiday plans

Google Confirms Multiple Device Access for Content

Google’s latest research “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior” throws up some interesting findings regarding the way people consume digital content.

Multiple devicesThe study reveals that as expected, smart phones, PC, tablets and TV retain their place as the top devices through which people access content. In fact, people access 90% of all media interaction through digital screens, marginalizing non-digital content mediums such as paper books. Among digital devices, people alternate among devices to accomplish a goal.

An average user spends 17 minutes on the smartphone per interaction, 30 minutes on the tablet, 39 minutes on the desktop or laptop PC and 43 minutes on the TV. But such figures taken at face value may be misleading. Many users use multiple devices simultaneously. For instance, when a user watches TV, he is using another device such as a smartphone or tablet (77% of the time!). 49% of such time is with a smart phone, and 34% with a PC or laptop.

Nine out of ten people use multiple screens sequentially, meaning they spread out the activity over time and use different devices in different sittings to complete the task. 81% of people who browse the internet for information, 67% of online shoppers, 46% of people who manage their finances online, and 43% of people who plan a trip, indulge in such sequential multi-screen behavior. 98% of them move between devices in the same day to complete the task on hand.

The study also reveals search as the critical connector as people move across devices. People use search to pick up where they left off as they take up a new device to complete the task.

A big factor that shapes which device people use for the task is accessibility of the device, and much of the activity is spontaneous than pre-planned. 81% of all activity that takes place through smartphones and 52% of all activity that takes place through the traditional desktop PC are spontaneous. About 60% of all online tasks are initiated on a smartphone and then continued on another device.

The lesson for content creators is to deliver content that gels well with all device types. With Zmags, we create one experience that is published to multiple devices. If people are using their cell phone, then switch to the tablet, we make it easy for them to find what they are looking for since they already found it!