We are in the golden age of eCommerce, and this is a real boon for creative merchandisers wanting to provide customers with a personalized and pain-free shopping experience.

ECommerce tools, like AI-driven search results and ease-to-use Point of Sale (POS) interface can ensure a satisfying customer journey without time consuming (and budget breaking) brick and mortar-style merchandising methods.

That is why businesses large and small seek out cutting edge branding, merchandising and POS methods. Personalization + Optimization = Customer satisfaction, higher Average Order Volume (AOV) and, most importantly, customer retention.

Here are a some essential ways that eCommerce tools have revolutionized the customer experience.

Our Own Personal Window Display

Think back – it wasn’t too long ago – when shopping, particularly specialzied shopping (seasonal, technical gear, etc.) meant journeying to the store and being greeted with an ornate display of items in the front window, on display tables and along the walls.

For most local stores, these physical displays (plus a few dollars spent on advertising) were the only methods of merchandising available. These displays had to compel shoppers to spend both time and money in the store.

However good the display looked, it was likely to exclude shoppers needing something different, so a running shoe shopper would see the ski gear in the window and still question whether he was at the right place.

ECommerce sites replace guesswork with actively changing product image displays, search bars and dropdown menus that tell the shopper a lot more about what the store offers in far less time.

By typing “women’s trail running shoes”, the display becomes specific – here are the top models; here is last year’s model on sale; these are highly rated trail running accessories.

A smart display like this speaks to us directly, and we are off and running to the next stop in the customer journey.

Our Own Sales Team

In a perfect shopping scenario, a dedicated, educated sales person would have limitless time discussing product options and features; simultaneously assuring us that the quality is top shelf and the price is on point.

In lieu of that, eCommerce solutions can prompt us to be our own best judge of product appropriateness. Type in “women’s trail running shoes” and half a dozen trail-specific running shoes pop up. Refine the search a little more – “women’s trail running shoes wide” – and perhaps two options remain. Now the customer has control over her ultimate decision. She can spend more time reading product specifications (heel drop, waterproofing, etc.) and have fun toggling color options.

Additionally, AI-driven merchandising can easily pair accessory products, such as trail socks and hydration packs designed for runners. In cases like these, merchandising becomes a function of need, not an obvious or crass tactic to increase sales numbers.

Yes, this store definitely delivers what I want!

POS Optimization

As eCommerce matures, shoppers take ease-of-use POS for granted. There is no patience left for a clunky or confusing interface. We already view the online buying process as an alternative to standing in long lines, so we don’t want one tedium replaced by another.

Along with ease-of-use, customers want to feel self-assurance in their own research – by reading customer reviews, digesting product specifications and considering valuable add-ons – all of which are provided by smart merchandising tools. Put this together with a painless payment system and customers have nothing left to do but think about putting their products to use.

These are the details which help businesses increase AOV and, most importantly, customer retention. Studies show that a 5% increase in customer retention can substantially increase profits.

Additionally, with every return customer, AI-driven analysis of purchase history can further tailor searches to customer needs. So, perhaps with our first purchase, we generally knew what we wanted and the site lead us to the right style, size, etc. We purchased it and felt satisfied. Our next visit might be a browse and we are more open to suggestion. Since the eCommerce platform has considered our previous searches and purchases, it can offer us a new design or sale too irresistible to pass up.

When is The Customer Journey Complete?

In the eyes of eCommerce businesses, the customer journey should not be seen as complete until smart merchandising has done it’s job to match (even exceed) the customer’s expectations.

The customer journey is complete when questions like: “Is this really a quality item?”; “Is this the best version of what I need?”; and “Are there any complementary items available?” have been answered.

Smart eCommerce software helps merchandising-use mature beyond one-size-fits-all ads and window displays – to the point where customers feel truly empowered by opportunities a new product presents.

Afterall, a satisfied customer is always open to suggestions!