A time-tested merchandising technique gets new vitality through data-driven personalization methods.
A longtime goal of online merchants has been to create a pleasant, personalized shopping experience that encourages purchasing and repeat visits. Another goal of direct marketers is to increase average order sizes online. Ensemble selling—otherwise known as selling by merchandise collections—accomplishes both goals, and has seen widespread use because of its ability to get beyond the structured, linear character of the Web and speak to the emotional issues that drive the shopping behavior of targeted customers.
Ensemble selling is so widely used and successful that it is becoming a standard feature in many sectors, and those merchants who are not using it should immediately consider how they can implement it on their Web sites. Fortunately, new ways to use existing technologies can make ensemble selling more effective and remove much of the guesswork involved in optimizing the product collections you offer.
Merchandise ensembles bring together a few products that are related through theme, brand, life-style, activity or any other criteria you determine. These items are presented together in a visually appealing way to stimulate the customer to buy more than one product at a time. Typical ensembles include: jewelry sets (matching earrings, necklace, bracelet, etc.), seasonal items (beach umbrellas, sun block, swimsuits, travel guides), home furnishings (rugs, chairs, décor), and apparel (outfits).
The options are limited only by product selection and business needs. The key is finding products that sell well together.
This powerful merchandising tool usually is announced to customers on home and gateway pages through an eye-catching graphical link and a button in the universal navigation bar. The ensemble index page can take different forms, but usually presents a large kicker image for each ensemble to make it easy for the shopper to see how everything will look together. Clicking on the image opens the ensemble’s detail page.