Merchandising is something all retailers are familiar with. Merchandisers are tasked with numerous responsibilities; including supply chain decisions; margin management, brand relations, monitoring inventory, and much more. 

This practice remains strong in places like supermarkets even today. Everyone is familiar with the layout of a supermarket with different categorized aisles and shelves, and special promotions on the end. Shelf-sorting is a strategy where merchandisers arrange products in a way to make shoppers’ journeys as seamless as possible all while keeping the retailer’s commercial goals in mind. 

These goals often include things such as increased profitability, brand recognition, brand relations or even annual sales volume. For example, kids’ cereals are placed on lower shelves for them to see at their height to reach the target consumer, hence driving an increase in turnover. Whereas, the supermarket’s proprietary brand of kids’ cereal is placed in the most prominent spots on those shelves because of its high-margin compared to other kids’ cereal brands.

Of course, this means merchandising has made it’s way to e-commerce as well. Much like brick and mortar stores, online stores can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate if you aren’t sure exactly what you’re looking for. 

Through intuitive product placement and arrangement, variation in product visuals, relevant and informative messaging, and seamless browsing experiences, e-commerce brands create online shopping experiences that drive the customer behavior they want in order to achieve their business goals.

Category Merchandising

With the rise of e-commerce, and thus personalization, merchandisers have remained cautious of allowing shopper behavior to dictate too much of their online merchandising strategy. Merchandising is the practice of showcasing what the store wants to sell, whereas personalization is the practice of showcasing what the shopper wants to buy. When used together in harmony, though, the two practices can empower retailers to create highly relevant shopping experiences that accomplish their very specific commercial goals.

Category Merchandising fluidly blends these concepts together, and in this article we will walk you through how to create a sequence for a category page using pre-made merchandising rules and targeting a segment called All Customers.

The overview page is the mission control of Category Merchandising, allowing you to see a full list of categories, create individual sequences, mass apply merchandising rules and see an overview of category performance. 

When navigating to a single category with no sequences applied, we can use pre-existing merchandising rules to tailor the content based on different factors. This article walks through the journey of creating a new sequence targeting all customer on the clothing category.  

Creating a new Sequence

In the first step of the wizard we select the Segment we want to target with our Sequence. In this tutorial we will be using the built-in All Customers segment, but you can use whichever Segment that makes most sense for your goal. You can read more about Segmentation in this article: Segmentation & Insights - General Article

In the next step we can define a sorting rule to be used for this Sequence. When getting started you will have access to a number of pre-made sorting rules that can be used when setting up your first Sequence. Rules can be created to cover most use-cases, which you can learn more about in this article: Introduction to Sorting Rules, and how to create them.

After applying a Sorting Rule, we can access the preview for this particular category. From the preview we will be able to see a visual representation in what order products are shown to the end-user that falls in your particular segment selection. In the next step we can add products or highlights that influence the top row of the category. 

When getting started you will have access to a number of pre-made Highlights that can be used when setting up your first Sequence. Rules can be created to cover most use-cases, which you can learn more about in this article: Introduction to Highlights, and how to create them

You have now created your first Sequence utilising both sorting and highlighting targeting the All Customers segment. You can now continue either creating further Sequences targeting other Segments, or enable your newly created Sequence, essentially changing the order in which products are shown to your end- customers. 

Enabling Sequencing for categories happens on the overview page where you can easily enable or disable Category Merchandising for one or multiple categories at once. 

After enabling a sequence, you can revisit the Analytics page to get a breakdown on how statistics are changing across a given time period. 

You can dig into performance of individual product performance, to power hypotheses around what kind of items could be highlighted in future sequences. Or how certain Brands or Categories within the current category perform. 

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