Carro Ecommerce Merchandising Guide

by Ecommerce, Marketing

Now that you have the right tech in place, it’s important to consider, and build a strategy around a key element in the success of using Carro: Merchandising. Your eCommerce merchandising strategy depends on the type of merchant that you are, what your goals are, and what’s overall important to you and your customers.  In the next few paragraphs, we’re gonna break down the different types of merchants that use Carro. Once you determine which “type(s)” you are, we’ll lay out specific merchandising strategies for you. 

What Merchant “Type” Are You?

 
Traditional Retailer

A Traditional Retailer or a “pure retailer” is quite literally that. It’s a store that sells multiple brands and products. The most common values among this group of retailers are product catalog expansion, access to high-quality brands, and holding virtual vs physical inventory. These retailers use Carro because it eliminates the risk of buying and holding inventory while gaining access to Shopify’s best D2C brands. 

screenshot of gear.com website homepage - fireplace with blanket
Emerging Single-Product Brand

Emerging Single-Product Brands are newer or growing brands that sell a single product. The most common values among this group of brands are strong upsell strategies, partnering with more well-known or complementary brands, and eliciting a sense of brand value in everything they do. These brands use Carro because it allows them to acquire new customers without paid media, drive brand awareness through visibility, test out new products risk-free, and enhance the perception of the brand by partnering with other brands.  

gif of the snacklins homepage website
Established Single-Product Brand

Established Single-Product Brand’s are similar to Emerging ones, they just have a few more years and customer’s under their belt. So, naturally, that makes their values (and eCommerce merchandising strategies) a bit different. The most common values among this group of brands are expanding their product collections, acquiring new customers and brand awareness through co-marketing campaigns, expressing their mission and values in a fresh way, along with solidifying elevated upsell strategies. These brands use Carro because it connects them with established like-minded brands, gives them more opportunity to build experiences around their product, and aids in new customer acquisition outside the traditional paid media routes. 

blendjet website homepage, blender turned on
Category-Specific Brand

Category Specific Brands carry their own products within a particular vertical. Often, these brands have experimented with carrying other brands in their store to varying degrees. These brands value testing and merchandising with new products in order to surprise and delight their customers, working with brands that have the same values and level of product quality, and giving their customers a seamless product discovery experience that leads to upsells and brand loyalty. 

Curateur by Rachel Zoe website homepage - depicts Rachel Zoe a blonde woman holding a bag with flowers in it
The beauty of Carro is that it gives you the ability to oscillate between these categories, risk-free. For some of our merchants, they find themselves beginning their journey with Carro as a Single-Product Brand and finding success moving into a Traditional Retailer brand. The merchandising potential is truly limitless. 

Merchandising For Your Merchant “Type”

 

Traditional Retailer Strategies:

 
Refresh Product Placements

This strategy is used widely, and effectively, in brick and mortar merchandising. For returning customers and to overall better understand user preferences, it’s important to move products and collections around on a regular cadence. Refreshing product placement and organization will help you move through slow-moving SKUs, give your customers more opportunity to discover, and gain better insight into where your customers like to see what products. After all, merchandising is all about offering the right product to the right person at the right time.

Consistently Add New Products

For the Traditional Retailer, “the more the merrier” is often right. Through Carro, the access to new high-quality products and endless virtual inventory is certainly a strategy to play up. Because Carro is so risk-free, it’s important to constantly test and add new products. Even strategically experimenting with products that are borderline outside of the current product offering can have a big payoff. For example, an outdoors and sports equipment retailer experimenting with sustainable, eco-friendly skincare and haircare products.

 

screenshot of gear.com website's collection of skincare products

Emerging Single-Product Brand Strategies:

 
Product Bundling

Because Emerging Single-Product Brands are looking for ways to increase their customer base at a low cost, product bundling with a brand partner is an excellent way to do this. When a customer purchases one of your products on your brand partner’s site, you receive the customer data as well. To increase the opportunity for new customer acquisition, work with your brand partners to create bundles that contain both you and their products, that way you both win the new customer.

Product Detail Landing Page Approach 

Prioritizing the Product Detail Page experience and approaching it with a landing page design and content mindset will give your customers a more immersive experience. As an emerging brand, it’s important to highlight, in detail, why your product is special. It’s likely that the user has a competitor open in the other tab. When adding new products from Carro Brand Partners, we suggest maintaining this “landing page” approach to the Product Detail Pages. 

screenshot of indy brand websites product page for poppy and pout lip balm
Highlighting Brand Partnerships 

Highlight Brand Partnerships in a way that enhances customers’ brand perception. It’s likely that the brands you’re partnering with have a level of trust and awareness that you can use to your advantage. Flexing these partnerships through creative banners, eCommerce merchandising, imagery, and copy that is front-and-center for the user will give them a sense that your brand is “doing big or cool things”. 

 

Established Single-Product Brand Strategies:

 
Create Experiences Around Your Product 

Established Single Product Brands fan-bases are often built on the experiences and feelings they offer through social channels, emails, and their eCommerce site. For these brands, it’s key to consistently offer new experiences and “surprise and delight” moments. Partnering with other brands creates new avenues for brands to build experiences around their products. Strong creative and storytelling are key here.

Social Commerce

Social Commerce is essentially the premier social-proofed shopping experience. Through Carro Brand Partnerships, you can now “fully outfit” your products with the brands you partner with. You’re likely already posting flat lays if you’re a fashion brand or full-on “shelfies” if you’re a skincare brand – might as well sell all the products in the lifestyle images that you’re posting.

screenshot of social commerce on instagram with purse and accessories
Checkout and Post-Purchase Upsells

For returning customers of Single-Product Brands, these particular digital experiences are preferred by them because of how streamlined and consistent they are. It’s important not to complicate the checkout process when implementing upselling strategies for this particular customer. Often, these users have a competing brand open in another tab, so getting this user to the finish line quickly and conveniently, without obstacles is key. This is where the checkout upsell OR post-purchase upsell comes into play. These strategies are best for this user type because the payment only needs to be captured once and they are built seamlessly into the process during payment or after.

e-boost website screenshot of checkout page with upsell
screenshot of Native's website post-purchase upsell pop-up

Category-Specific Brand Strategies:

 
Inspire a Lifestyle

Inspire your customers with the lifestyle that your brand supports. This is often called “fully-outfitting” your customer and consists of organizing products on a page in a way that puts the full-outfit or lifestyle “moment” on display. For example, Joi is a brand that sells plant-based milk concentrates that has product recommendations in the cart. They are “fully-outfitting” by adding the pitcher the customer would use to store and pour their milks. Adding intelligent product cross-sells or “add-on” suggestions to the product detail page or the cart will increase AOV. 

screenshot of Joi's website cart cross-sell feature
Lower the Barrier To Entry Through Assortment

Whether it’s adding more diversity to your pricing or including new products that fit the lifestyle, these strategies will lower the barrier to entry and widen your demographic. Adding a few lower price-point (brand-appropriate) items makes your brand more accessible while allowing all consumers to participate more deeply in the lifestyle that your brand portrays. Additionally, adding items that fit the lifestyle and are complementary to existing products will help your customers live the full lifestyle via your brand! 

 

eCommerce Merchandising Best-Practices for Everyone

 
Intuitive Navigation

One of the foundations of strong merchandising is being sure that your customers are able to find the products they want in an intuitive way. As you begin adding new products and collections to your site through Carro, it’s important to consider the effects this will have on your site navigation and overall structure. 

screenshot of manly bands website navigation dropdown menu
Cross-Sell Email

Merchandising your emails in a way that is consistent with your eCommerce merchandising can encourage your customer to see products you sell as “pairs” rather than “single products.” Email is just another channel to implement a cross-selling strategy. With Klaviyo, you can have a dynamic product feed in your emails. Dynamic is key because this allows the products to be as up-to-date as possible. With Carro, email Cross-selling is easy through Klaviyo. Promote you and your partner’s products together in an email! Need some help setting up those cross-sell flows? Check out this article from our friends at Klaviyo.

Upgrade to a Smart Search Solution

There are lots of great apps that can improve your site search experience. For similar reasons as intuitive navigation, Smart Search solutions allow your products to be found through the search bar even if the user spells something incorrectly, or if they type in more vague terms. Additionally, many of these search tools will give you insights into what your customers are searching for which can help inform the demand for certain products that you might not already carry.

Social Proof

Each brand will vary a bit when it comes to the forms of social proof that they should implement on their site. For most non-luxury brands, user-generated content along with reviews is essential. For luxury brands, social proof is done in a more subdued way. For example, Louis Vuitton’s campaign with young (and adored) TikTok stars like Emma Chamberlain and Charli D’Amelio.

Accessibility

Be sure your site is up to date and ADA compliant. There are lots of great apps you can easily install on your site as well as ADA compliance experts who can do an audit of your site. 

Overall, effective eCommerce merchandising is all about offering the right product at the right time to the right customer. Each merchant type and brand is a little different in terms of how that is accomplished. At the end of the day, it’s important to always consider brand-specific data, plus intuition, plus best merchandising practices and trends.  And remember: those things are always changing. 

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