Merchandisers traditionally play a vital role in driving value to commerce-based businesses. They allow companies to optimize their sales by ensuring that customers can easily find the products in which they are most interested. They also work to position items with the greatest bottom-line impact prominently.
While the dynamics of online shopping are different from shopping in-store, e-commerce merchandisers still play a significant role. The position is a highly sought-after part of an e-commerce organization. These individuals control the products the business purchases and what customers ultimately see.
In my experience, there has been a shift in a merchandiser’s role. Companies have shifted to an omnichannel merchandising strategy, emphasizing e-commerce. Advancements in e-commerce tech have improved customer experiences and allowed organizations to automate many manual processes.
With flexible technology, companies like Amazon have shrunk their merchandising teams into smaller, more dynamic units. Many organizations have followed suit with smaller teams but still struggle due to their outdated solutions.
To this day, many organizations still use Microsoft Suite and its tools (primarily Excel) to handle merchandising. But doing so slows down the merchandising team in performing their day-to-day role. Additionally, it is challenging to share spreadsheets and other documents with many people.
Organizations that want to increase sales while also improving the customer experience must level up to a more flexible solution. The two platforms that can be most beneficial to merchants are product information management (PIM) software and inventory planning software.
A PIM provides a centralized place to house all the SKUs that the organization has available. Instead of going between spreadsheets, you can make changes to all your product data in one place. The software also shows the information on how much inventory the organization is purchasing and holding in the future.
PIM software also makes it easier to track changes to your product information. With best-in-class solutions like fabric PIM, you have a complete audit trail of all changes made to product data along with the responsible user.
You can save different versions of your items and categories to revert to previous versions whenever needed. Using a SaaS-based PIM is also more secure than storing valuable data in a homegrown platform or spreadsheet floating all over the place.
With the efficiencies provided by PIM, e-commerce merchandisers can service the customer faster. Customers can find what they need immediately rather than waiting years for the merchandiser to match their interests.
Technology brings many efficiencies. But there are still a refined set of skills required for e-commerce merchandisers to perform their role. Merchandisers must find a balance between giving the customer what they are looking for at the right time and price while still prioritizing the organization’s profitability.
Merchandisers can maximize their results by scaling to new e-commerce channels and leveraging the flexibility they provide. By building an e-commerce system with headless APIs, merchandising teams can create personalized experiences while ensuring optimized prices across all products.
Business development @ fabric. Previously merchandising and strategy @ Hanna Anderson, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer.