Saturday, 27 September 2014

Unexpected way(s) of working

Rag & Bone Cashmere and Wool-Blend Cardigan £330, Hoss Intropia Zebra Brooch £41, Bunney Silver Initial Brooch £195, H&M Short Cardigan £9.99, Uniqlo +J Stretch Cashmere Cardigan £129, Marni Brooch £180, Cilea Brooch at V&A £85, Mango Cotton Cardigan £29.99

I’ve been working with a couple of different strategies when I've been merchandising recently. I had expected to use one, namely figures. I thought it would be a matter of identifying the best products – from the point of view of sales, or profit, or clicks, or any other criterion – and placing them in prominent positions.
However, most pages, I am finding, require a secondary strategy, or logic. It’s like structuring an argument, or an essay, or an article (I think it could be most like constructing an article). You might want to put all your winning ideas at the very beginning, but you have to order them, group them, link them, set each one to its best advantage.
It is necessary to adopt a subsidiary strategy: to use style to determine position, as well as sales, for example; or to consider colour, or function, or price. If I were working on a jewellery page, I might rank my products according to the number of clicks they received, then I might place the top three necklaces on the first row, the top three bracelets on the second, the top three earrings on the third, etc. 
I think the order the functions come in (necklace, then bracelet, then earrings) should be determined by individual product clicks (i.e. if the product to receive the most clicks were a necklace, it should lead and two other necklaces should follow it; if the product to receive the second most clicks were a bracelet, it would then come fourth), rather than overall function clicks (i.e. if bracelets receive the most clicks overall, they would lead). If you don’t heed the individual, you might end up with your best products some distance down the page, if for instance you have one or two very strong necklaces and lots of mediocre bracelets.

Now, I think I am feeling the need to use several strategies because it makes the page easier to understand and more convincing. You might have exactly what the customer wants, it might be at the top of the page, but if it is surrounded by dissimilar products, by products the customer doesn’t want at all, it is easily missed. Using several strategies allows you to break your page into sections, so that the customer can see the extent of your range, discard the parts that are not of interest, and focus on the parts that are. A multi-strategy approach improves the page aesthetic, something that must not be underestimated.

So, from now, on I’ll be seeing more in my products than just their figures!