FatWeb – Best Web Design New Zealand – eCommerce Learning from Supermarkets

What eCommerce Stores Can Learn From Supermarkets

When the first supermarket opened in Otahuhu way back in 1958 there was very little science put into the layout. Small margins and competition have forced them to hone their conversion and optimisation rates down to a fine science. Everything about a supermarket is planned from layout to pricing and positioning. Ever wondered why you enter through the produce section to the deli to meat to bakery, it is a long walk to the bread and milk right? It’s about margins. You go through the high margin areas first. Your trolley does not look full so you take a few extra things. If you think trolleys are getting bigger you are right to, it just does not look full but the register says you have spent not only this week’s budget but half of next week’s!

Learning Number 1:

Your homepage is your shop entrance and is where your visitors first land. You need to make sure this is a positive experience for your customer. Make sure the customer sees the key benefits they will receive from shopping at your store (those posters as you walk into a supermarket). What is it that makes you special to them, whether it is free shipping, unparalleled range, exclusive designer brands or just great deal? Whatever it is, you need to make it clear on the landing page.

Learning Number 2:

Show your best products first. What is it that people want to see? It could be those that are most frequently searched, best sellers or daily specials. This depends on your shop and overall marketing strategy. If you are aiming at high end then maybe the end of line clearance is not what they are looking for.

Shelf Positioning

It’s not only the store layout, they also look at the shelf positioning of the product. People look left to right and up to down, it is how we read a book. More expensive items are normally placed on the left. People will scan until they see the price that they want, from left to right like a book.

Let’s look at those shelves now

Top Shelf: This is the hard to reach area so you find less popular or smaller brands as this is not Prime Retail Real Estate

Middle Shelf: This is where you put your top sellers. This is Prime Real Estate. Best Sellers and high margins drive the product placement here. Some will even charge the supplier for this prime spot.

Bottom Shelf: Home or Own Brands tend to dominate this space. Discount buyers will scan all the way down to find the lowest price so no need to waste prime space on these products.

Learning Number 3:

Like the supermarket, where you display your product is important. Prime Real Estate in the E-Commerce world is top of the category page. So here is where you put your best sellers and high margins. Doing this can increase your conversion rate and sales.

Have you noticed that onion dip and reduced cream are often seen together and close to chips? This is a Packaged Sale. What products can you offer as a package? Here are some ideas: Shoes and matching bags, business shirt and ties, or how about a scarf to go with that dress? These are just a few you will have seen in the Big Department Store. Maybe this has helped them get to be big?

Sale Stickers

Ok, so when you go to the supermarket you see the sales stickers and posters. There is a reason behind everything a supermarket does. Low margins mean they have to have smart business plans. We all make some of our buying decision based on price. Pricing also determines the quality. A higher priced product should be better than its cheaper homebrand right? So we can use “sales stickers” to push a quality item at a reduced price. Just show the original or RRP as well as the sale price, even showing the saving helps your customer determine they are getting better value. Two-for-one are priced at a hard-to-turn-down price but still at a price that will maximise the profit.

Learning Number 4:

Make sure you have some discounted products and mark them so that a “Blind Man can see it”. This not only can increase your initial sale but may also stop your customer from looking at other sites and increases the perception of value. Use a contrasting bright colour to catch their eye.

It is extremely important that throughout your E-Commerce store you discount some products, clearly marking them with sale icons and showing the savings for the consumer. Specials make it less likely the consumer will go to other sites looking for ‘savings’ and also lets them compare items based on perceived ‘quality’. Sale icons should be in a bright contrasting colour to catch attention but should be a different colour to your CTA buttons. It is also a good idea to experiment with different sale offers such as ‘2 for the price of’ product sales until you find one which resonates well with your audience!.


Call John on 09 9277373 or email john@fatweb.co.nz.

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FatWeb – Best Web Design New Zealand – eCommerce Learning from Supermarkets