Archive for April, 2012

When it comes to optimising your eCommerce platform, it’s essential to have control of every facet of your merchandising. Some services control individual aspects of your online merchandising with specific technologies, but juggling several different interfaces at the same time can be both time consuming and costly.  Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® uniquely allows you to manage key elements within a single platform. That means that for the first time you can exercise total control over your online sales performance.

All in one: everything you need in one place

Made up of intelligent site search, product recommendations and visual merchandising, Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® is one of the most technically advanced ecommerce search and merchandising solutions available. It operates exclusively from a single control panel, reducing your need to outsource and delivering increased operational efficiency as well as speed, accuracy and reduced costs.


The flexible multi-faceted design enables you to configure the functions you require. You can customise performance in accordance with your personal retailing strategies, whatever they may be. The technology plugs straight into your existing ecommerce platform to manage every aspect of search, product display and recommendation functionality within one powerful tool kit.

The Results
Because you can customise  Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® to your own preferences you can achieve the targets and key objectives on your wish list. Key deliverables include:

  • Delivering tailored search results for the end customer to increase purchase probability
  • Growth in overall sales performance, increased conversion rates, average order values and average revenue per visit.
  • Higher retention rates and improved customer satisfaction with reduced clicks to purchase.

What’s more, Locayta Freestyle Merchandising®‘s adaptable structure has the ability to simplify the complex challenges that you, as a retailer, may be faced with.

What they say…
Locayta boasts a industry leading client list who opt in to their preferred services within the multi-faceted Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® platform.

Chris Griffin, Head of Ecommerce at urban-wear retailer Superdry says “Locayta offered the perfect combination of tools to control our search and merchandising”.

Ecommerce Manager, Fabrice Druelle at Prezzybox agrees.  “It’s a very usable platform. The dashboard is simple to get to grips with and you can really play with the technology. Locayta offered us a tool we simply couldn’t find elsewhere.”

Catherine Turner, Ecommerce Manager at Boohoo, outlines the advantages of the single platform. “For us the ability to opt in manually where we need to is the key win” she says.

Want more?
Uniquely, Locayta covers the complete range of merchandising disciplines on a single platform, providing a dynamic, robust and scalable merchandising solution that delivers increased online revenue and reduced costs. For more information on the services available from the Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® platform, visit


Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ll know that 2012 is a big year for UK retailing. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 are both key seasonal ecommerce opportunities with unlimited potential for merchandise, themed products, special promotions and more.

Run a search right now to see how many internet retailers are jumping on the occasion-led bandwagon – and onto the front page of Google. Are you ready for the flurry of online buying we’re expecting as these events finally hit?

Plan for every occasion for ecommerce success

Back in March Retail Technology publicised seasonal advice for ecommerce retailers. Retailers need to follow best practice actions “around 60, 45, 30 and 15 days prior to each seasonal peak” said Keith Bird, eSellerPro Chief Executive, adding that “in an era of convenience where the consumer expects what they want, when they want it, through whichever channel they want, it’s not an option for retailers to fail to keep up with seasonal demand.”

Mr Bird is quite right – it’s not just Summer’s patriotic celebrations we should be planning for. Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day and more all present prime sales opportunities. Let’s look at how you can optimise your ecommerce site to ensure that you pick up every opportunity during these key periods.

Optimise average order values the British Museum Way

 One of Locayta’s key clients, the British Museum Company, are showing the world how it’s done when it comes to the Diamond Jubilee. They’ve developed extensive merchandise – and as a massive UK visitor attraction with a global footfall, the ecommerce potential is huge. Where they’re really getting ahead on revenue though is in their cross-selling and up-selling strategy.

Not only are BMCo pro-active in intelligent product recommendations across their range, they’re making clever use of cross-sells with the British Museum’s own site, as Head of Ecommerce Fabrice Druelle recently told me: “We have re-schemed our site to make maximum use of product recommendations and give visitors a whole new look and feel with more cross-selling opportunities”

Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® is powering this strategy with product recommendations that respond in real time to user search and basket preferences. The ability to integrate with the main British Museum site, and constantly update suggestions automatically maximises business potential.

Powering seasonal celebrations with Prezzybox

 As Prezzybox have discovered, refining search options to suit occasions is key to conversion rates. Locayta search has helped them get this down to a fine art. A vast array of gifts is superbly categorised on their site giving logical, clean search functionality for shoppers. But on special occasions they need to be able to adapt both categories and search criteria quickly.

It hasn’t always been easy. Until last year manual input was intensive. Then CEO Zak Edwards discovered Freestyle Merchandising and our unique technology Balance Factor®. Search categories are quickly updated via the central dashboard, plus Prezzybox can influence results according to their own product placement strategy. Check out our recent blog for full details on how Balance Factor works.

Get mobile to make the most of seasonal ecommerce

We all know that multi-channel is a must these days, and Marketwatch‘s recent report confirms that 55% of shoppers now purchase online with their smartphones. This March 50% of all online flower orders were placed on a mobile. It’s hardly surprising when you think about it. We’ve all been caught out with a last minute occasion purchase and mobile technology offers a convenient consumer solution.

The issue isn’t just one of sales volume – it’s one of conversion and retention. Internet Retailing reports that bounce rates are 40% on mobiles (10% higher than on tablets). More worryingly, they point out that 61% of shoppers are unlikely to return to a site after a negative mobile experience, and 40% will turn to a competitor site.

If you’re looking for a quick and cost-effective way to get your site onto shoppers’ phones take a look at Locayta M-Commerce. It’s a click to buy iPhone shopping app that supports our full features set. Because the app queries your website directly customers can browse your full product range without any changes to your e-commerce platform. They are then transferred directly to your site’s checkout to complete the purchase wherever they are.

Across the ecommerce sector we’re dedicated to providing retailers with innovative solutions that achieve a high return. Our clients know it – the likes of Tesco Clothing ,, Superdry and Paperchase are all transforming conversions and revenue with Locayta. Want to know more? Get in touch – we’ll be happy to help!

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Read more:

Ecommerce vendor published seasonal advice Retail Technology, March 2012

The global rise in “always-on” shoppers is driving ecommerce MarketWatch April 2012

Retailers losing 1 in 20 sales through lack of mobile enabled sites Internet Retailing April 2012

The opportunity of responsive design Silverstripe, April 2012

As we did earlier this week, this is the second in a series where we’re taking an element of Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® to analyse the workings, merits and necessary considerations in employing a particular technology. Today we’re taking an in depth look at Locayta Balance Factor®.

Locayta Balance Factor®: What is it?

Locayta Balance Factor® is a unique, exclusive and highly original online merchandising tool only available from Locayta. Working with the data on your site and pre-determined preferences set by yourself, Locayta Balance Factor® ultimately gives you control over product sequencing on every single page of your ecommerce site.

Generated dynamically, Locayta Balance Factor®  combines rules based metrics with your own chosen retailing priorities including price, margin, newness and/or stock availability. It then analyses your priorities and weights results to order the sequence of your products on category pages accordingly.

Locayta Balance Factor® can also be applied to search results pages. This means you can control the sequencing of products in search results to boost items to the top in line with your retailing strategy. Whether you’re looking to push products with a higher profit margin, popular products, new products or products with high stock levels, Locayta Balance Factor® in search puts you in the driving seat like never before.

The ecommerce benefits: What can you gain from implementation?

Locayta Balance Factor® is unique in its ability to give retailers total control over where and when sales occur. This means that as a retailer, if you need to promote certain products to hit margins, clear stock or highlight popular products, for the first time strategic control is at your fingertips.

Locayta‘s technology is specifically designed to help you enhance your sales and conversion rates. As part of the full Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® package, Locayta Balance Factor® has increased sales across the web by up to 19%  for clients, including, and .

Leading by example: some client experiences

Chris Griffin, Head of Ecommerce at, currently employs Locayta Balance Factor®, ““Locayta offered the perfect combination of tools to control our search and merchandising. Our merchandising is much more effective and easy to manage, plus the system has undoubtedly driven revenue. Our e-commerce strategy has experienced four figure growth. We’re now aiming to roll out Freestyle Merchandising to eight further international sites in the next few months.” reports, “It’s been a revelation. We have total control. We use  Locayta Balance Factor® to adjust the weighting of search and category results, meaning that as well as responding to user behaviour we can add our own stock control and promotional strategies into the mix. We have the ability to create filter criteria to match seasonal promotions, gift categories and internal variables. Most crucially, because every decision we make can be applied automatically across every category we’ve eliminated any margin for error and ensured that our customers experience accurate results every time. It’s no exaggeration to say that we saw conversion rates increase overnight when we started using Locayta.”

The first steps: Where do you go from here?

Amongst the many services available from Locayta, Balance Factor® is a unique offering and comes fully integrated into the Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® platform. To see Locayta Balance Factor® in action and find out more on Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® services as a whole, visit for a quick, FREE and easy demo.

Our discussions to date have addressed how Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® can optimise your eCommerce platform as a whole. Now we present the first in a series where we take each particular service in turn and discuss the workings, merits and necessary considerations in employing the particular technology.

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As ecommerce merchants we recognise the scenario – and as customers we’ve all been there ourselves. There you are, ready to make that exciting purchase, but the supposedly empowering tool that we call online shopping is behaving like a petulant child. You can’t find what you want, you don’t understand how the site works, displays are unclear, pricing changes when you checkout…it’s almost they’re deliberately trying to put you off! Take a look at this brilliant video from Google that shows what would happen if you transferred such experiences to the physical world.

Tongue in cheek this might be – but Google illustrate an important point. Econsultancy reports that over £1 billion of online business was lost in 2011 due to abandoned transactions. That’s serious stuff.

In a previous blog I showed the importance of creating a visual merchandising experience akin to the high street for retaining and converting visitors. With conversion rates still woefully low across the sector (The State of Retailing Online reported conversion growth in 2011 but the starting point of 2-3% is hardly a commercial utopia), it’s vital to adopt sophisticated tactics across your site to ensure that users enjoy their experience with you. Here are some key ways in which you can do exactly that, using real case examples from Locayta’s key clients.

Get your ecommerce search running like a dream

It’s hardly an earth shattering statement to point out that the more accurate your search results are, the more likely customers will be to buy. Get this one wrong and you’ve lost out straight away. But if you’re using an outdated black box engine that promises personalisation, the chances are it’s delivering exactly the opposite.

That’s because assumptions are made based on group targeting rather than on genuinely individual behaviour.

What’s more, consumers are getting wise – take a look at this frustrated blogger’s indictment of online retailing techniques. Genuine personalisation is a long way off, he suggests. In fact the good news is that it’s here right now.

Locayta have developed intelligent behavioural and ranking algorithms that track individual user behaviour and can make intelligent decisions as to that user’s preferences at that minute. They cooperate with merchandising rules – defined by the retailer – to optimise product placement in response to search queries and your own retailing rules.

The proof is in the pudding, of course. That proof comes directly from our clients including, Superdry and Tesco Clothing – all of whom have reported increased conversion rates since using Locayta Freestyle Merchandising®.

Tempt customers with clever recommendations the Tesco Clothing way

Tesco have certainly enjoyed their share of the press this week due to their planned shake up. In fact, Tesco Clothing is dominating the European market share with sales up by 12% in the past year alone. Tesco clearly recognises the value of ecommerce with plans to invest a further £150 million in their online performance.

One of the tools in their armoury is Locayta Product Recommendations. Again, they respond directly to the user’s real time behaviour – but can also be weighted to the retailer’s strategic priorities behind the scenes thanks to Locayta Balance Factor®.

Take it from the horse’s mouth. Our recently published IRX2012 article includes an interview with Tesco Change Manager Mark Wakeley, who confirms that “the ability to control product and accessory recommendations makes sure that customers have fast, convenient access to the outfit they seek, ultimately increasing conversion rates and order values.”

It’s also worth taking a tip from another of Tesco’s key strategies announced for the future: their “clicks and bricks” plan to expand the 770 store collections for products bought online. For the first time this will apply to all products and not just groceries. It’s a canny response to widespread evidence that 50 to 70% of shopper abandon their carts, and a key factor in this is the failure to show exorbitant delivery costs until the point of purchase.

Get your site updates streamlined for optimum profit

One of the issues we regularly encounter with new clients is the level of manual labour involved in keeping their sites up to date. With Locayta, that’s no longer a worry. Once the technology is plugged in (without any need to make changes to your own platform) you can control every aspect of your search, merchandising and product recommendation functionality via a single, simple to use dashboard.



Naturally you can opt in manually when you need to – but for many of our clients including Prezzybox this has made a massive impact – saving them “hundreds if not thousands of man hours” to quote Founder Zak Edwards.

Tempted? Contact us at Locayta today. It might just transform your ecommerce success!

Complete our survey and win an iPad 3!

While you’re here, why not take 5 minutes to win an iPad 3? Just complete our survey and you’ll be entered into the draw!





Read more…

UK shoppers abandoned over £1bn of online transactions in 2011 David Moth, March 2012

The State of Retailing Online (Forrester Research and Shop.Org, September 2011)

Ecommerce conversion rates: making visual merchandising matter Locayta, April 2012

Personalisation doesn’t work…yet Brian Manning July 2011

Tesco working to improve its clothing offer Just Style, April 2012

Tesco to invest £150m in online business ComputerworldUK, April 2012

Tesco the six point turnaround plan Telegraph April 2012

If you’re on the hunt for an active example of how to improve the results you’re getting from your eCommerce platform then look no further. Today we’re taking one of our clients,, and breaking down how and why they’ve employed  Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® plus the benefits and proven results.‘s clever use of technology from Locayta has served to attract, convert and retain loyal shoppers as well as ensuring less clicks to purchase, increasing online sales, improving customer satisfaction and ensuring greater control over their online sales performance. How? Read on to find out!

When it comes to eCommerce success, there’s no denying that have had their fair share of it. The award-winning brand has seen a sales growth of 150% over the last year and are constantly evolving. With tens of thousands of products on site, ensuring the customer is able to find what they want is essential. Cue the first of  Locayta Freestyle Merchandising®‘s  solutions, Guided Navigation. Locayta implemented Guided Navigation into‘s site to allow users to specifically personalise their search and achieve  targeted results. With options such as size, category, colour and price all determined, as well as Locayta‘s innovative spell correction capabilities, the relevance of search results is highly likely to convert to purchase.

A second of Locayta‘s features employed by is intelligent product recommendations. Order values can be significantly increased with the placement of complementary products alongside purchase considerations. By responding to individual customer behaviour in real time, Locayta‘s technology enables the dynamic placement of relevant and likely add on purchases in optimal positions on‘s site. Product recommendations can increase sales by 45%.

When it comes to visual merchandising, Locayta have all aspects of‘s site covered. The importance of visual displays online is obvious, but putting them into practice within eCommerce hasn’t always been so easy, until now. Locayta Balance Factor® is a bespoke technology that responds dynamically to‘s metrics data, such as stock availability, popularity and newness, to optimise the sequencing of their products on site to maximise conversion. Whilst can still manually manipulate the visual displays of their products in response to fast moving market trends, the real innovation lies in the automatic nature of this merchandising for time effectiveness, efficiency and convenience.

The unique ability to control the three key elements – visual merchandising, intelligent search and product recommendations – in a single platform, contributes to the rising status of  Locayta Freestyle Merchandising®  as well as to the success of platforms such as Becoming market leaders in their own right, it’s not an exaggeration to say Locayta are revolutionising online merchandising all over the web.  Want a slice of the action? Find out more on  Locayta Freestyle Merchandising®  by visiting for a quick, FREE and easy demo.

When it comes to investing in your online platform it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Whether you’re a new ecommerce player or an established retailer, the point of site investment is to get your site generating revenue for you. It can be tricky to whittle down the wealth of options and make an educated decision on the best optimisation strategy for  your online platform. Here’s our guide to the key areas of investment for a mutually beneficial outcome for both yourself and your customers.

Sales Speak: Converting visitors to  sales is the ultimate goal of any ecommerce site, so it makes sense to concentrate your time and efforts in this area. Analysing the customer journey and identifying the critical point at which a visit becomes a sale is hugely beneficial to your business.  Locayta Freestyle Merchandising® facilitates upgraded functionality across various aspects of your site to help you understand your customers and better service their needs.

Finding a Needle in a Haystack: A key example of Locayta’s Freestyle Merchandising is enhanced guided navigation. For  online shoppers, finding their desired product quickly and efficiently is of upmost importance. Losing them at the search stage is a common problem for  online retailers. Using a rules based feature set, Locayta helps merchants implement a streamlined search procedure that allows users to personalise their search with various options like size, category, colour and price. This delivers targeted results and increases the  likelihood of showing them the right products and hence converting them to purchase.

Visual Aids: As shopping is a such an interactive experience, online purchases depend highly upon what is displayed on screen. Manipulating site search results and  categories to look visually appealing has the power to increase basket value as well as maximising conversionsenticing new first time buyers. Locayta’s visual merchandising technology  allows efficient, effective and dynamic sequencing of products which will enhance your sales, and can be configured to operate automatically or via manual input as desired.

Make your solution work for you: Locayta visual merchandising also has the power to respond dynamically to your site’s metrics data. Whether it’s stock availability, popularity or newness, the software sequences product displays appropriately and automatically. You can manipulate the display of particular brands across your site, as well as being able to schedule sequencing in advance for time sensitive promotions. This unique software is called upon Locayta Balance Factor®, and it’s revolutionising visual merchandising across the web. You can enjoy complete control over your site displays and adapt them to your specific  stock,  products and your promotions.

Up selling: Once you have your customer in the purchasing mindset, it’s important to make the most of it. Implementing a system that dynamically generates relevant, compelling and intelligent product recommendations alongside purchases is proven to drive sales and increase basket value. Locayta’s Freestyle Merchandising technology dynamically generates the appearance of such products to make the most of your customer’s buying habits.

Time is money: Investing in your site should save you time, not cost you more of it. Implementing the features discussed above has in the past posed a big technological challenge to online platforms involving time consuming, static and clumsy site management. All the elements of Locayta’s Freestyle Merchandising technology are designed to work with your site to enhance your sales and streamline the management of your site.

Locayta are market leaders in ecommerce solutions  for clients including, Superdry and Tesco. Each of these leading brands have  seen a significant increase in sales  – up to 19%, as a result of implementing these technologies. For more information on Locayta Freestyle Merchandising, find out more by visiting for a quick, FREE and easy demo.

Recently we’ve been treated to a sudden burst of British sunshine and it’s warmed up a potentially gloomy scenario for online retailers. Whilst BRC-KPMG reported a disappointing performance in online sales during February, it seems that the fresh Spring weather has picked things up quite nicely in March.

Spring has sprung – and so has online shopping

The latest figures shows that online retailers have seen sales up by 13.9% on March last year. Stephen Robertson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, commented that the main areas of growth were in “people keen to buy clothes, footwear and garden furniture”.

Here’s the rub though. In the same report female shoppers are holding back on extra purchases. To quote Head of Retail at KPMG, Helen Dickinson, “female shoppers are tightening their purse strings, focusing more on lower price point items to control the household budget. This buying behaviour saw women’s clothing perform less strongly than men’s and childrenswear.”

The question this poses is, how can online retailers adapt to these seemingly conflicting priorities and achieve consistent retailing success across product ranges targeted at different consumer profiles?

Product recommendations: optimising the effects

Fashion ecommerce is here to stay. Our own client Boohoo is a prime example – recruiting 1.8 million shoppers in just 5 years. Even haute couture is jumping on the bandwagon, with revered designers Karl Lagerfeld and Alexander McQueen taking to the internet. At the other end of the scale, Tesco Clothing (also a client of Locayta) is now the UK’s second largest volume clothing retailer.

What’s more, online fashion is an area where product recommendations are at their most powerful. After all, fashion is all about accessorizing and coordinating. With product recommendations’ ability to drive sales by up to 45% it follows that optimised product and accessory suggestions are bound to generate big business for ecommerce retailers.

However, if you take a look at the red heels conundrum I explained in an earlier blog, you can see that two of the traditional recommendation methodologies – collaborative filters and content based filters, run the risk of clumsy group targeting that negates the desired effect by actually impersonalising results, not personalising them.

Product recommendations: the individual touch

Let’s get back to our cash strapped female shopper. If kids and men’s clothing sales are up in March but women’s clothing is struggling, this suggests she is prioritising her family over herself. But in fact, by using the right technology, it’s entirely possible to deliver product suggestions that will fit her value shopper profile as well as delivering the results she seeks for her family.

The key lies in moving away from group targeting and striking out on a whole new journey. Referred to by one intrepid blogger as hybrid recommender systems, we have taken the principle much further and developed Locayta Freestyle Merchandising®.

Freestyle Merchandising achieves a truly bespoke response to each individual user’s behaviour whilst matching this with retailing priorities, thus optimising product placement and hence online sales revenue. The principle is simple. The technology behind it, however, is incredibly sophisticated.

Powerful technology: compelling product placement

So how does the technology work? Well, several principles apply that make for a potent merchandising cocktail. The first ingredient is our intelligent algorithms. Ranking algorithms are a key feature in creating a relevant search hierarchy for relevant results. Behavioural algorithms, meanwhile, will track the behaviour of your individual users in real time and optimise results and recommendations accordingly. This ups the ante from traditional group targeting or responses to past user behaviour which may not be relevant to the shoppers’ current priorities.

Meanwhile, rules based merchandising enables the promotion, adjustment and positioning of products based on rules defined by the retailer. Key to retailing control is Locayta Balance Factor®. This unique tool allows you to define any metrics you like – price, size, new stock, sale stock – and tell Balance Factor exactly how important they are to you.

Balance Factor then applies your weightings automatically behind the scenes – whilst cooperating fully with our algorithms to present a balanced and fully optimised result for both you and the customer.

Mix in feature rich flexibility, manual or automatic control options, and the ability to manipulate key merchandising elements such a display advertising, brand adjacency, and multi-channel applications, and you have an advanced solution that’s easy to control and integrates with all main ecommerce engines.

Our clients have experienced proven revenue growth and increased conversion rates after implementing Freestyle Merchandising. Plus, thanks to its automated functionality, manual input and labour costs can be cut significantly. Want to know more? Get in touch with Locayta today and start maximising your ecommerce revenue.

Read more:

Sunshine lifts March sales, online and off Internet Retailing April 2012

Ecommerce growth is plateauing, how do you stay competitive? Geoff Galat April 2012

Karl Lagerfeld and Alexander McQueen take the internet March 2012

A quick guide to product recommendation engines Rueben Corbo March 2012

There’s no denying the success that urban casual wear retailer Superdry have experienced both on and offline. Their product is great and PR strategy flawless but these things alone cannot be solely responsible for their outstanding success. Since venturing into the online arena back in 2010, Superdry’s online sales have trebled contributing to total revenue being up by 71%. Although the aforementioned attributes make up the driving force that brings visitors to Superdry’s online platform, the difficulty lies in converting that audience into sales and in turn profit.

At this critical time in the user journey, we should consider the functionality and usability of Superdry’s site to tap into some of their successes. Superdry’s investment in this area has led to a substantial increase in the number of sales since they began their online venture. So how did they do it? Let’s explore some of the ways in which Superdry have invested in their site in order to maximise their volume of sales.

Guided Navigation
For the Superdry shopper, finding the correct product quickly and efficiently is paramount. An intelligent navigation search enables just this. To facilitate a speedy, slick and seamless shopper experience, Superdry have employed specific technology to allow customers to streamline their search options in mere moments and pinpoint their purchase with ease. So how does it work? The guided navigation search engine technology from Locayta, enables customers to personalise their search with various options like size, category, colour and price.  This advanced technology interacts immediately with consumer behaviour resulting in relevant, appropriate and highly likely purchase options being displayed. Implementing such technology has been highly beneficial to Superdry as a business; customers enjoy a fuss-free purchasing experience whilst the brand itself has seen sales increase by up to 19%. Guided Navigation Guided Navigation

In the eCommerce sector your website essentially becomes your virtual shop window.  Visually, placing appropriate product alongside appropriate product increases basket value, maximises conversions and entices new first time buyers. As you can imagine, this poses a big technological challenge to the online market, in the past involving clumsy, static and time consuming site management. With a business as visually stimulating as Superdry’s, they have acknowledged the critical importance of merchandising to drive sales and turned to additional software from Locayta as a solution. Visual Merchandising Visual Merchandising

 Locayta’s visual merchandising technology allows Superdry to manually manipulate their displays quickly and easily if needed. In addition,the innovative software responds dynamically to their site’s metrics data, such as stock availability, popularity and newness, to sequence their product display appropriately and automatically. Superdry can now also manage the display of particular brands across their site as well as being able to schedule sequencing in advance for time sensitive promotions. This software is based upon a balance factor technology which is revolutionising visual merchandising across the web, not only for Superdry but also other clients including Boohoo and Tesco.

If you want to know more about the features we have discussed above, you can visit for a quick, FREE and easy demo here.

Forrester Research and Shop.Org‘s much anticipated study The State of Retailing Online has good news for ecommerce retailers. Nearly 60% of survey participants reported a rise in conversion rates during 2011. But the starting point for those improved statistics was an average conversion rate of just 2-3%. That’s still a weak ratio in real terms. It seems as an industry we have more to do to crack the question of truly embedding online purchasing into the sales loop.

The retail experience: it’s all about the journey

There’s no doubt that multi-channel shopping is here to stay, with more than 50% of shoppers incorporating virtual channels into their shopping journey. But in March 2012 Experian demonstrated that 90% of actual purchases still happen on the high street.

One year on, bricks and mortar remain integral to multi-channel retailing, with 87% of UK shoppers still favouring physical stores as the point of purchase. Shopping behaviour, it seems, may not have changed as much as we might think it has.

Shoppercentric’s research Shopping in a Multi Channel World reveals that 45% of shoppers will ‘always love going to the shops, no matter what new technologies are available’. We all know that ecommerce satisfies a growing consumer demand for multi-channel convenience. However, the evidence suggests online retailers would do well to pay attention to high street merchandising techniques on their sites to satisfy an inherent consumer love for the physical shopping experience.

Creating inspiring ecommerce: take some tips from the high street

Forrester and’s research also highlights the most useful tools in driving conversions. Sales and clearance pages, product reviews and the ability to search by price, brand and other parameters all rank highly. It’s not a coincidence that these techniques closely reflect retailing strategies deployed in-store.

It follows that conversion rates online can be influenced by powerful visual merchandising strategies and their effect on the customer. Yet in my experience many retailers still encounter serious limitations in the ability of their ecommerce platforms to do just that.

Harvey McEwan highlights the user’s site journey as a powerful conversion strategy. “Search engine optimisation is essential for driving visitors to your site” he points out, “but will also have very little effect if the traffic doesn’t know what to do when it arrives there”.

Well said, Mr McEwan. Shoppers will abandon a faulty search experience or uninspiring product placement in the same way that they might avoid a dowdy, incoherent high street display. All that investment in SEO will be wasted if you don’t get your merchandising right on your site.

New technology to optimise your online merchandising

My previous blog shows that target product groupings do not in reality respond to personal behaviour, but make clumsy assumptions based on group behaviour. Locayta Freestyle Merchandising takes a different approach. A powerful mix of rules based merchandising, user responsive algorithms and unique Balance Factor technology function collaboratively. They deliver genuinely targeted search results and category listings plus elaborate visual merchandising, equipping ecommerce merchants to create a more sophisticated journey that genuinely recreates the high street experience online.

Our client Boohoo’s Ecommerce Manager Catherine Turner sums up the benefits beautifully. “When a new buzz hits the catwalk it’s vital for us to adapt our visual displays and search criteria at a moment’s notice” she says. “With Locayta we can tie our categories and sequencing into a wide variety of trends, colour stories, collections, and special promotions in line with the latest media coverage. It’s all about delivering fast, relevant product placement as well as detailed category and search functionality.”

Other clients including Tesco, Superdry, Paperchase and the British Museum mix and match key elements of the platform which uniquely combine search and product recommendation functionality with visual merchandising within a single system. This approach has resulted in increased conversions and average order values for these brands.

By taking the best elements of high street merchandising techniques and delivering them effectively merchants can optimise their online retailing strategies, and hence their sales revenue. What’s more, they can streamline operational input, increasing their ROI and deliver an efficient, responsive online performance.

Locayta Freestyle Merchandising is the first system enabling retailers to do this in a single, simple to use system that can be integrated into their own ecommerce platform. If this grabs your attention you can view a free demo online, or contact us to find out more.

Read more:

The State of Retailing Online (Forrester Research and Shop.Org, September 2011)

The Changing Face of UK Retail in Today’s Multi Channel World (Experian, March 2011)

The high street is central to multi-channel retail strategy: stats (Graham Charlton, February 2012)

Shopping in a multi-channel world (Shpppercentric, February 2012)

Conversion rate optimisation tips for ecommerce (Harvey McEwan, March 2012)

The IRX2012 debate: Is ecommerce personalisation fact or fantasy? (Andre Brown Locayta March 2012)