How to Facilitate Product Discovery and Engagement For First-Time Customers Using Popular and Discounted Merchandise

In this article, we explore how to set up a Sequence for First-time Visitors using Nosto’s Category Merchandising.

Category listing pages are the supermarket aisle signs of digital retail. You know the ones – those large square signs that hang above each aisle that inform you of the products you’ll find before you venture down the endless rows of food? These signs make it easy for us to identify which aisles we need to visit to find the products we need quickly, which saves us from having to circle the supermarket 10 times over.

In digital commerce, similar challenges apply but with a higher likelihood of exit for First-Time Visitors who can’t find the right product(s) effortlessly. While retailers invest a lot to set up a powerful search engine, relevant product taxonomy, implement intuitive filters & faceting or offer various sorting options, it’s nearly impossible to get a product selection right for each single shopper at the first impression.

How would a retailer rank category pages by default then, in absence of behavioral information on users preferences? Alphabetical order? New releases? Price ascending? Price descending? Best rated? While most strategies imply using explicit product attributes to do so, leveraging the popularity of products has been proven to yield great results for First-time visitors who haven’t yet expressed any interest in a specific product line.

To maximize the probability of conversion for all shoppers visiting an online store for the first time, Nosto recommends to take advantage of performance metrics and sort products based on their individual conversion performance. Let’s explore how to set up a Sequence for First-time Visitors using Nosto’s Category Merchandising.

Sort Products by Conversion

Ready to run multiple SQL commands to achieve our objective? Fear not: you don’t need to run a single one or even write a single line of code! Using product performance metrics such as conversion to sort category pages is easy, as all performance metrics are ready to be used within Nosto’s Category Merchandising in just one click, in all highlighting and sorting rules.

First, create a new sorting rule and select ‘Conversion’ in the list of all attributes under ‘Performance Metrics’, which will offer a way to promote or demote products based on their conversion rate – either sorting by high conversion rate or by low conversion rate relative to other items in the catalog.

When the attribute is added, you can give a weight of 100% to products with high conversion. When used in context of a given category, this rule will sort products within each category using conversion as a performance metric and will first display the items converting the best – maximizing the likelihood of conversions on first pages.

Exposing the Rule to the Relevant Segment of First-time Visitors

Once you save the rule, it is ready to be applied to either one specific category or multiple categories for a given segment of customers. In this context, it’s safe to select multiple categories (or even all!) in the category listing view and choose ‘Sorting Rule’ once selected.

In the overlay, choose ‘First-time Visitors’ and the relevant Sorting Rule to apply and then you’re all set. All First-time Visitors will now be exposed to the products converting the best in sorting order whenever they will visit those categories.

If you happen to offer discounts in selected categories, it’s recommended to highlight those discounted products and combine it with the Best Converting sorting rule you’ve now applied.

Select a desired category and start by adding the product(s) using the highlighted products section. In this example, we are selecting the ‘Shoes’ category and will promote 2 items (Nike Hyperadapt and Vapormax) for one week in February 2020.

Note that you can also mass-apply one Highlighting rule to multiple categories at the same time directly from the category listing view.

Continue Optimizing Using A/B Tests

Unsure if implementing such a sequence is the best strategy for your First-time Visitors? You can use Nosto’s A/B Testing & Optimization to test multiple sequences against one another.

For example, would implementing a combination of Sequence by conversion and highlight discounted products in key categories yield better conversion than sorting your category pages with more generic Sort by release date or Sort by price rules? A/B test it and evaluate what resonates best for your customers.

In the case of Skinnydip London, they set up an A/B test that would analyze the impact of promoting trending products that resonate with discount oriented shoppers and generate decent revenue per view. This variation was tested against Skinnydip’s default page setup, where new items and best-selling products in the Sale category are manually mixed together and “new” products are based on the brand’s assumption of which products would perform well.

The results were significant: By prioritizing products with high views those generating above average revenue per view, Skinnydip was able to zoom in on the most potential product range in the sale category to rapidly rotate the most popular discounted inventory. This increased Sales category page conversion rate by 41% and click-through rate (CTR) by 59%.

Continue reading: Get an inside look at how Skinnydip’s automated merchandising strategy yielded an 8x ROI and covered annual cost in just one month.

Watch a 4 minute demo
Let us demonstrate why over 2,600 leading retailers worldwide have chosen Nosto’s AI-based personalization platform.