Rule-based merchandising allows you to dynamically control the product display order on your ecommerce store based on specified attributes. Instead of manually placing individual products in the desired position, you can create rules to automate product arrangement and make it easier for shoppers to find the products they are most likely to purchase. 

Why use rule-based merchandising on your ecommerce store?

By dynamically boosting or demoting products in response to current promotions or business objectives, retailers can save time while remaining agile with their merchandising strategy. Leveraging rules allows you to launch campaigns and merchandise an entire ecommerce store in a matter of clicks. Whether you want to highlight your bestsellers or promote your high-margin products, rule-based merchandising automates a significant amount of the work involved. What’s more, it can eliminate many of the mistakes that arise when manually managing product placement. 

How and when should you use rule-based merchandising?

Rule-based merchandising has many applications, including some you may not expect or realize you need. The key to driving increased conversions is knowing when to boost products, when to demote certain items, and when to execute site-wide campaigns. 

When to boost products

Boost rules allow you to dynamically boost products with certain attributes to the top of your category or search result pages. One common strategy is to place your bestsellers and top-reviewed products front and center so that shoppers find the products they’re most likely to convert on, quickly. Boost rules can also be useful for clearing out excess inventory, guiding shoppers toward your high-margin products, and highlighting sale items. 

If your site gets a high frequency of returning visitors, you could also consider boosting your new arrivals so that regular shoppers always find fresh new results, encouraging them to keep coming back for more. Whatever your goals or audience, minor adjustments to your product sorting could have a big impact on conversions. 

Boost rules can also be combined and prioritized so that a number of rules are in effect at once. Your rules will continue to run until you decide otherwise, and they will continue to dynamically reorder your products in real time as their data updates. If a particular product becomes less popular, for example, it will move down the page in favor of the latest bestsellers. Don’t want all of your products to move dynamically? No problem, simply pin your chosen products in place and let your boost rules operate around them. 

When to demote products

Just as boost rules can be used to place products at the top of results, they also allow you to demote or bury products based on particular data attributes. Why would you want to hide certain products at the bottom of your results? It seems like an unlikely requirement, but there are many reasons to avoid displaying certain products above others. 

If something is out of stock, for example, it shouldn’t be taking precedence over the products you do have available. Even if a product is in stock but you currently only offer limited sizing or colors, perhaps that product should be demoted too. No images attached to a particular item? Depending on the nature of the product, it’s probably unlikely a shopper will purchase something they can’t see. 

By setting rules, these products can temporarily be removed from view until they are re-stocked or images are added, at which time they will dynamically resume the optimal position in product results.  

When to run global campaigns

While boost rules typically apply to search results or category pages, global campaigns can be implemented to run certain rules across your entire site. Global rule-based merchandising is useful for highlighting your signature brand over other results, for example, and removes the need to set the same boost rule on multiple category pages. 

Custom rules on individual pages will always override global campaigns, but for pages without any rules in place, the global rules will apply. Think of them as your default preferences for products you want to promote across your store when more targeted rules or campaigns aren’t running. 

How to leverage rule-based merchandising for marketing campaigns

All merchandising rules and campaigns can be scheduled to run for specified time periods. This is particularly useful for seasonal campaigns or flash sales, allowing merchandisers to prepare and test relevant rules in advance. Promotional features like banners can also be applied to these pages to further highlight the nature of your campaign or offers. 

Simply set the campaign start and end time of your choosing and your rules will take care of the rest. If and when products sell out, your store will respond in real time, all without the need for manual intervention or constant monitoring. Once the campaign schedule is complete, all of your promotions will automatically revert to their default settings.

Conclusion

Rule-based merchandising makes your site more dynamic and your job easier. What used to require hours of manual intervention, can now be automated in minutes. With the right solution, merchandising rules can be set, analyzed, and iterated by any member of your ecommerce or marketing team, without the need for assistance from developers. Most importantly, the product order on your online store will be more intuitive, more responsive to changes, and more likely to drive conversions. 

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