Merchandise My Website


Merchandising   mer·chan·dis·ing     [mur-chuhn-dahy-zing]    noun

The planning and promotion of sales by presenting a product to theright market at the proper time, by carrying out organized, skillfuladvertising, using attractive displays, etc.

1350–1400; Middle English;  see merchandise-ing1


Merchandising isn’t just for e-commerce sites.

Any of us who have a store associated with our RV business know the benefits to merchandising.  When products are displayed in an enticing manner, the sales go up.  When products are just thrown together, sales go down.  As a matter of fact, one of my articles is titled:  Merchandising Your Shop

Pretty basic right?  When you want to sell something you present it in the best way possible to the customer.

But here is an area that I can almost guarantee that few business owners think about merchandising.  The company website.  If you take a look at your website as a product, have you merchandised it?  Need some help getting your mind thinking about merchandising the website?  Let’s take a look at some basic rules of merchandising and see how they can translate to your website.

1.)    Eye Level – Customers rate your website on how easy it is to find what they are looking for.  You can create a very complicated navigation bar for your site and turn your customer off because they have to search for the correct tab.  You can create a very simple navigation bar and turn your customer off because they can’t find the tab.  Give your tab titles some thought and group things together just like you would in your store.

2.)    Displays—Each page on your website is like a display in your store.  Keep those pages simple.  The more you try to cram on one page the less likely it will be that your customer is going to read everything on the page.  I see this problem a lot on Gallery pages.  You load every photo that has ever been taken of every event that you have held.  Be selective.  Load photos that truly represent who and what your business really is.  While we are on the subject, take a look at the photos that you are showing on your headers.  Are there people in the photos?  I’ve seen plenty of photos of RV’s; how about showing me a photo with someone enjoying the RV?  Don’t go for the sterile approach when you are trying to get your customer’s attention.

3.)    Odd Not Even – Use the same principle on your website elements that you know works on your in store displays.  Don’t use four pictures on a page, use three or five.  The basic principle behind this rule is that the odd number makes the page slightly off balanced which keeps the eye moving around to look at each frame on the page.  A symmetrical arrangement stops the user’s eye in its tracks.  While we are at it, leave some white space on your pages.  You don’t have to fill up every square inch of space.  White space is restful for the eyes. 

4.)    Sold Out – While sold out isn’t necessarily a bad thing at the end of a promotion, it can be a killer if you sell out within a short time of beginning the promotion.  The equivalent for a website is a slow loading site.  You should strive to have every page on your site load in less than 5 seconds.  The speed at which the page loads is going to vary depending on the engine that is used.  Now is the time to take a look at your Google Analytics and find out what your load times are.  While you are there, take a look at which search engine is the most popular among your users.

5.)    Color Gets Attention – Splashes of color can really draw the attention of your customer.  Too many splashes of color are going to do just the opposite.  When you decide on the color scheme for your website, take into consideration the type of business and customer that you want to attract.  Using bright reds and oranges can generate feelings of excitement.  This would be a great color scheme for RV parks that have a lot of activities or for RV dealers who want to attract the outdoors person or tailgater.

Using blues and greens will give your customer the feeling of calmness and serenity.  This would be a great color scheme for 55+ parks or for RV dealers whose main customer is older.  You will give the impression of relaxation.

These are just a few ideas to get you started on merchandising your website.  Have you started thinking about your website as your store instead of your brochure?  If you have, then I have accomplished what I set out to do.  If not, give me a call and let me know where I have gone off track.


Don’t have time to do everything?  Give Pamela a call at 800-478-0516 and get back to doing the things you love about your business.   Be sure to follow her on Twitter:  @RVStops and @FocusedWords and join her group on LinkedIn, “Social Media in the RV Industry.”  Check out her blog at for more articles about doing business in the RV world.  If you would like to reprint it, please email with your request.

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  1. Posted October 15, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Enlightening to make the comparison of physical marketing/merchandising to services marketing/merchandising. Like the point on the use of specific colors to draw a particular audience. Inadvertently I picked green and blue and without realizing it would draw those looking for a calm, relaxing experience. Good thing that was my target market, right?

  2. Posted October 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I believe it’s called Serendipity. Glad you weren’t going for the “Wild and Crazy” guys. 😉

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