The Power of Effective Merchandising
by Zoe Robinson

Encouraging your customer to spend more, whilst making them feel like they've got better value, is the dream for most retailers.

Whether it was offering a customer shoe polish when they buy shoes or a pastry bundled with their coffee, traditional retailers have long known the value of this customer behavior and its effect on propensity to buy.

Nowadays, when you're shopping online, it's rare that merchandising features aren't used to influence you to spend more – how many times have you seen the 'Frequently bought together' and 'Customers who bought this item also bought…' features on Amazon?

Bundling products together can increase conversion from being a browser to being a buyer.

The online Travel Industry has been slower to respond to this trend. Legacy systems have made it harder for airlines to offer add-on items during the selling process and almost impossible to share them with their travel agent partners. The new IATA NDC standard should help with these problems – read more about it in this article

The travel industry can learn a lot from the retail industry, and adapt the golden rules of effective merchandising to travel’s unique needs.

  • Show the right amount of information about the additional product to make it easy for the customer to make the decision to buy.
  • If it's appropriate for your product, use images – it's proven that the right image can drive purchases.
  • Avoid overwhelming the customer with too much choice – curate your products to get the right balance.
  • Don't offer the wrong kind of product, you don't want to lose a high-value flight sale because you've confused the customer by offering them a cheap hostel room to go with it.
  • Make sure you're offering the products that are most profitable for you, taking into account the cost of delivery.

Ultimately it's all about being empowered with knowledge of your customers and your market to offer the right product to the right customer at the right time.

If you can get it right, the rewards can be great.

A café owner knows that the profit margin is far higher on a coffee if it can drive sales of a pastry.

Find what product will offer the same benefit to your travel business and you will reap the rewards.