Retailers: wouldn’t it be great if you could automatically promote more relevant products to your online shoppers in a friendly way? We’ve got the solution!

Category merchandising could be e-commerce’s secret weapon for optimization and an increase in consistent sales. Category merchandising gives online retailers the power to offer customers a more personalized customer experience which in turn leads to customer loyalty and satisfaction. 

Klevu has worked with thousands of merchants through working with agencies and directly working with brands. And, one of the most sought after features is our Smart Category Navigation solution which goes beyond manual ordering.

Even if a merchants’ online store has the most streamlined journey to the checkout, when the customer experience is broken at the product discovery stage, the e-commerce business won’t survive.

If an e-commerce brand neglects category and subcategory product lists during the first stages of search, shoppers are less likely to build their baskets.

This article will address the following:

  • A comparison of the different e-commerce platforms and their category navigation features
  • How Klevu's Smart Category Navigation solution can benefit retailers and their merchandising teams
  • How Klevu integrates with Magento Commerce and Shopify Plus

 

The current state of category merchandising on different platforms

A few years back, most e-commerce platforms either didn’t offer a solution for merchandising categories or were limited to basic merchandising features. This usually required merchandisers to assign a score to individual items at a category level or order the products manually. 

This native functionality has improved a little on most e-commerce platforms but there’s still a heavy requirement for manual work with most.

Magento Commerce offers visual sorting at an individual category level and Shopify offers the same base rules e.g. best sellers first. BigCommerce offers a similar set of features (still at category level), SAP CX have a cockpit available that can offer advanced merchandising (but it’s not in base builds). And Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers a bit more around rule-based logic and machine learning via their Einstein product.

Let’s take a closer look at Magento Commerce and Shopify Plus to better understand what these platforms natively provide in order to identify the value of 3rd party platforms.

Magento Commerce (formerly Magento Enterprise)

Magento Commerce has been one of the most popular e-commerce platforms for medium-sized to enterprise merchants over the past 10 years. The platform’s category merchandising features have gradually improved with the growth of the platform but the process is still very manual.

With Magento Commerce you can use a Visual Merchandiser to rearrange products using a drag & drop tool. Additionally, you can manage basic rules to sort products by attributes such as inventory level and name. These features are an improvement on the earlier versions of Magento Commerce but they still fall short of an enterprise level merchant.

With this limited feature set, merchandisers lose out on potential sales because they cannot dynamically respond to changes in a customer’s purchasing pattern. It also limits how merchants can adapt to customer interactions with the products on their site. 

For large enterprise merchants, these limitations quickly become an overwhelming, manual task due to the volume of products and different scenarios they need to manage.

Shopify Plus

Shopify is quickly emerging as one of the most popular platforms for fast-growing enterprise merchants and it’s native functionality has many similar features of Magento Commerce. You can use a Visual Merchandiser to reorder products manually as well as sorting by standard fields such as price, inventory and names. 

An additional feature which Shopify offers is the ability to automatically sort products within a collection by key business metrics. For example, filtering products to ‘Best Sellers’ or ‘People Also Viewed’ will help promote a brand’s highest converting products. 

With Shopify Plus, merchants get additional features through tools and apps like Shopify Flow. This app is a powerful piece of software which provides merchants with the ability to create custom, automated workflows with a trigger-condition-action based formula. 

These workflows can automate merchandising tasks such as changing inventory levels or send alerts when a new product is added to the store. By using conditions such as product tags and inventory levels merchants can choose between actions such as 'add product to collections', 'remove product from collections', 'add product tag', 'hide product', and other similar actions.

However, Shopify's collection of features and Shopify Flow workflows do not give enterprise merchants the required flexibility and automation needed to perform simple promotions such as 'promote X brand products in Y category'

 

To Achieve the Full Benefits of Category Navigation, Merchants Need Smart Technology

Enter Klevu’s Smart Category Navigation…

As technology has evolved over time, the requirements and expectations around how a merchant can merchandise their category pages have evolved too. Through 3rd party platforms, enterprise merchants are now more commonly able to combine business logic around things like most purchased products, margins, inventory and automated merchandising based on machine learning and artificial intelligence.  

Solutions that can handle such requirements are fast becoming an essential strategy to increase e-commerce sales. As a result of this, here at Klevu, we are leveraging the power of our technologies to go beyond just site search and further develop into customer personalization features. 

Merchants using Magento Commerce or Shopify Plus are still looking to 3rd party tools like Klevu to offer a smarter merchandising solution than native functionalities described above. 

Klevu's AI-driven Smart Category Navigation feature is powered from the same AI and Machine Learning engine as Klevu's popular search solution

Klevu’s Smart Category Navigation takes away a great deal of manual merchandising work for merchants. It does this by using Klevu's intelligent algorithms to automatically optimize the ranking of products on category pages. 

Managing the Smart Navigation Tool rules via the Klevu Merchant Center (KMC)

Key features

Klevu Smart Category Navigation has the following features that can empower merchants to automatically promote products:

  • Automatic positioning of products on product listing and collection pages
  • Dynamic facets and sorting
  • Category banners
  • Hero product promotions
  • Advanced reporting and analytics
  • Visual Merchandising
  • Seamless integration with existing templates (Magento 2)
  • Klevu Merchant Center integration
                                                                           Reviewing advanced insights and analytics via the Klevu Merchant Center (KMC)

 

The true power of Klevu’s Smart Category Navigation feature lies in its ability to learn automatically as well as provide methods to iterate and improve on autonomous processes where needed. This allows the merchant to harness the capabilities of Klevu’s search data but also to retain control over the more granular settings as needed. 

Using rules to override the Klevu Machine Learning Models

Should the merchant wish to have more manual control, like for example, to push up products with bigger margins, they can log into the Klevu Merchant Center (KMC) and create a rule in the rule-based Merchandising feature. 

This feature allows the merchant to generate overriding rules based on attributes like color, price or size and then choose to either boost or de-boost products. The tool also allows merchants to select Hero Products to be promoted at the top of category pages along with a whole suite of other settings that can be used to customize how the tool works. 

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“Klevu’s Smart Category Navigation empowers merchants to iterate on how products are displayed based on real user data.”

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The importance of analytics-based business decisions

To support the merchant’s e-commerce team in buying and merchandising decisions, Klevu’s Smart Category Navigation provides a powerful analytics dashboard suite which offers an in-depth analysis of data referring to views, product clicks and conversion rate on a product and category level. 

 

What other solutions are out there?

Loop54

Loop54 is a Software as a Service (SaaS) search platform that offers the following features:

  • Related results
  • Category listings
  • Boost and bury rules
  • Autocomplete
  • Predictive personalization
  • Faceted search & navigation

Based in Sweden and founded in 2011, Loop54 is focused on the e-commerce space and “content discovery”.

Apptus

Apptus is a search service focussed on the e-commerce space and offers two key products:

  • eSales Enterprise: for larger online retailers
  • eSales Fashion: specifically for online fashion retailers. 

They offer a variety of features including:

  • Search
  • Navigations
  • Ads
  • Recommendations
  • And more…

Findify

Findify is a SaaS search service focussed on search and personalization. It offers 1:1 personalized search results as well as Smart Collections displaying products based on ranking and dynamic filtering.

Searchspring

Searchspring is a personalized search service that offers out of the box integrations for Shopify Plus, Bigcommerce, Magento and Miva eCommerce platforms.

Conclusion

There are many options on the market to enable a more automated and personalized way of displaying products to customers. 

Klevu has the benefit of a robust search feature that is leveraged with a comprehensive suite of tools which means layouts are even more customized and relevant to the end user. 

If you are a medium or enterprise sized business and want to learn more then please schedule a demo here