The Importance of Adding Inventory
inNovember 20, 2007 - 11:32am
When a shop owner is first building their shop, the number of items that can initially be listed by them is restricted to ten. This preview limitation can help to expedite the initial staff review of their shop, but it also serves a second, more important purpose.
In the past, before limiting to only ten items, we found that some prospective new shop owners were often understandably eager to list much, if not all, of their inventory prior to submitting their shop to be reviewed. Because the new shop had essentially listed much of the inventory they intended to offer for weeks or perhaps months to come, and all in the first week prior to being opened, almost immediately after the new shop opened for business it would shift into a rather static mode. Customers who might be returning for a second look were unlikely to see anything they hadn't seen on their first visit, and the shop would not be able to qualify for any free featuring they might otherwise have been able to receive because they weren't adding sufficient new inventory often enough to qualify in any single week.
No successful retailer ever wants to let a customer's interest wander once they have them in the door. In the brick and mortar world floor displays change with the seasons and interesting new products are often prominently announced with color and fanfare. And the knowledge that items will sometimes happen to catch a customer's attention on the way from one aisle to the next, a phenomenon known as 'impulse buying', is fully appreciated, and managed. So, it makes sense that trying to add at least a few new items on a regular schedule can give an on-line shop a distinct advantage, too, when it comes to generating continued interest for visitors.
Of course, Ruby Lane draws a healthy number of new visitors to the site every day. So automatically removing items that haven't sold after a period of time shouldn't be a regular practice as, to new visitors at least, this stock looks as fresh as something just listed.
These older items can also be important for drawing traffic into your shop in another way. Older inventory ensures visibility for your shop in areas outside of Ruby Lane. Since these items have been listed long enough to be indexed by outside search engines they can draw customers from afar in a way that newly listed inventory usually cannot.
But, continuing to regularly add stock is important, too. So, a shop will always be able to increase their chance of success by granting a dual nature to their shop items. Old and new are equally important.
For the same reasons it is essential for customers to occasionally be able to see new and exciting things in a shop, it is important for Ruby Lane to also be able to offer a fresh looking face to regular visitors. With this in mind, the Ruby Lane Search results are designed to show newly-added items first. So stocking everything in the shop at once and then completely ceasing to list from that point forward will fail to help the shop maintain visibility because of the nature of our internal search parameters.
If you have chosen to make your shop exclusive to Ruby Lane, by periodically adding inventory you can also help increase exposure for your shop items because exclusive shops adding at least 7 items to a Lane in the past 7 days can earn free featuring for the day in that Lane, the Home Page, and on other featuring pages.
All shops on Ruby Lane receive Free Click Credits. You do not pay for these amounts and they do not result in any charges to your account. We give higher Free Click Credits to shops that frequently add new merchandise. Free Click Credits are a token of our appreciation for shop owners that are spending time working their shops. By frequently adding new items non-exclusive shops can also gain additional visibility in our search engine, which can be win/win for both customer and shop owner alike.
Keep in mind, too, that many shoppers also use the Today's Arrivals and This Week's Arrivals features to quickly see items that have recently been added. Having a presence on these pages, even if that presence is in the form of only one or two items, can help draw visitors to your shop.
The thing to note in order to grasp the point of this article is that if a shop is frequently adding new merchandise, thus earning additional free click credits that will help to move their items higher in search displays, and if that shop is also gaining increased potential for quicker views for those items based on the fact that the items themselves are new - then the opposite must also be true. So there are some key points to consider in relation to inventory, regardless of the lane in which it is listed.
Shops that never add new inventory will not receive as many regular credits as those who do. If you are an exclusive shop and you do regularly add inventory, but you are adding it sporadically, one or two items here and there during the month in a random pattern, stocking your shop in this fashion probably isn't helping you to achieve free featuring on any one day. And older inventory, unless if is of some spectacularly unique nature, may be unlikely to be shown on page one of a keyword search for that item because newly listed items of the same nature will take precedence in the display.
To check where your shop items currently are likely to appear in a particular keyword search, from inside your shop click 'Search Clicks' on the left under My Shop and then 'Compare Rates' on the upper right.
To see if, or how, your shop has earned Free Featuring, from inside your shop click 'Featuring' on the left and then 'Featured Shop Report' on the upper right. Click to 'See More Details' in any lane column to display a list of the items you have most recently added to that lane, as well as other information about those individual items.