Course: Online Merchandising

The Online Merchandising programme is designed to equip participants with the insights, skills, and strategies to boost sales online.

Treeshake Online Merchandising

So what's the deal?

The course consists of 5 x 2hr sessions (one per week over 5 weeks, ideally) delivered in-person, project-based, with digital resources. 

Participants will learn practical frameworks that they will be able to apply week by week in this learning journey.

Course outcomes:

  • Motivate, inspire and excite your online merchandising team
  • Place merchandising in the context of growing the online business
  • Understand how consumers buy online and implications for merchandise
  • Make relevant data-driven decisions
  • Apply a KPI/performance-led mindset to selling
  • Improve understanding of relevant UX principles
  • Create effective product copy

Treeshake Online Merchandising

Johann Van Tonder facilitating the Online Merchandising course

The course consists of 5 sessions

Session 1: Why 95% of your visitors don't buy and what you can do about it (2 hours)

In this session you’ll learn:

  • A framework to help you understand and influence your online conversion rates
  • The online purchase decision-making cycle, mapped to your website
  • The pivotal role of merchandising against this backdrop
  • Behavioural insights from live guerilla user testing

Session 2: Knowing your customer (2 hours)

In this session you’ll learn:

  • Understand the buying brain so that you can sell to it effectively
  • Creating actionable personas / Jobs To Be Done framework
  • Behavioural profiling of online buyers
  • Mobile is an experience, not a device

Session 3: Test-measure-optimise approach to selling (2 hours)

In this session you’ll learn:

  • How the best in class drive growth with continuous optimisation
  • Merchandising analytics, made sexy for non-statisticians
  • Product X-ray (identifying best sellers, slow sellers, unsung heroes, loyalty killers etc)
  • The performance framework & KPI's
  • Google Analytics for merchandisers

Session 4: Finding products UX (2 hours)

In this session you’ll learn:

  • Anatomy of an effective PLP (Product Listings Page) 
  • Taxonomy, Facets, Filters and Sorting
  • Onsite search
  • Navigation
  • Product recommendations and cross-selling

Session 5: Selling the product (2 hours)

In this session you’ll learn:

  • Anatomy of an effective PDP (Product Detail Page)
  • How to apply the 6 Principles of Persuasion (a.k.a. get your visitor to click 'buy' without thinking)
  • Understand online sales objections and how to counter them
  • Write product copy that converts.


  • Anchored by South African e-commerce optimisation expert, Johann Van Tonder, with international experience. Clients include Canon, Interflora, Mothercare, Dunelm, Lyle & Scott, Dune and other omni-channel retailers locally and abroad. Johann is an experienced conference speaker, university lecturer and corporate trainer. Read more about Johann in the section below.  
  • Course material is based on 1,000+ hours of usability testing and 10,000+ scientifically robust a/b tests
  • Loaded with dozens of specific suggestions to improve UX and make customers more likely to buy
  • Illustrated with case studies and examples from some of the world's top e-commerce site
  • Grounded in South African context and tailored to your merchandising team
  • Desktop and mobile focus
  • Actionable, interactive, fun