A few tips for nabbing those late, late Christmas shoppers

Piranha Designs - Monday, December 16, 2019

If you’re not exactly the kind of person who suffers from procrastination, or you’re simply in the habit of always finishing your Christmas gift-buying by the 1st of December, you might find it hard to get your head around how so many other shoppers leave it so late to make their purchases.

Nonetheless, the most important thing to recognise is that these shoppers definitely exist, which means they’re there to be captured by ecommerce stores like yours.

But with the last Saturday before Christmas falling on the 21st this year, you’ll have to act fast to optimise your site if it’s not completely geared to the preferences and needs of these late shoppers. So, here are just a few simple steps you can take to lure such procrastinators.

Offer express delivery

This might seem like some of the most obvious advice we could give. However, you may be surprised by how many online stores prioritise affordability with their delivery offering, to such an extent that the speed and reliability of this service suffers.

Sure, price won’t completely cease to be a priority for most late shoppers – but above all else, they’ll want to know that their order will get to them in time. So, a lot of them won’t mind heightened shipping costs, as long as they aren’t ridiculously inflated compared to those of rival stores.

Highlight gift guides and bestselling items

One reason why a given late shopper may have procrastinated in the first place, is a simple difficulty with choosing a gift. It might therefore only require a well-written guide to gift shopping, and a few highlights of ideal presents for certain categories of customer – dads, mums, brothers and so on – to give them that vital inspiration to go ahead and make a spontaneous purchase.

Including some obvious unfussy ‘stocking fillers’ in these guides – modest, lightweight items that can be delivered quickly and cheaply – and allowing for easy filtering by price will likely further convince those dithering potential customers of yours to just buy already.

Be razor-sharp with your replies to customers

Whether they get in touch with you via phone, email, social media or even by commenting on your YouTube videos, when these anxious late shoppers ask you a question, they probably won’t be able to afford you only getting back in touch with them in 12 or 24 hours’ time. Always responding within 20 minutes is much more the kind of timeframe you should be aiming for.

Streamline the checkout process

As Christmas Day nears, you’ve got more reason than ever to review your site’s checkout process afresh. This is the ideal time to turn off every single strictly unnecessary element, so that your already-rushed shoppers won’t be left feeling even more stressed by a frivolous pop-up or your store demanding that they register an account with you.

Yes, dealing with procrastinators can be frustrating. But it also represents a key business opportunity for your online store – not just for the festive season, but potentially for months and years’ worth of future purchases – if you make all of the right moves to convenience them.

As for the longer-term ambitions you have for the design of your ecommerce website, why not get in touch with the Piranha Designs team to discuss them in more detail? That way, we, too, could be looking forward to a fruitful long-term relationship that extends through many Christmases to come.

Would a minimalist approach help your site to sell more?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, November 14, 2019

The saying ‘yes is more’ may have been around for a while, but it seems that with the increasing dominance of the Millennial generation, it is taking on a greater resonance than perhaps ever before. More and more of us, it appears, are trying to ‘de-clutter’ our lives, and this may even extend to what we expect from and respond to in ecommerce stores.

Indeed, in much the same way as a tidy bedroom can assist you in finding that item you may have presumed you’d lost forever, so a minimalist website design – consisting simply of such elements as striking product imagery, some modest text and a clear call-to-action (CTA) – might make it easier for you to focus on precisely why you’re browsing that online store at all.

It’s a compelling theory – but does it stack up in reality? Well, let’s take a look at the cases ‘for’ and ‘against’ minimalist site design...

Make the right moves, and it could transform your online fortunes

In principle, there’s huge scope to par your site design down to just those elements that will help you to really make an impact, through heightened visitor engagement and conversions.

Cutting out or at least minimising every possible distraction on your ecommerce site, not least by bringing the most crucial content to the foreground, will help you to convey the messaging you really need your site visitors to know, without allowing them to become too easily sidetracked.

Using just a few large, emotionally evocative context-of-use product photos per page, while streamlining the site’s navigation systems to reduce how many clicks or ‘taps’ are needed to get to each destination, and deploying a white background contrasted with other colour elements, could all help to give your site a striking minimalist appeal.

You might also think carefully about the most fundamental sections that each of your product pages can be reduced down to – such as its main image, the product name, its price, a call-to-action (CTA) and a section for supporting information such as product details and technical specifications.

And of course, a key part of web-design minimalism is being ruthless about what to jettison on your site. Are your social share buttons giving you much benefit? What about those eye-catching labels that you like to use on certain products, such as ‘new’ and ‘featured’? If your store’s analytics don’t indicate they’re making a positive difference, it might be time to say goodbye to them.

Is there an argument for not being minimalistic?

The short answer is: yes. For some sites, it really is just too important to provide in-depth information and imagery that visitors can see straight away, in which case, it might be counter-productive to try to relentlessly slice away elements of your site that users may appreciate.

Nonetheless, even if you’re not specifically aiming at a ‘minimalist’ web design, there can be big advantages in keeping an eye out for unnecessary clutter on your ecommerce store. After all, by doing this well, you’ll be able to guide your visitors towards that all-important ‘buy’ button so much sooner.

Get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today, whether in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh, for a more in-depth discussion of how we could assist you when you’re refining or – indeed – comprehensively revamping your own ecommerce presence.

The benefits Google’s BERT update could bring for your ecommerce store’s product pages

Piranha Designs - Thursday, October 31, 2019

It may be easy to become overwhelmed by the abundance of acronyms in the world of SEO (‘SEO’ itself being just one of them), but that doesn’t mean Google’s recently released BERT algorithm should be ignored.

Indeed, this particular open-source update – its letters standing for the rather catchy Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers – could be a particularly significant one for your ecommerce site’s product pages, given its focus on better understanding the intent of search queries.

So, what does BERT actually do?

Reading the above, you may wonder whether BERT is the replacement for RankBrain, which was Google’s 2015 effort to understand searcher intent. As it happens, it isn’t a replacement, with the two instead working simultaneously to decode what a user means when they perform a particular search, and giving them more relevant results accordingly.

While it isn’t the only thing that BERT does, a particular strength of the update compared to previous ones is the more sophisticated way it evaluates prepositions like “to” and “with”.

Among the examples Google provided of how BERT makes a difference was the query “2019 brazil traveller to usa needs visa”.

As human readers, we can easily understand that the person performing this search was probably someone from Brazil enquiring about how to obtain a visa to the United States. However, search results pre-BERT would also provide pages for US citizens interested in travelling to Brazil, which would obviously not meet the requirements of this specific searcher.

What should all of this mean for your ecommerce site?

Such an improved understanding of prepositions could have real positive implications for an ecommerce store wishing to attract more targeted traffic through long-tail queries.

After all, users looking for particular products online often include many specific details in their queries. Searches that use lots of such details and prepositions – for example, “red record player with speakers” or “basswood window shutters with green finish” – are likely to yield a higher proportion of truly relevant results now that BERT has arrived.

Now is the time, then, to consider how you can adjust your ecommerce site’s SEO to make the most of BERT. This should be the case across not only the product detail pages themselves, but also the filtered product grids that arise on your site due to the wealth of product attributes, such as colour, size and material, that you allow shoppers to toggle between when searching.

By citing a greater number of more specific attributes on your product pages and elsewhere around your site, you can help to put your ecommerce store in a strong position to tap into the power of BERT as you look to the busy festive shopping season and beyond.

In fact, why not have a more detailed discussion about this and other aspects of your site’s SEO with our search marketing professionals here at Piranha Designs today? It’s easy to contact us via our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices, and it could help to make a big difference to the effectiveness of your brand’s online presence in the months and years ahead.

How to retain more of those festive-season customers once Christmas is over

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Of all of the seasons that could be declared a ‘time of plenty’ for e-tailers, the last few months of the calendar year are surely the most obvious candidate. It’s a time when customers are rushing to purchase goods from online stores that they may barely have any contact with at any other time of the year – so all will be well for your own ecommerce site, right?

Well, not necessarily. That’s because even if you do receive a great boost in your customer numbers over the festive period, if those shoppers then disappear for the rest of the year, you might be failing to capitalise on the opportunities the winter months present to keep hold of more of them.

Just look at the statistics

Various studies down the years have, after all, pointed to just modest improvements in customer retention potentially translating into significant increases in profit. One famous study from Bain & Company and Harvard Business School in 2000, for instance, found that upping customer retention by 5% could lead to profits going up by as much as 95%.

So, what steps could you take right now to bolster your own ecommerce store’s chances of keeping more of its festive-season customers coming back in January, February and beyond?

  • Actually measure your customer retention. Even if you do a great job of retaining a decent proportion of your festive-season shoppers long after their Christmas trees have been taken down, will you have any idea what things you did actually helped to bring about that increase? That’s why it’s well worth tracking your customer retention rate over time to identify trends – not just over the next few months, but for many more years to come.
  • Bring in a loyalty scheme. Even if you’re only just reading this in October, it’s not too late to introduce a loyalty programme that your Christmas shoppers will appreciate. Nor are these schemes just about giving your customers an added incentive to keep spending with you right through the year, as they can also serve as a useful means of capturing customer information and permission for marketing communications.
  • Send a personal note and offer. Presumably, if you’re reading this, you’re not a large and impersonal multinational – so why not make a virtue out of the fact that you’re a small business? Including a personal handwritten ‘thank you’ note in the package you send to each new customer will give another positive and heart-warming thing for the shopper to remember you by. That can be especially so if you throw in a discount voucher or the offer of free delivery for any future purchases they make from you.
  • Make the most of ecommerce subscriptions. Ecommerce subscriptions – otherwise known as ‘subscription boxes’ – can be great for boosting customer retention anyway, simply because they represent longer-term commitments from the customer than one-off purchases. But their suitability as Christmas gifts arguably further boosts their potential value and importance to your ecommerce store when you’re trying to capture more customers for the long run during the winter season.


It’s the little touches as much as the big ones that could particularly influence your store’s ability to keep hold of more of its customers for the months and years ahead. So, why not talk in more detail to the Piranha Designs team about what those touches could be?

Browse our range of website design and online marketing services today to get a sense of how we could transform your brand’s ecommerce effectiveness well into the 2020s, before calling or emailing us now at our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices.

Is it finally time for your ecommerce business to start taking voice search seriously?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Whether you personally consider smart assistant devices such as Amazon Echo or Google Home to be the future of online communication or a mere gimmick, the mere fact that more and more of us are becoming owners of them should cause ecommerce store owners to sit up and take notice.

Indeed, it was reported just earlier this year that almost a quarter (22%) of UK households now had a voice-controlled digital home assistant device like those we mentioned above.

This is quite the jump on the 11% figure recorded in 2017 – and with 41% of households having indicated that they plan to own such a device in the next five years, the actual ownership percentage at present may already be a lot higher.

No less crucial, however, is how we are using these devices

As recently as August, it was reported that almost 60% of smart speaker owners in the UK had used their device to shop in the last month. However, nearly half – 45% – felt that they weren’t really getting the most out of their devices, which indicates just how much of a burgeoning opportunity voice ecommerce might well be for many online retailers.

Moreover, Google has predicted that half of all searches will be initiated by voice by next year. So, is now the time to start re-jigging your own ecommerce portal for the emerging era of voice-activated shopping, or is the hype around it still outpacing the reality?

There are very real complexities to shopping by voice

Unfortunately, if there’s any reason for you to not invest a huge amount of time and money into readying your site for voice-initiated shopping just yet, it’s the sheer awkwardness and difficulty of trying to search for and purchase products using voice alone, at least for now.

For one thing, even with simple goods such as T-shirts, there are just so many attributes and variables for shoppers to compare and choose from – think the likes of size, colour, style, fabric, price, brand and so on.

And, while artificial intelligence (AI) is certainly continuing to improve, it’s still got some way to go until shoppers can be assured of a concise and easy path for sorting through the various choices before them as far as product specifications are concerned.

Nonetheless, voice-based shopping is a field to keep an eye on

Even if the AI in today’s voice assistants isn’t quite up to the task just yet of conducting the sophisticated conversations that many customers will expect if they are to start making serious use of this method of online shopping, the seeds of such development have certainly been planted.

As a consequence, voice shopping is creeping up and up on many ecommerce store owners’ priority lists – and it should be doing the same on yours.

As for what you can do right now to boost the relevance and usefulness of your e-tail portal for the current preferences and needs of your customers and those that they are likely to have in 2020 and beyond, get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today for a more in-depth conversation.

You’re welcome to contact us at our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices, and when you do, we’ll be pleased to advise you on the best steps to take with your ecommerce website design to achieve the results that you want.

The ‘unusual’ product images that will do the most to boost sales

Piranha Designs - Thursday, October 03, 2019

The visual element of the online shopping experience undoubtedly makes an immense difference to customers’ ultimate buying decisions. This is especially so given that the customer is unable to physically touch and examine an item prior to purchase.

It is precisely this that may have led you to include product images on your ecommerce site that showcase your items from various angles, as well as in close-up to draw attention to more specific features.

It is, though, possible – and potentially fruitful – to go even further with the ‘non-standard’ images that you supply for your online product pages. Here are a few examples of what we mean.

Context of use

A context-of-use image is one that shows how the product is to be used. Of course, there’s the obvious purpose of the product that may seem self-evident, but also alternative uses you could highlight in your product images to inspire the imaginations of prospective buyers.

You may find out about potential alternative uses of the product through your own experience, or even as a result of your customers simply telling you.

Size and proportion

Even when specific figures are given for a product’s size, it can be very easy for shoppers to become confused. That’s why you might decide to make it even easier for the customer to decide whether to purchase, by making the item’s size and dimensions even clearer through the images you use.

Including other elements in the photo for straightforward comparative purposes is one step that you might take. If the product in question is very small, for example, you might show it alongside a coin or in someone’s hand. A medium-sized product, meanwhile, could be shown with a person or animal, while a particularly large item may be best depicted next to a vehicle or building.

Consider, too, the items that could be shown inside the product – money and credit cards, for example, in the case of a purse or wallet.

User-generated images

When you look to purchase a given product online and land on a product page, there’s a good chance that one of the first things you do is look for the elements of content that actual customers have provided in relation to the product. Those include not only customer reviews, but also any images that customers may have contributed.

So, why not tap into customer images to help your store to drive sales? After all, such images constitute ‘social proof’ – demonstrating that others have bought and used the product – and provide a realistic view of the product, thereby helping to keep returns down.

Asking your customers to submit their own images of the given product – while perhaps offering enticements like reward points or store credit – could therefore prove more than worthwhile to your efforts to present your ecommerce site’s offerings in more dynamic and engaging ways.

Would you like to talk through your requirements for your next ecommerce website design with professionals who have ‘been there and done it’ and possess the most up-to-date specialist knowledge and skills? If so, it couldn’t be more straightforward to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team.

Your site won’t rank well if Google doesn’t even consider it a high-quality one

Piranha Designs - Monday, September 23, 2019

You might not exactly need to be told that Google places a big emphasis on ‘quality’ when adjusting the algorithms that ultimately determine how well sites rank in its search results. But how, exactly, does Google define ‘quality’? Well, that’s been a matter of longstanding confusion and frustration among many online business owners.

A recent Google blog post, however, shed considerable light on what the search engine considers to be ‘quality’ in a website.

Indeed, it listed a series of questions for those optimising their sites with a view to getting them to rank well, across the four subcategories of “content and quality”, “expertise”, “presentation and production” and “comparative”.

So, let’s summarise what Google addressed in the questions it came up with, so that you can make the tweaks your own site might need to achieve strong rankings.

Content and quality

Google’s questions in this subcategory – including “Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?” and “Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book” – show a concern for genuine quality in the content that a given site publishes.

If your site’s content pieces thoroughly analyse relevant topics from multiple angles, incorporating original information or research beyond the obvious things that plenty of other sites are already saying, you can expect Google to give you high rankings in response.

Expertise

It isn’t exactly a secret that Google places a big emphasis on authority when ranking sites, and that this has been addressed in its algorithms, with inbound links conferring authority based on the linking sites’ own topic and quality.

However, your site’s content and the authors who write it also impact on your site’s authority in the eyes of Google. Do the people writing your content, then, have positive reputations and prominence in your industry? Are they active on other sites and platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, and are they regulars on relevant industry forums?

If the answer to too many of these questions is “no”, these are aspects that you might wish to develop in the authors who contribute to your site.

Presentation and production

If Google is even addressing the subjects of presentation and production in its definition of quality, these can hardly be regarded as merely ‘superficial’ matters.

In any case, they should never have been considered to be ‘superficial’ by anyone. After all, should you expect to be able to win the trust of both shoppers and search engines if there are misspellings or grammatical errors on your site?

In its blog piece, Google presented a number of presentation and production questions that were especially interesting with regard to what could trigger manual penalties or lower algorithmic rankings.

These included “Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content”, and “Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?”

Comparative

Finally, Google also put forth a few comparative questions, focused on how well a site compares to its rivals in terms of quality.

It’s well worth bearing in mind, after all, that your site doesn’t need to be perfect to achieve strong rankings – it just needs to be better than the sites it’s competing with for certain keyword phrases.

Is SEO quality a subject that has been concerning you as you look to optimise your site for better rankings in the months and years ahead? If so, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team.

We provide acclaimed search engine marketing packages that will help your brand to ensure consistently great quality across every key aspect of its presence on the web.

GibraltarHolidays.com, short let apartments in Gibraltar at great price

Piranha Designs - Friday, September 20, 2019

GibraltarHolidays.com is an online marketplace specialised on short let apartments in Gibraltar and Costa del Sol hat connects people who want to rent out their homes in Gibraltar with people who are looking for accommodations in that locale. GibraltarHolidays.com hosts are not charge for advertising their properties on the site. GibraltarHolidays.com will charge just a small fee to guests.

People can buy tickets to the main Gibraltar attractions on GibraltarHolidays.com also. GibraltarHolidays.com works closely with well known Gibraltar companies like BuyTickets or Piranha Designs.  

These 5 simple changes to your product pages could transform your sales

Piranha Designs - Friday, August 23, 2019


Many of us are familiar with the tactic that brick-and-mortar stores often use of placing items at the eye level of the likely customer to help to tempt them into purchasing. So, is this a strategy that you can also adopt for your ecommerce site?

The truth is... yes and no. Adjusting your shopping site’s product pages to lure prospective buyers often isn’t as simple as it might seem to be.

However, there are still certain relatively straightforward things that you can do to encourage visitors to complete their journey from casual browsers to committed buyers, such as the below.

Use fixed headers and footers

These are the elements at the top and bottom of a page that remain fixed in place even while the visitor scrolls up and down; it’s an especially powerful feature on the smaller screens of smartphones. Maybe such a header or footer could be just the place to put an ever-present ‘add to cart’ icon or reminder of the free shipping that you offer on all orders of more than £50?

Indicate the scarcity of your products

All that it takes are some simple icons and text to convey to the user that there isn’t many of a certain item left, thereby instilling some urgency in them to complete the purchase.

Ensure a consistent amount of white space

If the primary images for your products vary widely in terms of the amount of white space they have surrounding them – perhaps because one image supplied by the manufacturer shows the item relatively far away from the camera, while the manufacturer’s image for another product shows it up close – such inconsistency might not be helping you to close sales for certain goods.

You might therefore wish to take steps to ensure a more consistent amount of white space across your main product images, such as by more tightly cropping particular images.

Make a fuss about the item’s popularity

Stating that a given product is popular isn’t merely you ‘hyping it up’ more than it deserves – indeed, it may actually be a reasonable and accurate reflection of how sought-after that item is, thereby helping your customers in their buying decisions.

Advertise special offers and other sweeteners around the ‘add to cart’ button

Once the shopper’s cursor is hovering near that ‘add to cart’ button, you’ve got them (almost) in the palm of your hand. So, why not push them into clicking by making it irresistible for them with surrounding text highlighting the free delivery that the store offers for this product, or the extra goodies the buyer will get for free if they input a provided voucher code?

There you have it – some modest tweaks that could make a vital extra contribution to bolstering your site’s sales. As for how you can begin to discuss the overall shape your ecommerce store should take, why not get in touch with Piranha Designs’ experts in ecommerce websites today?

Is your ecommerce site doing enough to attract Generation Z?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Are you already exhausted of trying to suss out what the Millennial market wants from your online store? Well, unfortunately, your work is hardly over even once you have, thanks to the recent emergence of another demographic – Generation Z – that differs markedly in several key ways even from Millennials.

Why does it matter to cater specifically to this generation?

It would be so easy to think of Generation Z – which tends to be roughly defined as those born between 1995 and 2010 – as simply a younger subset of the Millennial generation.

However, the oldest Millennials – a group born between around the early 1980s and the late 1990s – are now nearing their 40s, whereas the oldest Generation Zers are only now entering their early 20s. That makes for a very real difference in terms of the perspective that these generations have on the world around them, not least as Generation Z is the first ‘digital-native’ generation.

While many Millennials knew of a world before easy and widespread access to the World Wide Web, with even the youngest of them born well before Apple unveiled its first iPhone, Generation Zers are not only digital natives – they’re also ‘mobile-first’ social media natives, many of them not even owning a desktop computer.

What the statistics indicate for your ecommerce store

Now, you might imagine that given the above background, you’ll need to place a greater emphasis on a slick mobile ecommerce experience if you are to attract Generation Zers, than was even the case for the also tech-proficient Millennial generation. You’d be right, too – but the statistics also paint a picture of a generation with a slightly complex relationship with online and offline shopping.

For example, while a report provided to Marketing Dive revealed that three quarters of Generation Zers prefer to do most of their shopping online when they can out of convenience, 80% said they looked forward to shopping in stores when they had the time.

Furthermore, the report showed signs of the frustration that many Generation Z shoppers can often feel with the mobile ecommerce experience, 38% saying it was difficult to find what they needed online, and 35% expressing discomfort with the notion of even making purchases online.

On this subject, it is important to note that Generation Zers are associated with a tendency to value experiences over material things, which in many ways, transfers to their expectations of ecommerce shopping. This is a generation that values a swift, slick and even interactive experience when they purchase online, not unlike that provided by the social media sites to which they are so accustomed.

All of this is likely to inform many of the decisions that you make about the design of your ecommerce store when you work with a trusted web design agency like Piranha Designs.

Get talking to us now about your website design needs

Would you like to partner with highly skilled and experienced specialists when the time comes to refresh or overhaul the design of your website, or to create a comprehensive ecommerce presence from scratch? In that case, the Piranha Designs team stands ready to assist.

Give our friendly and seasoned professionals a call today for a no-obligation discussion of your requirements from your next ecommerce site, whatever the generation to which your brand is most trying to appeal.


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