How can your small retailer get involved in ecommerce for the first time?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Some of you with widely-held views of the situation between small firms and ecommerce today may be rubbing your eyes at the title of this piece. After all, isn’t every retailer selling online these days? Are there even any genuinely successful brick-and-mortar retail businesses around these days that have no ecommerce presence at all?

The answers to those two questions are no and yes – you probably only need to look around your town or city to see some retailers still exist that apparently do just fine without an equivalent ecommerce portal. 

Such a firm may continue to thrive on account of the standard of customer service that it provides, an enviable local reputation or simply the lack of an alternative retailer for its given products anywhere in the immediate area.

So, does every retailer even need to become an ecommerce business?

Alas, while companies fitting the above description may seem to be doing perfectly well for now, there’s no guarantee that this will remain the case forever. Indeed, pretty much all of the relevant statistics point to online sales still growing at a much swifter pace than general retail sales.

Yes, your average neighbourhood pet shop or hardware store may have fared alright outside the ecommerce world until now, but their task of competing is probably getting stiffer every month and year.

However, it’s also understandable that if you are such a retailer, you will likely have legitimate concerns about the wisdom of developing an ecommerce presence at all.

You obviously won’t have the resources of the big enterprises to give you the luxury of incurring losses or taking on the additional financial burden of ecommerce staff as you get your ecommerce site up and running. Nor may you necessarily have the low overheads and agility of the start-ups that begin life as ecommerce firms while never having to maintain a high-street presence.

There are many feasible ways to get started

Even simply the costs of delivering goods across the country or beyond can seem crippling if you are a brick-and-mortar retailer looking to enter the ecommerce space for the first time. So why not simply offer a ‘click and collect’ service to begin with, whereby customers can order from you online and then collect their purchased item in person from your store?

Alternatively, you may be able to get some of the suppliers from which your retailer already purchases to deliver their products directly to your online customers on your behalf. Or what about starting out on an existing trusted online marketplace, such as Marketplace? This will enable you to select just a limited number of products to sell online initially, as you get to grips with the basics of ecommerce and as a result, minimise the risk of poor customer service.

Would you like to gain a more in-depth appreciation of your retailer’s many options for venturing into ecommerce? Here at Piranha Designs, we have professionals in ecommerce website design that will be more than happy to speak to you, taking into account the specific circumstances and needs of your business.

How catering for clueless shoppers can help you to amass more sales

Piranha Designs - Thursday, August 31, 2017

Given how long online shopping has been a routine element of commerce, you could be excused for thinking that most people know exactly what they want, and how to get it, when they arrive at an online store. However, you should be wary of any unwarranted complacency about how informed your store’s customers really are.

RAM - no, not a misspelling of a 1980s pop duo

Even decades after the World Wide Web came into being, you can't entirely rule out the possibility of your company's online store attracting people who have never previously shopped online. However, there is another, quite different kind of uninformed shopper...

Whatever your store actually sells, there could still be too much jargon attached to your product descriptions. If you sell smartphones, for instance, you shouldn’t be too quick to assume that all of your shoppers know what "GB" and "RAM" mean. If, on the other hand, it is flooring that is on offer, not everyone visiting might understand what "laminate" means in relation to certain products.

How confusing terms could be explained

How can you assist shoppers who might clock particular descriptions in your product listings, only to leave because they can't comprehend the vital terminology? One option is inserting brief explanations where a description uses what could come across as bewildering jargon.

Still, when you use this tactic, the descriptions could become too wordy if each one has more than two points that require clarification. If this is indeed the case, you could instead put together a separate article to list and provide definitions for potentially problematic terms.

It's a matter of SEO, too

Another reason for you to widely use easy-to-understand words and phrases is that this could make it easier for potential customers to find your site and its product listings through the search engines.

This is because, when conducting searches, many people are likely to use such simple terms as "memory" rather than "RAM" or "shiny" instead of "laminate". That doesn't mean you have to do away with specialised phrases or acronyms completely - just add the simpler terms as well, which is one of the many ranking-boosting measures that we can help you to implement as part of our renowned SEO services here at Piranha Designs.

5 reasons why it’s so crucial to optimise your conversion rates

Piranha Designs - Thursday, August 24, 2017

Turning as many of your website’s visitors as possible into actual customers has never been more important – and here are just five reasons why.

1. It’ll give you more customers, free

Even without spending a single penny on SEO or advertising, if you can improve your site’s conversion rates, you will be able to enjoy more customers, and therefore make more money.

2. Even just a slight advantage makes a massive difference

Think of the average sporting competition, where it’s a case of ‘winner takes all’: does the actual margin of victory matter? The football team that wins 1-0 thanks to a scrappy own goal in the 90th minute still gets all three points, while the loser ends up with nothing.

Internet marketing works similarly. Even the most modest improvement in your conversion rate could make a huge difference to your company’s profitability and success. You don’t have to be twice as good as your competitors to make twice as much profit as they do, because even just a ‘slight edge’ makes you the winner regardless.

3. Every additional sale is effectively free money

Remember that for every additional conversion you get, you’ll make money that goes straight to your company’s bottom line, and nowhere else. That is why upping your conversion rate by a mere 50% could boost your profits by an incredible 500%.

4. It improves your business’s robustness

The better your conversion rate gets, the more revenue your firm will generate, meaning more money is available to plough into such other marketing efforts as SEO, social media marketing, print and radio.

These measures will help to give your site even more visitors, boost your brand’s profile and generally make your business more robust so that its fortunes do not hinge on the next Google algorithm update.

5. You can enjoy ‘first-mover advantage’

Let’s face it: whether or not you’re working to optimise your site’s conversion rates right now, your competitors will either be doing it already or set to do it in future.

Wouldn’t you rather your firm be the one that is already ahead? After all, the company that is ahead is the one making money, while the one that is behind is effectively losing money due to the sales on which it consistently misses out.

Take advantage now of website design, SEO and other services that will enable you to bolster your online business’s conversion rates. Talk to the Piranha Designs team today, and we can discuss your most specific needs with you.

Reusing your content is just an ‘easy way out’, isn’t it?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, August 17, 2017

Erm, no, not really – especially given how difficult it can be to constantly think up great new ideas for your content. You might just, instead, use certain content repeatedly to reach many more people and boost your company marketing’s all-round effectiveness.

You’ve probably seen certain content ideas used again and again – maybe initially in a blog post, then in an infographic, and perhaps later in a podcast or YouTube video. This might have been the case across several different companies, but you can easily do it within your own business – and there’s nothing wrong with it, as long as you do it well.

In an age in which organisations seem to be spending more and more time and money on their content marketing, the astute reuse of your content can help you to extract more value from each and every content idea you have.

Content is made to be reused!

If you have any doubts about the ethical side of reusing content, think of it this way: when you tell a famous bedtime story like The Very Hungry Caterpillar or The Cat in the Hat to your children, you don’t feel guilty about not being the original source.

In fact, to do so would miss the point. Great stories deserve and indeed, need to be told time and time again, and great content tells such great stories. It’s why you should create your content from the outset with the potential for its reuse specifically in mind.

Furthermore, the effective reuse of content brings many real benefits to your business, including the ability to spin off more pieces of content given the fewer ideas you will need overall, as well as the scope to promote a single piece of content across many mediums, including your blog, email newsletters and social media.

Yes, you can reuse your content – to brilliant effect

So consider today how you might create and then reuse content on a ‘multiplication’ schedule that will help to keep it relevant and effective for longer. Could that new blog article you’ve just posted be given an extended lease of life when you share pictures from it on Instagram, grab a quote from it for your company’s next Facebook status update or post a YouTube video based on it?

Whatever anyone tells you about reusing content, it isn’t just ‘lazy’ – indeed, it could be one of the most powerful ways of telling and retelling your company’s most compelling stories, and generating more traffic, sales and revenue in the process.

Check out Piranha Designs’ wide-ranging online marketing services to discover just how far your company could go with our help.

After a long decline, Flash will finally meet its end in 2020

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Who remembers Flash? The plugin was certainly ubiquitous once upon a time, to the point of downright notoriety. However, it seems that the freeware software that has been with us since 1996 – and reached a peak of popularity in the late 2000s – will finally be phased out by 2020.

That is according to an announcement by Adobe, which said it was planning to “end-of-life” the plugin, ceasing to update and distribute the Flash Player by the end of 2020 and encouraging content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to new open formats.

In the meantime, security updates will still be made available for Flash in Apple, Mozilla, Microsoft and Google browsers. After that, though, Adobe will no longer offer any new Flash features and the plugin will be, for all extents and purposes, dead.

A protracted demise for once-dominant software

This announcement isn’t, in many ways, a major shock. After all, Flash is no longer the force in web design circles that it once was, and even in its heyday, the combination of its wide distribution and outdated versions of it helped to make it a key target for hackers.

The death knell for Flash may have been sounded as early as 2010, when – in a famous letter – then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs criticised the software for falling “short” in a then-emerging mobile era that he described as being “about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards”.

Apple never did support Flash on its iOS devices, and even Adobe in recent years has made noises suggesting that it would like to phase out the plugin. After years of declining popularity – accelerated by such developments as Flash support being gradually dropped from Adobe applications and Google making it a ‘click-to-play’ plugin that users must explicitly enable if they wish to use it – it seems that its death is finally coming to pass.

Embrace the new era of web design with Piranha Designs

Adobe’s VP of product development Govind Balakrishnan has declared that the company remains “very proud of the legacy of Flash and everything it helped pioneer”, and so it should be – after all, it played a key role in bringing video and gaming to the web.

However, the world of web design is also a fast-moving one now embracing many alternative formats – and here at Piranha Designs, we can help your own organisation’s online presence to do the same. Whether you seek the complete CMS, ecommerce or mobile-friendly website for 2017, our web design professionals can use their up-to-the-minute expertise to show you the way.

How have company logos evolved amid the rise of responsive web design?

Piranha Designs - Friday, July 07, 2017
Despite the reputation of the company logo in certain circles as something that remains necessarily consistent over time, it’s fair to say that it has been buffeted by various pressures in recent years – not least of which has been the ascendancy of responsive web design. 

Just think, after all, of the circumstances in which so many of today’s familiar brand motifs – the four Audi rings, for example, or the yellow ‘M’ of McDonald’s – were conceived. Until as recently as the 1990s, company logos may have been largely expected to take their place mainly on high-street signs, on printed advertisements and perhaps on the side of commercial vehicles. 

Matters have changed a bit since then, with the rise of responsive web design cruelly exposing the deficiencies of many logo designs. At the same time, though, the challenge of scaling down logos in accordance with the smaller screens of smartphone and tablet devices has helped to demonstrate what always made certain brand logos so great. 

The positive characteristics of such brands of which we are speaking are their simplicity and flexibility that not only makes them adaptable to various formats and layout options today, but was already making them effortlessly memorable yesterday – and continues to do so now. 

A short history of effective brand logos 

When “Purple Rain” hit-maker Prince swapped his name for a logo in the early 1990s, the overwhelming response was one of bafflement. However, the late Artist may have actually been ahead of his time in making such a move – and it’s hard to deny that many people remembered it long after he reversed the decision in 2000. 

Much earlier than that, however, the most impactful brands were evolving their logos in ways that would prove, if inadvertently, highly advantageous for the coming age of responsive design. Apple’s first attempt at a logo, for instance, was certainly intricate-looking, resembling a traditional print depicting Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, with an apple hanging over his head. 

However, such a design could hardly be accused of being simple or modern, so it was perhaps unsurprising that just a year later, a new logo was created. With its simplified, albeit instantly recognisable silhouette of an apple with a bite taken out of it, it was clear that the logo’s designer, Rob Janoff, had created a classic. While its colours have varied down the years, the basic motif has continued in use, largely unmodified by Apple, ever since. 

Is your firm’s logo fit for the responsive web design era? 

From Twitter’s bird symbol that presents itself to anyone firing up the micro-blogging platform’s app, right through to the Nike swish and the multi-coloured Google G, a variety of brands have shown their ability to create logos that just happen to scale well to any screen size and are therefore brilliantly compliant with our current responsive web design era. 

Could you say the same for your own company’s current logo, or would you like to discuss with us how we could play our part in crafting a compelling and timeless visual identity for your brand? Talk to our professionals in brand identity and logo design today to learn more.

Is your company website truly embracing voice search?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, June 22, 2017

‘Voice search’, in case you could possibly be unfamiliar with it, refers to the practice of speaking commands into a device to perform an online search. 

Voice search technology is advancing and becoming ever-more relevant, so what can you do to suitably optimise your site to drive ever-greater traffic and sales from it?   

Use language that people actually use 

Being ‘natural’ is the key here. What questions and phrases would your target consumers say when they are talking to their friends and family? You’re less likely to get great voice search results out of the ‘marketing speak’ and promotional ‘buzz’ terms that are used a lot more often by those within your industry than actual customers. 

Keep an eye out for natural phrases in your keyword research. They’re the phrases that tend to be longer and not searched as often, but which are also less competitive and thus easier to win. 

Account for mispronunciations 

It’s only natural that many online searchers for particular brands will read about those brands a lot more than they hear them spoken. They may therefore mispronounce a brand in a voice search – unless you account for such mispronunciations in optimising your site.

However, you will need to be creative in how you achieve this goal. Simply including misspelt words in your standard product content will simply give the impression that you are not professional enough to even bother to proofread your site content, and consumer trust in your brand will diminish as a result. 

Aim for descriptive, textual content 

Ecommerce sites typically consist of a lot of filter and category pages that do not exactly lend themselves well to voice search. This is why it is so crucial to produce descriptive textual content for your site – such as FAQs sections and how-to guides – that actually contains the type of words and phrasing your company might use. 

You should also ensure that you use such natural phrasing on pages of your site that are linked to other parts of your site, in recognition of the fact that search engines are more likely to lead voice searchers to pages that use natural language. 

Would you like to learn more about how you can optimise your site for all of the forms of search commonly used today? Simply get in touch with Piranha Designs today about our highly regarded SEO and marketing services.   

5 ways to make your product images genuinely compelling

Piranha Designs - Monday, June 05, 2017

When you are looking to boost conversions for your ecommerce site, it can be so easy to overlook the most seemingly obvious, but also simple details. Certainly, many website owners don’t put enough effort into ensuring their product images are truly conversion-worthy. 

Here are at least five things that you can do to make sure your product images play their own part in boosting sales from your ecommerce site. 

  1. Make your images relevant and high quality 

    This might seem to be very generic advice, but there are certain ‘conventions’ followed by the big ecommerce stores that are worth following for your images. Amazon, for example, sets out a list of requirements for images, including that they must be professional images of the actual product being sold, as well as in focus, in frame and with no confusing additional objects. 

  2. Include several angles 

    For many products, your ecommerce store will be competing with physical stores that give the customer the luxury of handling the item and examining it from several angles. While the former is not possible with online product images, you can give your customers a measure of the latter experience by simply showing photos taken from multiple angles. 

  3. Give a sense of context and scale 

    When a product is shown against a white background, it isn’t always obvious what size the product is, or how it would look in context – so why not show at least one image that gives a sense of this? While a depiction of your product against a neutral white background is probably still the best choice for your main image, an in-context image – such as a TV on a stand in a home setting – could make a great second photo. 

  4. Show each colour or option 

    This is an especially relevant option for items of clothing, where it may not be clear how the given product actually looks in a certain colour when being worn by someone. Show your customers a separate image of the product for each colour in which it is available, and they may well be surprised by how that product truly appears. 

  5. Make materials and details clear 

    Does the product that you’re selling have certain features, finishes or detailing that may influence the customer’s buying decision? If so, don’t leave them struggling to zoom in on your image to examine such aspects of the product – just take separate close-up images of those areas so that they don’t need to make the effort. 

    As we are well-placed to realise here at Piranha Designs, even the finest details can make a big difference to the impression made by your ecommerce site on the people that matter. Learn more about our ecommerce website design solutions today and what they could mean for your firm. 

Focus on usability to improve your website’s results

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Usability is a massive problem for many online business owners, marketers and web designers – not least as they can be so blind to it. So, how can you spot and fix those usability issues with your website that could be stifling your business’s growth? 

That’s a broad subject to attempt to cover in one blog post – but what we can do is deliver some key insights. 

Usability tests can be instrumental in improving your website 

If you were able to watch a random person – or maybe a not-so-random person, such as a member of your target audience – use your website for the first time, do you think they’d find what they were looking for straight away? Or do you think they would struggle to find what they want, scratch your heads and then leave your site? 

All too often, marketers and designers suffer from what is known as ‘the curse of knowledge’. By that, we mean that they’re so close to, and informed about, their own website that they can barely imagine what it must be like to be someone without any of that knowledge, trying to use their site for the first time. 

Such a phenomenon only makes it all the more crucial to take steps to ensure that your site can be used by even the busiest, laziest and most drunken idiots. If you are successful in accomplishing this, you can bet that even a lot of sober and hard-working geniuses will appreciate the benefits in the form of a much more usable website. 

Only usability tests can be truly depended on to help you to achieve this, as only they – rather than your own intuition – will really show you where you’re going right and wrong with the usability of your site. 

How can you recruit people for your website usability tests? 

It might seem the obvious thing to recruit individuals from your online business’s target demographic – for example, those looking to buy or sell a house if you’re an estate agent, or the kind of people who may wish to volunteer for your charity. 

However, they aren’t necessarily the only valid people on which to test your website. You could also speak to your existing customers about participating in usability testing, or even directly invite people via your site. Even a completely random person could provide useful insights that you may not have gained if you had only tested your site on one person or a single group of people. 

Usability is undoubtedly a tricky subject for even the most conscientious of online business owners, marketers and designers – after all, the most usable sites are often defined by what they don’t have, as much as what they do have. 

Creating a truly usable site can be an extremely difficult endeavour when you are attempting to do this on your own, so don’t hesitate to talk to Piranha Designs about our acclaimed custom web design services that really can make all of the difference. 

We are now firmly in the era of resilient web design

Piranha Designs - Monday, May 08, 2017

It’s easy to get bogged down in current-moment considerations when you feel that the time has come to revamp or refine your company’s website. What are the latest web design trends? However, you might also ask: which of those trends are likely to still be relevant in a year’s time, or five years’ time, or even 10 years’ time? 

This, in turn, might lead you to what is, in many ways, the philosophy of our present era of web design: resilient web design. 

How has web design changed down the years? 

That’s a very grand question to try to answer in the confines of one short blog post, but one thing that is certainly noteworthy is how our appreciation of the constraints of the medium of website design has changed. 

When the web first came to prominence in the 1990s, for example, web designers were generally those who had previously designed magazines, newspapers and other printed publications. They made the transition from print to pixels, but in the process, brought many of their old assumptions, preferences and biases with them. 

It was only natural, then, that they tended to treat the browser window much as they had the printed page. But there was a flaw with such an approach: whereas a newspaper or magazine page had a fixed ratio, a browser window could be any size. 

The journey to our present age of universality 

It was impossible for web designers to know in advance of the size of a given person’s browser window. What duly began over the decades was a struggle to impose order on this new, exciting medium – the web page – on which it was often much more difficult to impose order than had been the case with printed pages. 

So, we got web designers creating pages in ever-greater widths as people’s monitors got bigger – in the web’s early days, most monitors were 640 pixels wide, so they created layouts of the same width. But over the years, this ‘standard’ jumped up to 800 pixels wide... and then to 960 pixels wide. 

Similarly, in the early days of devices capable of fully accessing the web – as ushered in by the iPhone – the ‘answer’ seemed to be to design separate mobile-only websites on domains like 

But what happened when the lines between mobile and desktop devices blurred – when we started getting tablets like the iPad, and ‘phablets’? At this point, it became clear that even this segmented approach to web design would not be very resilient to the ravages of time. 

For truly resilient web design in 2017, choose Piranha Designs 

Today, of course, web design tends to be governed by very different principles, of serving exactly the same information in exactly the same representation across all of the devices through which one could conceivably access a given website. 

We are now in the age of not just adaptive web design, or responsive web design, but resilient web design, embracing the idea of just one World Wide Web. 

It’s a philosophy that our own web designers are proud to embody here at Piranha Designs. With all of the above in mind, we’ll leave you with a quote from the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, in an article for Scientific American on his most famous creation’s 20th anniversary. 

“The primary design principle underlying the Web’s usefulness and growth is universality. The Web should be usable by people with disabilities. It must work with any form of information, be it a document or a point of data, and information of any quality – from a silly tweet to a scholarly paper. And it should be accessible from any kind of hardware that can connect to the Internet: stationary or mobile, small screen or large.” 

Contact Piranha Designs today for more information about our complete web design services

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